(Yicai Global) May 24 -- Zhang Shiping, who was known as Asia's king of cotton and electrolytic aluminum, has died. He was 73.
Zhang succumbed to an illness yesterday, a listed unit of Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group, one of the company's he founded, said in a statement the same day. His 48-year-old son Zhang Bo succeeded him as the group's president last year.
Born in November 1946 in Weiqiao, a town in China's eastern Shandong province, Zhang Shiping became the region's richest person. He and his family were worth CNY65billion (USD9.4 billion), according to the 2018 Hurun China Rich List, which put them in 26th place among the wealthiest people in the country.
Under his leadership, Weiqiao Pioneering became an internationally renowned firm and was the fifth biggest among China's private businesses last year. It ranked 185th in the 2018 Fortune Global 500, down 26 places from the previous year, but still marking its eighth appearance on the annual list.
Located near Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport, Qingdao Port and several railways and highways, Weiqiao Pioneering has over 11 production bases covering textiles, dying and finishing, clothing and thermoelectricity. It owns two Hong Kong-listed units, China Hongqiao Group and Weiqiao Textile, as well as Shandong Hongchuang Aluminum Industry Holding, whose shares trade in Shenzhen.
Shares of China Hongqiao [HKG:1378] were little change today at HKD5.51 (70 US cents) each. Weiqiao Textile [HKG:2698] rose 0.7 percent to HKD2.73, while Hongchuang Aluminum [SHE:002379] gained 1.3 percent to CNY3.22 (47 US cents).
Editor: James Boynton