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An epic tale of Chinese entrepreneurship published

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: August 6, 2021 L M S

Hongqi Press recently published the biography of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the largest privately-owned automaker in China.

The book, titled "Biography of Geely: A History of Impossibility", is written by Wang Ziliang, professor at Zhejiang Gongshang University and the company's former vice-president.

In an interview with Zhejiang media outlets, Wang exemplified the three "impossibilities" involved in the company's success story.

First, Geely, a Chinese multinational auto giant today, was once an obscure firm without a government background. Its founder Li Shufu was born and raised in a backward village in Taizhou, Zhejiang province and the first company he set up was a refrigerator parts manufacturer.

Second, it was no less than a fairy tale for private enterprises to produce cars when Geely had started to do so in the late 1990s, as the China auto market was then unavailable to them.

Third, it was vastly difficult for Chinese startups to compete with full-fledged Western giants in the auto market in the past. For example, most industry insiders once deemed Li's bid to acquire the Swedish carmaker Volvo a ludicrous move, as they viewed Geely as merely a producer of low-end cars.

In the book, Wang attributes the root cause for Geely's success to Li's determination to attempt the impossible.

Volvo Group sold its sedan business to Ford Motor in 1999. Having suffered consistent losses from Volvo Cars since the acquisition, Ford eventually sold the business to Geely at a low price in 2010. Volvo Cars' business turned profitable soon afterwards.

The book narrates how the management teams of Geely and Volvo build mutual trust and resolve divergences in opinions and cultures.

Over the past 11 years, Li has on many occasions stressed that Geely and Volvo have their separate, independent development strategies and that their relationship is indeed a brotherhood.

"I have been working at Ford Motor for nearly 20 years. It was until I read the book that I realized Geely's acquisition of Volvo was not only Li Shufu's longtime pursuit but also a critical juncture in Geely's quest to become a world-famous carmaker," said Zheng Lianggen, a Ford Motor engineer.


Wang Ziliang (right) and Li Shufu (left) are pictured at Geely Motor's exhibition hall at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in the United States in Jan 2008. [Photo/zj.zjol.com.cn]