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China's Millionaire Scientists Increasing
Seventy-four-year-old Lu Dianqing, a Chinese fertilizer expert, went immediately from retirement several years ago to employment by a private enterprise, quickly using his expertise to become a millionaire.

Retired from the Northwest China Agricultural and Forestry Science and Technology University, Lu now owns 100,000 technical shares at his new firm and earns more than 30,000 yuan (3,614 US dollars) in annual wages. He lives in a spacious and comfortable apartment and drives a sedan.

Lu's private assets are estimated to be worth more than 1 million yuan (about 120,000 US dollars), making him one of China'swealthy.

In fact, many Chinese scientists before Lu have become rich with their knowledge.

Yuan Longping, "father of the world's hybrid rice," is one of them. The Yuan Longping Agricultural High-tech Co., Ltd., named after him, was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2000. Yuanowns 5 percent of the company's total shares.

As China's first listed company that is named after a scientist,the company issued 105 million shares, with one share valued at 12.98 yuan (1.56 US dollars), and closing at 40.37 yuan (5.7 US dollars) just at the end of the first trading day. This means Yuan,who got 2.5 million founder's shares, earned 100 million yuan (12.04 million US dollars) in a single day.

Following in Yuan's footsteps, many widely known Chinese scientists such as the president of Legend Group Corp., Liu Chuanzhi, the chairman of Tsinghua Tongfang Company Ltd., Sun Jiaguang and the inventor of the Chinese typesetting system Wang Xuan had made themselves wealthy through their knowledge. At the same time, they have also made great efforts to promote the birth of more scientist millionaires in the Chinese society.

Liu Chuanzhi vowed to create 100 millionaires. Sun Jiaguang, who is also an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering,pledged to make 100 multimillionaires and 1,000 millionaires within three to five years.

Among the top 100 wealthy men in China in 2001, as listed by Forbes magazine, 10 are scientists and technicians who successfully operated their businesses. The western region and the agricultural field have become new "cradles" for making rich scientists.

The Yangling Agricultural High-tech Industries Demonstration Zone, the only one of its kind in China, has attracted more than 100 agricultural scientists to invest their technologies or operate their own enterprises.

This is a result of the saying "science and technology is a productive force of primary importance" put forward by Deng Xiaoping, chief architect of China's reform and opening-up drive, said scholar Wang Guoping, who works in Shanghai.

In the 1980s, many people became well-off through running businesses. But scientists and technicians were rarely seen among this group.

The situation has changed fundamentally, especially since the late 1990s.

"Scientists have become the idols adored by farmers," said PengTao, Party secretary of Xibu Village of Dazhai Township in the Yangling Demonstration Zone. "They can increase the value of a sheep 100-fold and many farmers have become better-off with their help."

While making themselves rich, the scientists' developments alsohelp others make profits. Lu said the enterprise that industrializes his technologies makes a net profit of more than 10million yuan (1.2 million US dollars) annually.

At present, more than 80 percent of scientists and technicians working in state-owned enterprises are not satisfied with the income distribution, according to a recent survey on scientific and technical workers in 141 state-owned enterprises, carried out by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

However, the Chinese government is making greater efforts to create a sound environment in which scientific and technical workers can become wealthy through knowledge, according to Su Hainan, director of the labor and salary research institute under the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

(Xinhua News Agency September 25, 2002)

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