Jason Jiang Nanchun, founder and CEO of Shanghai-based Focus Media, ranked the 58th on the Hurun China Rich List in 2018, with the wealth of 39 billion yuan (5.7 billion U.S. dollar). The 46-year-old explains how the philosophy of opportunity and thinking intersects with his own experience.
The wave of reform and opening up promoted tremendous social development. Jiang, a sophomore in college in 1992, wanted to be part of the trend so he used his literary skills to enter the advertising industry. Three years later, his company's revenue reached 5 million yuan. In 1996, Jiang expanded to the rising field of information technology (IT), winning most of the IT advertising market in Shanghai.
The successful story of Jiang’s company lasted until 2001, when the Internet bubble burst, decimating his customer base. The IT market went from an expanding market to a great challenge almost overnight. In order to maintain the company's operation, Jiang even started to write advertisements for local restaurants.
In 2002, a decade after working in the advertising industry, Jiang decided to start a new business. After observing how people wait for elevators, and seeing this as a perfect place for targeted advertising, Jiang established Focus Media in Shanghai in 2003. In 2017, the company’s income from advertising hit 12 billion yuan.
Focus Media realized that consumers must use their elevators every day and, during that time, were in the perfect position to see and engage with advertising. Why are we called Focus Media? Because we target 200-300 million consumer groups.
At the beginning, the company had less than 20 people. Nobody knew whether elevator ads in China were worth investing in, but they still persevered with enthusiasm and determination. “When a group of people are especially committed to doing something, they could be fearless,” Jiang recalled.
During the 40 years of reform and opening up, China's advertising industry has made rapid improvements. Urbanization, in Jiang’s eyes, is an important driving force for economic development, which also brings unprecedented opportunities for enterprise development. In the future, Jiang wants to get involved in more ways to help young entrepreneurs realize their business dreams.