Enterprise holds key to booming start-ups
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
When Wu Shengying’s wine-selling business failed in 2003, he abandoned farming in his hilly village in Shandong Province and turned to an idea that he hoped would please Chinese palates as much as KFC chicken wings […] and after breaking several thousand eggs in experiments, he finally worked out a formula that he believes strikes a perfect balance between temperature and timing to make good roasted eggs.
Wu’s roasted eggs, with a chewy texture but fresh taste, sold so well at the market that he not only paid off the debt quickly, but also bought a flat in town and a car. Now he has 310 franchised partners nationwide, and is still growing.
The roasted egg king’s story may never be recorded in a textbook used in a master of business administration (MBA) program. Neither is he, at age 39, likely to have a Nasdaq initial public offering in the near term. But he does represent many entrepreneurial Chinese who, from humble beginnings, achieve success by relying on creativity, perseverance and, perhaps, a little bit of luck.
According to a joint survey by the MBA center of China Agricultural University (CAU) and the National Entrepreneurship Research Center of Tsinghua University, 48 percent of new Chinese businesses have start-up funds of less than 100,000 yuan (US$12,400), and 19 percent of them have less than 300,000 yuan (US$37,300).
[…] Another survey, released by Shanghai’s labor and social security administration last November, made a sharper point that most people who start up businesses are motivated by the need for survival.[…]About 56 percent of the surveyed start-up business founders in Shanghai said they chose to take the plunge because they needed to feed the family, couldn’t find a job, or were unhappy with prior jobs.