A MAN OF MANY TALENTS
Self-made business leader from Jilin defies expectations, boundaries of industry, reports.
Alegendary businessman in Northeast China’s Jilin province, Wang Lihui is creating success stories in different industries ranging from real estate to textile and modern agriculture. However, few know that his achievements over the past 20 plus years started with just a simple urge “to do something” with himself.
After his graduation in 1987 from Shanghai-based Tongji University, Wang was assigned to work in a Stateowned cement plant in Dalian, Liaoning province.
Easy and with a high salary, it was an enviable job at that time.
But after being exposed to the more open world in Shanghai for four years, Wang soon felt bored with his routines set out to try something new.
He quit the job in 1989 and started up a small home decoration company in his hometown of Liaoyuan in Jilin province.
The main business of his company, which started with just 10 workers, was to whitewash room walls and corridors.
The first professional whitewashing company in Liaoyuan, it soon established a reputation in the city for quality work.The company later even made inroads in large cities in Northeast China like Changchun and Shenyang.
As the business grew, so did Wang’s workload, but he retained his childhood habit of reading and contemplation before going to bed, which he said proved helpful in making decisions later in his career. In 2000, after working more than 10 years in the home decoration industry, Wang began to realize the huge potential of the real estate industry in China and established a property development company with his partner Tian Zhongjun.
Their company soon set an example for its competitors in Liaoyuan by building the city’s first gated community and creating property company to manage it.
Seizing the momentum, the company rose rapidly and has grown into a leading property developer in the city.
With a registered capital of 42 million yuan ($6.9 million), it has paid more than 60 million yuan in taxes and offers hundreds of job opportunities. After initial success in real estate, Wang and his partner decided to further expand their empire in 2005.
But this time they chose a project completely unrelated to what they had done before— an industrial park for manufacturing sock. Once again it proved a wise investment. Covering
1.3 million square meters, the park now houses 565 enterprises that form a complete industrial chain from raw material processing, weaving and knitting to logistics and distribution.
Employing a total of about 35,000 people, they are expected to produce 5 billion yuan worth of socks in 2013 now that the park has secured contracts to export to dozens of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, according to its website.
More than a simple industrial park, it offers help to young people who want to start their own businesses. By September, some 1,100 college graduates had established more than 130 companies in the park. Due to its achievements, it was recognized as the most innovative enterprise by the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and was designated by the Jilin provincial government as a key project in its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10).
In late 2011, Wang and his partner Tian decided to venture further into the unknown, and this time they choose agriculture to take advantage of opportunities brought by the urbanization drive in Jilin province.
They started in Jinzhou township, one of 22 towns listed in Jilin provincial government’s pilot urbanization program, by building the Jinzhou Modern Agricultural Park in cooperation with the Dongliao county government in Liaoyuan city.
Their company Jinzhou Modern Agricultural Development Co Ltd has been authorized by the county government to promote Jinzhou town’s urbanization process and also designated as the developer of the 100-sq-km Zilu Lake watershed in the county.
Following the principle of protecting farmers’ interests, ecological resources and folk culture, the company plans to invest 2.9 billion yuan over five years to modernize agriculture and improve the public’s quality of life.
In five years, the township’s industries will generate annual revenue of 550 million yuan, and the urban population will reach 23,000, accounting for 88 percent of the total, according to projections by the local government.
A successful entrepreneur, Wang has always advocated a philosophy of giving back to society.
Over the past 20 plus years, he has donated some 5 million yuan to charity programs, according to his colleagues.
One example is that he donated 400,000 yuan and mobilized his employees to offer material relief immediately after the earthquake struck Wenchuan county, Sichuan province in 2008.
In 2010, heavy rains caused floods in his home city of Liaoyuan.
Hearing the news, he donated 200,000 yuan to resettle the victims.
While promoting urbanization in Jinzhou, Wang has been offering help to orphans, poor children and seniors in the township.
Since 2011, he has donated some 800,000 yuan to local schools and nursing homes.
Wang Lihui pictured next to a greenhouse from one of his agricultural projects (Bottom Right) Wang signs a contract to cooperate in the field of agriculture with John Mosvold, general manager of Holstein Invest in Norway.