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Secrets of the Chinese entrepreneur revealed

By ANGUS McNEICE | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-03-16 19:59

Chinese entrepreneurs' 'secrets' were revealed at a London Book Fair event on Tuesday night, where publishers offered a sneak preview of a series of books about China's most revered business tycoons.

The Famous Chinese Entrepreneurs Series will launch in English and Mandarin in June, copublished by China Publishing Group's subsidiary China Translation Publishing House and LID Publishing, a multinational company with a London branch.

Jiang Jun, CPG's vice-president, said the company's collaboration with LID is an integral part of CPG's internationalization strategy.

"Our goal is to become an organization that is not only big but also modern and international, just like the companies in this series of books," he said. "We are working hard to achieve our goal of becoming a global publisher."

The open-ended series will commence with five titles: Ren Zhengfei and Huawei, Ma Yun and Alibaba, Wang Jianlin and Dalian Wanda, Ma Huateng and Tencent and Dong Mingzhu and Gree. The five entrepreneurs preside over businesses that collectively generated $168 billion in revenue last year.

The series dedicates a volume to Ren Zhengfei, the son of schoolteachers who started Huawei in 1987 with $3,500. Huawei recently unseated Eriksson as the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications infrastructure equipment.

Another title tells the story of Ma Yun, commonly known as Jack Ma. The former teacher started a small online listings service in the late 1990s from his apartment. Alibaba is now the world's largest online marketplace, with more active purchasers than eBay and Amazon.

Yi-Ke Guo, a professor of computer science at Imperial College London, said the series explores the new breed of Chinese entrepreneur, as well as the old guard.

"Ren Zhengfei is a tough leader, he's from my father's generation, he emphasizes discipline and collective effort," he said. "Jack Ma is from my generation, he speaks English and is much more liberal. There's been a critical shift in Chinese entrepreneurship over the last 10 years, from necessity-based entrepreneurs, who had no choice but to create jobs for themselves, to opportunity-based entrepreneurship. And the internet revolution has completely destroyed cultural and political boundaries. China has taken full advantage of this."

The series also features Asia's richest man, Wang Jianlin, an outspoken property tycoon who grew Dalian Wanda from a small residential developer into a sprawling real estate, sport and entertainment empire.

Ma Huateng and Tencent plots the journey of Pony Ma, who cofounded tech fi rm Tencent in 1998, doubling as the janitor to keep costs down. Today, with more than 700 million active monthly users, Tencent's WeChat is one of the world's most used social apps.

Dong Mingzhu is the only woman in the series so far. Dong rapidly ascended the company ladder at appliance manufacturer Gree Electric, going from sales executive to president in just 11 years. Dong is now Gree's chairwoman and has grown the business into the world's largest maker of residential airconditioners.

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