Lu Guanqiu, the iconic entrepreneur from Zhejiang province who founded China's largest automotive parts company Wanxiang Group, died in October 2017 at the age of 72.
Wu Xiaobo, a well-known financial columnist in China, said that Lu always had a keen intuition, which is the gift of all entrepreneurs.
His success in managing Wanxiang helped Lu rise high in the nation's rich list. Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chief researcher of Hurun Rich List, rated Lu as "evergreen" on the list. In the 2017 Hurun Rich List, Lu and his family ranked No 37, with a net wealth of 49 billion yuan ($6.96 billion).
"Lu is the first name that popped into my mind when asked about a model of Zhejiang entrepreneurs, although his wealth has been overtaken by Zong Qinghou from Wahaha and Jack Ma from Alibaba," Hoogewerf said.
"He is industrious, down-to-earth and low-profile. He was the first private company owner who could make his wealth transparent to the public," he added.
Wanxiang was founded in 1969 with 4,000 yuan by Lu and six other local farmers in rural Zhejiang as a maintenance depot for farm machinery. It began focusing on producing universal joints in 1980, which is a key component in automobiles' driving systems.
Today, the company has a nearly 60 percent market share in China's automotive parts sector. With over 30 companies in 10 foreign countries, such as the United States and Germany, Wanxiang is a major partner of world-leading carmakers such as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. One third of the cars in the US have Wanxiang products installed.
As one of the first entrepreneurs to look into the new energy sector, Lu kick-started Wanxiang's deployment in this sector in 1999. In late 2016, Wanxiang obtained approval from the National Development and Reform Commission to become a qualified electric vehicle-maker.