Many people are preparing to mark St. Patrick’s Day Friday, but Jinqing Fu has been seemingly celebrating this holiday every day since he was a freshman in high school. Everything this Chinese students wears is green, from head to toe, including his shoes.
Fu, 20, a student from Xuzhou, China, said almost all of his belongings, including his keyboard protector and headphones, have also been green since he was a high school student.
He even goes by the name “Green” — and that’s how he introduces himself to others. The student entrepreneur has even named his own medical wholesale company after the color; it’s called Green World Medical Company. Fu, who is a freshman studying general education at Columbia University, said he started wearing green and collecting green accessories for years because he feels the color represents him. A more practical reason: Fu said he loves the color of green because his favorite music band is called Sodagreen, a Taiwanese indie band.
“Green represents energy and hope,” he said in Mandarin. “Specifically, the love of green means the love of life.”
The green theme may seem like a gimmick to many people, but he’s serious about it. And he does have a serious side. He takes his business seriously, for example. Fu had the idea to start his own business when he was in middle school, and this idea became stronger after he decided to study in the United States. “I think this is the best way to pay my tuition without asking my parents for a dime, and I did it,” Fu said. “The experience of starting a company also helped me grow mentally, especially how to deal with pressure.”
Since he was only 17 when he started his business, Fu had to ask for sponsorship for his company, so he spoke with other business leaders about contracts, and built his own team in China. He said the hardest thing for him was to negotiate with other business leaders. They would not take him seriously because he was so young. But he said as time went on, he learned how to communicate with other businessemen and how to lead his team. “I made a lot of mistakes, but that’s the way to learn and grow,” he said.
His company now has about 30 managers (most of them over the age of 30) with whom he keeps in touch with everyday via video chat to make sure the company in China works well. The company sells prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, health care products, and medical equipments to retail companies.
He said one of the most important factors in running a company is to know how to share profits with others. “People working in the pharmaceutical industry generally do not make a lot of money, so I would make every effort, including increasing employees’ salary as much as possible, to make sure they are taken care of,” he said.
His role model is Hongyi Zhou, a Chinese entrepreneur, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of an Internet security company named Qihoo 360. Fu said he admires Zhou’s persistence when it comes to overcoming difficulties, especially when Zhou faced the possibility of going bankrupt but survived because he never gave up. He hopes there would be a day when he becomes as persistent as Zhou.
More than 20 universities all over the world accepted Fu, including the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Hong Kong. It did not take him long to decide he wanted to come to Columbia University because he said New York City is the world’s economic center.
Fu says that studying at Columbia University has helped him learn to think critically. He said it has helped him understand the idea of teamwork and learning to cooperate with others and lead them. But he still hopes the classes could be more practical, so he can better build up his company. For that reason, he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management when he finishes his current program.
Meanwhile, he says, he will stay committed to wearing green all the time, whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or not. On St. Patrick’s Day, he planned to wear green head to toe as he does every other day and go to the parade. “My professor told me that St. Patrick’s Day would be Green’s holiday, so I guess I will have to check it out,” he said.