Liang Wengen speaks at a press briefing on Nov. 10, 2012. (Photo/CNS)
The success story of Liang Wengen, chairman and founder of Sany Group — a leading heavy machinery manufacturer — is one of the best examples of China's economic miracle, the Beijing-based Economic Observer reports.
Born into a poor family in south-central China's Hunan province in 1956, Liang has been part of China's economic growth since 1978 and went from working at a state-run arms plant to top both the 2011 Hurun China and Forbes China rich lists to be crowned the country's richest man at the time.
Liang established Sany with three of his partners in the 1980s, and the group has now become China's biggest construction equipment manufacturer and the fifth-largest in the world. It was also the first Chinese enterprise to conduct split share structure reform, and was one of the leaders among Chinese firms to internationalize themselves by achieving overseas acquisitions.
Liang has worked hard and faced several challenges during his rise however, the paper said. In 1986, he initially quit his post in a state-run firm to trade ships but failed. He tried several other things such as making wine but failed again before returning to focus on heavy industry and founding Sany in 1989.
Infrastructure construction has been key to China's economic development and Liang was able to see the business opportunities within, the paper said. "Although we didn't know much about infrastructure projects, we did know the equipment needed in the infrastructure construction," he has said.
As China opened up its economy further, private firms like Sany were able to break the state monopoly and the dominant position of overseas players, which once took more than a 90% market share in China's construction equipment industry.
Liang swiftly introduced a professional management system to Sany by recruiting talented managers to help it quickly develop into the nation's leading construction equipment manufacturer in 2003. In the same year, the group also successfully listed its subsidiary Sany Heavy Industry on the A-share market and became the largest private enterprise in Hunan.
In April 2005, Sany became the first to adopt the reform of the split-share structure after the China Securities Regulatory Commission announced that the time was mature to implement the reform. The move has allowed Sany to quickly obtain refinancing to fuel its speedy development.
Supported by an abundant capital supply, Sany's concrete pumps and excavating machines soon beat foreign competitors to gain the biggest market share in China. In 2011, Sany became the nation's top construction equipment maker and the world's fifth-largest.
In January 2012, Sany acquired concrete pump equipment producer Putzmeister in the largest German-Sino transaction ever, making Sany a major international player in the field. Before the acquisition, Sany was a player focusing on the domestic Chinese market with its exports making less than 5% of its total revenue, but Sany now sells products to more than 100 foreign countries and areas, the paper said.
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