Young bosses inspire others to follow suit

CHEN Tianqiao, known as the Chinese Bill Gates, is the head of China's leading online game operator – Shanda Networking. He is only 30 years old but already a billionaire. 

Recently, he also earned the honour as a delegate to the 15th National Congress of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) in Beijing. 

Chen, together with four friends, started an Internet firm at the age of 26 and in three years, his company had cornered 68% of the domestic Internet game market. 

The online games “Legendary” and “Chuangqi” exclusively run by Chen's company are the most profitable Internet games in the country and Chen has become a legendary figure in the minds of millions of young Chinese. 

Among last year's top 10 outstanding Chinese youths, four are CEOs and board chairmen.  

It was the first time such a large number of CEOs was selected since the campaign was initiated by the All-China Youth Federation and the China Youth Development Federation 13 years ago.  

“When I started my own business, the country happened to be in an open and prosperous era, characterised by a dramatic rise in the number of Internet surfers.  

“My business, therefore, developed smoothly,” Chen said, adding that if he had set up a company before China's opening up, he and his partners would not have been able to remain afloat, much less attract venture capital from society.  

A group of young entrepreneurs shared Chen's story and feelings at the recent CYLC meeting, and their success is changing the career expectations of Chinese youths.  

Hong Jun, a university graduate recently employed by a Beijing-based foreign company, said he is planning to open a comic book store when he turns 30.  

“Since I was a child, I have dreamt of being my own boss. Now, the fact that more and more young Chinese are going from rags to riches has sparked my enthusiasm again,” he said. 

Shui Li, another delegate who runs her own flower shop, said young people starting their own businesses affirm their social value and contribute to social and economic development.  

As early as 1999, CYLC had begun encouraging young people to set up their own firms.  

That same year, the prestigious Qinghua University authorised students to start their own businesses, offering a leave of absence.  

In January 2000, the Education Ministry gave a nod of approval to Qinghua's pioneering behaviour, and other universities began following suit.  

In May this year, CYLC launched, a website to help young people apply for start-up loans from banks. – People's Daily  

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