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Delivery Boy Becomes the Third Richest Man in China

Wang Wei is the third richest man in China 

A former delivery boy who dashed between cities to deliver goods for clients has built an impressive courier empire and is now one of China's richest men.

The founder of SF Express, Wang Wei, is now the third richest man in China after his personal worth rocketed to a whopping £22.5 billion (189.9 billion yuan) since his company went public last week, Dailymail reports.

This means that the 46-year-old is now competing with the two richest men in China - property tycoon Wang Jianlin, worth £25.6 billion, and e-commerce mogul Jack Ma, worth £23.5 billion.

His success story started 24 years ago when Wang Wei, a fabric dealer at the time, had trouble mailing his samples from Guangdong to neighbouring Hong Kong for his clients to see.

Two decades ago, the only way for Chinese people to send letters and parcels was to go through the state-owned postal system, which was slow and costly. Same-day courier was a concept unheard of even to the most ambitious businessmen.

Having seen an opportunity in the market, Wang, at the age of 22, reportedly borrowed £11,800 (10,000 yuan) from his father to start a courier company in the city of Shunde. With six employees, SF Express helped factories in Guangdong mail business products to Hong Kong, which was still a British colony.

Wang was born in Shanghai to a Russian translator father and university teacher mother. He moved to Hong Kong at the age of seven and grew up there.

A low-profile man by nature, Wang rarely gives interviews. In a 2011 interview with Guangzhou Daily, the man explained his motivation of building SF Express: 'Many Hong Kong people had factories in Guangdong at the time, and they had the demands (for courier service). 'So I thought: 'Why don't I start a courier company myself?'

As a result, I founded SF in Shunde with some partners.' He recalled that he had to deliver parcels himself in the early days of the company. '[We] carried our backpacks and our suitcases travelling between Hong Kong and Guangdong every day.'

By offering cheap and punctual service, SF Express quickly expanded. By 1997, four years after SF Express's establishment, it had gained a monopoly on the courier market between Guangdong and Hong Kong, according to Shanghai-based financial media

The year 1997 marked the hand-over of Hong Kong from British rulers to Chinese Communist Party. After that, the trade between two sides of the border grew dramatically, which propelled Wang's business to increase by leaps and bounds.

Meanwhile, Wang set up franchise branches throughout China. In 2003, Wang decided to speed up SF's delivery time by chartering cargo aeroplanes, something unprecedented to private courier companies in China.

Thanks to China's e-commerce boom since 2005, SF Express benefited from the huge market online shopping had created which saw billions of items needed to be delivered daily. In 2009, chartered aeroplanes could no longer satisfy Wang's business appetite.

He set up his own airline, SF Airlines, to dispatch packages. To date, 1,400 tonnes of packages are sent by Wang's fleet of 38 Boeing aircraft on a daily basis, including five B767s, 16 B757s and 17 B737.

In explaining his road to wealth, the modest man said there is only one way to build a successful business, that is to be 'daring, creative and responsible'.

Having grown his fortune from £12,000 in debt to a staggering £22 billion, Wang has written an incredible rags-to-riches story - and it all started with his backpacks and suitcases.
Delivery Boy Becomes the Third Richest Man in China Delivery Boy Becomes the Third Richest Man in China Reviewed by on 3/03/2017 Rating: 5

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