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Be Innocent to Adapt to Natural Law; Understand Philosophy to Enrich Life – An Interview with Juneyao President Wang Junhao
ReleaseDate: 2011-08-11

August 2011, Oriental Chamber of Commerce, Ye Zi

About conscience

This topic is not unfamiliar to Wang Junhao. “When I was young, father often told us when doing anything, you must ‘stretch out your hand, and is able to hold the palm size place on the chest’.” The palm size place on the chest refers to the place of the heart; father’s plain statement is regarded as the family motto, which accompanied him in the next 20 years in his business. Our interview started from the topic of conscience.

Wang Junhao argued that, at the very beginning an enterprise might go after certain materials, but in the long run it has to return to how to balance shareholders, customers, employees, and society. For an enterprise, this is the social conscience as a corporate citizen. While fulfilling continual and steady development, JuneYao has invested over 100 million yuan in various education and public welfare undertakings. It made serial investment in the Three Gorges Reservoir zone to improve the living conditions of local migrants, which became a case in China’s Guangcai undertakings.

JuneYao Group is also among the first batch of Chinese enterprises to submit letter of commitment to the United Nations “Global Compact” organization. The Group’s subordinate Shanghai World Foreign Language Primary School and Shanghai World Foreign Language Middle School actively integrated Chinese and Western education concepts, explored open style quality education model, dedicated themselves to building “century-old famous school”, and developed a new model for public welfare undertakings. It also joined hands with a dozen plus famous domestic enterprises to jointly kick off “China Corporate Social Responsibility Alliance”, in order to actively promote CSR concept in China, and play exemplary role for private-owned enterprise to promote and implement corporate social responsibility.

What’s more, such consideration for enterprise conscience has also spread to every stage in the whole industrial chain. “During the enterprise development process, we have also made a lot of exploration. For instance, when we are choosing suppliers, we will first look at its record in fulfilling social responsibility, including accreditation on environmental protection and so on. For enterprises with environmental protection awareness which quote the same price, we will give priority to those with social responsibility; when we do things in this way, we find it can also benefit enterprise development.” said Wang Junhao

According to Wang Junhao, keeping a child’s heart, a truthful heart is very important. “Conscience is of course necessary; therefore don’t make whatever money out there. I said jokingly, that foreigners only have one word for it, that is trading. In China we have three, dealing, trade and business. Our ancestors said doing business is a matter of finishing a deal; but doing business for maximization of profit will lead to evilness, another thing is business. Business, or “Shengyi” in Chinese, according to the dictionary, has double meanings: one is the meaning of living, another is the meaning of life. Chinese entrepreneurs are those who do business, which aims at fulfilling the meaning of living and life, making money comes second, this is what our ancestors tell us how to do business. Therefore, I hope to become a businessman.”

Business is the meaning of life, to become an entrepreneur who can fulfill statutory responsibilities, then moral obligations, and finally to fraternity level must be the ideal option of Wang Junhao.

About Century-old enterprise

June is a good month for JuneYao Airlines, a subordinate of JuneYao Group. On June 1, JuneYao Airlines welcomed its 20th brand-new Airbus A320 serial aircrafts; on June 23, the Macao-Shanghai flight route of JuneYao Airlines took its maiden flight, which is the second international (regional) flight route opened by JuneYao Airlines, and also the 42nd flight route since its inception five years ago. Up till then, JuneYao Airlines has fulfilled complete flight route network coverage in Pearl River Delta cities including Macao, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai.

From 1991 when it pioneered the first chartered flight by private-owned enterprise, for which it was called by the media “extremely audacious”, to the first successful flight of Shanghai JuneYao Airlines Co., Ltd, the Group’s private-owned airline company based in Shanghai in 2006, JuneYao Group fulfilled its decade long dream to extend its business to the sky. On September 25 JuneYao Airlines welcomed its 5th birthday, and kept its continual profit-earning record since its opening.

Wang Junhao, a person who would often mention Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in his talk, is always thinking about how to absorb the essence from China’s 5,000 year culture and transform it into the enterprise’s management power. He indicated that, many things he did are based on mediocrity thinking, “If I have a collateral which could enable me to borrow 100 million yuan, I would only borrow 80 million yuan and leave 20 million for buffer. This is because we will have to face macro regulation. If the cash flow is disrupted, many enterprises would find it hard to survive. If an enterprise adopts such mentality, in the end it will be able to rule without taking unnatural actions. In doing aviation business, I do not want to be very big; we only do business with our own distinct features.” JuneYao Airlines decided on differentiation strategy to have mid to high end positioning, it did a lot of tactical matching. For instance, it already has 21 aircrafts, whose average service years is less than 2 years, making it one of the youngest fleet in China and even worldwide, which is a core competitiveness in hardware.

Looking out of the window of Wang Junhao’s office, Huangpu River is flowing past quietly but ceaselessly, soundlessly witnessing shifting seasonal scenes. Such vicissitudes also once suddenly descended on Wang Junhao. In that year when his elder brother suddenly passed away, for him the blow seemed like the sky has crumbled. The best way to commemorate history is to do what haven’t been finished in the past and what needs to be done in the future, that famous saying by Lenin startled the bewildered Wang Junhao. The past dream popped up again: Hope to see the enterprise still operating in my life time. Yes, elder brother Junyao once said, if this enterprise named after him came to an end, “there will be nowhere to go”.

The Group formally put forward the corporate mission of becoming “a globalized century-old enterprise in the modern service industry”, which is not for growing bigger but for becoming stronger and more specialized. This positioning also coincides with Wang Junhao’s understanding of true business, “why do enterprises want sustainable development? In fact the reason is that it regards long life as its priority.”

Despite its 20 years of growth history, JuneYao Group never slowed down its transformation. At present its main businesses are aviation transport and marketing service, other businesses involve education, real estate, and investment. Diversified operation, in the words of Wang Junhao, is a matter of “not placing all the eggs in the same basket”. According to him, European and American markets have experienced one to two hundred years of competition, and have moved onto the track of specialization; however, in China since many sectors are closed to private investment,, an enterprise needs diversified operation.

For an enterprise to live long, it must have core competitiveness, in the eyes of Wang Junhao, corporate culture is the real core competitiveness: “it cannot be put up for sale, taken away, dismantled, or stolen, to make it truly become our core competitiveness. The whole team needs to make refinement and reach consensus, develop team vision, guide thinking in daily work, and develop work guideline. Employees should implement it and remind each other in work, and finally transform it into team habit.”

Wang Junhao considered that the sustainable development of Chinese economy means the sustainable development of private economy; to keep healthy tiered development of private economy, the state government’s macro regulation policy must reflect such thinking. Just like what JuneYao Airlines, the “catfish” in the civil aviation industry has proved, that so long as private-owned enterprises are allowed to make a try, the development of every industry in China will present diversified features, which will also play a role in the progress of the entire industry.

Now, Wang Junhao hopes to, in the process of mapping out the blueprint of JuneYao Group century-old enterprise, let JuneYao become a successful commercial case, and share experience and enlightenment with more enterprises.

About inheritance

Although only 40 years old, Wang Junhao has already begun to consider the issue of enterprise inheritance, for this is a matter of great importance, it concerns the blueprint of the century-old enterprise, and also the continuity of the family spirit.

In the eyes of many people, compared with the “startup first generation”, in similar age, while the “startup first generation” works diligently to fight for an unknown future, a few “rich second generation” are driving luxury cars to squander away their own youth. Nevertheless, Wang Junhao treats the issue with leniency: “These children are in fact facing great pressure, for many people feel they are living in the shadow of their father’s generation. If they do a good job, the honor belongs to their fathers; if not, they are prodigal.”

Wang Junhao’s nephew wanted to study statistics in Oxford University when submitting university entry intention, for it has “good reputation”. Wang Junhao said “The catch phrase of Eagle brand is, buy correct products rather than expensive ones”, this statement promoted his nephew to choose corporate management related specialty of other universities.

“I’m not forcing him to return to the enterprise, but in my view, an enterprise with master is better than without a master. As proved by fact, family enterprise is not necessarily a good thing after ownership dilution.”

According to research results, in the global context only 30% of enterprises have successfully finished inheritance by the second generation; the percentage of second generation handing over to the third generation is much lower. Wang Junhao hopes to give these “second generation” more space: “They have read more books, and have more learning; as a result they would make fewer mistakes than we do.” He stressed, “it is hoped the society could develop a consensus, they should not be called ‘the rich’s second generation’, rather they should be the ‘the startup’s second generation’.”

“I hope there is a system to let enterprise to continue after I have gone.” Wang Junhao argued that for enterprises to be able to survive several hundred years and even more than one thousand years in the inheritance process, many depend on Chinese mediocrity culture, “those who continue to study Chinese culture and enterprise inheritance will make breakthroughs; when enterprises meet crises, all members in this family would help this family tide over the difficult times either with money or action.”

About happiness

Mediocrity is a word frequently mentioned by Wang Junhao.

In Wang Junhao’s view, mediocrity in fact preaches the pursuit of moderate goodness rather than perfection. “The other day when we were dining out, we chatted about what kind of persons were good persons. I said, ‘if there are 10 persons on the table, I must try to make at least 6 persons say I’m a good person. My ideal target is to have 8 persons, since I don’t want everyone to say I’m a good person. This is the concept of moderate goodness.’ This is my understanding. The same rule applies to my golf playing; I only want middle to good performance. Therefore, the target is also set by myself, what I want is exercise, and play one session each week, at around 90 strokes. This middle to good level is my target, I reach the target in one year.”

By following the same rule, Wang Junhao also adopts mediocrity attitude to define his understanding of happiness.

“Looking back at the economic development in the past 30 years, compared with the early days of Reform and Opening up, our material life has improved greatly. Nevertheless, according to a survey done from sociology perspective, our happiness indicator has dropped quickly, so is happiness really related to material? This is a question we really need to consider. But after all, it’s really not easy for China, just now I mentioned 30 years ago we were in a chaotic state, after 30 years’ growth, we have just established a triangle society. In the future, China should develop a diamond shaped society, so that the majority of people will stay in the middle, only such a structure will bring a stable society.”

Continual search and reflection on happiness, in the eyes of Wang Junhao, it is an inevitable state, just like “growing pains”. “For our present triangle society to evolve toward diamond shaped society, it needs a process; therefore, in my view, it is growing pains. Every one of us must truly understand how the triangle will develop, what every one of us should contribute in the process. It’s impossible for us to change the triangle immediately to a diamond, therefore the growing pains are inevitable.”

Wang Junhao coined two phrases “combine wisdom and childlike nature” and “stay worldly-wise to ensure growth” to further expound his understanding: “Only by keeping children’s true essence can we adapt to natural rules, and only by understanding life’s true essence can there be sublimation in life.” Such rule and such essence still need to be found by returning to traditional Chinese culture, “How do modern Chinese society improve mankind’s happiness index? Apart from economic development, we should return to the root of Chinese culture to look for them. Many things could be abandoned when there is a need, we must be wise in doing things. We should really review China’s traditional culture, and consolidate and calm down our own hearts, improve out happiness index, together we are able to change the triangular society toward diamond shaped society. This is a thing every one of us should try to do.”

Many years ago, a gathering with fellow industry insiders prompted Wang Junhao to contemplate his past and future. Speaking of other’s evaluation of him, he said: “I hope in my epitaph there will be only statement: a childlike natural good businessman.”