Wednesday, January 17, 2007

US trash makes a billionaire

Here is the power of an idea put to action.

Just five years ago, Zhang Yin and her husband were driving around the United States in a used Dodge Caravan minivan, pleading garbage dumps to give them their scrap paper.

Zhang started collecting wastepaper in 1990 in Los Angeles and shipping it to China to make the cardboard needed by growing export industries.

Her company, Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd., is now China's biggest packaging maker. Nine Dragon's stock has risen fourfold since its March initial public offering, pushing Zhang's fortune to $4.7 billion.

"Other people saw scrap paper as garbage, but I saw it as a forest of trees," Zhang, 49, told reporters last November in Hong Kong. "I had to learn from scratch. The business was just my husband and me, and I didn't speak a word of English."

In the process of pursuing her dream, Zhang has become China's richest person, estimated at $3.4 billion.

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