After graduating from secondary school, Zong worked at the Zhoushan salt farm. In 1979, the 34 year old unemployed son of school teacher from Zhejiang, China, was forced to move back home with his parents after being unable to find work for over a year. He eventually returned to Hangzhou, and the only job he could get at home was as a salt farm day laborer. Eventually he left the salt mines and took a menial job at a local mini-grocery store. By 1987, the 42-year-old had taken over the grocery store entirely. After starting out as a milk supplier from that single mini-grocery store in 1987, Wahaha soon expanded into a distribution company for soft drinks and ice. Eventually Wahaha would distribute over 150 different beverage products. Today, Zong Qinghou is the founder, Chairman and CEO of the Hangzhou Wahaha Group, the largest beverage producer in China.