Small businessman's Chinese Dream

Small businessman's Chinese Dream
Lai Zhangping selling pig trotters at his stall.

Lai Zhangping first hit the headlines two years ago.

The public thought he was crazy to give up an engineering job with a monthly salary of 5,000 yuan (S$1,060) and start a small grilled pig trotter business in the college area of Songjiang district, Shanghai.

In the eyes of his friends, Lai is now a successful entrepreneur with a monthly profit of 40,000 yuan (S$8,500). He usually sells about 800 grilled pig trotters a day for 8 yuan each and says he plans to open a second branch in Beijing.

One of the secrets to Lai's success is the Internet. Of the meals he has sold, about two-thirds have been ordered online via instant messaging service WeChat and group-buying websites.

Lai was born into a rural family and started work as an engineer in 2008 after graduating from university with a Bachelor of Science degree.

He said he couldn't afford a shop until being granted zero-loans by the government that help college students launch businesses.

The photos were taken in Shanghai on Nov 5, 2014.

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