‘China’s Biggest Divorce’ Makes Ex-Wife of Vaccine Tycoon an Instant Billionaire

Kangtai

Yuan Liping, the ex-wife of 56-year-old Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co-chairman Du Weimin, has become an overnight billionaire after winning company shares.

As part of the divorce settlement, Du has given 161.3 million shares from his company to his ex-wife, which was worth $3.2 billion, according to Shanghaiist.

Yuan now holds a 24% stake in the company, but she signed over her voting rights to her ex-husband.

The divorce caused Du’s net worth to drop from an initial $6.5 billion to $3.1 billion. Kangtai’s shares, which have doubled in the past year and saw a surge after announcing its plan to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, dropped by 3.6% on Monday. Its market value reportedly exceeds $13 billion.

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Yuan, who turns 49 this year, is a Canadian citizen who lives in Shenzhen, South China Morning Post reported. She served as a director of the company from May 2011 to August 2018 before becoming the vice general manager of subsidiary at Beijing Minhai Biotechnology.

Yuan, who is now one of the richest women in the world, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Born to a family of farmers in rural Jiangxi province, Du studied chemistry in college and began working at a clinic in 1987. Then, in 1995, he became a sales manager for a biotech company.

In 2004, he founded a company called Minha. Five years later, Kangtai acquired Minha and Du eventually became the chairman of both companies.

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Du and Yuan’s divorce is reportedly the most expensive one to date in China. Coming in second place is the divorce between Wu Yajun, who was known as the “world’s richest self-made woman,” and her ex-husband in 2012 for $2.3 billion.

Feature Image via SCMP

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