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Wahaha heiress wants to be recognized as entrepreneur

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)

08:21, March 13, 2013

Zong Fuli, the daughter of Zong Qinghou, chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co Ltd and the richest man on the mainland, attends a ceremony with her father in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. Provided to China Daily

It is every girl's dream to be a princess. But the daughter of the richest man on the Chinese mainland is reluctant to wear the tiara.

Zong Fuli, the 31-year-old heiress of Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co Ltd, the mainland's largest soft drinks company by sales, loathes being stereotyped as a second-generation billionaire.

She prefers to be recognized as a true entrepreneur.

In January, she was elected as the youngest member of the Zhejiang Provincial People's Political Consultative Conference.

Her efforts at improving the food and beverage industry and sense of responsibility have earned her a place this year as one of 10 Chinese representatives of Young Global Leaders, a forum and community working in cooperation with the World Economic Forum.

Zong said six more young Chinese people were selected this year than last year.

"More and more Chinese young business leaders are valued by the world, and people are paying more attention to China now," she said in an exclusive interview with China Daily. "This gives us more confidence and more sense of responsibility. Despite all the titles, I am just Zong Fuli."

Zong Qinghou is listed by Hurun Research Institute as the richest man on the mainland, with a personal wealth of 82 billion yuan ($13.18 billion).

In many ways, Zong resembles her father. They are both zealous at work. In 2004, she returned to her hometown after graduating from Pepperdine University in the United States.

At the start of her career, she worked as a deputy director at a production base in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang province.

She was later promoted to president of Hangzhou Hongsheng Beverage Group.

Now the young woman is in charge of one-third of Wahaha's production, including imports and exports.

Her overseas education has shaped her mindset and values at work.

Zong has plans to roll out a line of high-end tea beverages overseas. "It should meet the nutrition standard among Western customers," Zong said. "Going global is not merely profit-driven. It is about showcasing our products and culture to the world."

Familiar with Western lifestyles and culture, Zong is confident she knows what Western consumers want.

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