Rags to riches: Delivery man now China’s third-richest billionaire

Show me the money! A humble delivery man has now become China's third-richest billionaire.

Wang Wei, chairman of SF Holding — the FedEx of China — has seen his fortune grow to around $27 billion, according to a Forbes estimate. Wang has knocked out Tencent founder Pony Ma for the third spot, but is still a few billion dollars behind China's richest man, property tycoon Wang Jianlin, based on a ranking by the Hurun Report.

China's economy has boomed over the years, and so have the pockets of some savvy individuals. The world's second-largest economy now creates one new billionaire nearly every week, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Logistics firms like SF are also riding China's e-commerce boom, as shopping sites run by Alibaba and JD.com have grown in popularity among consumers.

Shares of SF have soared as much as 40 percent after the company completed a backdoor listing last Friday in Shenzhen. Wang, 46, merged his company with one that was already trading — a quicker route to a public debut.

Employees handle packages at an S.F. Express store in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.
Anthony Kwan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employees handle packages at an S.F. Express store in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

Since then, the stock has spiked by the 10 percent daily trading limit every day. But shares pulled back 3 percent today, after official state media reports said the huge rise was a matter of "idle speculation." Still, the company's market cap is hovering around 285 billion yuan ($41 billion).

The Chinese government has been keen to rein in frenzied stock trading — those efforts are seeking to avoid a repeat of the 2015 stock market crash.

Wang started his company in 1993 with about $13,000, sending packages himself along with a handful of other couriers and one delivery van, according to state media reports. Now, SF has 15,000 vehicles and a network that covers 200 countries and regions globally.

Other Chinese delivery firms have also listed recently — YTO Express in Shanghai, and ZTO Express in the U.S.

ZTO's New York IPO was the largest in the U.S. last year.

SF Holding didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Barry Huang contributed to this report.

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