The past 15 years marked an important period in China's economic development as the country's annual GDP growth averaged nearly 9 percent. A large number of outstanding businessmen, scholars and policy makers emerged during this period to help shape the country's entrepreneurship and economic path.
As Fortune China celebrated its 15th anniversary, the magazine published its review of the top 15 people who have exerted great influences on China's economic development during that time.
Zong Qinghou (宗庆后)
Industry: Food and beverage
Position: Chairman and CEO
Zong Qinghou is one of the most famous businessmen who gained success with China's reform and opening-up. With his executive force, business sense and management skills, Zong built from the ground up a Chinese beverage kingdom with over US$7.9 billion annual sales revenue. Wahaha's dramatic relationship with Danone, from union, spitup and lawsuit, is a lesson to learn for all China-foreign joint ventures. Zong has also expanded his business in raw material and retail industries in the last two years, and is striving to enter his company into the world’s top 500 over the next five years.