The second richest man in China was attacked by a man with a knife after he refused to give him a job.

Zong Qinghou, chairman of food and beverage giant Hangzhou Wahaha Group, was attacked near his home on the eastern province of Zhejiang and suffered serious injuries to his left hand, according to state media.

Zong, who is estimated to be worth 115bn yuan (£11bn, $16bn) was attacked by a 49-year-old unemployed man, surnamed Yang. He was arrested within hours of the attack.

Yang approached the billionaire tycoon and asked him for as job after he watched a television programme in which Zong helped impoverished migrant workers.

After Zong turned down his request, Yang attacked him with a knife. It was originally reported that the soft drink magnate had to undergo "reattachment operations" on his fingers.

However, Zong played down these reports and said he had only suffered injuries to tendons in two fingers of his left hand and is currently recovering well, according to news agency Xinhua.

Zong, who did not travel with bodyguards, also told reporters the attack was merely an accident.

Zong had been China's richest man, but fell to the second place this year with total wealth of £11bn. He founded the Wahaha Group factory affiliated with a primary school in 1987 to become on eof the biggest enterprises in China, employing around 30,000 people.