Wang Hongtao: dream flies over the Pacific
"I have experienced the bitterness of the start-up industry. I could not have achieved my current success without the support of the government. The government paid the rent for my house and, in the beginning, even lent me the tables and chairs in the workshop."
The government support Wang refers to gratefully forms part of initiative schemes aiming to lure back Chinese talent living overseas. These advantages include financing, subsided housing, and low tax rates. They meant that an individual with only $120,000 capital could launch a business with the greatest possible chance of success.
Throughout his time in the United States, first involved in the post-doctoral program at University of Notre Dame and later as an engineer in Chicago, Wang was unaware of the policy advantages awaiting him in China, though he always had the sense he would return.
"Only if everyone contributes to our country can our lives become better. What has happened at the start-up I have built is much better than my expectations."
Wang decided Baoshan was the ideal site for his company after stumbling upon it during an internet trawl. Baoshan offers favorable policies for overseas returnees and he has not regretted the decision in the slightest. He would strongly advice others to start their own businesses if the opportunity arises.
"People should seize the opportunity and not be afraid to fail. Make sure you do the necessary research in advance. You cannot guarantee a 100 percent success rate, if it is over 60 percent it is worth trying. Failure is allowed, many people succeed after many failures. After you fail the important thing is to keep hold of the entrepreneurial spirit."
Although Wang didn't have serious failings in his Bill-Anda venture, he was blessed with a wealth of experience from having launched companies in geographies as distant as New Zealand and Guangdong.
Still, he tells a story that is indicative of the type of driven enthusiasm that explains the success Wang has had. Shortly after returning to China, despite being generally unfamiliar with local markets and habits, Wang would go and pitch to big clients such as Volkswagen and Foxconn. He would offer them free samples and though he received good feedback, business on that scale was not extremely forthcoming. Today, however, Wang's company has over 200 clients and his persistence has certainly paid off.