Chairman’s Son Takes Over as Weiqiao Manager Zhang Shiping Retires

China Unfazed Despite Stock Market Drop
An investor looks at a board showing stock information at a brokerage office in Beijing, China July 6, 2018.
(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee JASON LEE )

Zhang Bo, the Chairman, and general manager of China Hongqiao will take over the business following the retirement of his father Zhang Shiping as chairman. Weiqiao Pioneering Group is the parent company of the world's leading aluminum producer, the China Hongqiao.

Beijing News reported on Monday that founder of the company will retire at the age of 72. Mr. Shiping is the chairman and a majority shareholder of the China Hongqiao Group. It is known to the world's biggest producer of aluminum.

The chairman was born in Weiqiao in February in 1946. Mr. Shiping was one of the seventeen million youth sent to the countryside during China's Cultural Revolutions. According to Mr. Shiping, 1996 was a magnificent year in his life because the tough environment during those times forged his iron will. Mr. Zhang took different odd jobs during those times that include fighting.

Zhang became the manager of Weiqiao Cotton in 1981. After five years, he started a towel-manufacturing business that netted him to an estimate of U.S. $6 million in operating capital. To further improve his business, he loaned another U.S. $4 million in which he used to purchase spindles for his cotton company.

Mr. Zhang's business prospered and he owned several smaller state-owned companies in the process using them to improve the Weiqiao Cotton. Chairman Zhang received a degree from Anhui University Finance and Economics in cotton testing during the prosperity of his business. The company was renamed Shandong Weiqiao Chuangye Group and it transitioned into a limited corporation in 1998. The company was incorporated in 1999.

Mr. Zhang commissioned the building of a thermal electric plant to maintain the power consumption of his cotton operation. The electric plant prospered and chairman established the Binzhou Weiqiao Thermal Electric Company in 2002. The company later became the Shandong Weiqiao Aluminum & Power in which later was able to influence the state's electric prices.

The company became known as the world's experts on aluminum and they projected that China would be a net importer in the 2000's decade. The demand created an opportunity for the company and they continued building aluminum facilities after acquiring more aluminum products producing facilities from Chuangye Group.

The company increased its aluminum production capacity in 2010 after purchasing facilities with a capacity of approximately 160,000 tons. It increased capacity to an estimate of 916,000 metric tons at the end of 2013.

The chairman enjoys a largely positive legacy so far. According to a resident of Zouping in northern Shandong, that chairman is their savior.

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