China / Post-90s entrepreneurs in China

'Making profit is a side product'

By Wu Yan ( Updated: 2015-04-29 08:41

Editor's Note: A start-up frenzy has gripped China since Premier Li Keqiang encouraged people to innovate and start their own businesses last March. The country's "post-90s generation" of entrepreneurs — a term describing those born in the 1990s — has come of age. They are bold digital natives brought up in the founding era of Internet giants like Tencent and Alibaba, and unafraid of failure. Products of the Internet, and rapid economic growth and globalization, these young entrepreneurs have their own stories to tell.

'Making profit is a side product'

"You can disagree with them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them. That's the philosophy of my life", said 25-year-old Zhang Tianyi, CEO of restaurant chain Fu Niu Tang (F.N.T), as the sound of a famous Apple advertisement video "Here's to the crazy ones" drew to a close on his phone.

As the Apple video advocates, Zhang is a young businessman who "thinks different".

Zhang, a post-90s postgraduate of Peking University, settled in a high-rise office building in Beijing's CBD by becoming a restaurant owner rather than a white-collar worker like most of his classmates.

He opened the first F.N.T restaurant specializing in rice noodles from his home province of Hunan in April last year, two months before graduation. Now, he has his fourth restaurant newly opened in the capital.

"Stepping into society from school means you are forced to be changed by a set of strong rules. I regard startups as a way against the rules. I hope I can innovate," he said, sitting in the corner of his small but well-organized restaurant.

With the Internet applied to the catering industry, he found an innovative way of developing business by drawing benefits from numerous and active online fans.

"My thinking is to build a platform to connect people," Zhang said with his upper body leaning forward and an intense look into your reporter's eyes.

'Making profit is a side product'

Zhang Tianyi, wearing a black shirt bearing the words"Ba Man", which in Central China's Hunan dialect means "stubborn and hardworking", in his restaurant in the Beijing CBD, on April 14, 2015. [Photo by Song Wei/]

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