The Alumni Interviews of BJUT: Exclusive Interview with Yang Tianping

By Alumni Association of Beijing University of Technology, conducted on Dec 4, 2018

Yang Tianping: After graduated from BJUT as a student of Industrial and Civil Construction, he served as theDirector,GeneralManager and Secretary of the Party Committee of Shenzhen Nanyou (Group) Co., Ltd., Secretary of the Party Committee,GeneralManager andVice-Chairman of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Co., Ltd. Currently, he isVicePresident of S.F. Holding Co., Ltd.

“There is always a group of people who walk with unique steps because they can hear the voice from afar”. This is what Yang Tianping, as a spokesman on behalf of alumni, referred to Thoreau’sWalden Lake at the 40th Anniversary Conference of Enrollment in Beijing University of Technology at 1977 and 1978 in October 2018, encouraging everyone to continue to explore the unknown world and endeavor to hear the voice of the future. Nothing is more precise than this quotation to depict Yang Tianping’s journey of hard-working along the way.

In 1978, the first year when theNationalCollegeEntranceExamination was resumed and the reform and opening-up were initiated, Yang Tianping was admitted to the major ofEngineering andCivilConstruction at the Beijing University of Technology. In 1982, as one of the few Party members then and the mere outstanding graduate from BJUT sent outside Beijing of 540 students of 1978, he was assigned to the forefront of reform and opening-up - Shekou Industrial Zone of China Merchants. Since then, he has been working forward along with the magnificent tide of reform and opening up.

When he arrived at Shekou, Shenzhen, Yang Tianping never felt distressed and complained over the tough environment but enjoyed the joy and passion of hard-working instead. The pioneering and hardworking spirit indicated by Yang Tianping’s remark that “time is money while efficiency is life”, which is named as “the first spring thunder breaking through the ideological shackles” during the reform and opening-up has been inspiring all reformers. They have done things that no one has done before. They underwent a matter of trial and error and saw no way ahead...Yet, it is these reformers and pioneers who provide strong evidence against uncertainty with China’s over 30 years of development.

In 1986, Yang Tianping was assigned to Hong Kong, the headquarters of China Merchants Group. His experience increased and his vision broadened thanks to business operations under different system and he also collected expertise in modern business management. During his work in Hong Kong, Yang Tianping once saw that an ordinary docker was voluntarily on his duty until the last passenger ship arrived at the dock safely at the off-duty time on his last working day before resigning from the company. He was moved by Hong Kong worker’s voluntariness and dedication. He felt acutely what Deng Xiaoping, the chief designer of reform and opening up, has noted: “a well-designed system can prevent bad people from conducting wrongdoings; a badly-designed system can also impel good people to have misconducts”. He thus had a stronger sense of responsibility and mission for China’s reform.

In 1998, Yang Tianping left China Merchants Group to work for a listed company in Hong Kong as a general manager. He shifted from a large state-owned enterprise to a wholly foreign-owned listed company and from previous management of production-oriented enterprises to the marketing of fast-moving consumer goods – what a huge shift. But Yang Tianping has won the respect from his competitors and the recognition of the market through his learning ability and the courage to face challenges. His resignation and leaving from such a company in 2004 was named byChina Fortune as one of the top ten executive turmoil in China in 2004.

In 2004, Nanyou Group, the previous prospering company with the best comprehensive strength in Shenzhen, was in a dilemma of insolvency and all assets were seized. With the support of Shenzhen municipal government, China Merchants Group is responsible for restructuring Nanyou Group. Then Yang Tianping was appointedGeneral Manager and Secretary of the Party Committee of Nanyou Group in the face of crisis and accomplished the goal of reorganization.

Since 2008, Yang Tianping has been Secretary of the Party Committee and General Manager of Shekou Industrial Zone of China Merchants successively. He, together with the management team and all the staff, upgraded the industrial zone built on the fishing village into a livable, low-carbon and international business district through the reconstruction of the New Shekou Project, which then became a part of the Guangdong free trade zone under the leadership of China Merchants Group. At the end of 2015, the company was successfully listed as a whole.

At the end of June 2018, Yang Tianping left Shekou Industrial Zone of China Merchants Group where he has worked and contributed his youth and efforts for years and secured a job at China’s leading integrated express logistics service provider, S.F. Holding Co., Ltd. His resolute move from state-owned enterprises to private enterprises, and courage to discard stability and glory might echo Yuan Geng’s message to his descendants: “go ahead and don't look backward.” It is just like Yang Tianping’s inner saying that “there is always a group of people who walk with unique steps because they can hear the voice from afar”. These people have created and continue legends for China’s 40 years of reform and opening up.

The motto of BJUT is “never cease to pursue through daily innovation”. This sentence originates from “Ode to Query to Heaven (Wen Dajun Fu)”, a work by Liu Yuxi (a poet of Tang Dynasty). “Never cease to pursue” means to never stop, just move forward, overcome hardship and take persistent pursuit as the main goal; “through innovation” means to be consistent and persevered and regard daily innovation as the way.

Yang Tianping is practicing the university’s motto in the course of his hard-working.