Returned overseas Chinese entrepreneur shares private economy insights
By Zhang Shasha  ·  2024-03-12  ·   Source: NO.11 MARCH 14, 2024


Shi Qianping attends the Second Session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing in March (COURTESY PHOTO)

In 1999, Shi Qianping founded JHF Technology Group Co. Ltd., a hi-tech industrial printer enterprise.

During the 1990s, with limited technological support, Chinese brands predominantly occupied the mid-to-low-end printer market, while the high-end segment was dominated by imports. It was during this time that Shi hatched an ambitious plan—to create the world's best industrial printer.

With an unwavering dedication to research and innovation, JHF Inkjet printers have become global frontrunners. The company's products are now sold in numerous countries, and its collaborative efforts in researching and producing top-quality industrial printers have solidified its influential global footprint.

Apart from his success as an entrepreneur, Shi is also a returned overseas Chinese from the United States. This unique status provides him with a profound understanding of both overseas cultures and markets.

Leveraging his extensive business management expertise and broad network of overseas connections, Shi has over the years consistently provided valuable insights and suggestions for local and national economic development. His recommendations for addressing challenges encountered by overseas professionals returning for entrepreneurship, as well as suggestions for advancing collaborative development in provincial border regions, have garnered significant attention from related authorities.

He has also pursued corporate social responsibility, dedicating significant efforts to poverty alleviation and fostering mutual understanding between people of different countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a China-proposed initiative to enhance connectivity along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. His dedication has gained him widespread respect.

In 2023, then, Shi became a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body that is reshuffled every five years.

Inspiration through investigation

Throughout more than two decades in business management, Shi, like every entrepreneur, has navigated a myriad of difficulties. These obstacles have ranged from initial struggles with limited startup capital and a dearth of orders, to significant research investments that yielded little progress, and other challenges including a lack of consumer confidence in fledgling domestic brands.

His experiences have brought him a clear understanding of the hardships occurring along the entrepreneurial journey.

As a result, Shi developed a keen interest in the topic of business development. "As a representative of the returned overseas Chinese community and a private entrepreneur, I have consistently contemplated how to harness the role of overseas Chinese and facilitate the growth of the private economy," he told Beijing Review.

Over the years, Shi has been used to seeking practical solutions to challenges in business activities through field surveys to enterprises, industrial associations and educational institutions. Since last year, his investigations have become even more prevalent, and his proposals are all based on the insights gained from these research efforts.

"Overseas and domestic markets have different product standards." "We don't have mature distribution channels in overseas markets."…

During his investigations, Shi noted a growing trend of domestic enterprises, motivated by the BRI, seeking overseas expansion. However, they face numerous challenges, including insufficient local understanding and difficulties in accessing authoritative information. The combination of these obstacles often leads to a host of problems.

"Overseas Chinese possess a unique advantage of connecting the domestic and overseas markets," Shi explained. "Utilizing their knowledge of the local society, economy, culture, laws and customs where they are based, they can aid China's enterprises in building a stronger local presence. Simultaneously, this approach fosters their own business growth, resulting in a mutually beneficial outcome."

He highlighted one of his proposals submitted at this year's CPPCC annual session, which took place in Beijing from March 4 to 10, suggesting that the Central Government offer support for enterprises to actively participate in collaborative projects that prioritize the improvement of people's wellbeing and charitable initiatives in Belt and Road partners.

Shi expressed his motivation to continue to harness the strengths of the overseas Chinese community, with the aim of enhancing understanding of China and Chinese enterprises among foreigners, as well as facilitating their entry and integration into overseas markets.

Research and innovation within private enterprises hold particular significance for him, as he attributes the strong growth of his own business to progress in scientific research and innovation.

As far as Shi is concerned, private enterprises are an important force driving technological innovation. "The technological advancements within private enterprises directly impact the global competitiveness of Chinese products and shape the perception of China among all businesses using Chinese products," he underscored.

But his research has unveiled numerous challenges in the current research and innovation landscape for private enterprises, such as how to protect research achievements and trade secrets, extra strict thresholds for participating in government projects and insufficient financing channels.

In response, he submitted a proposal on stimulating research and innovation in private enterprises at the just concluded CPPCC National Committee session. It recommends creating a favorable environment, enhancing protection of intellectual property rights, and improving related legal regulations.

A technician at work in Eastern CNC Technology Co., a private digital equipment manufacturer, in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, on February 29 (XINHUA)

A year of achievements

Reflecting on his inaugural year as a CPPCC National Committee member, Shi has accumulated remarkable memories and achievements. "Throughout this first year, I participated in extensive new member training, forums and group study activities, which broadened my horizons, honed my skills and enriched my understanding of my responsibilities," Shi remarked.

In March 2023, he submitted a proposal on maximizing the involvement of overseas Chinese in enhancing people-to-people connectivity along the Belt and Road routes at the First Session of 14th CPPCC National Committee. Last August, then, the related government department responded with a letter outlining five specific measures: promoting information exchange, advancing cooperation, enhancing Chinese cultural promotion, effective storytelling about China and supporting overseas epidemic prevention and control.

Notably, his proposal regarding a legislation on safeguarding and advancing the private sector has made strides. At a symposium on February 21, he was informed by the related authorities that the drafting of this law had commenced, and the legislative process would be accelerated.

"I am both proud and content to see my proposal receiving legislative endorsement and being actively advanced," Shi said.

"The recognition of these proposals has strengthened my resolve to offer sincere, practical and constructive input this year, serving as a catalyst that fuels my proactive engagement in political consultation and policy discussions," he stated. BR

(Print Edition: The Power of Proactive Proposals)

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon

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