experience selling pork,” Chen said.
The pork chain has since expanded to 800-odd stores, reaching Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and other cities in Pearl River Delta, with annual revenue of more than 1 billion yuan.
“I dislike the idea of going with the flow,” Chen said. China’s youth, he thinks, should realize there are business opportunities outside the arena of internet startups. In a speech at his alma mater, Chen told students he is a “buffoon” because he does unfashionable things like investing in out-of-fashion industries. But he also told them being a butcher isn’t easy.
“If I start a business, I will not go into the Internet area, but if I invest, I might consider funding some internet startups because I can get returns in a short time. I need to wait at least eight to ten years to get results in a traditional industry, but I can gain profit in just three to five years once an Internet enterprise gets listed.”
More than earning billions, what keeps Chen going is the thrill of taking on challenges. He is awaremuch of his pork sales come from Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Since his businesses are confined to specific regions, he wants to expand his empire’s footprint so as to be on par with companies that have a China-wide presence. That could mean getting No 1 Food Co Ltd listed on the New Third Board. Chen said plans to that effect are underway.
Chen Sheng Chairman and president of Tiandi No 1 Beverage Inc Year of Birth: 1962 Birthplace: Zhanjiang city Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics fromPeking University, EMBA fromTsinghua University Career: 1984: Civil servant with the government of Guangzhou 1990s: Set up a real estate company in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province 1997: Set up Tiandi No 1 Beverage Inc 2004: Set up Guangdong No 1 Food Co Ltd Chen Sheng, chairman and president of Tiandi No 1 Beverage Inc