You might not have heard about it in the States, but the recent divorce between Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Chairman Du Weimin and ex-wife Yuan Liping was one of the most expensive divorces in the history of China and the entire Asian continent, Bloomberg reports. How expensive? After the transfer of 161.3 million shares of Shenzhen Kangtai company stock, Yuan is now a billionaire in her own right.
Those shares have surged in value by some 60 percent in recent months, due to Shenzhen Kangtai's position as one of the many companies in the world currently working on a coronavirus vaccine and stock market speculators bet on their being successful. And Yuan's shares, which thanks to the divorce she now owns outright, are collectively worth over $3 billion.
Money like that always has to come from somewhere, so it stands to reason that Du's net worth has seen an equivalent drop, going from $6.5 billion to $3.1 billion. However, the terms of the split dictated that the voting rights associated with those shares remain under Du's control.
Du has had a long career in the biotech business, and has been chairman of Shenzhen Kangtai since 2009, when Minhai, the pharmaceutical company he founded in 2004, was acquired by the larger firm.
The Du/Yuan split is one of many mega-wealthy divorce settlements to have come out of China's boom economy in recent years. In 2012, businesswoman Wu Yajun parted with stock worth about $2.3 billion that went over to her ex-husband developer Cai Kui. Then in 2016, online gaming billionaire Zhou Yahui surrendered $1.1 billion in stock to ex-wife Li Qiong. But of course none of these divorces can match the world's most expensive divorce settlement: the one made between Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, who received a four percent share in Amazon following the couple's recent split – a stake that is currently valued at almost $50 billion.