From bathroom to boardroom
Updated: 2007-02-02 09:06
Many college students are driven to start their own businesses, but not many started from an abandoned toilet.
Chen Hongjian, 21, a grade-three student at Changchun University in Northeast China's Jilin Province, has risen to prominence for his uprising online consulting business, East China Trade and Business News reports.
While his peers look for jobs in the tough employment market, Chen is busy negotiating with South Korean clients on a cooperation project.
As a result, Chen, who heads an online computer consulting company and the Changchun Sino-Korean Exchange Center, now owns properties worth about 1 million yuan ($128,000).
It all began two years ago.
A major in tourism management, Chen has never been a passive student. He has always wanted to get out and earn money.
"I'm from a worker's family, and I didn't want to add more burden to my parents," Chen said. "I wanted to support myself as early as possible."
So, he began selling small goods, such as books and integrated circuit cards. But then he began to eye a bigger market outside Changchun University.
With the support of his parents and teachers, Chen opened a business consulting company, mainly doing online design and website building business.
"After registering my own company, I had only 400 yuan ($50) left," Chen recalled.
Using the small sum of money, Chen rented an abandoned public toilet as his office.
From there, Chen and his colleagues, all students, created a computer program that can help transfer and process data between two cellphones.
Chen sold the program to a Beijing network company and earned more than 10,000 yuan ($1,200).
Using that money, Chen expanded his business and earned more and more local clients.
Discovering that many South Korean businessmen wanted to do business in Changchun, Chen tried to make friends with them and promote his business among them.
He has organized meetings of the Changchun Sino-Korean Exchange Center, annually for two years and has made several South Korean businessmen his clients.
His hard work yielded fruit. Chen gained a 200,000 yuan ($25,700) investment from a South Korean company recently and hired a South Korean technical expert.
And he says he's not done: "My goal is to make all South Korean companies in the city my clients."