Businessman returns to China to seek raspberry fortune

XinhuaWeb Editor: Qin Dexing

After years in Canada, nobody expected businessman Huang Yuanchao to return to Tianmen City in central China’s Hubei Province to start a raspberry empire.

Born into a rural family in Tianmen, Huang worked as an automation engineer upon graduation at a Beijing research institute starting in 1986. Bored with the routine job, he started his own trading company in 1993 selling merchandise, including imported cars, and made a fortune over the course of a decade.

Huang moved to Toronto, Canada in 2002 with his wife to enjoy an easier pace of life and support her career as an acupuncture therapist. He grew raspberry plants for fun in their house’s backyard, along with blueberries and other plants, but never imagined he would become a raspberry farm owner in China.

FROM TORONTO TO TIANMEN

Hometowns are always hard to leave, and the millionaire businessman wanted to be closer to his aging parents and contribute to the development of his hometown. Inspired by a friend who is a raspberry farm owner in Beijing’s suburbs, Huang set up Hubei Gold Berry S&T Development Co., Ltd. and started his berry farm in 2007.

Unlike his friend, who exports raspberries to Spain, the Republic of Korea and other countries, Huang has taken advantage of the growing Chinese middle class’s appetite for the fruit. Per capitadisposable income in China climbed 10.9 percent from a year earlier to 18,311 yuan (2,950 U.S. dollars) in 2013, outstripping the nation’s economic growth rate of 7.7 percent in the same year.

“Raspberries are good for health. It was in Toronto that I first tasted raspberries and thought other Chinese would love them, too. I moved my backyard raspberry garden in Toronto to China and expanded it into a 2,000 mu (130 hectares) farm. Starting an undertaking is not easy, but I find myself doing something useful for the community,” the 49-year-old entrepreneur said in an interview.

Read more here: http://www.ecns.cn/business/2015/01-12/150360.shtml