Entrepreneurial spirit in Wang Jianlin’s Opinion: Innovation, Persistence and Responsibility


Following is an article published on Chinese Entrepreneur Magazine on September 28, 2017

Recently, the Opinions of the State Council on Creating Environment for Healthy Growth of Entrepreneurs, Propagating Spirits of Excellent Entrepreneurs, and Playing the Important Roles of Entrepreneurs (the “Opinions”) was enacted, which clarifies entrepreneurs as the important subject of the economic activities, and requires creating environment for healthy growth of entrepreneurs, propagating spirits of excellent entrepreneurs, and playing the important roles of entrepreneurs. Mr. Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Dalian Wanda Group (“Wanda”) shared his opinion with Chinese Entrepreneur immediately after reading the Opinions.

It is the first time that the CPC Central Committee and State Council enact document to recognize and definitely determine the status of entrepreneurs, and encourage the entrepreneurs’ initiative spirits since the founding of new China, which impressed Mr. Wang Jianlin a lot. He also feels relieved, as there are gossips about the status of entrepreneurs, especial private entrepreneurs, in a certain period, which puzzles some of the private entrepreneurs. Now, these gossips will disappear, and all the puzzlements will be cleared up upon the enactment of this flagship and directive document.

Actually, entrepreneurial spirit is a broad concept that is not even clearly defined in previous classics. Mr. Wang Jianlin shared with us the entrepreneurial spirit in the mind of an entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience. “What goes first is spirit of adventure. An entrepreneur must dare to try and make breakthrough”, he said. It is specified in the Opinions to support the innovation and development of entrepreneurs. For Wang Jianlin, the spirit of innovation is the core of entrepreneurial spirit.

The second essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is persistence. All the enterprises may face opportunities and challenges in the process of innovation and development, while the entrepreneurs will never stop seeking their visions and dreams. “All the famous entrepreneurs in China and around the world are very persistent”, said Mr. Wang.

The third one is responsibility. Wang Jianlin has always seriously considered these questions: why we start up business? Why the enterprises seek greater development? What are the ultimate goals for the development of enterprises? Here comes his answer: the ultimate goal of an enterprise is to become a social enterprise.

He noted that the social responsibilities of Wanda mainly involve creation of job opportunities, tax contributions, organization of charity activities, environmental protection undertakings, etc. Wanda builds and manages Wanda Plazas, resorts and hotels, all belonging to the labor-intensive industry. With this business model, Wanda created the most service jobs in the past decade. Last year, Wanda created over 260,000 jobs, including about 89,000 jobs for university students, accounting for 2% of the new jobs created nationwide. In 2016, Wanda contributed over RMB 30 billion taxes, which is expected to exceed RMB 40 billion this year, said Wang Jianlin.

In addition to cash-based poverty relief, Wanda also successfully explored the new model of enterprise-county targeted poverty alleviation. For example, Wanda set up anti-poverty funds and occupational college, and built tourist town in Danzhai County, Guizhou Province. Danzhai Wanda Village has now received over 1.5 million tourists since it was opened for public 2 months ago. The annual tourist reception is expected to exceed over 3 million person times, creating over 10,000 jobs. In terms of environmental protection, Wanda develops its own mandatory standards that are stricter than the national standards. Moreover, the energy consumption of Wanda Plazas is over 30% less than that of buildings of its kind nationwide.

It is specified in the Opinions to create a legal environment that protects the legal interests of entrepreneurs, and a market environment that accelerates the fair competition among and honest management of entrepreneurs. Wang Jianlin noted that, the priority of an environment for the healthy growth of entrepreneurs is to recognize and protect their legal property rights, as only entrepreneurs with legal property rights are ambitious to forge ahead. The second is the law-based governance, i.e. all the entrepreneurs shall work within the legal framework. The third is to create a business environment that can attract the enterprise for investment and development. “All in all, entrepreneurs need stable expectations”, Wang Jianlin concluded.

In the last 2 or 3 years, the investment increase of private enterprises slowed down. It is somehow related to the entrepreneurs’ expectations, so stable investment expectation is of utmost importance, according to Wang Jianlin.

It is also indicated in the Opinions to create a social atmosphere that shows respect to the entrepreneurs and encourages them to start their businesses, which covers the establishment of a new political-business relationship featured by “cooperation” and “incorruptness”. “Cooperation” and “incorruptness” can accurately illustrate the new political-business relationship in the new era, said Wang Jianlin. “Cooperation” refers that the government officials shall closely cooperate with entrepreneurs. Now, many government officials dare not communicate with entrepreneurs, either do the entrepreneurs. However, the investment subjects, development goals and problems to be solved may not be understood without mutual communication. But he also emphasized that close cooperation not means collusion. In addition, he noted that almost all the officials investigated since President Xi proposed anti-corruption at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China are engaged in corruption, with a lot of private entrepreneurs involved. Thus, he emphasized that “incorruptness” is of utmost importance in political-business relationship.

According to Wang Jianlin, Chinese entrepreneurs must be patriotic, and follow the guidance of the Party. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are cultivated and trained rather than free development. Now, China faces the significant risk of shortage of entrepreneurs. Most active entrepreneurs are those active in 1990s, while there are few entrepreneurs growing recently. In his opinion, it is worth considering how to cultivate young entrepreneurs.

Previous: Rise of ‘entrepreneur worship’ in China encourages more people to set up shop
Next: Abbott visits the Gold Coast’s Beach Front Jewel