Chen Lijun: China's reform and opening-up sets stage for Huari
Editor's note: East China's Zhejiang province is renowned for its large international population. Aloft on the wings of China's reform and opening-up policy, a group of Zhejiang people have gone abroad to make a living since the 1970s. As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the policy, the Zhejiang website (www.ezhejiang.gov.cn) is launching a series of stories about overseas Chinese who are originally from Zhejiang, as well as those who are active in the province's development. Stories courtesy of Zhejiang Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese and Zheshang Magazine
Chen Lijun, founder and chairwoman of Zhejiang Huari Industry Investment Co Ltd [Photo/Zheshang Magazine]
The company cannot have made so many achievements without China's reform and opening-up policy, said Chen Lijun, founder of Zhejiang Huari Industry Investment Co Ltd and also a leader in Zhejiang's overseas Chinese community.
Chen was born in an overseas Chinese family and returned to China in her twenties to support the construction of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.
In 1984, Huari, initially a refrigerator factory, was founded in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province by Chen and her partners as a tide of starting businesses swept China.
"It was not easy for us to make a refrigerator without technology and equipment at that time," Chen recalled. She said at the very beginning, to bring the business on track, they bought some refrigerators from Japan and delved into the components and parts of these Japanese products. After six months, they successfully manufactured a prototype.
Huari became a household name in Hangzhou when it launched the first generation of its self-developed refrigerators at the end of 1984 and the high quality made Huari products a symbol of manufacturing in the city.
However, having the technology and equipment didn't mean getting the allowance for mass production. In 1986, the central government raised strict requirements for refrigerator manufacturers and stated that only companies with national permits could continue with their business, which meant Huari had to compete with large and advanced State-owned companies for the few places.