Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Zhou Zhengyi (Chinese: 周正毅) (born 1961) is a prominent businessman based in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The flamboyant property developer is described as the 11th richest man in China, with personal assets totalling US$320 million.
Born in a family of seven children in Yangpu District of Shanghai, Zhou started working at 17 without completing high school. He opened up his own wonton store in Yangpu in 1978. In 1989, he opened up Meitong Restaurant (美通饭店) in Shanghai, and a karaoke store. He opened up the grand Ah Mao Boiled Food (阿毛燉品) in 1994, and trading building materials in Shanghai. Zhou's involvement in China's newly re-established stock markets and his trading in copper futures brought about his wealth, that enabled him to move into and capitalise upon the volatile Shanghainese real estate boom.
Zhou owns an unlisted holding company in Hong Kong, called New Nongkai Global Investments, and 75% of a Hong Kong-listed investment company called Shanghai Land Holdings.
He was detained in June 2003 and placed under investigation for illegally acquiring state land and bank loans. On June 1, 2004, he was sentenced to three years in prison for stock market fraud. This relatively light sentence has given rise to speculation that he is cooperating with authorities in other investigations.
Speculation on Zhou's arrest is centred upon high-level corruption in Shanghai, which may involve protégés of China's former president, Jiang Zemin. China's new leadership team of President Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao may have decided to make an example of Mr Zhou in order to embarrass Jiang Zemin's associates. 
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