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Xu WeiPing and his ABP Empire

Release time:2010-12-10 12:48:59

  • As the inaugurator of the headquarters economy, the founder of Advance Business Park (ABP), the figure has profound impact on Beijing's tilted economic structure, revealing a fresh view to real estate in addition to the spotlight on "property" itself and its "location". He is Xu Weiping, Chairman of the Board of ABP (China) Holding Group.

    Xu Weiping never considers himself a real estate tycoon, even when his largest real estate project, ABP Beijing , has become the landmark architecture in Fengtai District. He is reputed as a Business Thinker and Deep-thinking Tycoon in the real estate field by virtue of his unique business mode and insightful vision. On August 17, Xu Weiping was interviewed by the journalist of Passengers at his own office, located in South Fourth Ring where ABP building complex is built, with the construction period of nearly eight years.

    New Strategy Targeting Shenyang

    ABP Shenyang is two times the size of ABP Beijing, but the construction period will be cut in half. In other words, it will be completed around 2014. ” Xu Weiping said frankly when mentioned about the newly launched ABP Shenyang. In the context of global economic recovery, Xu Weiping made prompt decisions to take the lead in grasping the growth opportunity generated from the northeast China. In Shenyang, he would create a higher platform and more opportunities for enterprises.

    “Phase I Western Section covers an area of ​​about 1,153 acres, with a total construction area of ​​about five million square meters. There are 2,000 detached headquarters buildings about ​​800-6,000 square meters, with intelligent, low-carbon and energy-efficient features. Upon its completion, this place will gather 2,000 mature enterprises from Shenyang and the rest of Northeast China, having a favorable influence on 30,000 related companies in surrounding areas.

    “With the introduction of a great many headquarters, ABP Northeast China is bound to enhance Shenyang’s urban quality and function. Acting as a new engine, ABP Northeast China is bound to drive the integration development of Shenyang Economic Zone, ” said Chen Zhenggao, Liaoning Province Governor, at the groundbreaking ceremony of ABP Northeast China on July 5. However, key economic cities are not rare in China. Shenyang appears less attractive than developed coastal cities. What does ABP take into consideration to invest its first expansion project in Shenyang?

    Xu Weiping replied that great development opportunities are their principal reason to select Shenyang, or to be precise, Shenbei New District. Specifically, there are four reasons: “First, New Urbanism Movement aims to turn 500 million peasants into citizens. Well-operated Agricultural High-tech Industrial Park in Shenbei New District is the fundamental guarantee for the regional sustainable development. Second, the establishment of Shenbei University City will bring in a large number of higher education resources. The success of Zhongguancun proves that universities and research institutions are great advantages. Shenbei New District is vast and well-preserved. There is little destruction on its original ecological environment. Third, I like to engage in the most promising career in the green land. Fourth, I find the government management team of Shenbei New District excellent, efficient, clean and honest. Therefore, I determined to invest in Shenbei New District of Shenyang.”

    Perhaps Xu Weiping’s confidence in newly-launched ABP Northeast China comes from his rational analysis. “Compared with ABP Beijing, the pilot area of headquarters economy, ABP Northeast China shows greater advantages in large-scale, scientific and systematic means. Both size and quality of ABP Northeast China will be upgraded on the basis of the successful ABP Beijing ,” he said, “Northeast Economic Zone is centered on Shenyang. It will be one of the most active economic regions in China. Shenyang, in particular, is committed to building an internationally competitive and advanced equipment manufacturing base. It is bound to have wide appeal for headquarters of domestic and foreign institutions. ”

    ABP’s National Wide View

    On the one hand, we have the idea to expand outside Beijing. On the other hand, we are often invited to invest in other cities by many local governments.” Xu Weiping explained in a calm but passive manner, when asked about the original intention to invest outside Beijing. “But more importantly, I hope that years’ of practice will be abstracted and integrated to a kind of explicit experience, to make headquarters economy bigger and stronger. And I hope that it will eventually be transformed into an industrial sector with our own standards. Earlier this year, I have announced all employees that achieving headquarters economic community will become my lifelong goal.”

    “Among several areas in Shenyang, Shenbei New District is blessed with ample resources. This favorable condition will offer it wide prospects to develop a new base. It is a blank sheet of paper. You may draw whatever you like. Skilled artists would certainly paint a beautiful picture,” Xu Weiping said. There is no doubt that Xu Weiping, “the Father of ABP”, is a sophisticated “artist”. This could be seen from his planning and construction of ABP Beijing. He will convey his miraculous techniques to ABP Northeast China.

    From his view, there are many similarities between today’s Shenbei New District and Beijing Fengtai District of the time before ABP Beijing was built. Both have convenient transportation and abundant resources, but their economic weight is relatively weak in the overall development of the city. But Xu Weiping is good at assessing the situation, from which he finds opportunities and great development potential. “ABP will be rooted in Shenyang, influence northeastern provinces and expand to Northeast Asia, like South Korea.” Looking forward to the future, Xu Weiping has full confidence that ABP Shenyang enjoys a bright future.

    Xu Weiping’s dream to build headquarters economic community is realized in Beijing and Shenyang, and may also be realized in other cities, “The first half of next year, you will hear ABP’s good news from Qingdao or Dalian or may be… But now I can’t tell you because it is commercially confidential.” he said with a smile. At present, ABP’s plan Eastward Exploitation is started. On June 19, Xu Weiping signed a strategic cooperation with the representative of Fengtai District Government. A land coving 1.75 square kilometers was approved for this plan, the largest high-tech industry-based land in the southwest Beijing. Upon the completion, the entire ABP will cover about 400 hectares, with a total construction area of ​​about eight million square meters, of which three million square meters has been finished. The entire project is expected to be completed in 5-8 years with the total investment 30 billion yuan.

    Undoubtedly, ABP will enter a new era in strategic development from 2010. From this year, Xu Weiping will “copy” and “upgrade” his new products from Beijing to the rest of country. According to Xu’s layout, ABP-featured elements, headquarters building complex, forum conference center and The Maya Island, will appear throughout the country in the near future.

    Now, Xu Weiping is searching his new “canvas” in East China, South China and North China. Fairly mature experience has been gained during the past years by ABP Beijing’s elites, which is conducive to Xu Weiping’s next masterpiece. “Global financial crisis brings a great opportunity to China. We should go out;” Xu Weiping said, “‘going out’ is not merely a copy of ABP Beijing. Its philosophy, ideology and positioning could be duplicated, but ABP mode should be implemented, with the consideration of local situation.”

    Meanwhile, Xu Weiping is planning to bring his “brush” to the world. “The project of ABP London was planned in 2009. Now relevant authorities are examining the procedures. The approval result will come out about next year. At the same time, we are negotiating the project with enterprises in Africa. Perhaps the second ABP abroad will be settled down somewhere in Africa.”

    Original Headquarters Culture

    At present, China’s real estate industry is witnessing an unprecedented regulation policy. New Mortgage Deal and Ten New Countries shake the whole property market. Though many companies are cautious with their investment, Xu Weiping still frequently invest with tens of billions yuan. What makes him expand against the market trend?

    “We do not swim with the tide. The project of ABP Beijing was initialed in the spread period of SARS in 2003; Phase IV Finance Harbor was launched in the outbreak of financial crisis in 2008. We obtain great achievements every time a downturn in a market,” Xu Weiping said, “We undertake commercial projects beyond the scope national regulation of policy. Besides, we should grasp the upward momentum in the downward trend when doing business. If you fail to sniff out the opportunity, you may trap yourself even in the upward trend. Conversely, you will accomplish a lot. The ebb tide leaves behind more valuable shells.”

    In 2005, Xu Weiping proposed to create a new culture - Headquarters Culture, endowed his development projects with connotations, and even advocated an economic concept. In his view, one region should have its own culture, which enables it keep attractive in a long term. According to Xu’s concept of headquarters culture, it should be similar to Immigrants Culture from the U. S. or Singapore or “exotic culture”.

    Xu Weiping believes that each enterprise settled down in ABP, including ABP itself, has its passion and dream. Each entrepreneur engaged in the economy possesses the realistic thinking. Companies moved here can be regarded as “immigrants”, bringing in their own corporate culture. We will grow up on the same platform provided by ABP. Our culture exchange and collision would breed American-styled Vitality Culture. In this way, ABP is endowed with a soul. When innovation culture is formed by enterprises within ABP, social culture, business culture and financial culture influenced by ABP will be melt into it. An amazing chemical reactor will occur with the help of a catalyst: time, to convert multiple cultures into China-made culture. This new culture will provide a model to explore China’s culture. In Xu’s opinion, an advanced corporate culture will foster the growth of the business. Multi-cultural integration, to some extent, will produce an effect on brand cohesion for ABP.

    In this interview, Xu Weiping named his headquarters culture Headquarters Gene. “Every family has its genes. A region will form its unique cultural gene. The same goes for ABP,” he explained. Xu Weiping defined headquarters gene as a kind of progressive, ambitious and innovative spirit. This gene can be seen from him, also the driving force for his success.

     “I believe ABP (Advanced Business Park) is bound to be more dynamic than CBD (Central Business District) in the future.” Xu Weiping is optimistic about the prospects of headquarters economy.


    Past Events

    Seen Through the Truth of Real Estate with 10 Years

    From an engineer of one machine tool plant, to a civil servant of one government agency, from a stationmaster of one correspondent station, to a business tycoon with tens of billions yuan, Xu Weiping's life is colorful and successful.

    In early 2000, Xu Weiping returned back as Executive Director of British Dauphin International Group and President of Asia Pacific Region. In addition to abundant capital, he introduced new concepts: western countries’ suburbanization and Eco Office. Xu Weiping saw great opportunities arising from China’ flourishing economy. After repeated analysis and research, he eventually targeted passionate entrepreneurs.

    Eight years ago, Advance Business Park and Headquarters Economy barely attracted any attention in China. Seven years ago, ABP got started to build on “Forgotten Corners of the Economy” in the south of Beijing. From 2003 to 2010, many legends were created in just seven years: 500 headquarters buildings erected, above 400 large-and-medium enterprises stationed there, Finance Harbor and The Maya Island established with huge capital. Now, ABP possesses fully-fledged hardware and software services. Today, ABP Beijing is an important platform to gather China’s leading companies, seen as one of the wind vanes to observe China's economic reforms by the international community.

    “Xu Weiping proposed a right concept in the right place at the right time; introduced a right project to create a new economic model,” Someone commented on ABP’s success. It can be said that Xu Weiping is one of the first pioneers in China by evolving to an industry from enterprises headquarters’ immigration and requirements and by tapping its potential economic connotation. He had considerable time to meditate on the location of the first pilot area of ABP eight years ago. After careful study of southeast coast cities, Xu Weiping finally chose Beijing, from which he strived to achieve today’s business.

    He blazed a new trail for ABP Beijing, but not followed the line of "traditional" business gathering area, like CBD and Zhongguancun. His choice of undeveloped Fengtai District also reflects his unique thinking. “I spent one year and a half in investigating coastal cities around the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta region. Finally I decided to select Fengtai District of Beijing.” Looking back upon his path of starting a new business, he said with a deep feeling about the wise decision: “I believe that ABP is a brand-new enterprise cluster community. A new picture should be painted on a new canvas.” It turns out that Xu Weiping benefits from the “home-like” office environment and relatively low land transfer fee. The essential advantage is the encouragement from relevant departments of Beijing Municipal Government. Besides, ABP Beijing gains a growing momentum from settled-in well-known enterprises, like Eve Fashion, Chint Electric, Delong Holdings and Jianlong Steel.

    In spite of his large commercial real estate projects, Xu Weiping still does not consider himself as a real estate businessman. In his own words, he is a “regional economic operator”, and “facilitator of new urban culture”.

    Never before had people heard the concept of headquarters building proposed by Xu Weiping a few years ago. Only factory buildings or office buildings existed in most people's mind. In order to gain the early market acceptance, the only thing he could do was disseminate his idea to every listener before the completion of the project. For eight years, he has delivered over 1,000 speeches, attended a great many meetings, forums and press conferences at the large ABP lecture hall built at No. 188, South Fourth Ring Road of Beijing. Many of his actions have gone beyond the normal marketing planning and investment promotion. Some people argue that he is a godfather of one certain theory and practice, a pure preacher. He analyzes the root of chaotic China’s property market clearly and logically. It is the underlying causes that lead to the country’s stop-go residential property market. He is also clearly aware that China’ residential industry has entered excessive expansion and the blind area of market segmentation. This clear understanding helps him successfully gasp the business to “build headquarters buildings for entrepreneurs”.



    Enjoy Life while Working

    One hot day in August, we proceeded toward ABP Beijing. At his office on the eighth floor, we saw ABP Beijing President Xu Weiping: in embroidered white shirt, dark gray trousers, with erect bearing, unlike most people in their fifties. He speaks in a humorous vein; thinks in a profound and calm manner. A couple of remarks expose that he definitively is a passionate person – it may sounds like a cliche.

    During the interview, Xu Weiping thought actively but spoke gently, plentiful gestures enriched our dialogue. When talked about new thoughts on headquarters culture, he immediately fetched a note with his inspirational ideas from the desk, showing kind of child’s innocence.

    Our journalist first met Xu Weiping in 2005. He just returned from Harvard where he had delivered a lecture on ABP’s practice on headquarters economic theory. It was written into China's New Economic Cases in the 21st Century by Harvard. At that time, his image was different as an outstanding entrepreneur. Whenever he goes, stylish clothes and gentleman qualities make him stand out in a crowd. Unlike most Chinese people who believe moderate and subtle personalities, Xu Weiping prefers bright, strong and eye-catching style. His clothes are colorful and fashionable. His speeches are passionate and enthusiastic. He said he likes to master equilibrium in extremes.

    Business activities are filling up much of his spare time. But he said with a smile that he does business while traveling. “I have integrated my work with life. Then, I will enjoy life while working, manage business in life, and experience happiness at work.”

    (This article is published on “Figure • Focus” column, Issue No. 52 Passengers, September 1, 2010)

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