Introduction of founder
Zhou Jiran, the president of Hubei Hefeng Xinnong Tea (Group) Co., Ltd., is from Tujia ethnic group and was born in 1963.
With tea as the foundation of business, he takes “enhance business to enrich locals” as his mission. He led farmers to open up wasteland and built a new model to enrich people in Hubei. Due to his outstanding contribution, he was successively honored with the titles of “Hubei Top 10 Excellent Tea Entrepreneurs”, “Model Worker” of Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, and “Model for National Solidarity Progress”. In January 2016, he was elected as “Good Citizen of China” by the Central Civilization Office.
In 1988, Zhou Jiran established Hubei Hefeng Xinnong Tea (Group) Co., Ltd. Starting from a small mill, with the basic orientation of specialization, cluster, and externalization, he made great efforts in developing Enshi selenium-rich tea products and created “Baiguo” series of products that sold well all over China, and the export products, “Floria” and “Eraki” were quite popular in the international market. In 2016, the company produced 5,000 tons of tea, with 64 million U.S. dollars sales income and 6 million U.S. dollars tea export. It is the first enterprise that produces organic pinhead tea in Hubei and the first self-support tea export enterprise in Enshi, as well as the first “agricultural industrialization provincial leading enterprise” in the tea industry of Hefeng county. In 2013, it was listed in the “Top 100 Tea Enterprises of Comprehensive Strength of China”.
In 1992, Zhou Jiran decided to build a tea base in the deserted mountain area——Mu’er Shan. He personally led more than 300 farmers to open up waste land to plant teas. And after 2 years, the mountain area accounting for 660 hectares was finally turned into a tea garden.
In 1996, he innovatively launched a poverty alleviation project, to help the poverty-stricken households that cannot rely on their local resources move to Mu’er Shan Tea Base to make a better living. 68 households and 338 people were relocated in total. After the relocation, he allocated the tea garden to the immigrants and repaired road, supplied water, built houses and factories for them, all free of charge. After a few years, the annual income of immigrants reached 3000 U.S. dollars. Mu’er Shan Tea Base was therefore turned into the largest ecological organic tea garden in China. It is one of the “Most Beautiful Thirty Tea Gardens of China” and is known as the “World Tea Valley”.
In 2015, as a response to the call of the government, Zhou Jiran took the lead in undertaking the targeted poverty alleviation in Hefeng, a national poverty-stricken county. He seeks to implement the “161” poverty alleviation mode through industry development. Under his leadership, 9 cooperatives were established, 20 village-level processing factories were supported, and a tea garden taking up to 3300 hectares was built. He also built an e-commerce platform for agricultural products and trained the poverty-stricken population to help them employed in the industrial chain.
Next, Zhou Jiran will seize the opportunity of China's “the Belt and Road Initiatives” and supply-side structural reform strategies, implement all-for-one organic construction and promote integrative development of tea and tourism. It will deepen Xinnong’s “161” poverty alleviation mode through industry development, build a state-level leading enterprise of agriculture industrialization and realize win-win results.
Zhou Jiran is an entrepreneur, a pioneer and a poverty-alleviating activist. His entrepreneurship demonstrates “professionalism, integrity and dedication”, as well as the responsibilities and courage of “Good Citizen of China”. He lives up to the splendor of a member of Communist Party and is a role model for people engaged in the tea industry.