Top 10 influential businessmen of modern China

By Zhang Junmian
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 30, 2011
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  Sheng Xuanhuai 盛宣怀


Sheng Xuanhuai []

Sheng Xuanhuai (1844-1916), born in Wujin, Jiangsu Province, was the minister of transportation during the Qing Dynasty. Despite remaining a disputed figure for his hoarding of money during times of national calamity, Sheng was one of the important businessmen who promoted government industrialization. Sheng, who first worked as the aide of General Li Hongzhang, advocator of the Self-Strengthening Movement, cherished the ambition of using foreign technologies to save the country from poverty.

He controlled the major modern enterprises at that time, and created eleven "firsts" in China, including establishing Huasheng Textile Factory-the first successful cotton mill; the first commercial and industrial syndicate-Hanyeping Iron and Steel Company; the first modern bank-China Commercial Bank; the first trunk line-the Lugouqiao-Hankou Railway from Beijing to Hankou in Hubei; and the first telegraphy bureau-Tianjin Telegraph Office. He also founded Beiyang University, the first institute of modern higher education in China, and Nanyang College, the predecessor of Shanghai Jiaotong University. In addition, he was the founder and first president of the Red Cross Society of China. His involvement in implementing railway nationalization led to the Revolution of 1911 which eventually overthrew the corrupt Qing dynasty he tried to fight for during his lifetime.

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