Zhou Furen grew up in the poor mountain village of Xiyang in Haicheng of Liaoning province. Today, the village is widely known as the home of Xiyang Group founded by Zhou in 1988.
Xiyang Group is China's largest producer of magnesia-based refractory materials and sulfur-compound fertilizers. Its output of some products ranks first in the world.
The group's sales reached 19.1 billion yuan in 2009, resulting in a net profit of 1 billion yuan.
Since the early days of Xiyang Group, Zhou devoted himself to the welfare of Xiyang village, providing free education, medical treatment, sanitation and cultural activities to its residents
Zhou is the Secretary of the Party Committee of the village and active in local affairs. He continues to live alongside his employees.
In the process of starting a business, what was the most valuable experience?
You should have a great amount of information. A manager should be diligent and hardworking. With these, one can guarantee the sustainable and healthy development of an enterprise.
What were the major turning points?
First, we started with a coalmine. Our product has been upgraded from ordinary coal to high and purified coal. Also the time when we shifted from the coal to fertilizer - crossing industries and regions transformation and transforming management.
How did it change your management philosophy and methods?
It was a serious test. We felt we should keep cool-headed in handling the crisis. It forced us to focus on products with higher profit. It helped improve our management.
How to keep Xiyang's advantage through innovation?
We have invested quite a lot in product innovation, in the research on new energy. We started as a rural enterprise and are now an international company with overseas plants and mines. We have adopted an innovative attitude to technology and resources.
What is the relationship between an entrepreneur and social responsibility?
An enterprise cannot be separated from society. Each enterprise should have its social responsibility. We are planning to invest in local infrastructure construction, which, I believe, will benefit local people and the society in a long run. The growth of an enterprise can help push forward social progress.