Lyu Wenguang – Pioneer in China's stainless steel sector
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
Lyu Wenguang, an entrepreneur from Yongkang, a county-level city in Jinhua, Zhejiang province [Photo/Zheshang Magazine]
"Our generation is lucky, but it's also extremely hard for us. We live in a good era, but have to put in a lot of effort to catch up with the society's rapid development," said Lyu Wenguang, chairman of China Xianxing Group, world's leading manufacturer of stainless steel water bottles.
Forty years ago when the reform and opening-up policy was initiated by the central government, Lyu, 17, began wandering around the streets to sell small commodities.
In October of 1985, he stepped on the road to bigger business building with 2,000 yuan ($290.15) and an electric welding machine. After renting an ancestral hall as a production base and purchasing some equipment, his factory for refrigerating machine parts was founded in the city of Yongkang, Zhejiang province. Thanks to the favorable business environment, Lyu's business thrived with increasing profits.
In 1994, Lyu was impressed by a magic mug in Shanghai, which contained hot water but the cup itself was not hot at all.
Back in Yongkang, Lyu started to study the mug and visited some factories in Shanghai, trying to find out the advanced technology behind it. At that time, the stainless steel sector in China was at a very initial stage, not to mention the stainless steel vacuum technology. Lyu was told that there were only two ways to get access to the technology - to import it from Japan or to ask for help from the aerospace research institute in Beijing.
After rounds of negotiations with the research institute, Lyu finally received help from experts and technicians and spent over 400,000 yuan in developing China's first customized vacuumizer. Within just three months, his factory successfully manufactured vacuum cups.
Today, the industry of vacuum containers has become one of the eight pillar industries in Yongkang with an employment of nearly 100,000 people. Eighty percent of the global vacuum cups are made in the city.
Since 1996, Lyu has been eyeing the overseas market. By developing more stainless steel products and cooperating with trade companies, his businesses have expanded globally.
After three decades of development, Xianxing Group has grown into a competitive corporate with a variety of businesses including education, logistics, new media and household supplies.