From scavenger to scrap billionaire

ChinaStarting a business at the age of 56, in 17 years, Ho Vinh Can has one billion yuan (more than 3,600 billion VND) in his hand from collecting scrap.

Hu Yonggen was born in 1933 into a poor peasant family in Xinxin district, Chengdu, Sichuan province. In 1958, at the age of 22, he graduated from Chengdu Air Force Engineering School. After graduating from school, he worked as a worker for a machine factory and married a colleague.

The job is stable but the salary is too low, making family life difficult. His daughter was often mocked by her friends for going barefoot and wearing patched clothes to school.

Billionaire Ho Vinh Can currently owns a fortune of up to a billion yuan (VND 3,600 billion). Photo: sina

In early 1990, Ho Vinh Can saw a business opportunity when he caught sight of a person throwing mineral water bottles in the trash. He brought the bottles to the factory to ask and was told that they would buy back.

Vinh Can went to town a few dozen kilometers away from home alone to set up a business. Many people say he is mentally ill because he started a business at an age when he should have been retired.

To start work, he borrowed 500 yuan from a friend (nearly 2 million VND) to buy a bicycle, install two more baskets on the side of the car, and start collecting scrap. Every day, he rode his bicycle around the streets and alleys to buy scrap metal or paper. Previously, even working 12 hours a day, he only earned 60 yuan. After six months of changing jobs, income increased, family life improved markedly.

After working for a while, this man realized that the profit from scrap paper was too small, while the scrap metal was priced much higher. Since then, he has focused on purchasing this item. In 1991, Ho Vinh Can established Hoa Thanh private company, specializing in metal collection and recycling.

The company bought a lot, so it was like a garbage dump. Scraps without papers of origin should be seized by the police, with damages of up to 10,000 yuan. This was a huge amount of money at the time. Faced with the risk of bankruptcy, he looked to many other recycling companies to ask for cooperation. In 1993, he signed a contract with a heavy metal recycling company in Tan Tan district.

At that time, the price of metal scrap increased sharply, from 3,000 yuan a ton to 4,000 yuan, Ho Vinh Can took advantage of this price increase to boost purchasing. By the end of 1993, his assets had surpassed 100,000 yuan (360 million dong). “This was a number I wouldn’t have dreamed of, let alone a reality, at the time,” he recalls.

In 1996, Hoa Thanh company’s revenue reached 15 million yuan. Ho Vinh Can’s success has brought about a chain effect. On the main streets or alleys, it is not difficult for passersby to see old people carrying bags to pick up trash, using old plastic and metal bottles to make a living.

It can be said that Ho Vinh Can is the one who paved the way for the scrap pick-up in China.

In the early 2000s, the company’s revenue reached 50 million yuan, and expanded into many other fields. Currently, Ho Vinh Can’s assets are up to billions of yuan. When life became rich, he did charity work. Building schools in the countryside, setting up charity funds, building nursing homes… are all things he has done.

Ho Vinh Can said that doing charity, helping others… is not to show off your reputation, nor to express yourself, but it is the responsibility of all citizens.

“When we have food to eat, don’t forget to look back at the people who are still struggling with food and clothing out there. Helping them to make society more beautiful is worth doing,” he said. Despite his wealth and good living conditions, Ho lived a very frugal life, never wasting a grain of rice in a bowl.

Stemming from the love of a father, the husband wishes the family to have a fuller and better life, along with the agility, intelligence, bravery and grasp of the times, Ho Vinh Can from a young age. workers from poor backgrounds become “scrap kings”, opening up business opportunities for the waste recycling industry in China.

Vy Trang (Follow sina)


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