Wu Xiangdong, known as China’s “godfather of Baijiu”, will see his wealth significantly boosted by at least US$3 billion after his liquor company ZJLD became the biggest listing in Hong Kong this year by raising HK$5.3 billion (US$675 million).
Ranked No. 7 in our China’s top 10 drinks billionaire list, Wu is the chairman of ZJLD and Jindong Group, which together owns 12 Baijiu brands. ZJLD, a holding company for four of them – Zhen
Jiu (珍酒), Li Du (李渡), Xiang Jiao (湘窖) and Kai and Kou Xiao (開口笑)- raised HK$5.3 billion in Hong Kong last week.
The listing will be the first for a Chinese Baijiu producer in seven years and the first outside of China.
With revenue of RMB 5.1 billion, ZJLD ranked fourth among privately-owned Baijiu companies by value in China and is also the third largest Baijiu producer in terms of revenue that offer three aroma types Baijiu products in China’s Baijiu industry in 2021.
Nicknamed as “Godfather of Baijiu”, Wu built an empire that touches on every aspect of the fiery spirit from production to distribution to brand creation to retailing.
He rose to prominence in China’s drinks industry after successfully launching Jin Liu Fu in 1990s, a popular Baijiu brand from his home base in Hunan, which gave him the capital and confidence to later acquire over 10 different spirits brands.
Interestingly, Wu intially aspired to build his company into Pernod Ricard or Diageo of China, he revealed in one interview, but was daunted by the fact that it was impossible for his privately owned company to buy the country’s flagship Baijiu brands such as Kweichow Moutai, thus giving him the drive to create brands of his own.
Aside from Baijiu production, his empire built a successful distribution business mainly through VATS Liquor store which distributes known Baijiu brands from Kweichow Moutai to its own brands, as well as popular wines such as DBR Lafite and Penfolds.
He also owns three wineries in Yunnan and Shandong, including Shangri-la wine group.