SF Express'listing marks founder's rise

Updated: 2017-03-10 07:24

By Zhuan Ti(HK Edition)

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Futian-headquartered SF Express, the fourth-largest delivery company in the world, has been successfully listed on the Chinese mainland through reverse merger deals.

Maanshan Dingtai Rare Earth & New Materials Co was officially renamed as SF Holding Co on Feb 24, marking the delivery giant's successful backdoor listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Backdoor listings, or reverse merger deals, involve the acquisition of public companies by private ones, allowing the private company to avoid the lengthy and complex process of going public.

Shares of SF Holding closed up 4.79 percent in its seventh session of gains on March 1, surging as much as 83.5 percent in just seven trading days and briefly making its founder Wang Wei China's second-richest person, behind Dalian Wanda's chairman Wang Jianlin.

Wang Wei, chairman and founder of SF Express, who holds about 65 percent of the firm's shares, saw his personal wealth swell to nearly 150 billion yuan ($21.7 billion) when the stocks made its debut on Feb 26, according to the real-time Forbes World's Billionaires List.

The entrepreneur said the biggest aim of SF Express' listing was to raise more funds in order to improve its services.

SF Holding has raised approximately 8 billion yuan through the listing and plans to invest it in aviation materials and other transport equipment, information platforms and logistics technology.

Founded in 1993, SF Express' service network covers more than 200 countries and regions with its fleet of 34 airplanes and about 15,000 vehicles.

Last year was a significant period for SF Express, with Wang making Forbes' billionaires list in October, ranking him as one of 5 richest people on the Chinese mainland.

Wang surprisingly jumped from 32nd place on the 2015 list to fourth place last year with a total fortune of $18.5 billion, following Pony Ma, co-founder and CEO of Tencent.

Wang's achievements and the manner in which he has made them have garnered praise from his contemporaries. According to cyzone.cn, a publisher that produces magazines focusing on entrepreneurship and startups, Alibaba's Jack Ma said he most admires Wang's extraordinary competence in managing the 70,000 employees at SF Express.

Wang originally comes from Shanghai and has only a high school diploma. He came to Guangdong province in 1993 at the age of 22 and started doing business in dyeing and printing in Shunde.

While working in Shunde, Wang noticed that the cities around the Pearl River Delta region were in great need of products and goods from Hong Kong, which made him wonder if there were opportunities to be uncovered in the "delivery business".

Wang borrowed 100,000 yuan from his father, which, also in 1993, he used as the initial capital to found the company he named SF Express and rented an office in Hong Kong.

As a result of the huge demand for delivery services, Wang rapidly set up branches and delivery locations all across Guangdong.

At the beginning of the booming age of logistics, it was crucial for express delivery companies to set up delivery locations in order to expand their territory.

In only a few years, SF Express rapidly expanded and had largely gained control over all express deliveries to and from Hong Kong by 1997.

However, since every branch company was responsible for its own business as a separately registered company, these branches appeared to be uncontrollable and some even became involved in smuggling.

Wang started to reclaim his authority over the branch companies in 1999 and successfully turned the franchise system into a direct sales model. The company moved its headquarters to Shenzhen in 2002.

SF Express'listing marks founder's rise

SF Express' founder and chairman Wang Wei (third from right) celebrates the company's listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Feb 24.

(HK Edition 03/10/2017 page1)