Outspoken property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang’s secret to success

Outspoken property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang’s secret to success

Staff Reporter



Ren Zhiqiang attends the Boao Forum for Asia. (Photo/CNS)

The 62-year-old chairman of Beijing Huayuan Property, Ren Zhiqiang, is known for his frank and straightforward criticism of China’s property policies. In an interview with the celebrity entrepreneur in late October, the Guangzhou-based Southern People Weekly unlocked the mystery of Ren’s outspoken character.Now serving as the chairman of the Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology, an organization devoted to environmental protection, Ren was born in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning in 1951. During the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1969 — when Chairman Mao alleged that bourgeois elements were infiltrating the government and society at large aiming to restore capitalism, and insisted that these “revisionists” be removed through violent class struggle — Ren’s parents were thrown into jail and he and his siblings lived in poverty.

Later, Ren’s father’s reputation was restored and he rose to the high ranks of the party and the government. Having lived through hardships during childhood, Ren never developed a habit for extravagance and luxury once his family became rich and powerful. He has not allowed his children to be indulgent or develop expensive habits either, the weekly said.

Ren has expressed his concerns for those born after China started pursuing open markets and reforms. “Despite being relatively well-off, they are unable to find contentment,” Ren remarked.

“In the past, those who were discontent with their lives tried their best to change their situation, but now, people seem to want others to make the changes for them,” he said.

Ren retired from his position as chairman of the state-run Huayuan Group in 2011 but continues to lead Beijing Huayuan Property. He once famously stated, “Houses are built for rich people,” and subsequently received a lot of criticism for his candor, although some commentators looked at his remark as a blunt but honest reflection of the business world, in which no businessman produces goods for people who cannot afford them.

In an online poll conducted in 2009 to identify the “men that women want to marry,” Ren was picked as one of the ideal candidates, not because he is rich or good-looking but because he is outspoken and frank, the weekly reported.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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