Inventor's music box company hits the right note
Updated: 2010-12-24 11:16
By Li Xinzhu (China Daily)
SHANGHAI - Zhu Yunde, founder and chairman of Ningbo Yunsheng Co, looks like a typical worker in Ningbo, a port city in Zhejiang province, and says that rather than living a life filled with social functions like other entrepreneurs, he enjoys reading and writing in his spare time.
Of his inventions, Zhu Yunde, founder and chairman of Ningbo Yunsheng Co, says he is most proud of those in the field of permanent magnet materials. [Photo / Provided to China Daily]
Regarded as the company's most dedicated worker, he can generally be found in the laboratory or his office from 8 am until after the factory closes.
Of his inventions, he says he is most proud of those in the field of permanent magnet materials, which have applications in a variety of electronic products, for example wind-powered electric generators.
In a two-hour interview with China Daily, Zhu said that Ningbo Yunsheng is the only company in China fully equipped to make sintered neodymium iron boron magnets, a type of permanent magnet made from powdered rare earths. But most of all, he talked about his dedication to his family and workers, and his personal values.
"I am not in this for the money," he says of his job. "All I care about is to add value to my life and the lives of those who share my commitment."
After graduating from Zhejiang University with an engineering degree, Zhu, like many of his generation, was assigned to work at a State-owned enterprise. There, his budding research talent was recognized and, in 1994, his employers offered to promote him to factory director. He turned down the offer because he didn't feel comfortable accepting what he considered a "favor".
On a 340,000 yuan ($51,000) loan, Zhu developed and patented his own version of the component, then started his own factory to produce music boxes. He was 43.
Ningbo Yunsheng grew from a small workshop to a major enterprise with annual sales exceeding 1 billion yuan. Today it has more than 20 subsidiaries and about 10,000 employees.
Success was far from certain at first. His initial research into music boxes was unproductive.
"That was the darkest time in my life," Zhu said. He was so depressed that more than once he contemplated suicide. "I am glad that I persevered," he said.
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