“If you don’t work hard, you’ll have to go back home and take over the family business.”
This statement is not just a simple “Versailles” remark. Five years ago, Simon, who was studying business in the United States, had dreams of “conquering the world” on Wall Street after graduation. But now, five years later, he has long shed the “returnee” halo and returned to the “humble factory” that once funded his education, learning to get along with unfamiliar machinery.
Today, there are more and more “second-generation of factory owners” who find themselves in a similar situation as Simon. According to data from the “New Fortune 500 Rich List,” nearly 70% of private entrepreneurs are over 50 years old, indicating an urgent need for succession planning in Chinese private enterprises.
However, unlike the era when the first-generation factory owners emerged, which was filled with opportunities, these young individuals who grew up with freedom and excellent educational backgrounds are entering society at a time of trade conflicts, slowing economic growth, and international turbulence, and they are facing the challenges of manufacturing industry transformation.
Despite having a better growth environment, higher educational backgrounds, and broader horizons, when they face the crowded competitive atmosphere, sluggish market conditions, and old factories that no longer appeal to young people, they can’t help but sigh and self-deprecatingly remark that their daily struggle to support the factory is far more difficult than a regular job in a company.
The severe disconnect between ideals and reality forces these second-generation returnees, who have just stepped out of their “ivory towers” overseas, to grow rapidly. Through the trials of life, these returnee “second-generation factory owners” have embarked on a vigorous self-rescue mission in the midst of their hesitant succession.
Note: The term “Versailles” is used here metaphorically to refer to a derogatory term in China that describes individuals who appear arrogant or snobbish due to their privileged background or attitudes.