Internationalization and a Traditional Chinese Soul: The Story of Miao Liansheng

On March 17, 2007, CGC, the National Development & Reform Commission and the Renewable Energy Program Office jointly held the Conference for the Release of PV Product Certification in Beijing. Yingli Green Energy Holding Company from Baoding was one of the firms passing this certification. Its President is Miao Liansheng.

Miao retired from military service in 1980 and subsequently worked in the cosmetics industry for over ten years. In 1993, he began to import solar neon light components from Japan to assemble lighting systems in China, and thought about the developing PV industry. "Heaven has given us the Sun, and we are obliged to turn sunshine into energy for the benefit of mankind/’Inspired by such a simple thought, Miao embarked upon this difficult path without hesitation.

In 1998, the Chinese government planned to build a 3 MW multi-crystalline system; Miao Liansheng saw the first beam of light. Despite his partners’ withdrawal, Miao Liansheng still tried to obtain the approval for this program and became the first to overcome great difficulties and achieve success in China solar energy industry. This demonstration program passed national testing and approval, but received little recognition. Miao had demonstrated his modules widely, but struggled with little initial market interest. Despite this difficult start, Miao never lost heart. He spent much time working to remedy the public’s


Figure 3. Qin Haiyan with Jodie Roussell.

illiteracy about solar energy, educating citizens about the benefits of PV to increase public acceptance. He simultaneously realized that international market was a force pulling the new energy industry in China forward. As a result of this international pull, he changed strategy.

Miao started the expansion into foreign markets in 2004, first in southern Germany, then Spain and Italy. When the European rush to buy solar modules began, Miao decided to make use of the popularity of football to establish Yingli’s brand in European markets. Yingli provided PV modules to the Kaiserslautern Stadium for the 2006 World Cup, and sponsored leagues teams in Spain greatly increasing Yingli’s brand recognition.

On June 8, 2007, Yingli listed on the New York Stock Exchange, raising 319 million USD. The next day, Miao became the first businessman in the 170-year history of the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange that did not wear a necktie! Miao said, though his firm chose an international path, he never forgot he was Chinese. Just like having meals with chopsticks instead of knife and fork, on this special day, he preferred to let Western society remember Yingli as a Chinese business, by not wearing an overtly Western garment like a necktie.

Along with the successful overseas listing, Yingli’s Phase 2 and 3 expansion projects were also successfully completed, and by 2009 annual production capacity grew to 600 MW.

Updated: August 21, 2015 — 5:51 am