Baisitai – The Cable Manufacturer Of Shenzhen
Success is always fascinating. It is often the fruit of many years and untold hours of struggle and hard work. There are no short cuts here. Stories of triumph and achievements against great odds are inspirational. It spurs one to put one’s head down to the grindstone and keep one’s eye unwaveringly focused on the goal.
The life of Mr. Hu Jun, born into an ordinary family, in the Sichuan Province of China, fifty years ago, is one such tale. The fourth son of the family, he lost his father Mr. Chen, who was a small scale farmer, when he was three years old. His mother, Mrs. Hu, worked in the farm to put food on the table. Mr. Hu Jun helped his mother on the farm while also attending the village school. Times were tough and luxuries were mere dreams. There was no money for college and formal education came to a halt after high school. But, Mr. Hu Jun appreciatively remembers the years his mother struggled to keep her family fed and clothed. As a mark of respect and affection towards her, he chose his surname – Hu.
In 1991, at the age of 21, Mr. Hu Jun started working in a factory that manufactured cables. It was a tedious job that paid 200 RMB a month. He worked as a welder in the Taiwanese company, iWay. His dedication and excellent work ethics paid off. In a couple of years, he was promoted to the CNC department and then in another three years, he was made the team leader of the production unit. His years at iWay, working his way up from the factory floor to the position of team leader, gave him in-depth and valuable understanding of the cable industry.
Armed with this knowledge, Mr. Hu Jun took a bold and decidedly risky step. He ventured to set up his first company, trading in what he knows best – cables. The year was 1998. Buying and selling cables, domestically, helped him to test the waters and gain hands on experience in running a business. Within a year, he set up his first outlet in the famous SEG market in Shenzhen.
Asia’s, if not the world’s largest electronics market, SEG is a gadget lover’s paradise. It is located in the commercial hub of Shenzhen. Taking up eight floors of the SEG Plaza, SEG electronics market has spread out to encompass the nearby buildings too. The market is famous for its wide array of electronic goods. It is easy to find components capacitors, resistances, connectors, screws, etc. and consumer electronics, such as cell phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, to name a few. There are shops in the SEG market that sell second hand goods and knock offs. The electronic market alone attracts tourists and gadgeteers from all over the world.
Roughly four years down the line, in 1998, Mr. Hu Jun diversified his business and went into production setting up the Shenzhen Baisitai Computer Accessories Co. Ltd in the famous Special Economic Zone Shenzhen, China.
Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, established in May 1980, is the first of its kind in the People’s Republic of China. The country had introduced sweeping market reforms to pull millions out of poverty and to spur its GDP, in 1978. Now about four decades later, Shenzhen has grown into a world-class tech hub and one of the busiest financial centers in the world. The region is the center of high-tech industry and manufacturing in southern China. The third-busiest container port in the world and the fourth-busiest airport on the Chinese mainland is located here. It also attracts domestic and international tourists throughout the year. Shenzhen was one of first facets of the Chinese economy in transition, from a centrally planned to a market based economy.
Since its inception Mr. Hu Jun’s company has grown from strength to strength. Baisitai specializes in manufacturing computer connecting cables, power cables, network cables, data cables and fibre-optical cables and so on. The factory harnesses the latest in production technology, complete with testing equipment and reliable quality control and has earned the ISO9001:2000 certification for Quality Management System. Spread over 3000 sq m, the factory employs hundreds of workers.
Their current turnover is about 0.4 billion RMB. The products are made strictly according to international standards, with monthly output of more than 5 million. The computer accessory cables are sent to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Macao and Hong Kong, and exported to over 10 countries across Europe, Asia and America. The noted players in the world of electronics are Baisitai’s customers. Cannon uses his cables, so does Apple. In fact, the company is certified by Apple Inc. to manufacture MFi Products.
MFi stands for “Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad”. It is a licensing programme devised by Apple Inc. that allows third parties to develop, manufacture and sell hardware and software peripherals that work with Apple’s iPod, iPad and iPhone. The programme covers various device connectors including the connector cable, headphone jack, original dock connector and the newer Lightning connector, as well as AirPlay support. Companies joining the MFi program and passing certification tests are permitted to display certain MFi-related logos on their product packaging, like the “Made for iPod” badge.
According to Mr. Hu Jun there is no one ‘secret’ behind his success. He attributes the achievements of his company to certain basic principles. Maintaining highest standards of professionalism is vital, he believes. Quality of products and services must always be maintained, under all circumstances. This will build confidence in the brand and raise brand loyalty among customers. If the products are proven to be reliable, Mr. Hu Jun states, they sell themselves.
Creativity is another major ingredient in his success. Baisitai is constantly improving its product range and enhancing its services. The goal is to provide each customer with a more efficient and innovative product that transcends his expectations time after time. Transparency in all his business dealings has won Mr. Hu Jun the respect and admiration of his peers and competitors. It has also fostered a sense of belonging among his employees, partners and other stakeholders. The feeling that they are all part of a team, working towards the same goal, ensures high productivity and boosts company morale. Building strong relationships and empowering networks within the business community has also stood Mr. Hu Jun in good stead. The philosophy of strong connections and sincere relationships run into this modest man’s personal life also.
He advises the younger generation not to take short cuts to get rich quickly. Wealth will follow hard work. Doing business and conducting all dealings within the framework of law and within the bounds of one’s conscience is important. The wise businessman understands the urge and need to seize opportunities as and when they arise. He counsels the younger generation to move forward with focus and to stick to the right path.
Mr. Hu Jun’s story and multitude of such stories make up China’s economic boom narrative. From a communist empire to a leading world player, the country’s economy has mushroomed on the strength and perseverance of millions of entrepreneurs and manufacturers like him. Today, the world’s second largest economy has managed to surmount the recent global recession. As reported by Bloomberg Markets, the International Monetary Fund upgraded its growth forecast for China’s economy in 2017 to 6.5 percent, 0.3 percentage points higher than their October forecast, on the basis of expectations for continued government stimulus.
The head of Baisitai sees both his country and their neighbour, India, as the next economic super powers on the world stage. He expects the Indian economy to continue to accelerate and grow during the coming years. India, he believes, will grow as fast as China did in the past few decades. He sees many similarities in both economies. India and China have abundant labour capital and natural resources to spur and sustain growth.
Sharing his wealth and experience is second nature to the managing director of Baisitai. Quite reluctant to expand on his philanthropy, he quietly states that wealth must be shared and used wisely to help those in need. He has chipped in, time and again, to alleviate the distress of the less fortunate. He feels humbled that he could help quite a number of people after the devastating earthquake in the region, a few years ago. It is the remarkable and generous deeds of many like him that has earned Shenzhen the honour be being chosen as China’s “Most Charitable City” for several years in a row.
The successful businessman is married to Candy Tang and they have two children Tommy Hu and Alice Hu. While he considers the founder of Huawei, Mr. Ren Zhengfei as his inspiration, his own journey from a rural farm to the bustling commercial hub of Shenzhen is no less remarkable. As Baisitai flourishes, increasing its market share with each passing year, Mr. Hu Jun can take pride in how much he has achieved and how far he has come from his humble beginnings.