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September 16, 2009

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China mourns death of a hero businessman

JING Shuping, a Shanghai native and key contributor to the economic development of modern China, died on Monday in Beijing at age 91.

A tireless promoter of China's private business sector, Jing was the founder of the landmark China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd, the mainland's first national joint-stock commercial bank held mainly by non-publicly owned enterprises.

He played a leading role in CMBC's financial innovation and its move to become the mainland's first publicly listed bank. He also founded New China's first private accounting firm and first private law firm.

The son of a wealthy Shanghai businessman, Jing wanted to become a journalist after graduation from St John's College in 1939, but he changed his mind and went on to serve the family business and become a major figure in Shanghai's tobacco industry.

He led Shanghai's cigarette manufacturing after 1949 and took part in the formation of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce in 1952, moving his family from Shanghai to Beijing four years later.

Jing was sent for "re-education" in Hubei Province during the "cultural revolution" and later returned to Beijing.

In 1978, he was invited by "Red Capitalist" Rong Yiren to help start the China International Trust and Investment Co, which later became CITIC Group and was a central enterprise driving Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening policies.

His expertise on international trade, law and accounting rules made him a key figure in drafting CITIC's major documents.

As a CITIC director, he was also well known as the mainland's first public relations officer and served China International Economic Consultants as its first chairman and general manager.

Foreign friends

Jing proposed the establishment of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai in 1989 and maintained friendships with foreign politicians and business tycoons.

The late honorary chairman of the China International Public Relations Association was named one of the 10 pioneer ice-breakers for Anglo-Sino trade and relations in June 2004.

He also served as a vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top advisory body.

Jing was the subject of a BusinessWeek magazine article in 2001 that gave the following description of the man:

"Tall and courtly, Jing has a razor-sharp mind. He can reel off everything from oil prices in the 1930s to the latest figures from Minsheng's operations. He has walked a long and twisting road, but as Jing sees it, China's economic future looks brighter than at any time since his youth."


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