A billionaire pig farmer has the world’s fastest-growing fortune — and it has more than quadrupled this year thanks to a global pork shortage

Animal husbandry workers inject a pig to collect blood sample at a pig farm in Zhangye, Gansu province, China October 28, 2019. An outbreak of African swine flu on Chinese pig farms cut the country's pork production by nearly a third. Muyuan Foodstuff Co. farm not pictured.

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Animal husbandry workers inject a pig to collect blood sample at a pig farm in Zhangye, Gansu province, China October 28, 2019. An outbreak of African swine flu on Chinese pig farms cut the country’s pork production by nearly a third. Muyuan Foodstuff Co. farm not pictured.
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REUTERS/Stringer

Tech founders and fashion magnates may sit atop the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but it’s a Chinese pig farmer who has its fastest-growing fortune.

The net worth of Qin Yinglin, the chairman of Chinese pig breeder Muyuan Foodstuff Co., has skyrocketed over $6.6 billion in 2019 so far to a total of $8.56 billion, Qin’s profile on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows. That is an increase of over 341%, Bloomberg’s Blake Schmidt and Emma Vickers reported Friday.

A global shortage of pork allowed Muyuan to raise both its prices and its profits in the second half of 2019. Muyuan made 260% more in the third quarter of 2019 than during the same timeframe last year, Bloomberg reported. The company’s success directly benefits the 54-year-old billionaire, who derives most of his net worth from the 60% stake in Muyuan he owns with his wife, according to Bloomberg. Qin founded Henan province-based pork producer with 22 pigs in 1992, according to the Muyuan’s website.

An outbreak of African swine flu on Chinese pig farms cut the country’s pork production by nearly a third and sent prices up approximately 50% above what they were this time last year, Business Insider’s Alexandra Ma previously reported. China is both the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, and the shortage forced the Chinese government to pull meat out of its stockpiles to meet the demand, the Associated Press reported in September. The government even resorted to implementing artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and blockchain technologies on some farms to monitor the pig’s health to no avail, Ma reported.

A representative of Qin at Muyuan Foodstuff did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on its chairman’s net worth or the company’s stock price.

Pork billionaires are outliers among the Chinese ultra-wealthy

Qin isn’t the only pork billionaire to see his net worth skyrocket in 2019. The net worth of the world’s largest pork producer, New HopeGroup chairman Liu Yonghao, has nearly doubled to $11 billion in the past 12 months, according to Bloomberg.

Few other billionaires in China have shared Qin and Liu’s success. The American and French fortunes on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index outpaced Chinese ones in the first half of 2019, Business Insider previously reported, growing at rates of 35% and 17% respectively. The collective net worths of Chinese billionaires, meanwhile, grew 15%.

Perhaps no one’s fortunes have suffered more than Hong Kong’s billionaires’, however. Hong Kong’s wealthiest residents often enjoy the greatest profits when the markets are bullish, but experience the steepest losses during market routs, Capgemini‘s Deputy Head of the Global Financial Services Market Intelligence Strategic Analysis Group Chirag Thakral told Business Insider.

Months of mass protests and civil unrest wiped $15 billion off the net worths of Hong Kong’s 10 richest people between July and August. The two members of the Kwok family, Hong Kong’s richest family and the owners of the city’s largest real-estate developer, saw their net worths drop over a billion dollars each. Meanwhile, “Superman” Li Ka-shing’s fortune fell $3 billion. On August 15, Li took out advertisements in local Hong Kong newspapers asking residents to “stop anger and violence in the name of love,” The South China Morning Post reported.