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Family values inspire hard-working second-generation business leaders

By Cecily Liu in London | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-18 09:10
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In Guo Feng's view, working hard is more a life philosophy than a source of income.

"I grew up watching my parents devote all their life efforts to our family business. They worked for many years, with no time off during weekends, and are continuing to work hard although we are financially well-off now," said Guo, 36, the son of a successful entrepreneur.

"My parents' devotion and their journey to accumulate wealth has been a big motivating factor in my life, and I want to work hard so I can pass these values on to my children through example," said Guo, vice-president of a leading financial company in Shanghai.

Growing up, Guo saw his father establish a textile factory in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, two decades ago.

"Having witnessed how difficult it was for my parents to create wealth, I feel it is really so important to maintain wealth," said Guo, who over the years has joined his parents in making many critical financial decisions.

Guo's life attitude exemplifies that of China's rapidly maturing group of second-generation business leaders, who are characterized by ambition, a hard-working attitude and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Through their achievements, they are casting off the stereotype of this group of business leaders squandering their parents' money.

Joseph Stadler, head of ultrahigh net worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said, "My interpretation of this is that Asians are very hard-working, sincere and entrepreneurial."

There are many examples of these highly ambitious second-generation business leaders keen to prove their capabilities. One is William Hsu, 28, son of a Taiwan property development magnate, who went to the United Kingdom for his education when he was 14.

After gaining a bachelor's degree from Kings College London and a master's from the University of Oxford, Hsu returned to Taiwan and set up a luxury cafe themed around polo - a sport he loved to play during his Oxford days - while making longer-term plans to help his father's business expand overseas.

"My ambitions motivate me in life. I do not want to live under my father's shadow and fame. The only way to prove this is to work really hard and expand the business in a smart way, so that one day my family will be proud of me," Hsu said.

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