Ambitious young executives are using contemporary management techniques to breathe new life into their parents" companies. Li Lei reports from Jinjiang, Fujian.
Hong Yihan and her two older sisters, grew up in the shadow of the sewing machines in their family"s clothing factory in Jinjiang, Fujian province.
However, when she took control of the business, Hong quickly realized that the business strategies employed by her parents" generation were unable to meet the demands of increasingly tech-hungry, brand-oriented modern consumers.
"I am working closely with materials scientists to launch own-brand products," said the 32-year-old general manager of Jinjiang Fengxing Garment Co, which her parents started in 1990.
She is one of several young, globally minded entrepreneurs in the coastal city who are attempting to upgrade their parents" companies via innovative manufacturing methods and branding strategies, and they are all looking overseas for markets.
Her parents started from scratch, just like thousands of other first-generation entrepreneurs in Jinjiang who established factories in the wake of the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s.
"They were hardworking. They sought orders from clients and made and delivered the goods, but they cared little about the consumers or the rest of the industry chain," she said.
Holding a pair of water-and stain-proof pants, the company"s latest product, weighing less than 100 grams, Hong was confident about taking a different path to her parents.
"These ultra-light pants haven"t hit the market yet, but the samples were well-received. I am considering filing a patent for the material," she said.
Although China is her main market, Hong is using e-commerce to find customers overseas, selling her goods in several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, India and New Zealand.
In days gone by, poor harvests in the coastal areas of Southeast China forced farmers off the barren land and onto the oceans. In turn, seafaring made them brave and adventurous - traits that gave them an edge and helped them win in the world of business, according to the locals.
Jinjiang, which faces Taiwan across the Taiwan Straits, has a long tradition of trading, and the nearby port of Quanzhou - acknowledged by the United Nations as the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road - is evidence of the city"s past glories.
After reform and opening-up started in 1978, family businesses mushroomed in Fujian, many in the clothing sector. Anta, the world"s third-largest sports brand by market value, was one of those startups.
Uncertainty loomed in 2001 when China joined the World Trade Organization in an attempt to embrace the global market. Despite that, Jinjiang, a city of less than 650 square kilometers, was already one of the most affluent places in the country as a result of its vibrant private sector.debossed rubber wristbandscool silicone wristbandscustom made paracord braceletscheap custom braceletscanada wonderland wristband colours