Born to a poor family in Henan in 1958, Xu Jiayin had a tough childhood, especially after his mother died when he was young. Xu went on to study at the Wuhan Institute of Iron and Steel, which led to a job at Wuyang Iron and Steel, where he worked for ten years.
Small is beautiful
In 1992, Xu moved south to work in booming Shenzhen, and in 1994 decamped to Guangzhou to develop new markets, where he helped manage a real estate project. At the time, new property developments usually consisted of large units, often with three bedrooms. Xu reversed this trend by making sure that his own projects contained more small units. As a result, his development sold out quickly, creating a storm in Guangzhou’s residential market.
Within two and a half years, Xu had generate more than Rmb200 million ($30 million) worth of revenues for his employer – yet his salary was just Rmb 4,000 a month. So in 1996, he established his own company, Evergrande Real Estate, in Guangzhou. He kept the model from the first development that he worked on – “small units, small profits, quick return of funds”.
Each of the company’s developments was a success and by 2004 Evergrande was ranked as one of China’s top 10 largest developers.
Need to know
Evergrande listed in Hong Kong in 2009, raising $726 million. In 2010, the company’s annual sales reached Rmb52.7 billion. Since 2004 began to expand into a series of second and third-tier cities, which made it something of a pioneer. Previously cities of that rank had been largely ignored by China’s other large developers.
The company is also a major sponsor of sports, especially football, badminton and volleyball. In the last three years alone, Evergrande has invested Rmb400 million.
Xu ranks 25 on the 2010 Hurun Rich List, with a fortune worth Rmb25 billion.
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