Now, she’s become the wealthiest self-made woman in Asia with a $10.5 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. She made much of her money from her stake in Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group, China’s largest maker of psychotropic drugs, which gained 37% in value on Friday during its first day of trading in Hong Kong.
Zhong, a former chemistry teacher who founded Hansoh in 1995, has overtaken Longfor Group’s Chairman Wu Yajun to claim the richest self-made billionaire title. Zhong is the second-richest woman in Asia, second only to Yang Huiyan, co-chairman of Country Garden Holdings, who inherited her fortune.
Zhong said that government support plays an important role in the drug maker’s success. Health-care spending in China has surged to 5.9 trillion yuan ($852 billion) last year from 3.5 trillion yuan in 2014, and is projected to top 9.4 trillion yuan in 2023, Hansoh said in a prospectus for the offering on the Hongkong Stock Exchange.
The company researches and produces drugs in areas such as oncology, cardiovascular and diabetes, according to the filing, and gets almost half of its revenue come from cancer treatments.
Zhong graduated with an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Jiangsu Normal University in July 1982 and taught chemistry at Yan’an middle school in Lianyungang in the early 1990s, according to the website of All-China Women’s Foundation.