Zhou Chengjian: Another Billionaire Goes Missing In China

January 10, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Zhou Chengjian, a Chinese billionaire, has gone missing, and many are speculating that police have something to do with it. Mr. Chengjian, who has a fortune of over $2 billion, started off as a the son of a poor farmer, whose diet consisted of sweet potato and one chicken leg that would last for weeks – he is now among the richest men in China.

Zhou Chengjian

Zhou Chengjian, 51, has been missing since Wednesday, according to his family and his employees. According to several media outlets, the billionaire might have been taken by Chinese police as part of Beijing’s anti-corruption drive. The authorities have yet to comment on Chengjian’s disappearance.

Chengjian’s company, Metersbonwe or Metersbonwe Group, issued a statement explaining that they are unaware of the mogul’s whereabouts and added that they had plans to suspend trading their shares immediately on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The statement read:

“In regard to the news around Mr Zhou Chengjian, the actual controller and Chairman of Shanghai Metersbonwe, the company has followed the regulations set by the Notice of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and applied to suspend trading the shares on January 7, 2016.”

Like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, Mr. Chengjian has amassed a fortune that most people dream of or play the Powerball to obtain.

Chengjian, whose net worth is between $1.9 billion and $4.1 billion, is the founder of Metersbonwe, which is one of China’s leading casual wear apparel companies. Mr. Chengjian launched the company in 1995, and about ten years later, he had opened over 1,800 stores across China and had over 5,000 employees. The company caters to 18- to 25-year-old male and female consumers.

Chengjian was born in Qintian County of Lishui, Zhejiang Province in poverty to farmers, who owned a little shop where they sold rice and soy sauce. As a child, Chengjian claimed that he was both lazy and bright – especially with numbers – prompting his parents to let him run the store as his siblings worked the lands.

At the age of 8, little Zhou Chengjian was making good money by buying products at a lower price in a nearby town. He said:

“I walked for an hour to a nearby village and took a bus from there to town and sold them in the village. I made money by pocketing the difference.”

He explained that he spent most of his childhood only eating sweet potatoes and wishing for rice. The family often went weeks with one chicken leg, which sat on a big bowl of noodles just for flavor but never consumed. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school and worked in carpentry and bricklaying, and as a tailor. At 14, he had saved over $40,000 and started trading antique silver coins.

However, as the trade was illegal, the money was confiscated, and since he was too young to go to jail for it, his father spent a year in prison. By the age of 20, after sinking in debt several times, Chengjian, who never gives up, went on to contact 100 tailors to make clothes for young people – priding himself in making quality yet affordable wear – his company took off and now he is one of the wealthiest people on Earth.

Asked for the secret of his success, he said, “patience and persistence” and “be brave but now you need to have knowledge and professional skills.”

What are your thoughts on Zhou Chengjian’s disappearance?


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