“He is a real Buffet menu in China” people say about Liu Yi Qian.
From time to time people say that the chances to succeed in China are unfair, The government controls all the resources and could easily smash individuals, but the existence of 47 years old Liu Yi Qian seems to be a tough argument to refute. He was born into a normal family and has already become a successful Chinese entrepreneur.
“I will not let any chance of making a great profit slip away” he has said. At his school, teachers always told their students to study hard and every day (study for a better social status) and university students are greatly respected by society, but young Qianyu said to his peers: “You guys keep on studying, I am going to quit school and start making money.”
After quitting middle school he went into the shoe trade for ten years working at a small family factory where he learned that the easiest way to make money is by letting other people do the job. So he taught the workers to make different parts of shoes that he then assembled together. “I could make more than 100 RMB every day.”
In the mid 1980s, taxis were really rare and the people in the cities were always waving their hands to try to catch one even with the possible charge of 50 to 60 for a three to four kilometer drive. So he spent 16,000RMB to get a driver’s license and bought two cars to run a taxi business with his brother for two years. Then after that he opened a shop in Yuyuan market.
The Chinese stock market first opened in the early 90′s when the people did not understand stock and trade very well, so some of stocks’ price went sky high. Liu took this chance and bought 100 shares of the Yuyuan market at 100 RMB per share, and sold it one year later when the price was 10000 RMB per share.
After he found out that money is the easiest way to make more money, he started reselling stock licenses (it’s like a lottery, if you get the right number you would have the right to buy stock) in 1992. From calculations he discovered that ten percent of the licenses will get the right number and could be sold for the price of 6000 RMB. So he bought a lot of licenses at the price of 30 and sold those with the right numbers for 6000 RMB and made a fortune.
After saving up enough capital, he started his own company Xin Liyi. This was a holding company with four employees and it’s only function was to buy corporate shares not available to individuals. With this company he controlled the shares of several holding companies and insurance companies which helped him to increase capital and buy more companies. Now he is the #256 richest man in China according to the Hurun rich list of 2008.
There is a story about how when once a government official wanted to have an interview with Liu at the Shangri-La hotel in Shanghai and where he had turned up wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, the mayor had felt really uncomfortable about it. “They gave me a suit and shoes and made me wear them” said Liu.
Liu also seems to be very much a family man. Every day he will go back to his home to see his wife and son. “I always felt uncomfortable when I was not at home” Liu said. “My wife looks out for the family a lot and in my office there are pictures of my wife and mother hanging everywhere” he added in addition.
“Yes, I made a lot of money from the stock market, but the largest profit I ever made is from art. I do not know anything about art. “I bought this because I wanted to have it; I want to take it away from other people and I like this kind of feeling” Liu said after buying a 4,365,000 RMB ancient Chinese painting.
Some people say that Liu is the living example of the Chinese dream, as even within such an unfair society, Liu has achieved his dream and become a tycoon.
But what liu says about this? I interviewed him last day and when I asked him does he think the Chinese young man could achieved their dream now, he told me ‘No, time is different now, at my time everybody is the same, nobody had the money and we all had the same basis, but it is different now. The society was already finished its classification, people who born with nothing do not have that kind of chances anymore.