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Chinese Entrepreneurs Will Set Examples at the Expo

2010. 25 January

Chinese private companies will display benchmarks for others to follow at next summer's World's Fair in Shanghai.

by Xinjun Liang

( There is no doubt that China is a socialistic country. Most Chinese companies listed in Global 500 are state-owned enterprises, which are also known as "eldest sons of the Republic." China's private enterprises have grown up in a market with a special political and legal environment. They have shown great courage and wisdom against hardships, which cannot be easily summarized into a simple Puritan spirit of capitalism.

As China rises, the deregulation by the government, which essentially helps loosen control of the private economy, has directly contributed to China's economic miracle. For American citizens, "Every home is someone's castle." The concept of private enterprise seems too conventional and it is taken for granted by many. Perhaps Americans have a favorable view on companies such as Hewlett-Packard HPQ - news - people ) as they are becoming increasing socially responsible.

Since the traditional communism doesn't encourage private ownership, the Government has named private enterprise "non-state managed enterprise." Private enterprises have been created under the economic reform and have experienced very tough struggles. So the opportunity to make their voice heard is very precious for Chinese private enterprises.

In the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, a Chinese Private Enterprise Pavilion (CPEP) will appear. Its official name is the "Dynamic Matrix." The sixteen co-sponsors, which are also regarded as "China's first class private enterprises," have been participating in this project. This World's Fair will open in May, and is expected to be the largest in history, with 70 million people expected to attend.

This "first class" concept is quite fascinating. Having stood the test of the market economy with Chinese characteristics, a number of local enterprises have grown up and acquired enough courage and strength to stand out as the "first class" on such a world stage, which is no doubt exciting.

CPEP uses " Living cell" as its design concept. The pavilion is located in the Puxi area of the Expo exhibition zone and covers an area of about 6,000 square meters. Obviously, this is not the biggest building in the Expo, but it is regarded as the hall of the fame for Chinese entrepreneurs, and expectations are heightened as we are close to the opening of the World Expo

Such excitement is no less than what the "Mayflower" Protestants gained when they landed in the New World. The Chinese entrepreneurs who sponsor the CPEP carry a similar dream of creating the New World. They are business leaders including Ma Yun from Alibaba Group who is also considered as the next Bill Gates; Guo Guangchang from Fosun Group, the largest private conglomerate in China, which aspires to be another Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK - news - people ); Zhou Chenjian from Metersbonwe, counterpart of GAP and Zara in China, who wants to become "the world's tailor."

Their success is a new interpretation of the Protestant Work Ethic and the duplication of capital accumulation in China. In the past 30 years, private enterprises have rapidly grown in China and made impressive success, but are still controversial. The shakeout of Chinese private enterprises becomes intensified due to fierce market competition. A small group developing at steady pace has been on the track of modern enterprises through the market survival test. We can see a lot of advanced examples in business models, brand strategies, corporate responsibilities, and entrepreneurs' image-building. The concepts of "development and balance," "socialized enterprises" and "economy elite promote the social development" has been generally accepted.

This is why the private company display at the Shanghai Expo will highlight the idea of new benchmark for private enterprises. We can understand the meaning of benchmark from these main exhibitors at CPEP, including Fosun Group, Alibaba Group, China Minsheng Bank, Dalian Wanda Group, Red Star Macalline Group, Suning Group, Metersbonwe Group, E-House Holdings, Neoglory Holdings, Huayi Brother Media, Oppel Lighting, Tellhow Sci-tech, ASD Group, Focus Media ( FMCN - news - people ), Jala Group, Wanfeng Group. The benchmark lies in their core competence as a model, reference and direction of the development of Chinese private enterprises.

The research and launch of new benchmark is a conclusion and promotion of periodical achievement by Chinese private enterprises. This Dynamic Matrix pavilion would not only be considered a splendid showroom because of its national influence, but also would create a mechanism of self-modification, self-thinking and self-development, which will offer great potential for future development.

From the project start, the Chinese Private Enterprises Pavilion (CPEP) has shown its sponsors' grand positioning. The resource and influence from the 16 exhibitors can form a huge platform with a great integration space and capability. Therefore, the pavilion's platform is not only a theoretical or conceptual "static think tank," but also a "dynamic think tank" equipped with powerful resources for implementation.

The platform's capability has been demonstrated in the construction and promotion phase. The speed of project initiation, design finalization and construction has beaten all the other pavilions -- the total building time is only one-third of others which means two years less, but the private enterprises pavilion was the first to be completed. It is said that only Chinese private entrepreneurs can lead such kind of "impossible mission."

The artistic directors of the Beijing Olympic Games' opening ceremony are working, together with a large number of economic elites and entertainment stars, on shows and programs presented in pavilion. Creative elements will give vigor to this building and keep it in the spotlight.

Just as the pavilion's theme song says: "Life is like the sparkle as fireworks lit, and I will use all my energy to burst into brilliance." Chinese private entrepreneurs are beginning to present their new image to the world.

Xinjun Liang is vice chairman and CEO of Fosun International. Fosun is one of China's largest conglomerates. Its media division licenses the Forbes brand in China. Fosun is quarterbacking the Chinese private enterprise pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.