Jinjiang City in Fujian Province used to be known only as “China’s shoes and clothing capital”. Young entrepreneurs in the city are on the hunt for innovations to meet the challenges the affluent coastal city is facing.
Li Zixing came back to Jinjiang in the southeast of Fujian province in 2013 after spending two year working in Beijing for a Hong Kong-listed logistics company.
He now serves as the general manager of the Fujian Dry-port Group.
The group began to operate the dry-port in Jinjiang in 2009, offering customs clearance services to more than 2,000 companies.
Li Zixing believes that the changing business landscape in what was once “China’s manufacturing capital” would help support the development of the Dry-port Group.
“Before I decided to start a career in Jinjiang, I did a lot of research and I found that the market prospects were pretty good. Jinjiang was undergoing rapid industrial modernization and transformation, and its export-oriented economy was growing fast, which I thought could be a huge opportunity for the land port. It was also a chance for me to make good use of my expertise in logistics. In order to adapt to changes in the global retail market, in 2014 we set up a public service platform for cross-border e-commerce. In the years since then, we’ve seen our businesses, like international container services and cross-border e-commerce services, growing nicely.”
Jinjiang’s dry port now accounts for more than 90 percent of the province’s total dry port trade. It’s the second largest port of its kind in the country, topped only by the Yiwu International dry port in Zhejiang.
Official statistics show that the total volume of imports and exports at the port reached over 5.7 billion US dollars, increasing by nearly 40 percent in 2017.
Another major enterprise headquartered in Jinjiang is LILANZ, a leading Chinese menswear brand.
Wang Junqing is the deputy marketing director of LILANZ.
He came back to Jinjiang after studying in Britain in 2009. He then went through the tough process of transforming his family’s business into a modern and competitive innovative enterprise.
Wang has been a part of the family business for much of his life, starting out when he was a teenager working as a shop assistant at his father’s clothing store.
The now 34-year-old has witnessed the ups and downs of the businesses.
“After years of development, we tried expanding our business into other areas, but ultimately we failed. It’s proved to be true that if you are dedicated to one thing, you are more likely to be successful. We firmly believe that it’s only if we put all our energy and efforts into one area that our business can grow. After our company was listed in Hong Kong in 2009, after several rounds of financing, we’ve been increasing our investment into projects in our clothing businesses. We always take garment production and brand management as our priorities.”
After years of rapid sales growth, LILANZ stagnated in 2012, when overseas orders slumped and authorities in China rolled out new quality standards for textile products.
To survive the economic downturn and the stricter industry standards, the garment manufacturer started to upgrade its production lines and brought in teams of designers from overseas.
Wang Junqing said that these changes allowed them to adjust to the rapidly changing market condition.
Compared with his father’s generation, Wang is more open-minded and willing to try novel ideas when it comes to the company’s brand and marketing strategy, although this has not been without conflicts.
But the results of Wang Junqing’s efforts can be seen in the company’s financial reports for the years that followed. Sales growth increased by 10 percent in the second half of 2017, and the total value of orders for the spring and summer season was 20 percent up on last year’s result.
Jinjiang is home to 48-thousand enterprises. More than 800 of them have an output value of over a hundred million yuan.
It’s expected that the young entrepreneurs who are more open-minded than their parent’s generation will lead the way for companies trying to find new ways to achieve growth into the future.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily