Press Release | LI Hailin: No Regrets in Life is a New Definition of Success (Part One)
There is always a relaxed smile on LI’s face no matter in sunny or stormy days. So we wonder how could he face the harsh reality and strive to grow from the turbulent past.
It was an ordinary morning when we had an interview with LI Hailin, who just came back from a business trip. Tight schedule and busy work seemed not able to reduce his great vigor and high spirit. It was hard to perceive that he only had a few hours of sleep last night.
Totally different from the stereotype of real estate developer, he usually has a smile on his face when talk with others. As a Chinese major, he really appreciates the great value of his past experiences. Therefore, he said at the beginning of the interview that it is a great success to him to have a sustainable enterprise.
The mindset of LI Hailin seems to be simple and unadorned in today’s business world which is full of odes to humanistic feelings. He has set up his mind to stay true to his dream and concern about the people-oriented issues at the beginning of his engagement in business operation.
He once dreamed that “with tens of thousands, the largest shelter youth of the world all smile” during the start-up period
When he first arrived at Shenzhen, LI Hailin found that there was considerable gap in the price of many commodities between Shenzhen and other regions implementing planned economy. For instance, the price of #425 portland cement in mainland China was as cheap as half of that in Shenzhen. A vibrant city like Shenzhen housing a lot of construction projects demanding for cement. However, cement transportation was not so easy at that time. Having found the opportunity, LI asked a fellow-townsman for help to get a vessel by all means and started to build up wealth.
It was an unforgettable experience. He escorted the first shipment of cement personally due to the shortage of funds then. Used to be a prominent successor at a good work position and key person whose development was concerned by the management level, LI travelled on the sea with a full vessel of cement for four to five days. Such a tough experience inspired him to name his own company later as DongDu, meaning a voyage to the east, comparing himself to Monk Jianzhen in the Tang Dynasty. According to him, the voyage to Shenzhen reminded him the great endeavor of Monk Jianzhen who had crossed the East China Sea to propagate Buddhism in Japan.
This pain-taking cement business allowed this young man to live a stable life in Shenzhen for the moment. Shenzhen was a completely new world in his eyes. And his paper work in the early days equipped him with intuitive and insightful observation to people and life. Learning about the painstaking entrepreneurial stories of so many excellent graduates from Peking University and Tsinghua University in Shenzhen who would hold on until succeed as long as there were beds for sleep and three meals a day. He recalled these days as filled with stories of success, which touched and motivated him to work harder and provide more support for young generation striving for their dreams. “If one bed and three meals a day would be able to support their dreams, I would like to do it for them.” Then he started his career with the life ideal to fulfill the basic needs of hardworking youth.
Shenzhen was a young city at that time. Different from others, Shenzhen was allowed to grant temporary use of lands for 3 to 5 years one-time. Yet these lands would be reclaimed by the government for other arrangements years later. If not, the land user apply for continued use of the land by paying for it in a lump sum. LI spoke of such practice playfully as “land gambling”. It was necessary to keep abreast of the government planning and maintain a good analysis of urban development. LI decided to build a five-floor building on the foot of the mountain with the statue of Comrade DENG Xiaoping standing by and defined it as the first generation youth apartment based on careful consideration and survey.
At the moment, a bowl of noodles cost a few dozen yuan in this emerging city, which almost equal to the monthly salary of people living in other cities. Under this circumstance, self-catering might be conducive to reduce life pressure. Understanding the actual living needs of young generation, LI Hailin made a different arrangement for the architectural structure of the building. Every apartment was equipped with an additional balcony outside, which has been separated into a kitchen and a bathroom. At the same time, he offered a favorable price for one-time payment of five years of rents, which was as cheap as two thirds of the market rate then, becoming both affordable and supportive to young generation carving out their careers there. It seemed that the land was blessed with his goodwill and finally used for another five years beyond the approved term of five years, allowing many young hard working people to have a relatively long-term settlement.
The change of times pushed the courses of aspirants forward. LI Hailin also devoted himself to the construction of more diversified residential projects in other places. Yet he still remembers his concern for the young generation. DongDu Y·City Series was a project developed by him out of his cares and supports to young generation. Besides, he has also set up special funds in East China Normal University and offered financial aids & scholarships to excellent students in CEIBS. He always spares no efforts in supporting the development of young generation.