Archive for ‘entrepreneurship’


Across China: Winter tourism spurs villagers’ entrepreneurship

CHANGCHUN, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Lu Caishu sold his 110 cows to support his small tourism business in Erhe, a village in northeastern China’s Jilin Province, known for thick snow during the winter.

Lu’s decision was considered risky two years ago, especially among villagers who mostly had a stable income from raising cattle, but Lu was convinced that the tourism industry would offer a more lucrative and sustainable way to make money.

In 2018, the money Lu invested in his business began to pay off. During the winter, his business received over 5,000 customers, bringing in nearly 300,000 yuan (about 44,500 U.S. dollars)

“It only takes me three to four months to take care of my business, but I had to work for a whole year when I used to make a living on raising cattle,” Lu said.

Lu not only runs one of the most profitable guesthouses in the village but also set up a travel company to further enhance the reputation of the businesses, allowing household investors to receive dividends by the end of the year.

More ambitious villagers began to start their own guesthouses and cash in on booming tourism as profits have snowballed over the years. There are now 50 guesthouses and restaurants in the village owned by 126 households.

Erhe attracts more than 8,000 tourists on average each winter. The number is expected to reach 100,000 this year, according to the local tourism sector.

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and the winter tourism helps me realize the dream,” said Sun Linlin, who invested over 2 million yuan in her guesthouse.

Sun’s guesthouse, now the biggest in Erhe, receives nearly 400 customers each day during the peak season.

“There is huge potential in winter tourism as more townspeople seek the rural lifestyle to reduce the pressure they face in big cities,” she said.

Erhe’s total tourism revenue reached 10 million yuan last winter. More than 80 percent of the villagers now work in the industry, and over 60 percent run their own businesses. Restaurants, guesthouses, souvenir shops, theatres and snow museums have sprung up in the village.

The booming tourism also attracts more villagers who previously moved to bigger cities for better opportunities to come home and get a slice of the cake.

“I had never imagined snow would become Erhe’s most valuable asset,” said Liu Hongcai, owner of a brewery that sells grain alcohol to local restaurants and tourists.

“I have my own business and can stay with my family. It is the best time of my life,” he said.

Source: Xinhua


China to create $6.5 billion venture capital fund to support start-ups | Reuters

(Reuters) – China will set up a government venture capital fund worth 40 billion yuan (4 billion pounds) to support start-ups in emerging industries, in its latest move to support the private sector and foster innovation.

“The establishment of the state venture capital investment guidance fund, with the focus to support fledging start-ups in emerging industries, is a significant step for the combination of technology and the market, innovations and manufacturing,” China’s State Council, the cabinet, said in a statement.

“It will also help breed and foster sunrise industries for the future and promote (China’s) economy to evolve towards the medium and high ends,” it said in the statement published in the government’s website,, referring to sectors which the government is promoting such as technology and green energy.

The government issued the statement after a meeting on Wednesday. It did not give a timetable, but past experience has shown that such a fund could be established within a few weeks after an announcement.

China’s venture capital market remains small, the legacy of the country’s decades of the planned economy in which private sector’s development is largely subject to a great variety of restrictions.

via China to create $6.5 billion venture capital fund to support start-ups | Reuters.


Can Jack Ma’s Alibaba Fortune Jump-Start Chinese Philanthropy? – Businessweek

Harvard just announced its largest-ever donation: a $350 million unrestricted gift to its School of Public Health. The donor is Hong Kong-based Morningside Foundation, led by two brothers who earned their fortunes in real estate, private equity, and venture capital. One brother, Gerald Chan, earned a graduate degree from Harvard. The school will be renamed in honor of their late father as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Jack Ma on July 15

Greater China is home to 358 billionaires (including 64 Hong Kong billionaires), according to the 2014 Hurun Global Rich List. Yet with a few exceptions—including the Harvard gift and Chinese tech titans’ recent fondness for the ice bucket challenge—a culture of domestic philanthropy has been relatively slow to take root. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet hosted a lavish 2010 dinner in Beijing intended to encourage the Chinese elite to embrace philanthropy, but several tycoons snubbed the Americans’ invitations and declined to open their wallets.

Now, at last, China has a powerful homegrown evangelist for philanthropy: Jack Ma. As co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, which filed paperwork last week to raise as much as  $21.2 billion in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, he is one of China’s most respected and closely watched tycoons—and he’s publicly embracing a culture of giving.

Ma joined Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai earlier this year in establishing a personal philanthropic trust to be “funded by share options granted by Alibaba … for approximately two percent (2%) of Alibaba’s equity,” according to a statement. The trust will focus on the “environment, medicine, education, and culture.” In Ma’s words, “Alibaba was founded 15 years ago with a mission ‘to make it easy to do business anywhere’ and a set of principles and values that emphasize our responsibility to society. Giving back to society is deeply embedded in Alibaba’s culture.”

The total value of the fund will depend on the performance of Alibaba’s upcoming IPO. If the company is valued at $120 billion, or more, the charitable trust will be worth at least $2.4 billion.

via Can Jack Ma’s Alibaba Fortune Jump-Start Chinese Philanthropy? – Businessweek.


Serving the People: Chinese Law Student Opens Noodle Shop, Kicks Off Debate – China Real Time Report – WSJ

A Peking University law student who was worried about finding a job and set up a noodle shop last month has become a social media sensation.

Zhang Tianyi has won online praise for his entrepreneurial spirit – though the 24-year-old has attracted heaps of criticism that he is wasting his skills. But his effort has struck a chord with many college graduates who are also finding it hard to land a job.

This week he got an official pat on the back from a senior government official who hailed Mr. Zhang, likening him to hugely successful entrepreneurs like Jack Ma, who founded Alibaba and turned it into an e-commerce powerhouse.

“I’d like to try those noodles,” said Xin Changxing, vice minister of human resources and social security, speaking at a news briefing. “He’s innovating and looking for a market niche.”

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The law student who started all the online chatter, a native of the southern province of Hunan, is about to graduate from law school. But employment prospects aren’t looking so great so he teamed up with three fellow students and set up shop in a 37-square-meter basement of an office building in Beijing’s financial district.

Mr. Zhang told China Real Time that apart from his passion for hometown delicacies, he started his own business because he couldn’t line up a job in the legal profession.

“It’s difficult to find good jobs and the jobs we can find are not so good,” said Mr. Zhang who had a double major in English and law as an undergraduate.

Mr. Zhang said his shop serves up 4,000-5,000 bowls of noodles per day.

“We work from dawn to dusk, but we’ve learned a lot,” the law student said.

Most college graduates in China expect to work in white collar jobs, not in the kitchen serving beef noodles to white collar workers.

China’s market for factory jobs has remained strong even as the economy starts to show slower growth. But college graduates are having more trouble finding work as universities continue to crank out armies of graduates. The government expects a record 7.27 million college graduates in 2014, the State Council, or the cabinet, said last week. It has rolled out a series of measures, including loans and tax breaks, to encourage graduates to start their own business. (in Chinese)

via Serving the People: Chinese Law Student Opens Noodle Shop, Kicks Off Debate – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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