A man with stories and of flesh and blood. These are some of the descriptions that the media and business circles have for Chen Feng.
One of the most successful Chinese businessmen of their generation, the co-founder and chairman of the HNA Group loves to be in the limelight these days not because of vanity but rather for his social responsibility in sharing his experiences.
He is the most qualified person to speak about the state of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in China and how Chinese companies should evolve, as his own has transformed from a small airline company with an initial capital of 10 million yuan (RM4.9mil) to a conglomerate with total assets worth 380 billion yuan (RM186.2bil).
Until April 29 this year, our company has been around for exactly 20 years. We want to see what we can leave behind for our descendants,” said the 59-year-old native of Shanxi province.
We have built HNA into the world’s top 500 company and a world-class airline brand and this itself is a miracle in the development history of Chinese companies.”
He said that throughout the two decades, the company had done three things — the first, capitalising on the rise of China to propel using both traditional Chinese and Western management philosophies; secondly, passing the baton to young people to run the company; and finally, giving back to society.
Chen’s life philosophy is that one will not be able to take anything with him when he dies and once he reincarnates in 49 days he will have nothing to do with this world.
So, one should be selfless and should be of a pure heart to do anything and he will feel as if his existence brings value to the community.
Our company is using a new commercial civilisation to transmit love. I think the spirit of Chinese culture is based on the concept that everything in the world belongs to the public.
When you achieve such (highest) level of life, you will not smoke, drink alcohol or eat meat or fish and just eat some grass. You ought to treat every child as your own,” said Chen, a staunch Buddhist.
He said several HNA shareholders, including him, set up a private equity fund in 2010 with a majority equity of 20% in aid of charity and its CSR cause.
He said the seven co-founders of the company, who are also the major shareholders, had agreed not to allow their descendants to sell or transfer the fund to anyone.
In other words, after our death HNA will go back to the society and belong to the people,” he said.
Chen’s spirit has taken root in HNA with every employee required to memorise the HNA Employee’s Code of Ethics which contains the HNA boss’ words of wisdom about social moral.
Sometimes Chen would even personally give new employees one or two hours of training. He would also go through monthly or quarterly reports submitted by supervisors and managers.
Following the separation of the Hainan Island from Guangdong province in 1988, the newly-established Hainan provincial government appointed Chen as the aviation affairs assistant to the governor.
He and other co-founders were given 10 million yuan (RM4.9mil) to establish an airline company to address the poor transportation condition on the island which was not connected by air at that time.
In May 1993, the first official flight of Hainan Provincial Airlines Company departed from Haikou and landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
Two years later, American Aviation DLC, controlled by US billionaire George Soros, paid US$25mil (RM75mil) for 14.8% shares of the company, making it the first foreign-invested Chinese airline.
The Haikou-based company was renamed Hainan Airlines Co Ltd in 1997 and listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1999.
The company has since grown into the fourth largest airline in China with interests in China Xinhua Airlines, Chang’an Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Aigle Azur.
All these subsidiaries are grouped under HNA.
We started from zero on this small island. I remember I carried a bag and arrived here without much direction.
I am fortunate to be a survivor amid the strong currents of development.
But many of the government officials and businessmen who came here around the same time as I did have left the island after making their first bucket of gold. Sometimes I do feel lonely,” Chen said.
He said he often joked with his friends that he was like a guerilla fighter who lost contact with the Communist Party headquarters during the war era and was eventually stranded on the island for 17 years.
Though Chen was touted by the media as the “magician of the aviation industry” and “master of the capital market operation”, he would rather prefer to be called the company’s “workshop supervisor”.
Investment companies will not need me, but a company like HNA needs me as their workshop supervisor,” he said.
SOURCE: Star Online
Editorial Message
This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only.

whatsonsanya.com does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content. For copyright infringement issues please contact editor@whatsonsanya.com