The Chemical Noodle Firm: What Makes Chinese Companies Different?
Ren Jianxin, founder of Chinese chemical firm BlueStar, was not a businessman by trade. Nor was he a famous noodle chef, as his side business might suggest. He began his career, like many CEOs of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China, by working for the government. Ren served in an advisory role at the Ministry of Chemical Industries, a government position that would be an ideal job for many Chinese. Government jobs in China are commonly referred to as tiefanwan (铁饭碗)or “iron rice bowls” because they offer stable lifetime careers. However, Ren did not wish to pursue a lifelong career in government — he wanted to go into business. In 1984, at the age of 26, with a 10,000 RMB loan and seven business partners, Ren left government. He jumped into the chemical cleaning business and founded BlueStar. Ren built his company’s initial reputation and business by cleaning industrial boilers. The work was not glamorous, but over time his firm gained a reputation for its high quality chemical cleaning services.1
KeywordsChinese Company Chinese Firm Business Line Overseas Investment Shadow Banking
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