Liu Canglong was born in 1964 in Shifang in Sichuan. With little education, he began working at a local refinery, before resigning to start his own business. With Rmb500 borrowed from relatives, he started the company Hongda to sell phosphate fertiliser. He focused on sales to farmers suffering from poor crop yields on low quality arable land. The business grew quickly.
In 1993, Liu renamed his company Sichuan Hongda Group.
Around the same time, he saw an opportunity for zinc fertilisers, also a type of plant fertiliser but used in smaller quantity. But he soon realised that the supply of zinc was in short supply, with the country going through a period of rapid industrial development.
His response? To move upstream: in 2003, Sichuan Hongda acquired Yunnan Jinding, a leading zinc miner in Yunnan province. Liu concentrated on boosting production. Within two years, volumes in zinc fertilisers grew from 27,000 to 220,000 tonnes.
Liu then bought other zinc mines in Inner Mongolia, Guizhou and Tibet. In 2007, he went to Africa, to establish a mining company in Tanzania to develop mineral resources in the region. Sichuan Hongda is now China’s third largest zinc producer.
In addition to the zinc business and making fertiliser, Sichuan Hongda is also involved in property development, construction materials manufacturing, and import and export trading.
In 2009, the company achieved Rmb30 billion in revenues and Rmb3 billion in profit.
In his own words
“Integrity is very important in business. People ask me why I repay loans even when no one else is. I say so what if you get away with not paying Rmb10 million today or tomorrow. But next time when you need capital for your business, no one will lend to you. And you end up losing even more.”
Liu has personal assets of Rmb21 billion, ranking 22 on the Hurun Rich List.
Since 1999, Liu has made a number of donations to build schools in impoverished rural areas. His individual contribution is said to have reached Rmb356 million by 2008.
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