Huang Peilun: Courage to Re­form

Hainan Co­conut Palm Group Co., Ltd. has pro­vided jobs for 6,000 em­ploy­ees and ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment of the co­conut in­dus­try across Hainan Prov­ince.

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Speech by Huang Peilun, chair­man of the Trade Union of Hainan Co­conut Palm Group Co., Ltd. Edited by Tan Xingyu

Iam a veteran em­ployee of Hainan Co­conut Palm Group Co., Ltd. (HCPG), China’s largest producer of canned fruit bev­er­ages. More than 54 years have passed since 1964 when I first started work­ing part-time at Haikou Can­nery, the pre­de­ces­sor of the HCPG.

Es­tab­lished in 1956, Haikou Can­nery was a large en­ter­prise in Hainan. In the planned-econ­omy era, un­der the in­struc­tion of the govern­ment, the fac­tory pro­duced a num­ber of prod­ucts in­clud­ing canned pineap­ple and canned fish, which proved quite pop­u­lar among con­sumers.

How­ever, our pro­duc­tion ef­fi­ciency was low at the time. In the 1960s and 1970s, we were striv­ing to raise an­nual out­put to 10,000 tons. To reach this goal, the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment of Haikou mo­bi­lized 30,000 work­ers and stu­dents across the city to sup­port the fac­tory.

And that goal is tiny com­pared to the daily out­put of just one of the HCPG’S 23 fac­to­ries to­day. This com­par­i­son ev­i­dences how dra­matic the changes have been in the com­pany as well as the coun­try.

In the 1980s, dur­ing China’s tran­si­tion from a planned econ­omy to a mar­ket econ­omy, many state-owned com­pa­nies lagged be­hind, in­clud­ing Haikou Can­nery.

From 1981 to 1985, the fac­tory suf­fered losses for five con­sec­u­tive years and re­placed four man­agers. At the low­est point, 20,000 yuan saved it from bank­ruptcy. Many of its most tal­ented em­ploy­ees left the fac­tory.

Backed into a cor­ner, govern­ment of­fi­cials were as ner­vous as the re­main­ing staff as they hunted for some­one to save the fac­tory. Even­tu­ally, they found Wang Guangx­ing.

By the time, Wang had worked in the can­nery for nearly 30 years since be­ing hired in 1958. He knew al­most ev­ery cor­ner of the fac­tory af­ter spend­ing time work­ing at ev­ery po­si­tion. His con­sis­tent out­stand­ing per­for­mance won him chances to lead teams of some sta­te­owned com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Haikou Bev­er­age Fac­tory. Wher­ever he went, pro­duc­tion num­bers im­proved.

The mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment de­ter­mined that he was the best choice to “put out the fire.” In 1986,

Wang Guangx­ing re­turned to the can­nery to take over, hop­ing to pull it out of cri­sis.

Wang be­gan mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence the mo­ment he took of­fice. Af­ter Hainan Prov­ince was es­tab­lished in 1988, tal­ent poured into the is­land from all parts of China. Wang seized the op­por­tu­nity and wasted no time re­cruit­ing tal­ented per­son­nel and de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts.

He fo­cused on sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal re­search. Af­ter the suc­cess­ful de­vel­op­ment of nat­u­ral co­conut juice pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy, he pro­posed re­ward­ing the re­search team a bonus of 300,000 yuan— an as­tro­nom­i­cal fig­ure at the time, which caused strong pub­lic pres­sure and in­spired a de­bate in Hainandaily on such a big-ticket bonus for those who con­trib­uted to sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal re­search. The de­bate cul­mi­nated with full sup­port from the provin­cial govern­ment, mak­ing the ar­range­ment the first of its kind in the coun­try.

Wang Guangx­ing per­sisted with re­forms, with­out con­sid­er­a­tion of his per­sonal in­ter­ests. He was first in China to be­gin re­plac­ing the “three iron rules:” “iron rice bowl” (se­cure job), “iron chair” (guar­an­teed post) and “iron salary” (guar­an­teed salary) with “more pay for more work.”

The ini­tia­tive vi­o­lated the in­ter­ests of some, and oth­ers did not un­der­stand it.

Wang Guangx­ing ran for elec­tion as a deputy to the Peo­ple’s Congress of Haikou City, but lost: He didn’t get enough votes from the can­nery. Ev­ery step on his lad­der of cor­po­rate re­form was lit­tered with ob­sta­cles.

In 1995, Haikou Can­nery be­came one of the first 100 pi­lot com­pa­nies in China to prac­tice a mod­ern en­ter­prise sys­tem, and it was re­named Haikou Co­conut Palm Group Co., Ltd.

The com­pany has since fa­cil­i­tated greater progress, of­fer­ing jobs for 6,000 em­ploy­ees and en­hanc­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the en­tire co­conut in­dus­try in Hainan.

In gen­eral, it takes seven years for a co­conut tree to pro­duce fruits, and each tree can earn sev­eral hun­dred yuan a year. If a farmer grows hun­dreds or thou­sands of co­conut trees, he can earn a sub­stan­tial in­come for the fam­ily.

To­day, 500,000 farm­ers in Hainan have es­caped poverty and be­come pros­per­ous by plant­ing co­conut palms, and the co­conut in­dus­try has solid prospects for de­vel­op­ment.

I have been work­ing for the HCPG all my life and have wit­nessed all the ups and downs of the com­pany. There is so much to tell.

I was most im­pressed by two things: First, a busi­ness can­not thrive with­out sup­port from the coun­try’s poli­cies of eco­nomic re­form and open­ing up. Sec­ond, a com­pany can­not move for­ward with­out a com­pe­tent leader.

The road of re­form is full of twists and turns. Noth­ing could have been achieved with­out solid faith and courage to over­come chal­lenges.

Huang Peilun, chair­man of the Trade Union of Hainan Co­conut Palm Group Co., Ltd., has been work­ing there all his life, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the rises and falls of the com­pany.

2012: The of­fice build­ing of Hainan Co­conut Palm Group Co., Ltd., which re­mark­ably ac­cel­er­ated the co­conut in­dus­try across Hainan. VCG

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