China / Society

Runaway entrepreneur gets help after return

( Updated: 2012-10-18 19:49

One year after Hu Fulin, the chairman of Zhejiang Center Group, a maker of eyeglasses in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, restructured his business, he received his first of batch of financial support from investors.

Hu fled to the United States on Sept 21 last year, leaving behind debts of up to 2 billion yuan ($320 million), including 1.2 billion yuan in high-interest loans from underground banks.

He returned to Wenzhou on Oct 10 last year and restarted production at his factory 10 days later with the help of the local government. In doing so, he put nearly 80 percent of the former employees at the plant back to work.

The project, a Wenzhou center leather and shoe materials market, received investments on Wednesday from the Wenzhou merchants' joint business investment center, which is composed of the Wenzhou Chambers of Commerce in Beijing, Yiwu and Dubai. That included 500 million yuan in operating money.

"The value of the annual output of artificial leather in Wenzhou has reached 75 billion yuan, which will benefit the leather market with at least 10 billion yuan in sales every year," said Lu Weiguo, chairman of the Wenzhou Merchants Joint Business Investment Center.

According to the agreement, the investment center will have a 51 percent of the share of the market.

In the past year, Hu's Center Group was divided into three large industries: speculators, solar energy and leather products.

"I received a series of installments of assistance from local governments to restructure my factory last year and started this project for this year in a short time," Hu said.

The leather market is planned to be opened to the public in April.

"To lighten Hu's financial burden, all of those shops in the leather market will be sold to business operators for 20 to 40 years," Lu said. "And more than 2,000 businesses have registered their willingness to participate already."

Hot Topics