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Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs Meet in Beijing

Yu Yuexiu's motto is: "Never stop studying, never stop pursuing."

With this ambitious belief, Yu, 50, has developed over the last 10 years from a radio broadcaster in a small village to the general manager of Wuxi Xinyi Industrial Co., Ltd., with an asset of 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million).

Born in a farmer's family in Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu Province, Yu suffered much from the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) like many others of her age. She had to stop study and work in the fields.

Unwilling to accept her fate, Yu continued to study by herself. After the "cultural revolution," she was admitted to a college to learn business administration.

However, upon graduation, she worked as an anchor woman in a radio station in Nanzhan Village in the outskirts of Wuxi.

In early 1990, the local government planned to develop the tertiary industry. Yu was asked to take over a small collective hardware company, which was near bankruptcy.

"The officials settled on me partly because they thought I was open-minded and had good public relations," Yu said. "Yet it was really a big challenge for me, since I had no experience in business. What's more, at that time, there were very few women managers in the city.

"However, my ambition finally overtook my worries.

"I asked myself, 'why not have a go?'"

When Yu took office, she realized she had to start from scratch, with the lack of both funds and talent.

After making careful market investigations, she found that the hardware the factory was making simply didn't sell, while ceramics and furniture did.

"So I took a risk to arrange a loan from the bank and traveled around the nation to obtain the latest market information," she said.

Soon, Yu's company became the only commercial agent in Wuxi for the Foshan Ceramics Group of south China's Guangdong Province and took the lead in opening furniture exhibitions.

A year later, the company began to see the benefits.

Yet Yu didn't stop there. She and her colleagues worked to develop the company into a more comprehensive trade group.

After 10 years, Wuxi Xinyi is now a multi-trade company engaged in ceramics, furniture, interior design and decoration, raw decoration materials and advertisements design and programming.

To be able to keep talented people, she established a training center for her employees that provides courses ranging from professional ethics, basic knowledge of the law, public relations, marketing and sales.

"Trust is the motto in business," she said. "In my view, it is more important and efficient to trust the employees than control them.

"I like making friends, be it with my employees or clients. This brings me as well as the company success after success."

Some people say that men's guts and pioneering spirit might be stronger than women's, but Yu said her success has proved this is not always true.

When asked about any regrets that she might have, Yu admitted, "I owe my family much for the last 10 years.

"When I took over the company, my son had just entered middle-school and studied diligently day and night. We had little time to communicate with each other."

Three years ago, her son was admitted to a college in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which is very far from Wuxi.

"I could only arrange time to accompany him in his short vacations," she said.

As for the future of the company, Yu said that she wants her future daughter-in-law to inherit the company.

"From my own experience, I believe a talented woman would be good at running business and I hope to find such a capable daughter-in-law," she said.

"As for my son, I wish him to be a civil servant."

(China Daily March 26, 2002)


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