China: From Fame To Shame

From Fame To Shame

In 1984, after he shaped a floundering garment workshop into a flourishing business, Bu Xinsheng of southern Zhejiang province was hailed in the Chinese press as a "trailblazing entrepreneur." His Haiyan plant became an obligatory stop for visiting bureaucrats and journalists.

Fame has now turned to shame. In January, with Haiyan on the brink of bankruptcy, the provincial government fired the 55-year-old entrepreneur as plant manager, charging him with incompetence. What had gone wrong? For one thing, Bu misjudged a craze for Western-style suits and ties. He imported machinery that could produce 300,000 Western suits a year, but by the time...

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