Man makes $200k selling snacks while in China university, draws flak for running businesses

PHOTO: Douyin

Apart from fretting over exams and homework, most university students worry about whether they have enough money saved up to pay for their education. 

But not one man in China, surnamed Wang, who has made more than US$144,000 (S$195,200) from selling an assortment of items and giving private tuition, shared the South China Morning Post (SCMP). 

And all this was done during his four-year undergraduate degree study at Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan province. 

Earlier in March, the PhD student from southwestern China took to social media platform Xiaohongshu to share about the money he made. 

The bulk of the business management major's income came from selling snacks, agricultural products and second-hand books to students on campus. 

Aside from that, he also provided private tutoring to students. 

By his third year at university, he had already opened his first company.

After graduating from Sichuan University, he enrolled in another university in Chengdu to pursue his master's and PhD degrees. 

It's reported that he is now the owner of several companies that he had set up. 

To prove that he wasn't a fraud, he shared property ownership documents and other evidence of his wealth online, reported news portal Red Star News. 

Wang also revealed that he was motivated to go into business while studying because of his personal interest in entrepreneurship. 

"Life is short. If I do not do what I am interested in, I will regret [it]." 

Digging through dustbins for second-hand books

PHOTO: Douyin

Wang revealed that the journey was not easy and he had to get down and dirty — literally. 

The young man actually had to scour "smelly dustbins" to find waste books. 

He would painstakingly sort these out and then sell them as second-hand books. 

"So while my university counterparts played games or drank cola in dormitories, I rode a pedicab under the scorching sun to collect books like a farmer," he shared, reported SCMP.

Despite this, apart from the money, Wang said the rewards from running his companies were cultivating entrepreneurship and a hard-working spirit. 

Not everyone agrees with what he did 

Wang's incredible story has attracted tens of thousands of comments on Douyin alone. 

Several impressed netizens have praised his achievements, with one saying: "What a business genius! He studies well and does business well in the meantime. His parents are too lucky!"

On the other end of the spectrum, some have been critical towards his success, which has sparked debate on whether students should run businesses while studying. 

"He must have had a good relationship with the school's leaders. In most universities, students are banned from selling things on campus," pointed out another netizen. 

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In fact, Xiong Bingqi, director of the Beijing-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, wrote in the Beijing News to warn that most university students should not follow Wang's path.

"Each student should make their own plan for university life. If a person follows in Wang's footsteps blindly, they may fail in both their studies and their business," he warned. 

"Don't envy other people making big money. You should explore what you want and what you should do in university life to achieve your goals," Xiong added.

In response to critics, Wang clarified that he had made the money with several business partners. 

He also cautioned that setting up a business comes with its risks, adding that he cancelled the registrations of some companies he started as they did not do well. 

"I do not suggest everyone start up their own business. However, I think everyone, especially university students, should have a creative mindset," he said. 

"I have endured many failures and frustrations from running my own companies in past years. I was born in a rural area and am willing to take risks. But this is not for everyone, depending on your personality and ability to bear the risk." 

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