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Cultivate “New Merchants of Sichuan” in Inland Free Trade Area

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Help college students with entrepreneurship by 2000 stores of Chengdu International Trade City
Mar. 27, 2014


Nearly ten thousand of college students throughout the country applied for entrepreneurship in Chengdu International Trade City.

Interview with Shou Jianhong, who is the standing vice president of China Economic and Trade Promote Association and the president of Yisha Chengdu International Trade City Co., Ltd. on Mar. 18.

Chengdu International Trade City officially announced to spend a billion yuan in providing 2000 stores to help the college students with entrepreneurship. This news prompted a strong reaction in the society after announced and attracted nearly ten thousand of college students throughout the country to apply. Why does Chengdu International Trade City, which is determined to build largest trade center in Midwest China, spend a huge amount of money to introduce a series of cultivating policies help the college students with entrepreneurship? Yesterday, reporter from West China Metropolis Daily interviewed with Shou Jianhong, who is the standing vice president of China Economic and Trade Promote Association and the president of Yisha Chengdu International Trade City Co., Ltd.


Ten thousand of people rushed to apply: priority will be provided for the college students having got a project  West China Metropolis Daily: so many college students around the country rushed to apply stores in Chengdu International Trade City, hoping to become the ones to be helped with entrepreneurship. Did you expect such a grand occasion?


Shou Jianhong: we feel very confident on this entrepreneurship helping plan. A Youth (College Students) Pioneer Park was established by Chengdu International Trade City as early as in 2010 and made a successful attempt in helping college students with entrepreneurship. At that time, 100 stores in Chinese Herbal Medicine Market were provided to launch the helping program of being rent-free for the first year and the stores were “sold out” soon. Those entrepreneurial college students now has been gradually on track with booming business.


West China Metropolis Daily: what is the critical factor of Chengdu International Trade City to be successful in helping the college students with entrepreneurship in your opinion?

Shou Jianhong: To forge iron, one must be strong. The critical factor is definitely the college students themselves, but a good entrepreneurial platform is also crucial. Taking Liu Jiang from College Student Pioneer Park of Chinese Herbal Medicine Market as example, he become a strong performer in as soon as being located into the Pioneer Park and his entrepreneurial plan of “developing private brand of Chinese herbal health care products” impressed me. In order to encourage college student entrepreneur like him, I specially set up Entrepreneurial Seed fund to reward and help them. Today, the annual sales of private brand“Renshuo tartary buckwheat” and jujube of Liu Jiang reached nearly one million and his business is booming.

West China Metropolis Daily: Is it because of the success in attempt to cultivate a group of college student entrepreneur like Liu Jiang in 2010, Chengdu International Trade City provided 2000 stores with an investment of a hundred million yuan to help the college students with entrepreneurship?

Shou Jianhong: Yes. After the successful attempt in College Student Pioneer Park of Chinese Herbal Medicine Market, I have had a dream, that is to attract more ambitious college students to start business in Chengdu International Trade City. Today, Chengdu International Trade City have been provided with hardware and software facilities of domestic first-class business center and perfect supporting facilities, so I think the time is ripe. Therefore, we provided 2000 stores of Chengdu International Trade City to help the college students with entrepreneurship.

West China Metropolis Daily: There are only 2000 stores, but the number of college student entrepreneur across the country has already been nearly ten thousand, so how will you choose?

Shou Jianhong: Emotionally, I certainly hope that all of those college students can start business in Chengdu International Trade City. But there are only 2000 places in our plan, so we have to select the best ones. To be successful, the college students applying for stores must come up with a good business plan. As long as they can make out good project based on the stores in Chengdu International Trade City, we not only will give prior admission, but also will provide strong support in financial support, management training, product design and marketing, brand agent, branding and other aspects. I am full of expectation towards the selected college students and hope they can bring me big surprise.

B. Great change happened in market: the traditional trade industry is badly in need of supplementary “new blood”  West China Metropolis Daily: as for helping college students by such generous support, do you also have some prospective thinking and layout except for own development needs of Chengdu International Trade City?

Shou Jianhong: Firstly, it is a college student entrepreneurial support plan independently operated by Chengdu International Trade City, and my original intention is to cultivate and help the college students who want to start business. If there is some prospective thinking and layout, that is great changes has already happened in trade market of Chengdu and the bosses in this industry must keep up with the pace of market changes.

West China Metropolis Daily: What do you mean by great changes happened in industry?

Shou Jianhong: Today, with higher and higher economic globalization wave, the pace of Chengdu to integrate into the world will be increasingly rapid and the requirement of modern and internationalized Chengdu on commodity trade, especially wholesale industry is also higher and higher. These internal and external demands have already pushed the wholesale industry of Chengdu into an era of intersection of dramatic transformation and great changes.


West China Metropolis Daily: As you say, since the launching of “Middle relocation” and “North reconstruction”, the wholesale markets in urban area was successively relocated in suburban areas and the pattern of Chengdu wholesale markets has been quietly changing: Hehuachi Market of Jinniu District, Chengdu Rongbei Market and Chengdu North Railway Station Market and so on were successively shut down......many wholesaler used to do small and scattered business could not adapt to these huge impact from industry, does this mean that those wholesaler will also be “washed out” by the market?

Shou Jianhong: Survival of the fittest is an unchangeable law. For the merchants of Chengdu engaged in trade, those who make money only by doing small and scattered business and goods delivery cannot adapt to the new situation any longer in the process of integration into the world, modernization and internationalization of Chengdu. In order to adapt to the changing times, it is necessary to solve two problems: first, how to bring in goods from other provinces and foreign countries to fully meet the consumer demands of Chengdu market and Midwest market; second, how to sell goods to other provinces and foreign countries to create greater wealth. And to solve these two problems, a large number of businessmen who can keep pace with the times are also necessary in addition to the “invisible hand” of the government.

West China Metropolis Daily: According to your logic, is “fresh blood” needed by the trade industry of Chengdu, even Sichuan so that the former small business owners can enter into the era of “Sichuan merchant 2.0” and “Sichuan merchant 3.0” from the era of “Sichuan merchant 1.0”?

Shou Jianhong: Your analogy is appropriate. This time the purpose that I put 2000 stores and hundreds of millions of funds to support the college students to start business is to inject fresh blood into this industry. The ideal situation is to make this group of highly educated college students who are sensitive to mobile internet, new technology revolution, etc. can understand the market as soon as possible and rapidly grow into indispensable new force of new Sichuan merchant in the highly competitive market baptism.


C Striving for inland free trade area: Chengdu International Trade City dare to “make great contribution”  West China Metropolis Daily: As you just said: Chengdu, which is accelerating to integrate into the world and becoming a modernized and internationalized metropolis, is indeed full of aspirations. And at this stage, Chengdu is seeking to declare the first inland free trade area of China. In this regard, what do you think?

Shou Jianhong: The building of free trade will not be limited in Shanghai and the state will consider the balance between regions. For the west part of China, the building of inland free trade area will be beneficial to the opening-up of western region. In my opinion, as long as China will build inland free trade area in Midwest China, the advantage of Chengdu is very obvious. The reason is that: although Chengdu is a inland city, neither close to the border nor the sea, Chengdu is becoming a inland port city with the rapid development of aviation, railways and other aspects. The latest foreign trade data shows that the current largest trading partner is Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), not the United States. This change will usher in a very big opportunity for development for Chengdu International Trade City to build the largest trade center of Midwest China facing the ASEAN market, East Asia market and West Asia market.

West China Metropolis Daily: Why do you think Chengdu International Trade City will usher in great opportunity for development?

Shou Jianhong: According to the experience of Shanghai, the free trade area is not a depressions of preferential policies, but the highlands of system innovation; Chengdu is the capital city of Sichuan Province and also the core growth pole of western region determined by the country. In my point of view, the purpose of Sichuan Province hoping that Chengdu City can be the first inland free trade area is not seeking for special preferential policies, but hoping to conduct trial implementation in comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up and better promoting provincial innovative and open development at the new historical starting point. The basis for trial implementation and open development are inseparable with commercial trade and Chengdu International Trade City is the “flagship” for domestic and foreign trade of Sichuan.

West China Metropolis Daily: Facing such a great opportunity for development, how will Chengdu International Trade City make layout to gain the upper hand?


Shou Jianhong: There is a sentence called “build nest to direct phoenix” commonly used during industry development, which means to attract large enterprises with preferential policies and promote industrial development. This sentence also applies to Chengdu International Trade City and we also will “build nest to direct phoenix”.


West China Metropolis Daily: Then, how will Chengdu International Trade City “build nest to direct phoenix”?


Shou Jianhong: Upon completion, CITC will accommodate 60,000 retail shops that supply 17 categories, over 1,900 lines and over 430,000 commodities from 48 industries. CITC is anticipated to become the largest and most modern local trade platform, which combines the role of R&D, production, processing, demonstration, business negotiation, trade and e-commerce in regard of general merchandise and has the widest influence on adjacent communities. It’ll be perfectly supported by such functional elements as office space, financial services, entertainment, hospitality and accommodation. Such a large trade platform itself is a “big nest” in hardware, which is very competitive and attractive for the traditional trade dealers in Sichuan. Meanwhile, we are also provided with e-commerce platform, new product distribution center and professional management teams and these modern and internationalized software services are also very attractive. What we are going to do is building software and hardware facilities based on internationalized and modernized standards to strengthen hard power as well as promote soft power. At that time, the phenomenon of “homing birds” will also appear in CITC.

West China Metropolis Daily: Is CITC “building nest to direct phoenix” by this generous help provided for the entrepreneurship of college student?

Shou Jianhong: Definitely. Building state inland free trade area can not rely on waiting. CITC should have the courage to make contributions and make “great contribution”. We should not only rely on CITC to apply to relevant state departments for some policy support in market opening and international trade, but also make good preparation in talent reserve and modern Sichuan merchant cultivation. This time I provided 2000 stores for the entrepreneurship of college students is hoping to cultivate a group of new Sichuan merchant who can take root in CITC and understand the means and methods of modern new international trade as well as who are provided with modernized literacy and internationalized vision. Great contributions can be made for Chengdu to build inland free trade area only in this way, which is by planning ahead to make the cake of domestic trade and foreign trade bigger. Once Chengdu is approved as inland free trade area, CITC will also be the first to take the position of “aircraft carrier” for merchandise trade in Midwest China.

Reporter from West China Metropolis Daily: Luo Qin

Cultivate college students as “blood transfusion” for Sichuan merchants by industry observation

Please give praise for CITC  My heart was full of admiration when I wrote this notes. As a student just out of college, I deeply understand the difficulties in looking for jobs and witnessed the frustration and tears of numerous college student entrepreneurs after failure. Their difficulties and pains can not be erased from the hearts of this generation of college students.

Over one hundred million of funds (2000 stores) are freely provided for college student. Many people would think this is just speculation of entrepreneurs and there perhaps are greater hidden commercial interest. However, in my opinion, this is a kind of great feeling. Even if he has the purpose of pursuing commercial interests, we can not question or tarnish him. The sheep has the gratitude of kneeling down to suck milk and the crow has the instinct to feed its elderly mother, not to mention the people living in modern society.


When the young people feel most difficulty, most confused and most helpless in their lives, give a hand to help them opening a door of entrepreneurship to break their confusion and walk on a golden road of commercial trade. Such feelings of entrepreneurship is worthy of respect and I would like to give praise to such an enterprise.

Now, my memory go back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, Chengdu Hehuachi was a place of moonlight over the lotus pond in summer in the memory of the old Chengdu residents. However, with the sounded horn of reform and opening-up, the daily necessity wholesale created batches of millionaires, who gathered together and grew up to be the beach-goers of Sichuan merchant bathing the spring breeze of reform.

With hurried footsteps of time and the emergency of various new technological revolution, the world has changed a lot. However, on the hot land of Chengdu Hehuachi, most of the Sichuan merchants dealing with daily necessity wholesale remains as before, delivering goods and dealing with wholesale.

Talents are coming forth in the sea of commerce. The second-movers are chasing and surpassing. The famous daily necessity wholesale markets throughout the western China is no longer brilliant. Those merchants who once dealt with daily necessity wholesale without any changes for decades are also badly in need of changes.

In this case, CITC stood out without making a clarion call, but silently providing 2000 stores for merchant cultivation in the market and transfuse fresh “blood” for Sichuan merchants in the manner of creating “Huangpu Military Academy”.

What can I say for such strategy and mind? The only thing we can do is to give praise.


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