Who’s Hu

Sun Piaoyang

Jiangsu’s pharmaceutical king

Sun Piaoyang

Sun Piaoyang is one of the richest tycoons in Liangyungang, an R&D and production hub of China’s pharmaceutical industry.

Getting started

Born in 1958, the Jiangsu native was the top student at the China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing. Upon graduation in 1982, he was assigned by the government to work at the state-run factory in Liangyungang. The plant was later reorganised and renamed Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine. The rebranding did little to improve productivity at the company, which was barely profitable with an annual profit of just $13,500.

Big break

In 1990 China’s economic tsar Zhu Rongji unleashed drastic reforms in the state sector. Government-run factories had to be closed, or privatised, if they were not performing. Jiangsu Hengrui was one of them. Aged 32, Sun was elected by his coworkers to become the company’s business leader. Just like many other privatised state firms at the time, financial performance was miraculously turned around. The revenue of Jiangsu Hengrui rose more than ten-fold and surpassed Rmb100 million by 1996. In 2000 it went public in Shanghai. Three years later Sun launched a management buyout of Hengrui, acquiring a 21% stake from the local government and became its biggest shareholder.

Hengrui has about 12% of the Chinese market in anti-tumour medicines, pain killers and anti-infective drugs. As of October 2015, its market value stood at Rmb90 billion. Hurun estimates that Sun is the country’s 100th richest man with a net worth of Rmb13.5 billion.

Need to know

Sun Piaoyang’s wife Zhong Huijuan is also the controlling shareholder of Jiangsu Hansoh, the second biggest pharmaceutical firm in Lianyungang behind Hengrui.

© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sponsored by HSBC.

The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.