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Chief's self-styled approach pays off

By Cai Xiao  (China Daily)

08:53, January 28, 2013

A netizen in Beijing browses the website of on Friday. The company's revenue in 2011 totaled 1 billion yuan ($160 million) and revenue is expected to have risen in 2012. [Photo / China Daily]

Online success inspired by words of Deng

Ji Wenhong started his career as an exporter in Shenzhen in 1992, just after then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping toured southern China to reassert reform and opening-up policies.

But now his new role is an importer, as CEO of China's global online fashion reseller Inc.

In November, leading global e-commerce retailer eBay Inc said it will cooperate with Inc, voicing confidence in the company's development as well as China's promising fashion consumption market.

Global venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers invested $20 million in in 2011. This was followed by another well-known private equity firm, Warburg Pincus LLC, which invested $100 million the same year.'s revenue in 2011 totaled 1 billion yuan ($160 million) and revenue is expected to have risen in 2012.

Graduating from the University of International Business and Economics in 1992, Ji was inspired by Deng's speech that year and was determined to seek opportunities in Shenzhen, China's first special economic zone.

Unlike most of his classmates, who found jobs in the government sector, Ji went to Shenzhen and began his career as a trader exporting clothes and shoes.

Within a year, he had earned his first 1 million yuan.

"In the 10 years from 1992 to 2002, China's labor costs remained low compared with other countries, so our export business ran quite well," Ji said.

During his trips throughout the world, he came across many clothes and shoes manufactured overseas that were of higher quality but cheaper than similar merchandise selling in China.

"Compared with making investments, setting up a business by myself was more exciting. I felt I was going from small to large," said Ji. "Importing fashion is promising and meaningful."

In 2008, Ji set up with his college classmate Huang Jin, the company's chief strategy officer and a former venture capital investor, and his co-worker of 15 years Mou Qing, senior vice-president of the company and a professional fashion buyer.

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