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Nation's top entrepreneurs dish out expertise at event
Time: 07 03,2023      Source: China Daily

Business leaders from across China gather in the city of Taiyuan to attend the Innovation Annual Conference of the 2023 Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum on June 17-18. [Photo by Li Zhaomin for China Daily]

Jinshang merchants referenced at Yabuli Forum as inspiration to next generations

A number of famed Chinese business leaders gathered in Taiyuan, the capital city of the North China province of Shanxi on June 17-18, sharing their insights on opening-up, innovation and economic transformation with local entrepreneurs and officials.

They were there to attend the Innovation Annual Conference of the 2023 Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum.

The event was jointly sponsored by the secretariat of the Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum and the Shanxi Department of Commerce. It was organized by the Shanxi Investment Promotion Bureau.

The Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum, initiated in 2001, is one of the most influential platforms for exchanges among entrepreneurs in China. It was named after Yabuli, a top ski resort and the event's inaugural host in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

The entrepreneurial spirit of the new era was one of the hot topics at the event. The attendees agreed that those with a modern entrepreneurial spirit could draw inspiration from the values of the reputed Shanxi merchants, or Jinshang.

The Jinshang merchants refer to generations of businesspeople in Shanxi. It is said that Jinshang merchants dominated commercial circles in North China for about 500 years starting from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Many of these successful merchants began as small vendors selling products like tea and silk overseas. Over generations, they made their fortunes through hard work, trustworthy business operations and mutual assistance.

Many successful Shanxi merchants were known for their willingness to pay back to society in the areas where they started their business. Their contributions helped to improve the well-being of local residents, especially in the fields of education and infrastructure construction.

The event's attendees learned about these values through a visit to the Jinshang Museum prior to the opening ceremony, which was held at the museum on June 17.

Yu Minhong, founder of New Oriental Education and Technology Group, is the rotating chairman of the 2023 Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum. He said Shanxi's brilliant culture related to the Jinshang merchants and a longer history that spans more than 5,000 years, should be inspirational for the formation of a modern entrepreneurial spirit.

He said Shanxi is one of the cradles of Chinese commerce and featured a perfect combination of trade and finance during the heydays of the Jinshang merchants.

"Despite the interruption of Jinshang's business (some 100 years ago), the commercial tradition is still here," Yu said. "Shanxi's entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to grow their business to be better and stronger."

With the Jinshang values of hard work, honesty and collaboration still in place, Yu said Shanxi's businesspeople should be equipped with global vision and learn from international businesses.

Wang Linpeng, founder and board chairman of Chinese home decor giant Easyhome, said his company has been operating in Shanxi for more than 10 years.

"We have our partners in all the cities in Shanxi," Wang said. "The Shanxi businesspeople are always trustful partners because the traditional Jinshang values they uphold can still work as the basis for today's business development."

The event's participants also contributed their suggestions to Shanxi's high-quality development.

Yu of New Oriental said he is impressed with Shanxi's dynamic development as it is now carrying out an economic transformation campaign to reduce its reliance on coal mining and foster new growth areas.

He suggested Shanxi build an optimized and predictable business environment based on market rules and aligned to international practices so as to attract more investments to its various economic sectors.

He also said that Shanxi should make better use of the platform of the Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum for investment promotion.

He said the forum is a community for China's privately owned businesses.

"Among the Chinese private businesses on the 2022 Fortune Global 500 list, about half of them are members of the forum secretariat," Yu said. He added that the secretariat hopes to collaborate more with Shanxi's businesses, especially in the field of low-carbon and sustainable development.

The conference also served as showcase of Shanxi's latest development and business opportunities.

Jin Xiangjun, governor of Shanxi, said that the province is now implementing a series of strategies to boost local development. These include plans for economic transformation and energy revolution and the development of characteristic towns with local specialty industries.

The governor said that Shanxi's authorities are dedicating efforts to improve the business environment. There are a host of preferential policies to support the development of various market entities, especially private businesses. He hoped the conference's participants would take in-depth tours of Shanxi to find business opportunities and identify potential partners.

Yan Jie contributed to this story.


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