The Intersection of Passion and Wisdom
Background: Not long ago, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Think Tank Director JeffMorgan, the Deputy Ministry of Trade and Industry, the President of CarltonCommunications, the CEO of HSBC Global Investment Bank, and other members of anelite British delegation came to study the Continental Hope Group. Dr. BinChen, president of the Continental Hope Group, warmly received the visitors atthe Homeland Hotel, and gave wonderful answers on topics of interest to theguests.
Hope Group’s model ofdiversified industrial development is dangerous in the UK, because it isdifficult for management strategy to be a precise science. Will your Groupdevelop gradually as you enter Western markets?
President Bin Chen:
For all Western andChinese companies, the path of development is somewhat different in differentexternal environments. The Western market economy has been very successful overits hundred years of development, because market segmentation causes fiercecompetition that requires companies to focus on only one industry for success. Abusiness must be deeply rooted, otherwise it will be like grass growing insand, which has numerous roots but can be easily torn up.
China got a late start on a market economy,and the current development is still not mature enough. A market environmentover the maturation process for an enterprise provides great opportunities fordevelopment and success. As long as you have keen insight and a strategicvision to take advantage of opportunities, you are likely to gain a foothold inany field. If such a market environment thrives for a long time, Chinesecompanies will continue to exist in diverse markets. A more specializedprofessional road may eventually be a necessity for Chinese enterprises, but westill have a long way to go.
In addition, the Hope Group chose to takethe path of “advantageous diversification.” Our diversified businesses arebased entirely on their own resources, and we always adhere to the professionalroad and only enter industries in which we have an advantage.
Hope Group has a veryinteresting name. Why was “Hope” chosen?
Chairman of the Group’s Board,Mr. Yongyan Liu, chose the name Hope. He said “hope” represents good things, afuture for the people. It’s like a star hanging in the sky, guiding peopletowards success and happiness. Any one person, or one enterprise that dedicatesits efforts to a dream has hope! He is a very positive person, and has such anattitude for business that he will never lose motivation or get lost.
Family managed businesses havebeen very successful in Europe. Do you think Hope Group will have such anachievement? What is a key factor in Hope’s success?
Enterprise development witha core of collective leadership is very important. Western cohesion comes fromsound corporate culture. For historical reasons, there has rarely been enoughinstitutional and normative cohesion in China, but the Chinese people attachgreat importance to blood relations and the interests of family. In ourbusiness, the interests of the family members tend to be highly consistent,which establishes a strong relationship of trust. This support from the commoninterests of trust is cohesion in a sense, even more than rules and norms.
Of course, as companies become bigger and stronger and think of thelong term, they rely on the modern enterprise system. Hope Group hasconsciously introduced a modern enterprise structure. Now, Hope Group is notentirely a family business, but a family that also looks much like a modernenterprise.
China has a famous poem that reads, “Cloudsonly block our sight because we are at the highest level.” The key factor inHope Group’s success is that we have a very firm, very clear belief: in anytime, in any environment, we will remain calm, rational, and devoted to our owndevelopment path. We started with 3,000 RMB from the sale of four brothers’home, and now we are involved in electricity, electronics, HVAC, hotels,construction, and nearly twenty other industries. Each industry is functioningwithin the very successful Group, and every step we have taken is firmly in aforward direction, which I can proudly say will continue.
What about the corporateculture of your Group?
The Chairman of AmericanIBM, Thomas Watson, said, “What makes one organization achieve success overanother organization is its basic philosophical, spiritual, and intrinsicmotivation.” I very much agree with his point of view. If a business is like acomputer, corporate culture is like the software. If software is not well-designed,it will directly affect the computer’s operation.
The core spirit of Hope’s culture is, “serve the country withindustry and always strive to be first.” This core concept shows the patrioticfactor of traditional Chinese culture, and the idea of striving for success hasgreat appeal for the staff. Around this core, there is, “working diligentlymakes a real man, building an excellent team is the true pursuit ofexcellence,” and other criteria. Hope Group has such optimized and personalized“software” running under every one of our successes.
British elite association, Europe, theUnited States and other economically developed countries, understandingbusiness strategy, corporate culture, success factors, forming a content-richresource base, promoting mediated exchanges of learning among corporateutives.