“I think the rise of China is one of the great events of all economic and human history, and I think this will be overwhelmingly a positive thing for the region and the world.” — Former Australian PM Paul Keating
There’s something fresh and different in the air, coming in from the Far East. Maybe it’s got to do with the New Year of the Rooster — “it will be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward.”
And, it feels evident in both business and creative enterprises.
For example, I’ve been listening to some excellent new music from a group of Asian-American musicians who are all making their mark, including: an Oakland-based funk band Trace Repeat, who are fronted by two hip Asian American cats, and whose new record is laying down some funky music while paying homage to Motown; songwriter and social activist MILCK, who could no longer stay quiet about speaking her mind and heart, released an affecting new video “Quiet” at the Women’s March in DC; and, songwriter Peter Su’s jaunty new record which I described as “Pet Sounds for a Millennial generation.”
Then while researching the history of our now ubiquitous television sets, I came across a very modern Chinese entrepreneur, Luke Liu, who co-founded Shineworld Innovations/Soulaca, a display technology developer and manufacturer.
All of these people, who are breaking past old stereotypes, have roots in China, the world’s largest nation and one that most of us know so little about. They’re all professional, enthusiastic, respectful, and fun to work with. And, they all symbolize that “positive” energy coming in from the East.
Luke Liu is a reflection of the rising group of entrepreneurs in China — a young man born outside a big metropolis in a small village, with very few advantages except for a relentless ambition to overcome his challenging life and find a job in the big city.
Born in the late 1970s, he was also inspired by his father, a former soldier who unsuccessfully tried his hand at his own business. But his father’s burning desire to better his own family’s circumstances, also motivated Liu, who admits:
“For most of my childhood friends and me, our only dream was having a meal to eat and maybe getting new clothes in the Chinese New Year. Longer term, my goal was to ‘fly’ out of our poor village to get a job. So I studied very hard and finally opened the door to the Hefei University of Technology.”
After Liu realized his goal to graduate University with a degree in electronics, he got his fantasy job in the big city, working for Foxconn in Shenzhen, and then Liteon and Dupont after that. Driven to succeed, he managed to work on projects for a variety of leading high tech companies including IBM, Dell, HP, Panasonic, and Sony.
“After 10 years of working with multinational companies, I and my American partner Norman Clark Shicker, who had studied the Chinese market and business for 30 years, along with Vivian Yang, a talented businesswoman and fellow shareholder, imagined our own entrepreneurial dream. In 2009 we founded Shineworld Innovations (SWI) in Dongguan, and shortly after, we acquired two factories that had been in the manufacturing business since 2003, so we had built-in continuity. And, we’d made our dream become real.”
Now SWI/Soulaca develops products including waterproof/mirror TVs, and custom LCD modules/OLED used in wearable devices/body cams, various financial devices, and intelligent home solutions,
This growing entrepreneurial spirit in China often manifests itself in the lives of ordinary people like Luke Liu, and his older brother Hong, who left school early to help support his younger sibling. Hong now owns a successful design and construction business in Shanghai. Their ambition and forward-looking optimism in the face of daunting challenges, symbolizes the new entrepreneur in China.
In fact, while Forbes says the State continues to play a vital role in the Chinese economy, there’s another increasingly dynamic part of the national economy — this rising group of vibrant entrepreneurs and the ever-growing private sector. And many of these young entrepreneurs, like Liu, weren’t given many advantages, financial or otherwise, while they dreamed their visions. So it follows that Luke Liu and his wife, Byrone, have been inspired to “provide financial aid to young students, to encourage them and keep them in school.”
For Soulaca’s Liu, who now strives to meet customers’ display needs with leading technology solutions, his basic philosophy hasn’t changed — it’s to “do whatever it takes to overcome your challenges.”
His philosophy precisely captures the indomitable spirit of the new Chinese entrepreneur.
Continue to bring on the Year of the Rooster!