Factory owner 'can't get money to fill orders'
Updated: 2012-03-02 08:05
By Xu Junqian (China Daily)
SHANGHAI - You would expect factory owner Ying Jiangbo to be happy every time he receives an order, right?
Wrong. These days, his heart sinks when he takes calls from buyers wanting this and that to be delivered on tight schedules. Ying's problem is that he can no longer rely on his money-lending friends to provide him with the loans needed to buy materials and pay workers to fill orders.
Like many thousands of factory owners in Ying's native town of Yiwu, Zhejiang province - which is one giant bazaar of goods big and small produced around the Yangtze River Delta region - he is troubled by a breakdown of the credit chain.
The high rate of loan defaults has drained the pool of funds in the underground lending market, which is the main source of funding to many private-sector businesspeople in the region.
"Of course, everyone would love to see his company do a brisk business, yet my problem is I can't get the money I need to fill those orders," said Ying in a phone interview with China Daily.
Since leaving school at the age of 24, Ying has worked hard to realize the dream of becoming his own boss, a dream shared by many thousands of enterprising young people in his native town.
Ying worked as an advertiser, a salesman and "whatever would bring him money" and then poured all of the earnings, plus some loans from relatives and friends - altogether 100,000 yuan ($15,800) - to go into business on his own in 2010.
Looking back, Ying said he has gone through many ups and downs, but "never before did I feel as frustrated as I do now."
Even in those early days when he was one of those budding businessmen who followed the path of the earlier generation by starting what is called "micro enterprises", it just never occurred to him that it was hard to make phone calls and visit everyone in his phone book to ask if he could borrow money.
"Entrepreneurship is in us Zhejiang people by nature. And it's never been easy. But I guess I just picked the wrong time to develop my talent," said Ying.
The factory, Yiwu Dream Electronic Technology, has always been busy, running day and night, seven days a week, and orders never stop coming in. Even the rising cost of materials and labor has never posed a problem, as his products, priced between three to 10 yuan, sell like hotcakes most of the time.
Although Ying didn't reveal the turnover of the company, he said the sales numbers of 2011 were twice the previous year's.
Yet, Ying recalled most of his days as being a "debtor" rather than a "boss".
"When orders arrive, we need to pay for materials and transportation first with our own money. And it usually takes a very long time for clients to get the balance due," he said. "So the more orders that come, the more worried I become."
But Ying said he is optimistic and confident about his company, especially now with a loan of 250,000 yuan offered by Alibaba Finance, which he described as "a godsend".
"Good times or bad times, people get to buy things, and we get to sell things," said Ying. "And all I need to do is to find and make what people want to buy, and perhaps hope for some more cash from God knows where. But I know that definitely won't be from banks," he asserted.
(China Daily 03/02/2012 page3)