I might have filed this story under one of my more tech-oriented collections given that it’s about a radical, technological transformation of the building construction market. But I’m filing it instead under my “Business as a Force for Good” collection because of the human interest angle on Zhang Yue, the co-founder and head of Broad Group, who is the dynamo behind this technological transformation.
It’s hard to know sometimes what’s real with these kinds of pieces; sometimes what a CEO pretends to be and what he or she really is can be a wide gap. But I like what I hear Zhang saying. Between him and Alibaba founder, Jack Ma (who I do believe is the real deal), I have at least some hope for the future of Chinese business, a future which will have a big impact on all of us.
It’s also interesting to note, as this article does, that Zhang operates in a world where the government still has the final word on much of what he does. Ma works very much within these same constraints. In China, the party still rules.
Here’s Zhang on his he sees his responsibility, particularly around the environment:
“It’s all about the details. Engineering serves the people. You ask yourself: ‘What does society need? How can we make products which interfere as little as possible with the environment?’ This needs an unlimited amount of work.”
“I love playing in my helicopter and can even fly it. It’s fun, but uses so much fuel. So I have to tell people: ‘Wealth comes with responsibility.’ And for those of us with environmental consciousness, wealth has no real meaning.”
He lifts a piece of paper. “I always write on both sides, look.”
By the company shop stands one of only three women immortalised in a statue on the campus: American environmentalist Rachel Carson, author of the influential 1962 polemic against pesticides, Silent Spring.
“She changed a lot of misperceptions. She inspired us to think about environment a lot earlier than others,” says Zhang, who sees himself as carrying her flame, and synthesising it with Chinese ancient thought.
#automation #construction #goodbusiness #china
Great catch, Ralph Roberts
Originally shared by Ralph Roberts
Zhang’s flatpack skyscrapers … “A Chinese entrepreneur who took just 19 days to build a 57-storey tower says he has triggered a construction revolution. And his dreams soar far, far higher.
On the outskirts of Changsha in southern China stands a new tower. Its size is modest by Chinese standards.
At a mere 204m it’s less than a third of the height of Shanghai’s tallest. Its blocky glass and steel form may be unlikely to win any architectural beauty awards.
But what is startling is the speed at which it was built. …”