Cheung Yan

Cheung Yan
Chairlady

Nine Dragons Paper (Holding) Ltd

Ms. Cheung Yan has been the Chairlady of the Company since 2006. She is one of the founders of the Group and is in charge of the Company's overall corporate development and the Group's strategic planning. Ms. Cheung has over 13 years of experience in paper manufacturing and over 23 years of experience in recovered paper recycling and international trade. Ms. Cheung is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, vice chairman of China Federation of Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs, executive vice president of the Guangdong Overseas Chinese Enterprises Associations, vice chairman of Chamber of Commerce of Guangdong province and honorary chairman of US-China Federal Association of Business Councils. Ms. Cheung is also an honorary citizen of the City of Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China. In 2007, Ms. Cheung was awarded the "Entrepreneur of the Year in China 2007" by Ernst & Young and in 2008, she was accredited as a "Leader Figure" in "China Cailun Award" by China Paper Industry Chamber of Commerce, and was awarded "China Charity Award 2008" by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the PRC. In May 2009, Ms. Cheung was awarded "Outstanding Entrepreneur in Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Industry in China" by China Paper Association.

 

Quotes

Cheung Yan

Cheung Yan

Chairlady, Nine Dragons Paper (Holding) Ltd

I believe the global economy will still be very volatile in 2012. In particular, the debt crisis in Europe will not be completely resolved in the near future.

Cheung Yan

Cheung Yan

Chairlady, Nine Dragons Paper (Holding) Ltd

There is still large room for improvement on the living standards of most of the Chinese population. We have not yet reached a balance point on this, so this will constitute a strong driving force for future domestic consumption growth.

Cheung Yan

Cheung Yan

Chairlady, Nine Dragons Paper (Holding) Ltd

We always face the issue of manpower shortages. This is an inevitable result of fast growth in China..

Cheung Yan

Cheung Yan

Chairlady, Nine Dragons Paper (Holding) Ltd

We have many middle management positions taken up by this young generation, and they share the same visions and corporate culture as their colleagues. They are also committed to the paper business. I feel very confident that they will make a significant contribution to the enterprise, and build promising careers for themselves.

 

Read interview transcript

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What is the outlook for the global economy, as you see it? How confident of growth are you in this environment? What is the one risk to your growth that you are most concerned about?

I believe the global economy will still be very volatile in 2012. In particular, the debt crisis in Europe will not be completely resolved in the near future. Nevertheless, I believe that the austerity measures in China will be progressively loosened as inflation comes under control, thus reducing the pressure on SMEs and fuelling the continuous development of the domestic consumption market. There are still large rooms for improvement on the living standards of most of the Chinese population. We have not yet reached a balance point on this, so this will constitute a strong driving force for future domestic consumption growth.

What’s your comment on the economic policy of Chinese government? What is the impact on global economy and Chinese economy caused by Euro debt crisis and High unemployment?

The Chinese Government is very determined in preventing the burst of the property market bubble and controlling inflation. The effectiveness of government policies is being seen. The various problems in Europe & America may definitely impact on the global economy, and China will be no exception. However, I believe the Chinese Government has the ability, and the resources, to implement the appropriate policies to reduce the negative effects of these problems on the Chinese economy. Anyway, a more encouraging observation recently is that the US consumption trend has shown good growth in this winter, with retail spending up by over 4% year-on-year in December, and Consumer Confidence up 10 points from November. All these will have a positive impact on the Chinese manufacturing and export sectors as well as create the momentum for US economic recovery.

In what ways has your strategy changed over the past year?

Our company went through its peak development period in 2011, enabling us to timely capture the opportunities when land and environmental policies as well as approval on large scale projects are becoming more rigorous. We have broken our own records, with 6 new paper machines and 3 upgraded machines completed within one financial year. We successfully commenced production on several new products, including whiteboard and recycled printing and writing paper. As our development plans materialize, we are building a solid foundation for our future profitability. On the other hand, although we have completed such a large scale expansion in 2011, our financial position remained sound and strong. We are pleased to see that our fast development phase is completed now, and in the coming year our focus will be on operations and profits. We are expecting a year of stable operations this year.

How is your approach to innovation changing?

As in any manufacturing business, we are always exploring directions for new ideas in our operations and development. These endeavours come in 3 aspects. First, we continually diversify our product offers, so that we can maintain our profitability one way or another by evening out the effect of market fluctuations of individual product types. Second, we adopt a management culture that emphasizes “democracy and intelligence” and “flat, simple and fast” operations. These will enable us to respond quickly, efficiently and innovatively to arising business opportunities. Third, it has been our persistent policy that the care on our staff carries much weight in our management philosophy. This promotes a cohesive team spirit and helps to build our staff’s strong passion and commitment on the industry. As our staff members are determined to excel themselves in the paper business and cherish this as their long-term career, they collaborate to a build an enterprise that is forever becoming bigger, stronger and better.

In what ways has talent become a strategic issue for you

At our Dongguan headquarters we are always facing the issue of manpower shortage. This is an inevitable result of fast growth in China. We like to cultivate our own human resources, with the belief that talents can only be discovered when given the opportunity platform. If not, you cannot retain good people. Such a human resources management philosophy must be supported by an ever innovating management system. The “sub-plant” system now adopted by us is extremely successful, offering our middle management staff the opportunity to perform comprehensive management functions according to their capabilities. As they become decision makers in their own operations, they make their best efforts to learn and improve continually, think proactively and innovatively, and maintain a high level of energy in their work. The result is that the whole enterprise’s management quality is enhanced, and its potential can be released. This humanized approach is particularly effective in keeping good management talents, as they are convinced that working in Nine Dragons gives them hope and values for the future.

What are the challenges and opportunities that younger workers, the Millennial generation, bring to your organisation? Does your company need to do anything different to remain attractive to younger workers?

In the last 2 years there were considerable negative arguments about the Born-in-80s and Born-in-90s in society. In my opinion, they belong to a generation with intelligence and passion, and given the right leadership direction they may even perform better than the more experienced people. They are full of energy and drives, which can add positively to team spirit and ignite changes. We have many middle management positions taken up by this young generation too, and they share the same visions and corporate culture as their colleagues. They are also committed on the paper business. I feel very confident that they will make significant contribution to the enterprise, and build a promising career future for themselves.