Name: Lu Guanqiu
Date of birth: January 1945
Education: School dropout/ honorary doctorate
Type of Business: Conglomerate
Main Achievements: Guanqiu was the founder of Wanxiang Group, which is the largest conglomerate of China, with nearly 40,000 workers employed. During the era of the Cultural Revolution in China, he performed the exemplary task of converting scrap metal into useful farming tools. Gunaqiu’s company is not confined to certain domains instead expands to include finance, real estate, agribusiness, and fundamentally auto parts. Wanxiang also runs a corporation in America, based in the city of Chicago, which is operated by Ni Pin, Guanqiu’s son-in-law. He appeared in the 2017 Billionaires list of Forbes as well as made to the China Rich List of 2016.
Something interesting about Lu Guanqiu: Hong Kong Polytechnic University had awarded Guanqiu with an honorary doctorate.
Guanqiu was born in the district of Yuhang of Hangzhou city, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province in 1945. The triumphant businessman was raised up in a modest peasant family. He was married and was the father of four children. On October 25, 2017, the exceptional journey of his life ended, and the 72-year-old Guanqiu died. At the age of 15, his educational life got terminated when he finished school and chose to work as an ironsmith. He started serving as an apprentice at a metal works company owned by the state. Followed by his early age apprenticeship, he initiated a flour mill that worked within his village. Later, he started a bicycle repair shop. Guanqiu took a more extensive step by establishing a tractor repair shop in 1969. He joined hands with six other farmers and collected the required amount to set up the business. The name of his company, Wanxiang, is of Chinese origin. The literal meaning of the company’s name is ‘universal joint,’ which is a fragment of drive shafts produced by Guanqiu in his auto repair factory.
The founding story of the renowned conglomerate’s company goes back to winning a bet from the head of steel mill. Guanqiu earned the necessary supplies for running his factory by quitting his habit of smoking three packets of cigarettes in a day. The bet, however, lasted for a lifetime since Guanqiu never smoked after that. The conglomerate, with his tremendous dedication and endless effort, expanded his network to Wanxiang Doneed Co. (seeds and fertilizer production), Wanxiang Qianchao Co. (auto parts production), Shunfa Hengye Corporation (real estate developer), and Hebei Chengde LoLo Co. (beverage production).
Guanqiu’s company is also in the acquisition of 3.7% shares of Fiat SpA, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Honda Motor Co., and Toyota Motor Corp. starting with a humble background and limited resources; he rose to become the wealthiest person of Zhejiang province. He took his entrepreneurial initiative with a minimal sum of $500. Today, his company generates a capital of approximately 10 billion yuan and is operated by nearly 4000 employees. It features an innovative technology center with high standards, laboratories at the state level, as well as supports scientific research through post-doctoral work centers. Guanqiu’s company has transformed into becoming a part of the 120 pilot enterprises and 520 vital national organizations that are counted under the State Council. As of 2001, Wanxiang was reported to have generated a profit worth 706 million Yuan as well as revenue equal to 8.636 billion Yuan. The inspirational personality also participated in the 13th and 14th National Congress of CPC as a delegate. Moreover, he was also known to be a part of the EMBA program of Zhejiang University as a part-time professor.
Guanqiu’s death in 2017 brought grief and mourning to the entire business community of China. His contribution to the Chinese industry, as well as his entrepreneurial work of remarkable degree, is a reason to remember him forever. Not only the leading entrepreneurs of China, like Jack Ma, but also the state leaders paid respect to the influential personality.