Chu Shijian: An entrepreneur in the heart of an entrepreneur

 Chu Shijian: An entrepreneur in the heart of an entrepreneur

Writing/AI Finance and Economics Agency, Zheng Yahong, Ge Zexiang, Tang Yu

Ailao Mountain is a watershed. From north to south, the Yuanjiang River cut down sharply, forming a deep cut mountain landform. In 2002, when he was released from prison, Jian and his wife Ma Jingfen went to Ailao Mountain alone, where they rented 2400 mu of wasteland and planted oranges.

March is the season when the orange trees in Ailao Mountains blossom white, and they walk away.

On March 5, 2019, at 1326, Chu Shijian, the father of a generation of tobacco barons and oranges, died peacefully at his home in Daying Street, Yuxi City at the age of 91. Tang Yijian, a stakeholder at Chushis fitness side, told AI Finance and Economics that when he entered the year of misery, his fitness was no longer the same. Before and after this year, Chushijian was hospitalized and then discharged from hospital.

Born in 1928, Chu Shijians life background is full of twists and turns, and his story is almost a contemporary history. When he was a teenager, he hunted for shrimp and participated in guerrilla warfare; when he was young, he was beaten as a rightist and devolved to the farm; when he was middle-aged, he joined the cigarette factory and became a generation of tobacco king and hero, who immediately fell down the mountain because of his crime; when he was on bail for medical treatment, he was 75 years old, and nobody expected that in less than 20 years later, Chu Shijian had created another glory.

In 2012, after the birth of Zhu Orange, with the help of Zhu Shijians personality endorsement and event marketing on the business platform, Zhu Orange suddenly became popular in Beijing. After several years of elaborate building, orange has become the leading brand in the field of agricultural products, and countless people dream of the success of replicating orange. After that, Liu Chuanzhis willow peach, Pan Shiyis Pan Apple, have always been good at learning classics.

Since then, Chu Shijian has gradually been called the entrepreneur in the heart of entrepreneurs, the spiritual mentor of entrepreneurs, and the pronoun of entrepreneurship.

Two years ago, an entrepreneur visited Chu Shijian in Yuxi. He said at that time, I am 90 years old. There is no regret. I can easily pass 100 years old.

Unlike most successful stories that have been popular in recent years, Chu Orange has no complex business model, high technical barriers and differentiation advantages. But he just made the orange. Chu Shijian is the kind of person who can do things. If he can live to be a hundred years old, maybe he can do another thing.

The only regret for the legendary entrepreneur is that he has not easily passed the age of 100.


Pilgrimage to Ailao Mountain

When Jiandong Mountain rose again in Chushi, Ailao Mountain, where he grew oranges, became a place of pilgrimage. After graduation, college students cant find a job to go to Ailaoshan and chat with Zhu; urban white-collar workers go to Ailaoshan nine to five, and life is confused to come to Ailaoshan to ask Zhu Shijian; homemakers are emotionally distressed, trying to commit suicide, but also want to come to Ailaoshan to listen to Zhu Shijians advice; entrepreneurs are stuck in a bottleneck, do not know how to break the situation, but also have to learn from the experience of this older generation.

Frequent visits by admirers, entrepreneurs and officials will enable Ma Jingfen to visit Chu Orange Manor and make a business visit to Chu Shijian. The Red Tower Hotel cant go, it cant walk out when it goes. Its all a unit. Everyone will take pictures with him. Ma Jingfen said.

Orange Manor in Ailao Mountain

In the spring of 2013, the construction of Zhuorange Manor project was officially launched. The new manor is divided into five areas: Hotel area, farmhouse pleasure area, ecological breeding area, leisure fishing area and fruit park. It is located in the high-end Conference Center on the top of the hill and can only receive 80 people at a time.

Yan Jie, a madman, went to Ailao Mountain in 2014. Yan Jie and ranked No. 7 on the Hurun 100 Rich List. The Pacific Construction Group is famous for its fast progress, excellent quality and low cost. In less than 20 years, Yan Jiehe planted the flag all over the country. Yan Jiehe once put down his wild words, Do not be the richest man in China, be the worlds capital construction leader.

They talked as they walked in the orange garden, from tobacco to business, from Mandela to brand. In the smoking king side, never smoking and have to accept the cigarettes lighted by Jian Jianjian.

Yan Jiehe said that the post-80s generation of his company will not allow smoking, including the post-90s generation, who will step down as soon as someone reports, quit smoking from the post-80s generation and gradually quit smoking after the 70s generation. It is estimated that no one in the top 500 in the world will smoke for 25 years. Chu Shijian flicked his cigarette ash and said in Yuxi dialect, This cigarette smokes less.

It is well known that Wang Shi was the first entrepreneur to climb the Ailao Mountains and the most famous orange pilgrim. Ailao Mountain, 3166 meters above sea level, is nothing to Wang Shi, who climbed Mt. Everest. In 2003, when Wang Shi went up the mountain, Chu Shijian, 75, was leading a drainage system to the orange garden, bargaining with an old farmer to repair a pump. The old farmer offered 80 yuan, and he paid 60 yuan.

Wang Shi is over 20 years younger than Zhu Shijian. This is a pair of years-forgotten friends with obvious contrast. Wang Shi is the favorite of fashion magazines. He has studied in Harvard, went to Everest, and spoken in Mandarin with bulk English. He spent half his life in Yuxi, Yunnan Province, where he has a strong local accent. He often wears rubber-soled shoes, and often goes down to the ground to make his trouser legs smeared with mud.

After the first meeting, Wang Shi wrote an article entitled Ice Sweet Orange on Ailao Mountain to express his admiration for Chu Shijian.

Wang Shi once went to Ailao Mountain seven times. On the fourth time, he brought his new girlfriend Tian Pujun. This was a private meeting, but it was made public by Tian Puqin in his column. Many details aroused Zhu Shijians discontent. In the widely circulated photo, Tian Puqin stands on his shoulder after exercising in a white T-shirt.

That day, she stood behind me and asked her friend to take a picture. Zhu Shijian was not happy to talk about the meeting which had not been publicized in advance. He told the media that Tian Puqin and his photo were not his own wishes, but Wang Shi was there and he could not help losing face. A conservative person always feels inappropriate.

Liu Qiangdong has also been to Zhuorange Manor. In 2015, Liu Qiangdong met with him at Chu Shijians home. After the meeting, a group of people visited the Zhu orange sorting and packaging line. In the production site and staff talk, Liu Qiangdong said that agricultural residues, waxing and other issues seriously affect the quality of fruit, hope that orange can retain the original color, original flavor.

The official Wechat public number Jingdong Blackboard Newspaper pushed Liu Qiangdongs visit to Zhu Shijian brings new possibilities to Zhu Orange that evening. The article mentioned that Liu Qiangdongs meeting with Zhu Shijian promoted the tripartite cooperation among Zhu Orange, Jingdong and Tiantian Orchard. The official flagship store of Zhuorange in Jingdong Mall is also on line at the same time.

On the next day, Chu Shijians Xinping Jintai Fruit Co., Ltd. issued a statement through Yunnan local website Yunnan Net, denying that Jingdong and its Tiantian Orchard have not yet reached cooperation with Jintai Fruit at present, while Liu Qiangdong visited Chu Shijian in Yuxi, Yunnan Province, which belongs to the normal exchange of visits between the companies.


Its not a cigarette factory, its a money printing factory.

Chu Shijian was born in the age of artillery fire. Like most people in that age, he came from the countryside and took on the family responsibilities early. At the age of 27, Chu Shijian married Ma Jingfen, a girl from the city. He also sat in the position of Chief of Personnel Section of Yuxi Bureau, and was happy to visit.

Since then, until the 1970s, both young people have been hit by the times. Chu Shijian was declared a rightist and was transferred to the Yuanjiang Hongguang Farm. Later, he was tossed around in various farms and sugar factories. Ma Jingfen was implicated in his family status. He lost his job. He went to the farm with his three year old daughter. He raised 40 pigs and became a pig hogs. He got 12 yuan a month.

At that time, Ma Jingfen can still recall years later: under the kerosene lamp, Ma Jingfen was sleeping with her daughter in bed, and as soon as she looked up, she saw a flower snake hanging on the mosquito net. Chu Shijian was not at home at that time. He lived in a shed at the foot of the mountain. Ma Jingfen held her daughter in her arms and did not dare to move.

It was not until 1979 that Chu Shijian finally had the right to choose. To Tadian Coal Mine or Yuxi Cigarette Factory? Chu Shijian preferred the former. He thought the air was fresh. Ma Jingfen wanted to go to the latter. During the dispute, Teacher Ma shed tears. When Chu Shijian was soft, he went to the cigarette factory as his wife wished.

Going to the tobacco factory wasnt a good job at the time. In that year, the output of Yuxi Cigarette Factory was less than 300,000 boxes. Not only is the working environment poor, its easy to have gas problems after a long stay, but also the wages are low, only half of the fertilizer plants.

However, the chaotic and inefficient cigarette factory workshop has become a good place to show off ones strength. In 1983, Chu Shijian borrowed $23 million to buy equipment. Over the next few years, he moved both British and American equipment to the Red Tower. Such a scenario also reappeared when he planted oranges after him. During the period of orange planting workshop, Chu Shijian purchased the Spanish production line and strictly controlled the quality.

He pioneered the three in one new game in Red Tower. He skipped the tobacco company and cooperated directly with tobacco farmers, bypassed suppliers and local tobacco monopoly bureaus, and opened his own stores. By 1994, Hongta had more than 12,000 stores nationwide. The output of Yuxi Cigarette Factory increased from less than 300,000 boxes to more than 200,000 boxes. In the 1990s, more than 80 billion yuan of profits and taxes were created.

When a leader came to inspect, he said, Its not the cigarette factory but the money printing factory that youre old enough to open. Chu Shijian has thus reached the first peak of his life. He has been rated as an outstanding entrepreneur in the whole country, a top ten reform figures and an idol.

After the peak, Chu Shijians fall came very suddenly. In 1995, an anonymous report from Sanmenxia pointed directly to Zhu Shijians corruption and bribery. Ma Jingfen, 62, and her daughter Zhu Yingqun were tried by relevant authorities. When it happened, Chu Shijian was on a business trip in the United States. Within a few months, the news of Chu Yingquns suicide in prison came. When Chu lost his strength and cried, he took the lawyers hand and said, The girl died, died in Henan, and committed suicide!

During the Mid-Autumn Festival in 1995, Ma Jingfen was in the prison of Luoyang. He was curled up in his office, covered with blankets, and very sad.

The pain brought by Chu Yingquns suicide to Chu Shijian and his family did not fade over time. According to media reports, Zhu Shijian especially loves Ren Shuyi, her granddaughter. She has the same facial expression as her mother. Her big eyes are often quiet and sad.

In January 1999, Chu Shijian was sentenced to life imprisonment, depriving him of political rights for life. After several years in prison, Chu Shijian was released on bail for severe diabetes in 2002. The person who signed for him was prior to Ma Jingfen, who was acquitted.


Catch up with the novice

In a shabby workshop of several hundred square meters, a production line imported from Belgium, Mr. Chu, 80, was sitting in his office. It was a bit overwhelming. He took a puff of cigarettes and said, My goal is to surpass the novice. Nokia is a well-known planting company in the United States, and also the worlds oldest and largest citrus marketing agency.

Thats not unusual today, but it was the sixth year of growing oranges in 2008.

When he was in prison, Chu Shijians younger brother brought him his own orange. He broke the orange with his hands, and it smelled sweet as if the God had nodded on his head. He decided to plant the orange after he was released from prison.

After medical parole, Chu Shijian borrowed 10 million yuan from his former friends, wrapped up 2,400 mu of wasteland in Ailao Mountain, and began planting ice-sugar oranges with Ma Jingfen. Orange trees, from planting to hanging fruit, usually take five or six years, Chu Shijian was 75 years old at that time.

Things are not going well. The oranges planted by the two old people did not sell well. Cars of oranges were often pulled out and thrown away. There are also many problems in the process of planting. Although the orchard trees are cultivated strictly according to the measured data, there are still many difficulties, either living insects or a sudden heavy rain. In order to find a solution, they even asked half-immortals to do it.

Chu Shijian was still optimistic: Im not afraid nobody will buy it, but Im afraid nobody will taste it. His bottom line came from all his efforts: in order to grow oranges, Chu Shijian almost turned over the books planting oranges. He devoted himself to studying and experimenting on how to adjust the acidity and sweetness with farm manure.

In 2006, the old couple went to Kunming to attend the exhibition. Ma Jingfen typed a banner with the words Bingtang orange which is a good seed in Chu Shi. Chu Shijian was worried about being criticized and tried to stop her, but failed. Later facts proved that it was Ma Jingfens bold achievement of Zhu Orange.

In 2009, the banner Bingtang Orange appeared at the entrance of fruit stores in the streets and lanes of Kunming. Since then, this kind of Bingtang Orange has been known as Chu Orange. In 2012, Chu Orange sold 200 tons through commercial platforms, and then sold 1500 tons each in the next two years. Chu Orange officially went out of Yunnan, burning all over the north, and became famous throughout the country.

The orange garden in Ailao Mountain is still surrounded by water vapor in Yunnan Province. Oranges blossom and bear fruit in their growing cycle as usual. Zhu Shijian spent 17 years here, and eventually left the courtyard of Daying Street not far away.


The Orange King also has difficult stories to read.

A grey Zhongshan suit with silver hair combed back, Chu Shijian sat at his 90th birthday party, beside him was wearing Ma Jingfen, a red-bottom golden embroidery.

The birthday party also announced an important message. On that day, Yunnan Zhushijian Fruit Industry Co., Ltd. was established. Zhushijian was the chairman and his only son Zhu Yibin was the general manager. According to the plan, Chus fruit industry will become the operating platform of Chus orange brand through acquisition, while Chu Yibin will take the lead in the development of the new holding company as the successor.

I cant keep up with the situation in many places. I cant report to the class anymore. Let them do it. Chu Shijian said in an interview.

Prior to that, there was a lot of news about the succession struggle and infighting in Chus family. The contradiction mainly lies between Chu Yibin and his grandson-in-law Li Yaxin. Tang Yi, who was invited to celebrate his birthday, told AI Finance and Economics that Chu Shijians decision was unexpected. Chu Lao once said on many occasions that he did not choose horses but raced horses to see who could win. At the last moment, his wife Ma Jingfen made a decision. The woman who claimed to be Zhu Ma always made a choice at the critical decision-making moment of Zhu Shijian. When she entered the tobacco factory, she sold oranges and chose her successor.

Chu Yibins election was unexpected because of his previous experience. He had been wandering for more than 20 years, engaged in financial industry, and finally returned to Yunnan from Singapore to grow oranges at his fathers call. Compared with his grandson-in-law, Li Yaxin, who abandoned his Canadian job and visa in 2008 and took root in Ailao Mountain, established a marketing system for orange, which was second only to Zhu Shijian for a long time.

The rumors of their infighting are disturbing, and their attitudes towards capital are quite different. Chu Yibin hopes that Chus industry will embrace capital, but Li Yaxin is worried about the rhythm of destroying agricultural development. In 2015, the struggle for online Tianmao Mall made this contradiction public, and the parties said to the media that it was not so complicated.

But this choice is not easy for Chu Shijian. His body and state had challenged him by then.

Time treats human body equally. At the age of 80, the old man appeared to be much more powerful than his peers. He was energetic and vigorous. He peeled oranges for every visitor and listened to the younger generation begging him for guidance. He sat smoking and looked calm. He also keeps a keen eye on everything. When he goes shopping at the age of 85, he also has to settle accounts with vegetable farmers and discuss how to make money in business.

Only a few years later, especially after the problem of succession surfaced, he was not happy. All kinds of diseases wrapped around the old man. In addition to diabetes, his tail and lumbar disc herniation became serious. His eyes had lost sight of the document. His right leg muscles are slowly atrophying due to nerve compression.

He wanted to be worthy of his granddaughter and his son. These balances are not so easy. Chu Lao has always wanted to make a good balance, but his successors job is really a headache. Tang told AI Finance and Economics.

Nevertheless, at the age of 90, the battle for succession of Chu Shijian was finally settled. On that day, along with the successors, new shareholders emerged. According to the subscription agreement signed on the same day, Chus fruit industry introduced two new shareholders, Renheng Property Service Management (China) Co., Ltd. and Hengguan Taida Agricultural Development Co., Ltd.

Chu Yibin said that in the future, Chus fruit industry will acquire the assets of Jintai Company, and the second round of financing will be carried out in the next year. The companys development focus is still Chu Orange, which can be said to be an upgraded version of Jintai Company.

After his son took office, Chu Shijian left most of the things under his control, and he only checked on important decisions. Chu Yibin became the man who could not stop completely. He spent half of his time in Kunming and half of his time in the orange garden at the base. He also had to run and negotiate cooperation between all parties.

At that time, he knew what the final exam his father gave him when he was chu. He said to the visiting media, To some extent, the support of Chu orange relies on the personal charm and ability of the old man. The achievements of Chu and Xiao Chu are two different things. The old man is old, which is the natural law, and what to do afterwards.

The day of the final exam came.


Entrepreneurs in the minds of entrepreneurs

Wang Shi once said, I have a lot of fans, but I am a fan of Chu Shijian... Director Zhu embodies the spirit of Chinese entrepreneurs, which is a kind of spirit that meets difficulties in progress and stands up again from difficulties.

In 2003, Wang Shi, who climbed Mount Everest, visited him on Ailao Mountain with mud spots on his trouser legs. Wang Shis visit had a great impact on the business and media circles. Wang Shis most accurate evaluation of Chu Shijian was the resilience to the lowest point, which became the main theme of Zhu Shijians domestic media coverage in the past ten years, and also became the brand foundation of inspirational orange after Chu Orange was listed.

Apart from Wang Shi, Liu Chuanzhi, Liu Qiangdong, Pan Shiyi, Ren Zhengfei and Ning Gaoning all worshipped the old.

According to media reports, in 2013, Liu Chuanzhi, 70, went to Yunnan with Chen Shaoping, head of Lenovos agricultural sector, and his team to taste the first fruit product of Jiawo, blueberry, which will soon be on the market. They spent an afternoon at Chu Shijians house talking about why they worked in agriculture. How to do it?

In 2014, at the 30th Anniversary Forum of the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University, Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of Lenovo Holdings, complained publicly about Chu Shijian. Chu Shijian makes a loss-making enterprise bigger and stronger. Its amazing. He did make mistakes in the later period. But Mr. Chu is a hen laying golden eggs. Shouldnt the country reflect on it?

In 2015, Liu Chuanzhi wrote more than 1000 words about the case of Zhu Orange in his own hand during his hospitalization. He wrote: For a long time, agricultural products and food in our country have been criticized for not guaranteeing quality, which has become the heartache of the Chinese people. Mr. Chu Shijians case also proves how difficult it is to cultivate high-quality and safe agricultural products in our countrys specific environment. But this case and Mr. Chus experience also clearly illustrate that because Chu Shijian is an extraordinary person, so Chu Orange can be of excellent quality and become a brand.

Liu Chuanzhi summed up four points of Zhu Shijians extraordinary self: first, earnestness; second, strong learning ability (referring to the ability to study various links and ways of handling); third, strong resilience or firm will; fourth, non-dogmatic, specific issues to deal with.

At the end of the article, he did not hide his worship: From his youth, the old man made wine, sugar, cigarettes, oranges, and made one into a piece, which is strange and strange. But what I deeply admire is his 80-year-old age, who created miracles after the near-family collapse. When I saw him, he was frank in his expression and between his words. He only studied how to do the following things well and live the rest of his life well. For such a person, how can I not deeply admire them in my heart! ___________

In 2015, Liu Qiangdong also visited Zhu Shijian in Yunnan, where he said: Chu Lao is a model of Chinese entrepreneurship. The brave Vietnam war in the face of challenges and setbacks is an indelible manifestation of entrepreneurship, as well as Chu Laos insistence on quality, which has achieved todays Zhu Orange. It is hoped that Jingdong people will always maintain their entrepreneurial mentality, always have a sense of awe for consumers and the industry, and not change their original minds and meet the challenges.

Ning Gaoning, chairman of China Group, once wrote a preface to You Cant Learn Orange. He commented on Chu Shijian: Chu Shijian managed the success of enterprises and modern times not only because of his perseverance, courage and hard work, but also largely because of his methods and paths. This method and path is very clear in his mind, to do a good enterprise, we must make good products; we must concentrate resources first to do a good job of products, then to say marketing, brand, and then to make money. Wang Shijian said that Chu Shijian was an actuary and TieYing described Chu Shijian as a gardener. In my opinion, in todays words, he is more like the chief product officer.

Published in 2014, Chu Shijian: entrepreneurs who influence entrepreneurs has recorded many entrepreneurs in the eyes of Chu Lao. Wang Jianlin said: I ate his orange, so old to start a business and do so well, really give us these people a great incentive.

Feng Lun, chairman of Wantong Holdings, commented on Chu Shijian: It is not difficult for a person to fall down and climb up again. It is difficult for him to fall from the highest to the lowest and go further. This is not what ordinary people can do. In Chu Laos body, there seems to be a kind of super energy, which comes from the high standards and strict requirements of his life and work. It is this superpower that makes him stand taller and go farther.

Many entrepreneurs want to find a precise evaluation to express their respect for the elderly, but Chu Shijian never wants to evaluate himself in public. At that time, after the publication of Zhu Shijian: entrepreneurs influencing entrepreneurs, the reporter of Southern Weekend once asked him, There are many comments on you in society, how do you evaluate yourself?

Chu Shijian answered, This should be someone elses story. I think eight out of ten people should be fair in their evaluation.

In 2017, Chu Shijian, 89, was asked this question again by China Entrepreneur magazine. Back then, Chu Orange was caught up in a struggle between family interests and heirs, and he was exhausted. The old man answered slowly in a mixed dialect: Let others evaluate it. Its hard for me to evaluate it. But one thing is that when I do things, I am not afraid of my own losses and otherslosses, which is my advantage.

Looking back at this ups and downs in his life, he only said in the biographer Zhou Yes Chushijian Zhuan lightly: There is no mediocre life.

What is entrepreneurship? Chu Shijians own view is: turning bad enterprises into good ones and non-profit enterprises into profit-making ones is entrepreneurship.

(Tang Yiwei is a pseudonym when asked by interviewees)