Sun Xiushun To be the best with Integrity
Sun Xiushun: To be the best with Integrity
“Cultivating oneself, regulating the family, governing the enterprise and being the best” can best depict Sun Xiushun, a Singapore-based Confucian businessman, who has developed the world’s largest bauxite export platform, opened an ocean shipping route from Guinea to China for Capesize vessels, and also changed the economic and social presence of local regions in Guinea. Thanks to his excellent contribution, he has been jointly commissioned as the new honorary consul of Guinea in Singapore by the two countries. Regarding these achievements and reputation, Sun Xiushun humbly said, “Contributing to countries and societies are dependent on everyone and what we have done are only what we can do”.
In the big hall of Le Consortium SMB Winning, a bauxite mining and transport giant based at Boke Prefecture of Guinea, a West-Africa country in the flaming sun and waves of heat, the strong-built Sun Xiushun was giving an encouraging speech in his resounding voice. Eyes of numerous employees from the audience seats were filled with respect.
The speech had a simple theme on how to achieve win-win situation. “I believe that all employees, regardless of race and background, share the same ideas, which are ‘respect’, ‘unity’ and ‘communication’. Only with these will we achieve common development!” The sincere words won thundering applauses from the listeners.
Listen to Employees
Every time when Sun goes to Guinea, he delivers an exciting and sincere speech like this one. It is not an easy task for him to take a trip to Africa since there is not direct flight between Singapore and Guinea, which requires to take a connecting flight in Paris, consuming almost a whole day without any delay on the way. After the speech, Sun Xiushun always takes a meal with Labour Union’s leaders and the management staff to improve their relationship.
“The message I desire to deliver is the boss respects his employees and is willing to listen them. I also want Chinese employees to realize that communicating with local employees is a normal act and they should not reject it. Despite of the language barrier, communication is possible through a friendly eye contact, hand-shaking or shoulder-patting. All employees need emotional exchanges which are necessary for organic management and interaction, so that the team can achieve overall coordination!”
The entire mine area for the Consortium has over 10,000 employees and more than 700 engineering vehicles. All truck drivers and digger operators employed are local people. Chinese employees mainly serve for maintenance of large equipment, site management and training work.
In fact, regarding both the Winning Group independently founded by Sun Xiushun and this joint venture Le Consortium SMB Winning, the “win-win” idea is presented in their governance. That is to say, all parties, i.e., investors, labours, the society, the country and the international community, should benefit from the business operation. Winning each party’s support means winning the recognition from the entire world.
“We have allocated special funds to create the “Le Consortium SMB Winning Peace Prize” for employees. With these funds, we grant allowances to employees on a monthly, quarterly and annually basis to ensure that production is conducted smoothly because shutdown cannot bring benefits to any party. What is more, we have founded an internal mediation office where any employee request or dispute can be settled,” according to Sun Xiushun.
“To tell the truth, there is no secret to enterprise governance. In this regard, I hold two points, the first is to be sincere to employees and the second is to achieve win-win that benefits everyone”. Simple words contain deep meanings. And he has managed it on the two points.
Guinea’s Economic Engine
News about the Consortium broadcasts on each large screen in the Conakry International Airport. To some degree, it is this bauxite project that rescued Guinea from the economic recession caused by Ebola virus.
According to statistics from UN Comtrade, the global bauxite export totalled 51.78 million tons in 2016, accounting for 27% of the global output. Export volume from Australia, Guinea and Malaysia ranked the first three. The top three countries in terms of recoverable bauxite reserve are Guinea, Australia and Brazil, contributing to 58% in the world.
In 2016, Australia remained the first bauxite supplier for China and exported about 21.30 million tons, a year-over-year growth of 8.81%, accounting for 41.1% of China’s total import. Rio Tinto Group published that it produced 47.70 million tons of bauxite in 2016. Guinea was the second largest bauxite exporter to China, having supplied 11.90 million tons, a great growth compared to the previous year, and taking up 23% of China’s total import. In 2016, Guinea’s bauxite was mainly exported to Weiqiao Aluminium. This year, the Consortium will export over 20 million tons of bauxite and become the world’s largest bauxite supplier.
“When it comes to October after the rainy season, we will produce 3.5 million tons each month. Assuming that a vessel carries 180,000 tons, the capacity means one vessel would depart the port every 1.2 days. In other words, one can see our ship every 400 nautical mile along the sea route from Guinea to China. “
SMB Winning Consortium is a super enterprise ever since Guinea’s bauxite was developed. Besides the resource export tax of tens of thousands of US dollars paid to Guinea Treasury, the Consortium also solved local employment problem, directly or indirectly, for 60% to 70% population in 150 villages around the mine area. Almost every household has a member working in the Consortium. This is not the end of story. And even residents from other regions of Guinea come to get employed by Consortium. Guinea drivers are in shortage now and the Consortium has to hire drivers from other countries.
As the largest investment project in Guinea, Le Consortium SMB Winning has received awards from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for its huge contribution to Guinea’ s GDP growth.
Before this project was launched, Guinea was unable to repay part of its government debts. Now, thanks to the tax contribution from the Consortium, Guinea government can gradually repay these debts with its national finance recovered and the credit rating from IMF improved. More importantly, Guinea and her people have begun to get involved in globalization. This not only builds a foundation for further development but also helps them obtain technologies and funds.
For the great contribution to Guinea, Sun Xiushun keeps humble. “In fact, what I am doing is not so great. Someone else must have done the same thing even if it is not me.”
Regarding the business achievements he has made, Sun Xiushun also shared his ideas, “The utmost factor lies in China’s demand. Guinea and China are strongly complementary. Ocean shipping price is now at a low level. Guinea’s bauxite is high in grade, with a competitive advantage. Ebola virus damaged Guinea’s economy and Guinea desires to export resources to recover its economy. Also, we have made some innovations, such as barge transhipments in internal waters and floating cranes working on the sea, which have greatly lowered the cost of constructing deep water port and given full play to the ocean logistics system.
All are necessary analyses and no flashy word, this is just the style of Sun Xiushun.
Assume Social Responsibility of Corporate to Benefit the Community
The first time when he visited the mine area, the bumpy Konkonkan-Boké road gave Sun Xiushun an experience of “Africa Off-Road Rally”. The journey of only 16 kilometres was just made to test the vehicle’s performance and passenger’s endurance.
“Later I told local residents that this road must be renovated. Even if my proposal was not passed in the discussion of Consortium management, I would keep my word with funds out of my own pocket to show our practical support for local development.”
The road project was formally commenced in May this year. It will consume over 6 million US dollars to harden the entire 7-meter wide road whose quality and specification would be higher than Guinea’s national road. In addition, the Consortium has donated 150,000 US dollars to construct a 104-meter-long Khorira Bridge spanning over the Batafong River, and 100,000 US dollars to build a mosque. Roughly speaking, the economic bonus paid by the Consortium to local community has exceeded ten million US dollars.
“We have dug wells and installed solar energy generators for each village around the mine area. We have also set up a peace prize with rice and edible oil as bonuses. If no incident endangering public security occurs in a quarter, villagers in the village concerned will receive the bonuses; averagely, every two or three persons can get one bag of rice. We would like to have all local villagers enjoy the bonus from economic growth”. Sun Xiushun smiled happily.
The mining tax and export tax paid by Consortium to Guinean government will exceed 100 million US dollars this year. All local residents working in Consortium receive a stable monthly salary of over 400 US dollars. Many of them have built new houses made both of bricks and woods and owned motorcars. “Employees told me that they only desire to live like common Chinese people, without any higher requirement.” Sun Xiushun expressed that local employees dream of pursing modernized happy life and the Consortium will try their best to help them realize the dream.
The Consortium is gradually constructing various benefit and training facilities for employees. A driver school is under preparation as well. Sun Xiushun also places emphasis on gender equality issue. Local women are mobilized to participate in the vegetation restoration project in the mine area and trained on how to plant Cashew nuts, a commercial crop. With this skill, each woman can make several dollars one day, which also gives them economic independence to some extent.
Driven by the Consortium’s bauxite project, the Boké prefecture’s economic ecosystem has formed and is flourishing, with the service industry blooming. “The vegetable market appeared so small that our seamen could even buy all available vegetables there at one time!” To meet daily consumption needs of construction workers, all kinds of services, like hotel, catering, pubs and hair salons are generated, which provides more job opportunities and more tax sources for Guinea.
“I also hope to build a hospital charging affordable fees in Boké so that local residents can afford to see a doctor.” Sun Xiushun said charity should adopt suitable strategy. Free-of-charge approach cannot help local people establish the sense of responsibility and making progress.
The earnest services to local community from Consortium exert great pressure on its competitors.
Singapore Connects with the World Again
So far, the investment into Guinean projects made by Consortium has exceeded 500 million US dollars, covering the mine, two inland ports, roads and bridges, etc.
The Consortium invests in two Boké ports. The four berths constructed for the first port have been completed and put into service. The three berths for the second port are primarily completed while other supporting facilities and roads are under construction. Currently, it has been equipped with the capacity of producing 40 million tons of bauxite each year. More importantly, a local bauxite market has been basically constructed to purchase spot cargos from other mining companies, which helped Consortium control the pricing right.
“We are discussing with IE Singapore and Surbana Jurong to establish a special economic zone. After infrastructure facilities are completed, the zone will be open to global investors. If economic size permits, I also plan to build a railway of 150 kilometres from the mine area to Boǐé port. Airport, bonded area and logistics centre are all included in our blueprint for the future.
“We will cooperate with African banks on real estate projects. The Consortium will provide security for bank loans so that employees can live in apartments to enjoy modern life in advance and employees’ benefits will be guaranteed. In this way, our Company can have stable employee system. Perhaps we will also build schools to cultivate more talents. If possible, I want to send these children to study in China. “
Last year, Sun Xiushun was jointly commissioned as the new honorary consul of Guinea in Singapore by the two countries, and this is an unprecedented record for immigrants to Singapore. This commission recognizes and appreciates the contribution made by him to Singapore and Guinea relationship and also shows highly trust and recognition from the two countries. For an entrepreneur, this honour is of great and historic value.
“I intend to set up a scholarship to fund some Guinean officials to get trained at Nanyang Technological University, which will help them improve their governance ability and spread the soft strength of Singapore to Africa.”
However, for the great achievements obtained and these to be implemented, Sun Xiushun keeps a normal attitude. “What we focus on are solid steps. Just like our vessels, they have to travel each mile steadily to complete the over 10,000 miles of journey. “
Despite of the splendid achievements, a long way is still to be travelled by Sun Xiushun and the Consortium. And it destined to be a smooth journey.
(Retrived from Fortune Times, reported by Lang Jia)