Yi Village Official Turned Auto Dealer from the Mountainous Yunnan
(The villagers) were really poor. They might not even be able to spare 20,000 or 30,000 yuan for a car, let alone cars costing over 100,000 yuan. Cars were available, but where was the money to pay for them? Cango associates brought with us flexible auto loan products and made it possible for villagers low on cash to own cars with the installment payment option. And thanks to easy online processing and meticulous services from Cango associates, loan application was convenient and fast for the Yi villagers, some of whom had never set foot beyond the mountain.
Weishan County Zhongxin Automobile Sales Co., Ltd.
Weishan Yi and Hui Autonomous County of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture is located in west Yunnan Province and south Dali Prefecture. Weishan County is where the ancient Nanzhao Kingdom originated and one of the famous sites preserving Chinese history and culture. With a population of a little over 300,000, the county had been officially labeled as an impoverished county till September 2018.
Zi Qingxian, owner of Weishan County Zhongxin Automobile Sales Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as “Zhongxin Auto”), grew up in a village belonging to the Yi ethnic minority at the foot of Weibao Mountain. Born in the 1970s, he is of average height but heavy build. On his tanned face, his eyes are always alert, which is what impresses people including those who meet him for the first time. Qinghua Village, where Zi Qingxian lives, consists of more than a dozen agricultural constituencies scattered around the various peaks of Weibao Mountain, and the villagers reside in houses spaced far along the winding mountain road. At the age of 16, Zi Qingxian joined the village commission and worked there for ten years, over which time his two legs were his transportation as he visited the constituencies and villagers.
“The mountain road was all dirt road and as narrow as a goat’s intestine. When it rained, you could hardly walk on that road,” Zi Qingxian couldn’t hold back his sighs when recalling those days. “If you lived up the mountain and wanted your friend who lived down the mountain to visit you, you would shout towards the foot of the mountain first thing in the morning. By the time you finished cooking lunch, your friend would just be stepping through your door.”
Seeing how poor life was for his fellow Yi villagers in the mountain, Zi Qingxian longed for changes, and he realized that he had to venture beyond the mountain himself before he could take the villagers with him.
When he was twenty-six, Zi Qingxian resigned from his job and travelled south to Fujian. Starting as a factory product inspector, he moved on to 4S sales and became quite successful, thanks to his drive and work ethics. It was while working at the 4S store that he realized he definitely had an interest in car sales. And that interest happened to align with the dream he had as he left the mountain behind so many years ago.
It used to take at least half a day to walk on the treacherous mountain road from the village where he lived to the nearest town. That time would be reduced to two hours if one travelled by car. After receiving support from his family for his idea of “taking his fellow villagers out of the mountain”, he returned to his hometown with his savings. On June 9th, 2014, Zhongxin Auto officially opened for business.
“I was tentative when I first started the business. To minimize risks, I designed the inside of the dealership like a hotel, because I figured that if the dealership didn’t work out, I could convert it into a hotel,” Zi Qingxian said in a self-derisive tone. At present, the dealership occupies a brightly-lit three-story house. The ground floor is used for auto care, more than a dozen cars are displayed in the second-story showroom, and the third floor is divided into employees’ canteen and living quarters.
The first vehicle sold by Zi Qingxian was an eight-seater Wuling Hongguang, and the first person buying from him was his old classmate who had grown up with him. At that time, village kids had to either walk or ride on their parents’ motorcycles to school, which was unsafe in the long term, so the eight-seater made it easier for the kids to go to school. Gradually, more villagers turned to Zhongxin Auto for car purchase, and Zi Qingxian would reduce the prices by 1000 yuan without having to be asked. He would even front the money himself when some villagers couldn’t immediately produce the car payment.
“(The villagers) were really poor. They might not even be able to spare 20,000 or 30,000 yuan for a car, let alone cars costing over 100,000 yuan,” Zi Qingxian said with a slight frown. Cars were available, but where was the money to pay for them?
The arrival of Cango associates brought him and the villagers hope. Unlike in the cities well-covered by banks’ service outlets, in Zi Qingxian’s village, it was very difficult for the villagers to get loans. Cango associates brought with them flexible auto loan products and made it possible for villagers low on cash to own cars with the installment payment option. And thanks to easy online processing and meticulous services from Cango associates, loan application was convenient and fast for the Yi villagers, some of whom had never set foot beyond the mountain. Sometimes they got to drive the car off the lot on the same day as the loan application.
Zi Qingxian’s clientele has been steadily expanding since collaboration with Cango started. At present, Zhongxin Auto sells around three hundred vehicles in an average year, and the number of employees at the store has increased from the initial ten or so to thirty. Zi Qingxian and his wife Xiong manage the store together, with him in charge of marketing and sales and his wife in charge of finances and internal affairs. They live and eat together with their employees and are as close as a family. Zi Qingxian said that he had been an employee himself and suffered cheating and unfair treatment, so he was determined to be kind towards everyone when running his own business.
Zhongxin Auto has long become the No. 1 auto dealer in Weishan County. In July of this year, Zi Qingxian opened the first branch store in Yunlong County of Dali Prefecture. No matter how busy he is with the business, he often returns to that small village he had ventured out of to drink and chat with the villagers. But what happens more often is the villagers driving their own cars, out of the mountain and into cities where the action is.
“I just want life to get better for everyone,” said the shy Yi man with a bright smile on his tanned face.