JACK LI: BUILDING A BRIDGE FOR THE FUTURE
Opened Sino-US Science, Culture and Sports Association in New Jersey in 2014
employees; team managers are Li’s former classmates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business. Li’s title is CEO.
“The management of our team is really professional and systematic,” Li said. “We can customize plans and services to fit various requirements for Chinese cultural, sports or science groups that want to do exchanges in the US,” Li said.
As an example, Li mentioned that both US basketball and tennis have advanced training and a sound management system. He is considering similar measures for Chinese junior and senior teams at the SUSCS venue.
To this end, he has hired tennis coach Nicolas James Bollettieri, who has worked with the likes of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters.
“This could be an overseas training base for Chinese sports teams — even professional teams — in the future,” Li said.
“As an overseas Chinese, I am more than happy to do something for China by using my personal network and financial resources,” Li said.
Since its opening, the center has run smoothly hosting a variety of activities, including the New Jersey Chinese leaders symposium’s Spring Festival painting exhibition held jointly with the China National Academy of Painting and the North American Chess Competition held jointly with China Chess Association.
Just last month, the 2015 Red Carpet Celebrity Art Show and Music Concert, featuring wellknown Chinese actors Tang Guoqiang and Zhang Tielin and singer Guo Feng, was successfully staged.
The events attracted not just local Chinese and Americans, but also officials like the Chinese consul general in New York and US government representatives.
“Communication between countries needs to be through government action, but I think interaction between people is actually more important,” Li said.
“As a non-governmental institution, I see us as a supplement to government and state action for people of the two countries to get to know and to understand each other better,” Li added.
Last year, Li registered the Princeton Art Academy at the venue, aiming at introducing traditional Chinese culture to Americans by offering courses on Peking Opera, Chinese cross talk, calligraphy, traditional Chinese brush painting and treasure evaluation. At the same time they will introduce American sports training, sports management, financial management and investment to Chinese groups via short-term training courses.
“Chinese culture is so broad and profound, with so many things worth introducing to people overseas, not just Chinese people,” said Li, who describes his academy as a kind of private Confucius Institute.
“Due to the commercialization and capitalization of the modern economy, advanced management knowledge and experience is what Chinese managers are looking for in America management, which represents the highest level of management in the world. The market is massive,” Li said.
“China’s economy is growing so fast and I think has achieved a spectacular economic development miracle. But at the same time, some issues arise. As an overseas Chinese and also a spectator, I see where China does need to be improved,” Li said. “China needs to study the West on such things as economic management, social management and many other things.”
The site is about an hour drive from New York City, a 3-minute drive from the Princeton train station and about a 10-minute drive to Princeton University.
“I hope in the future it will be an international education and communication center based on the public resources of Princeton University, not only in the greater New York area, but also covering all of the states,” Li said.
Li is also a collector of relics and it’s plain to see from the center’s hallways, where artwork from both his personal collection and local artisans is on display.
“I’ve always had a great interest in relics,” Li said.
His private museum, a two-story villa not far from his office, is filled with Chinese antiques that he has collected from around the world.
The villa, called ZG Legendary Museum, sits on a 64-acre estate that Li bought in 2008 at the time of financial crisis — it’s only one of the estates he owns.
He named the estate’s main house “1730 Manor” because it was completed in 1730 and ranks as one of the 10 oldest manors in the US. Over the past centuries, many luminaries, including President George Washington and President Theodore Roosevelt, have stayed there.
“China has a long history of 5000 years with a brilliant civilization. But there are thousands of Chinese cultural relics that have drifted out of China in modern times,” said Li.
“Building this museum is firstly to protect these cultural relics and secondly to help local Chinese gain a better understanding of their culture and history by visiting the museum,” said Li.
“Now that I have the ability, I want to do something good not only for myself, but also for my motherland,” Li added.
“When people leave their motherland, they become more and more concerned about it,” Li said with great feeling.
The aerial view of the site Jack Li bought to set up the Sino-US Science, Culture and Sports Association (SUSCS) in Princeton, New Jersey.
Jack Li at his ZG legendary Museum in Princeton, New Jersey. Businessman Jack Li spent more than $20 million setting up the Sino-US Science, Culture and Sports Association (SUSCS) in Princeton in 2014.