JACK LI: BUILD­ING A BRIDGE FOR THE FU­TURE

Opened Sino-US Science, Cul­ture and Sports As­so­ci­a­tion in New Jer­sey in 2014

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS -

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.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY.

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.

HONG XIAO / CHINA DAILY

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.

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