Master’s grad finds passion in poultry farm
Having studied for six years in Russia, Gong Guanghui did not follow his family’s wishes and find a job in finance. Instead, he returned to his home village to follow in his father’s footsteps, and has run a chicken farm for the past eight years.
Born in 1981 in Hunan province’s Fengping town, Gong went to Russia for undergraduate study in 2003, after which he obtained a master’s degree in economics and management from St. Petersburg State University of Economics in 2009.
Upon returning to China, he intended to work for a State-owned enterprise in Guangdong province. However, shortly after arriving in Guangdong, he visited a large-scale chicken farm with modern equipment belonging to Guangdong Wens Foodstuffs Group, and it occurred to him that chicken breeding was a potentially profitable business.
After careful consideration, he decided to return to his hometown to set up his own chicken farm.
“It was a difficult decision to make. Some of my relatives said my family had spent so much money supporting my studies that I should follow their wishes,” Gong recalled.
As an ancient Chinese saying goes, everything is hard to start with, and Gong soon found this to be true. A lack of capital and an incomplete application process meant his expansion plans for his family’s chicken farm could not be implemented.
The local government then said Gong’s farm would need to be demolished due to the construction of a highway. However, this was a blessing in disguise, and Gong recognized the opportunity to solve his problems of inadequate capital and a complex application process.
Gong was granted a simplified application process and obtained compensation from the government as well as loans from local credit unions, which paid for world-class chicken farming equipment from Germany.
Gong also implemented an advanced enterprise management system, covering health and epidemic prevention, immunization, production of breeding hens and communication with clients via the internet.
The scale of his chicken farm expanded rapidly after the implementation of his comprehensive development strategy in 2010.
Gong said his operational ideas came from his visits to foreign farms. For example, during his time studying overseas, he visited a German farm with a refined management system.
He has stuck to a concept of large-scale development, automation and corporatization in relation to overseas acquisition.
Gong said operating income last year totaled more than 60 million yuan ($8.79 million), with profit of nearly 14 million yuan, compared with the profit of about 100,000 to 200,000 yuan in his father’s time.
He said his company’s products are much better than that of its peers due to the implementation of competitive differentiation.
“Our products are better than our peers’ in relation to health and vaccination. Even in the face of serious issues such as bird flu, we have a better ability to reduce risk,” he said.
Gong is seeking to extend the production chain to increase profits. For example, his company can earn up to 700,000 yuan a year by selling chicken droppings to organic fertilizer plants or fruit and vegetable growers instead of treating it as waste.
Gong added that his company is taking targeted measures in poverty alleviation, such as cooperating with local farmers by utilizing a “company-base-farmer” model of agricultural industrialization, which has helped bring profits to 3,000 households.
Regarding a long-term plan, Gong said there is potential for significant growth in the scale of his chicken farm if government policies support the financing of such development.
Jiang Chenglong contributed to this story.