Zong Qinghou: Food and beverage will always be a sunrise industry. Wahaha will lay out a healthy industry in the future!

In the 40 years of reform and opening up, Wahaha, as the "aircraft carrier" of China's beverage industry, has participated in it for 31 years, witnessing every step of China's real economy since the reform and opening up.
Recently, at 160 Qingtai Street, Hangzhou, the starting point of Wahaha's fate, Zong Qinghou expressed his views on many issues such as product innovation, management adjustment, Sino-foreign joint venture, and second-generation succession to the public, in order to fight back against those false doubts and speculations from the outside world.
Q: Wahaha is 31 years old. Many people think Wahaha lacks innovation ability. What is your personal opinion?
Zong Qinghou: If Wahaha is a person, it is a newly mature enterprise. Moreover, most of Wahaha's original people have retired, and most of them are young people-including organizational cadres and the following scientific and technological developers, all of whom are young people. We now have 30000 employees, Wahaha's technological innovation ability is still supported.
We have gone through three stages: follow-up innovation, introduction of innovation and independent innovation. At first you have no strength, so you have no talent. At that time, most of our beverages in China had only one flavor, but I randomly divided Wahaha AD calcium milk into six flavors, which gave me another advantage in market competition.
There is also a concept. We add vitamin A and D to the beverage, which can promote the absorption of calcium. The practice is relatively leading. Now many young people still like to drink our AD calcium milk.
At the back was bottled water. At that time, Guangdong was the first to make bottled water. They mainly made distilled water, which was costly and had poor taste. Later, the anti-automatic equipment I imported from the United States was low in cost and good in taste, and I also took out the name of this purified water. At present, Wahaha's pure water still accounts for about 50% of the industry.
Next, we started independent innovation, and we developed the nutrition express. As soon as our nutrition express line came out, "many lines" came out, but it didn't take long for them to disappear, because they couldn't do my level. At its peak, we could sell more than 20 billion yuan a year. Although it has declined due to network reasons, it has now recovered.
Q: Most of the first generation of private entrepreneurs have the final say, but now that China's business management has changed, more professional managers and a more scientific management structure are needed to drive business growth, how do you see these changes? What adjustments has Wahaha undergone?
Zong Qinghou: The model of private enterprises is relatively flexible because the boss has the final say, and now the boss has the final say. I used to serve concurrently as party secretary, chairman, and general manager, all of whom were me alone. At that time, I saw that the factory director and secretary of the state-owned enterprise had one class each, and the employees below also formed a gang system, which made it difficult for the enterprise to make decisions and had relatively large internal friction. It was impossible to do the enterprise well.
If you look at the reform and opening up, well-established enterprises are basically dictatorial by one person. Otherwise, if you, a large number of people, can have decision-making power, you must be sure that this enterprise is not good.
Of course, now that the scale of the enterprise is large, it is impossible for one person to have the final say. We are also constantly authorizing at different levels. I recently appointed three vice generals to nurture management and manage through management. Judging from the situation in developed countries, enterprises are mainly managed by management, and the income of management may be very high. However, in China, the group of professional managers has not really risen, including at the professional level, which may still need to be cultivated.
Q: Over the past decade or two, there have been many cases of foreign companies acquiring Chinese food companies, with different outcomes. How do you view the differences in control and development direction that may arise after cross-border mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures?
Zong Qinghou: After some enterprises entered into joint ventures with foreign investors, their trademarks were lost, their management rights were controlled by others, and some employees were abolished. So at that time, when we (and Danone) were negotiating, we set four principles: first, the management right should be controlled by us, and the second should use our trademark; The third is that employees cannot be dismissed. The fourth is the burden of retired workers. When there was no social co-ordination before, enterprises paid wages when they retired.
But even though (Danone) promised well at the time, it actually interferes with your business. We think it doesn't know much about the Chinese market, so we didn't listen to it and operated according to our own actual situation.
Later, we will continue to invest in expanding production, (Danone) is the first proposed to find a processing plant, and investment to our industry enterprises. As we get bigger and bigger, it gets more and more out of control over us. Then the lawsuit went on, we won, and it dropped out.
In a joint venture with others, the first thing is to have an equal and mutually beneficial relationship and make a joint venture with complementary advantages. This will have a better effect. When signing the contract, you must sign it clearly. The second is to safeguard one's own interests, respect Chinese laws and sign contracts in accordance with the law. Third, I think since we have cooperated with others, we must pay attention to the spirit of the contract and implement it according to the contract. In case of controversy, if you are wrong, then improve; if you are right, no matter what means the other party uses, you must protect your own interests.
At present, there may still be a lot of psychology of worshipping foreigners and fawning on foreigners. They think that the western developed countries are very fair and just. In fact, it is not the case. They have to fight for their own interests. We also fought a lawsuit that was famous all over the world and won it at home and abroad. If it is just a domestic victory, he may say that your justice is unfair. Now you have won both at home and abroad. That is nothing to say.
Q: what is your retirement plan and shift plan, and how do you deal with the differences in management and operation with your daughter?
Zong Qinghou: It is impossible for me to retire completely. I do so many things every day, and suddenly I start to feel bored without doing anything. However, as you get older, you may leave the first line and go to the second line to do some work, which is a little easier. Now we are also strengthening enterprise management and cultivating management, including process transformation, post rules and regulations construction, and hierarchical authorization. We hope to do a good job in the internal institutionalization of the enterprise in one or two years.
Referring to the succession plan, Zong Qinghou said that now I give her some factories to manage, and she is also developing some new industries, such as printing and essence. But she is relatively independent, so we don't have much communication, and she 'd better leave me alone and do it on her own.
Perhaps young people are almost the same. They want to show their talents and think it is not good for their father to interfere too much. Unless she has something to do and needs me to help her solve it, she will come to tell me.
Regarding the issue of differences with his daughter, Zong Qinghou said that there must be. For example, at the beginning, I assigned part of the factory to him and part of the better employees to her. As a result, she was fired and I took it back. She was also dissatisfied at first, but then she was slowly changing.
Q: Now we often say tuyere. The real economy seems to be no longer tuyere. From the real estate in the 1990 s to the Internet now, what does Wahaha think of chasing tuyere?
Zong Qinghou: I don't quite understand what tuyere is. To create wealth, we must develop the real economy, not only to develop high-tech industries, but also to develop traditional industries. Traditional industry is to solve the problem of people's food and clothing, it is always needed. But the key is that traditional industries can develop forever if they want to improve their grades, improve product quality, and meet the growth of consumer demand for products.
Like our food and beverage industry, no matter what, you still have to eat and drink. I think it will always be a sunrise industry. We used to say that food is safety first, but now I want to turn to health.
Now our income has also increased and our life span has been longer, but it will also produce a lot of sub-health. Therefore, if I produce a precious wealth of traditional Chinese medicine treatment left by our ancestors, including the current bioengineering technology, to develop some solutions to the sub-health problems of the common people and make health products, on the one hand, it also improves the added value of the products, on the other hand, it can also meet the new needs of consumers.
Source Interface News
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