Born in 1964 in Hebei province, Wang Yusuo failed China’s university entrance exam (the gaokao) three times. He switched tack, starting a small business selling seeds and beer. In 1986 he changed direction again, selling bottled gas. He soon discovered he could make good money due to a government policy shift that created a price arbitrage.
Wang’s background selling gas gave him a network of industry contacts that proved invaluable in the 1990s, at a time when the government was slowly deregulating the downstream gas industry. He bought a few gasfields in the Huabei Oilfield and won a contract to supply gas to the Langfang Development Zone. He set up ENN and in 1994 built pipelines to provide gas to the households of Langfang City, a first for the province.
By 1998 Wang sensed a giant gas market would soon develop, thanks to the West-East pipeline, an energy artery running through eight provinces to Shanghai. In 1999 he moved into gas distribution in Shandong and Liaoning and by March this year, Wang’s pipeline footprint covered 80 cities in 14 provinces – supplying 4.5 million residential households and over 13,500 companies. Additionally, he has been building LPG filling stations for taxis and other vehicles. He currently has 200 in 44 cities with local government permission to up this further. There are currently 23,401 taxis and 1,091 buses running on natural gas in the areas ENN serves.
Need to know
Wang listed ENN in 2001. Describing itself as a ‘privately-owned clean energy distributor’, it earned profits of Rmb801 million on revenues of Rmb8.4 billion in 2009.
More recently it has focused on moving upstream to control source of supply. In a project with Washington-based IFC, ENN has financed a greenfield facility that can convert Inner Mongolian coal into methane, in order to supply the clean fuel dimethyl ether (DME). The project will produce 400,000 tonnes per year of DME, which ENN plans to distribute across China. Wang has also built an R&D facility in Hebei to work on environmental solutions to improve coal gasification techniques – incorporating, for example, solar power.
In his own words
“If one day ENN’s clean energy solutions can be accepted by people around the world, then our future will be in Europe, America and Africa.”
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