Professor Yao Lijun is a star in China’s Thousand Talents Program and a superstar in Ningbo where he set up an innovative high-tech materials company and recently arranged for seven new projects in high-tech industries.
Yao, a returning overseas Chinese, is president and senior engineer of Ningbo Konfoong Materials Inc, China’s first production base of sputtering target materials used in manufacturing integrated circuits.
In May, Yao organized a meeting of more than 100 people for the Thousand Talents Program in Ningbo’s Yuyao City. They signed agreements to undertake seven projects in high-tech industries in the city in coming months.
“We appreciate Ningbo’s good environment for entrepreneurship and Yuyao government’s great support,” Yao says. “I believe Konfoong will attract more high-end talents to start up in Ningbo.”
Yao is a PhD holder from both the Harbin Institute of Technology and Hiroshima University of Japan.
Yao first met Yuyao government leaders in 2004 when he took part in the China Plastic Exposition in Yuyao. At that time he was CEO of China region for a global 500 company. He was invited to start a business in Ningbo since the city was planning to develop a new materials industry. The city promised and delivered preferential policy incentives, start-up funding and service support.
In April 2005, Yao established Konfoong Materials in Yuyao with several returned Chinese as well as Japanese and American experts, and 20 containers of imported equipment.
The Yuyao government provided 6 million yuan (US$980,637) as “angel investment” in the new company. In its first three years, Konfoong nearly broke even with annual sales of 40 million yuan. During the global financial crisis in January 2008, Yuyao government and local entrepreneurs helped Yao secure loans.
After bouncing back from the crisis, Konfoong launched a series of financing and attracted 50 million yuan in investment from an established Chinese venture capital firm in September 2008. Since then, the company has developed rapidly. This year it is expected to achieve sales income of 300 million yuan.