"I hadn’t expected to be honoured as an ‘Excellent Rural College Student’ when I was 44 years old. It made me prouder than doing business and making money ever did,” Hu Quanbo, a student of the Open University of China(OUC), said happily.

The honour came from the result of an evaluation within the OUC system. Hu Quanbo completed both his junior college degree and undergraduate education at Xinzhou branch of Wuhan Radio and Television University (Wuhan RTVU). He majored in Business Management in the junior college programme and Civil Engineering in the undergraduate programme. In addition to being a student, he is also the manager of an organic tea company, for which he won the honourary title of Hubei Province Labour Model in 2015.

A Returned Migrant Worker Becomes a Start-up Celebrity

Hu Quanbo, from Shizui village in Xinzhou District, is the representative of a core model household of agricultural science and technology at the municipal level, a Chinese Communist Party member with a university degree, a senior agricultural technician, a first-class national-level tea appraiser, and general manager of Wuhan Dawu Mountain Tea Co. Ltd. He has been awarded a number of honourary titles, including Hubei Province Labor Model, Wuhan City Labour Model, Outstanding Migrant Worker Who Made Great Contributions in Hubei Province, and Hubei Province Outstanding Returning Young Migrant Workers in Business Startup, as well as third prize in the Hubei Province Entrepreneurial Talent for the Agricultural Industry award and Xinzhou District Outstanding Entrepreneur.

Hu Quanbo's life story is very inspiring. At the age of 17, after graduating from senior middle school, he failed to continue on to university because of his family’s financial status. For 20 years, he worked hard in the decoration industry at Xinzhou district, growing from an ordinary worker into deputy general manager of a decoration company, with a monthly salary of over 10,000 yuan.

In early 2010, a friend told Hu Quanbo that the soil in his hometown is good for growing tea. On hearing this Hu Quanbo decided to change his future; he resigned from his job, returned to his hometown, and invested 8 million yuan to establish Wuhan Dawu Mountain Tea Co., Ltd., a high-quality organic tea plantation.

A return to the classroom at the ripe old age of 40

The road to entrepreneurship is difficult. Hu Quanbo had a lot to worry about. For example, the construction of the tea plantation had follow the environmental regulations and requirements for organic tea producing, requiring new high-tech irrigation equipment and the research and development of organic tea products.

Hu Quanbo had not done much farm work before. Once he changed his profession, he found that he lacked a lot of knowledge and he had many unresolved problems in running his company. In 2011, at the age of 38, he went to Wuhan RTVU’s Xinzhou branch and enrolled himself in the Business Administration major. “Many of the professors have been invited from Wuhan RTVU. They allowed us to have free discussions in the classes and they were all willing to help me with my business,” Hu Quanbo said. In 2013, after he was selected to take part in the training of new-type vocational farmers in old revolutionary base area, he still insisted in studying at the RTVU. He graduated smoothly and received an educational degree in 2014.

Continuing his studies after finishing the undergraduate programme

After this, Hu Quanbo enrolled in the undergraduate programme civil engineering major at the Xinzhou branch of Wuhan RTVU.

"When I was vice president of the decoration company, it took me four years to pass the test for the Constructor Qualification Certificate. By the certificate was in my hands, I was no longer even working in the decoration business," Hu Quanbo said. He realised that the foundations of his knowledge were poor and that he needed to continue studying.

Yet he had bigger plans, too. With the support of the government, his company operates with an annual output value of nearly 10 million yuan. In the future, he would like to try and incorporate tourism into his tea business. In order to do that, he must associate with construction-related work. At present, he has finished the construction of a tea room, the Dawu Mountain tourist resort, and a sightseeing and leisure zone on both sides at the eastern tourist road. He also grew cherry, red maple, and American walnut trees in the tea plantation.

"The year before last, the Wuhan city government organised for a few entrepreneurs to visit some big American enterprises. We visited companies like Apple, HP, and Tesla. At that time, I really felt my lack of knowledge." Hu Quanbo said that he was thankful for his five years of study at Wuhan RTVU’s Xinzhou branch and that it has helped him become what he is today. Even though he has graduated from university, he wants to continue studying.

Source: Chutian Metropolis Daily