Wang Xiaokun, a 40-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming a billionaire through his milk tea venture. He is the visionary founder of Cha Panda, a Chinese tea chain.
Recent funding rounds have catapulted his tea business’s valuation to an impressive $2.1 billion. Forbes estimates Wang’s personal fortune at a staggering $1.1 billion, primarily due to his substantial 60% ownership stake in the Chengdu-based beverage chain.
Over the past three years, Cha Panda has experienced rapid expansion, now boasting an extensive network of over 7,000 stores. The chain is known for its signature beverages, including mango pomelo sago, taro bubble tea, and jasmine milk green tea, all offered at an affordable price point of $3.60 or less, as reported by Forbes.
Notably, Wang’s wife, Liu Weihong, has also enjoyed a substantial increase in her wealth, with an estimated fortune of $700 million, thanks to her 33% ownership stake in the company. She plays a pivotal role as the chair of the supervisory committee, responsible for overseeing Cha Panda’s daily operations, as indicated in a preliminary prospectus filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
According to MSN, the roots of Cha Panda trace back to 2008 when Wang began selling fruit and bubble tea from a modest shop near a school in Chengdu, known for its spicy cuisine and as the home of giant pandas. Over the subsequent decade, Wang diligently expanded Cha Panda’s network of stores to 531 by 2020. However, the pivotal moment occurred when he embraced a franchising model.
Today, Cha Panda focuses on crafting beverage recipes and supplying ingredients like fruit and tea leaves to Cha Panda-branded beverage shops. This innovative approach allows Wang to maintain lower operational costs compared to competitors like Hong Kong-listed Nayuki Holdings, which grapple with higher employee salaries and rental expenses for their directly operated stores.
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