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Taiwan Businessmen "Weaving" Dreams in Shanghai
His father's business prowess in Shanghai still touches Tang Zijia when he recalls those initial ambitions 10 years ago.

Tang Junnian's dream focused on a tract of desolate land when he first arrived in Shanghai's Pudong district, his 21-year-old son recalled. Once pointing to the wilderness, he told his son with confidence: "One day our stylish houses will spring up on this land."

It seemed out of reach to Tang Zijia, then a teenager who couldsee only a vast marsh of reeds even taller than his height wherever his father pointed. However, his father's words came true10 years later.

An international golf course and hundreds of luxurious villas have now emerged on the tract of former wasteland, said Zijia withan air of pride.

In Shanghai the "Tomson" trademark his father created can be seen everywhere - from mansions, high-rise apartments, and hotels to industrial parks, Zijia said.

As one of the most successful Taiwan-funded businesses in Shanghai, the Tomson Group has invested a total of 1.5 billion U.S.dollars in the international metropolis. Tang Junnian not only moved the Tomson headquarters from Taiwan to Pudong new district in Shanghai, but also renamed his listed company in Hong Kong the Pudong Development Co. Ltd.

Zhuang Xiuzhen, who came with Tang Junnian to Shanghai seeking new fortune a decade ago, is now the general manager of the Shanghai Tomson Golf Company Ltd.

"Nearly every Taiwanese has his own dream, like the kind of house he wants to own or what particular business he wishes to run," Zhuang said.

"However, Taiwan is too small to achieve their goals. But Shanghai is different, here we can really 'weave' dreams," Zhuang said.

From the 1980s, tens of thousands of Taiwanese business people like Tang Junnian and Zhuang Xiuzhen have come to Shanghai to "weave" their dreams.

According to Zhang Zhiqun, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office within the municipal government, by the end of April this year, Shanghai had approved over 4,300 Taiwan-funded projects altogether, with contracted Taiwan capital amounting to 6.7 billion U.S. dollars. Some 156 projects involve investment of no less than 10 million U.S. dollars each.

Of Taiwan's 100 biggest firms, 54 have come to invest in Shanghai. Some prestigious consortiums, including the Far Eastern Group, Yulong Group and Wangwang Group, have all moved their mainland headquarters to Shanghai.

Solid economic strength, highly-skilled labor force and huge market potential in the city of Shanghai plus its people sharing the same roots and similar lifestyles and habits make its charms irresistible to Taiwan businessmen.

Bringing a fresh new approach to the cosmetics industry, Cai Yanping chose to start a new business in Shanghai's Chongming Island. The "Natural Beauty" (NB) range Cai initiated is now a famous brand of cosmetics. NB owns more than 1,000 chain stores and over 100 beauty salons as well as 30 subsidiary companies and branches all over the country.

However, Cai has never stopped "weaving" greater dreams for NB.She has launched a website for beauty consultations and the cosmetics trade as well as setting up a biological science and technology firm, rather than opening more beauty salons.

The Shanghai D&B Industry Co. Ltd, founded in 1993, has now become the largest part of the Taiwan D&B Group. An experienced agent for world-famous mobile phones, Shanghai D&B is also workingto promote its own products in domestic markets.

Chen Nanqing, deputy general manager of Shanghai D&B, said he believes that "DBTEL" mobiles are becoming a new name brand, thanks to its comprehensive sales networks throughout China.

Chen disclosed his company is now looking for 200 hectares of land for a centralized base. It is more than just a dream for D&B to become the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world.

Tang Zijia, who put his business administration studies in the United States on hold two years ago, chose to begin a new life in Shanghai. He readily accepted his father's advice and become special assistant to Tomson's board chairman.

At present, he is working on Tomson's largest development scheme to date in the municipality. It includes the construction of a 20-sq km "Taiwan Town" with residences, schools, hospitals, shopping malls and Taiwan-cuisine restaurants for more and more Taiwan "migrants".

Tang Zijia is confident that this dream he and his father shareis sure to materialize in Shanghai, a real wonderland for "weaving" dreams.

(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2002)

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