Failed them-using an improvised lotion containing traditional herbal ingredient.
His reputation spread through his hometown of Wenzhou in the southern coastal province of Zhejiang, which is now famous as a hothouse for Chinese entrepreneurs. He realised that opportunity was knocking.
When the lotion had worked on 101 patients, he sold one of three houses he had inherited and invested the money in bottling what he now labelled “101”.
Journalist Mr. Ding Xin Min of the National Worker’s Daily newspaper arrived at the factory, fascinated not least because of his own fast-growing baldness.
Mr. Zhao said: ” I told the reporter to tell his reader if I cured him – or if I didn’t.” Naturally, 101 worked another miracle cure.
In 1985 he was invited by the Ministry of Health to Beijing, where he established a factory staffed chiefly by disabled people. Soon the Ministry took a 70 per cent Stake, and Mr.
Deng Pufang – the paraplegic son of Mr. Deng Xiao Ping, who had been hurled from a building by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution – joined the board.
“I owe my success to the economic opening launched by Mr. Deng,” said Mr. Zhao, who met the late paramount leader.
In l987 he began travelling overseas to market his products (this year he will visit Bangkok and Los Angeles, after Melbourne) although he still does not speak any foreign languages. His chief aide selling in to Japan was Mr. Li Xiao Hua, then a student there, who used his income from that market as a lever into Hong Kong real estate and other enterprises.
Mr. Li has since leaped over Mr. Zhao. Mr. Li, who imported the first Ferrari into China, is third wealthiest Mainland Chinese, with an estimated fortune of $300 million, compared with the $20 million of Mr. Zhou, ranked 15th.
But 101 is still a growing earner, with a staff of 2,300 producing $170 miIlion sales in 1996. And Mr. Zhao too is moving into real estate.
Meanwhile, his secret remains safely in the family. A daughter and son who works for 101 are the only others to whom Mr. Zhao has entrusted the secret formula.
Mr. Zhao has also built a reputation for philanthropy, particularly helping disadvantaged children.
He said his first visit to Australia, from April l7, would involve a seminar in Melbourne on hair restoration, and meetings with potential business partners. His goal, as elsewhere, is to sell into the general Australian market not to be quarantined to the overseas Chinese segment.
He has had an Australian agent, but sales could be much better, he said, “even though not many people live there”. On his visit, he said: ” I’ll offer free treatment to 50 customers .”
He claims 97 percent short-term success, and 84 per cent long-term – especially if the patient use, besides the lotion, pills that he manufactures to “Make the kidneys stronger”.
He said: ”The strength of the hair comes from the kidneys. ” Mr. Zhao himself uses treatment 101B which, he said, stimulates hair color as well as growth. He would not say how many of China ’s leader are customers – but all , from 70-year-old president Jiang Zemin down, sport impressively black hair.
Hair king set to spread good oil
One of China’s new breeds of entrepreneurs Dr. Zhao Zhangguang, dubbed the 101 Hair Oil King in his homeland, is in town and looking to spend up to US$10million ($12.9 million) to start a hair products business here.
Dr. Zhao will today meet the Victorian Government’s business development body, Business Victoria, to gauge support for a possible factory in the state, his first outside China.
He told Insider he could have the operation up and running within a year producing what, in China, is a legendary range of hair restoring products – they have restored tufts to more than six million heads, they claim.
The hair products factory would be the first stage and would be followed by investments in areas such as food and clothes.
Dr. Zhao estimated there were more than two million balding Australians who could potentially use his miracle, natural, herbal cure and he believed the country to be a good base for exports.
Zhao has a booming empire in China to back him up: he operates more than 50 factories there, is one of the country’s richest men and is a member of the National People’s Congress.
And if you want more immediate proof, he also sports one of the finest mops of hair for a 55-year old this side of hirsute ex-PM, Bob Hawke.
Zhao will display the 101 ranges at the National Beauty and Health Show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre at the weekend.
He said the first 50 customers to his stand would be treated for free.
Oh, and he also does stuff for acne.
Only Mr. Zhao his wife and daughter are privy to the 101 secret, although the Japanese, he says, are spending a fortune trying to duplicate the formula which, he explains, works by warming the scalp and improving blood circulation.
Mr. Zhao, whose hobbies include playing the flute and reading books on China’s 5000-year-old traditions of herbal cures, is, if nothing else, quite a salesman and innovator. Apart from his skin-care products and hair-restorer, he also claims to have developed an elixir that removes greyness from one’s hair. Indeed, he seemed surprised when I politely rejected an offer to experiment on my grey flecks.
Many Chinese, including members of the ageing leadership, will do almost anything to avoid going grey to the extent of using unsightly dyes that produce an effect not at all unlike someone having employed boot black. If Mr. Zhao has produced an oral medicine that makes the use of hair dyes redundant then he may be on to another winner. But even the ebullient “hair lotion king” docs not claim anything like 100 per cent success for his various treatments.
Westerners, he says, are difficult to treat because of their dietary and living habits. At a recent, press briefing attended by at least one balding, overweight European correspondent who claimed to have tested Formula 101 without success. Mr. Zhao commented:
“Ah, but the problem with you foreigners is that you drink too much milk and don’t get enough sleep.”
Mr. Zhao is perplexed by apparent Western resistance to herbal cures and seems genuinely hurt when the word quack is explained to him as a way in the West of describing people who peddle patent medicines. .”Outsiders don’t understand Chinese medicine,” he says. “People who understand appreciate it. Western medicine is based on analysis and work in laboratories. Chinese medicine depends on practice and experimentation.”
Whatever descriptions might be attached to Mr. Zhao in the West, he is certainly laughing all the way to the bank. He expects to produce about three million containers of Formula 101 this year, 40 per cent of which will be exported. Profits should exceed $A10 million.
Joint ventures with foreign businessmen are in the wind, and the American Food and Drug Administration is presently evaluating his product. The approval of the FDA would add enormous value to Formula 101, which is now being imported into the US as a cosmetic, not a drug- AH this is not at all bad for someone who might have spent his life copying figures into a dusty ledger.
MR. ZHAO’S Mercedes. driven by a Wenzhou man — Mr Zhao describes his driver as the best in Beijing — pulls up outside an arched shop-front on Beijng’s busy Xidan street, a main shopping thoroughfare. Inside, white-coated female attendants are clearing up for the day, but one patient remains lo be treated.
This is one of Mr. Zhao’s clinics and for a balding worker visiting Beijing from a provincial town this is his lucky day. Mr. Fan is about to be treated by the master and in spite of his discomfort at being questioned by a Western reporter and photographed undergoing treatment, seems delighted at his good fortune.
Mr. Zhao dons a while coat and begins massaging his Formula 101 into Mr. Fan’s scalp. A treatment costs about $A20, equivalent to one week’s wages for the average worker, but Mr. Fan says this is a small price to pay to roll back the years. “I’ve been going bald for seven years and look older than I am. I heard that 101 was magical. Everybody’s talking about beauty now — beautifying life. People are paying more attention to appearance.”
Mr. Zhao, who employs 1200 people at factories and clinics throughout China, exhibits no reserve about his good fortune. On the contrary, super salesman that he appears to be, he is more than anxious to talk about his material success, although he is careful to credit China’s communist leadership, past and present, with creating conditions for people like him to prosper.
He reveals, for example, that long ago, a la Ross Perot, he re-purchased the family house in Wenzhou that he was obliged to sell to raise the cash to fund his business. He also proudly announces that he has built a 1000-square-metre mansion near his home town for his retirement.
He keeps a penthouse flat in Beijing in one of the city’s more exclusive addresses and is planning to buy a newer Mercedes. “This car’s quite old.” he says apologetically.
You can’t make everyone equal. Equality cannot develop the country.
You have to have someone who gets rich first
If the example of Mr. Zhao and his hair tonic are revealing of the ge ti hu explosion in China, so, too is the remarkable story of the small town of Qiaotou, which lies about an hour’s drive inland from Wenzhou. There, entrepreneur traders and manufacturers have virtually cornered China’s button market and are also producing a fairly big percentage of the country’s metal watch bands.
Mr.Tang Runong, a Qiaotou party official, is more than happy to talk about the town’s extraordinary material success. Indeed he describes Qiaotou, population 60,000 as the “paradigm of a Socialist market economy” with revenues of 300 million Yuan ($A75 million), or about 5000 Yuan per head. This is more than quadruple the national per capita income.
“You won’t find this small town on the map of China, but everybody has heard about us,” he says with satisfaction, reeling off a batch of statistics to underline Qiaotou’s success.
Before the open-door economic policy introduced in the late ’70s, the town had one small inn and one restaurant; now it boasts 60 restaurants and 60 hotels. In 1982, revenues according to the local government reached 480,000 Yuan. Last year, the authorities collected 16 million Yuan; although the many stern signs around the town warning against tax evasion suggest that material success has not made people any more willing to share their spoils with the state.
Details of how Qiaotou achieved it’s great leap to prosperity is the stuff of fairy tales. According to local lore, a group of impoverished peasant farmers were visiting Nanjing on the Yangtze where they discovered a batch of discarded buttons with imperfections on a rubbish lip. They carried them back to Qiaolou and found to their delight these button “seconds” were tradable items.
So began a trade in one of life’s most basic commodities that has led in a fairly short time to Qiaolou itself manufacturing 50 per cent of China’s buttons as well as being the wholesaling center for about 80 per cent of the country’s requirements; with China’s garment-producing industry growing by leaps and bounds. Qiaolou’s booming business seems assured.
Along the way, a fairly significant number of Qiaolou citizens have become rich beyond their wildest dreams, not only from the trading of buttons but also from the manufacture of other items such as watch bands-
Mr. Xian Guo Xing, the metal watchband king of Qiaolou, has a problem: he cannot fit a lift in his six-storey house to transport him to his various floors which boast his own bar stocked with French Cognac, his sleeping quarters with its own 27-inch colour television, his roof garden with its commanding views of Qiaolou or to his own, personalised karaoke bar with its oversized Kenwood speakers.
By any standards, Mr. Xian has made it and he has a simple solution for his lift problem — he is giving his existing house to his son and daughters and moving down the road to a larger, new dwelling and lift. This is not bad for someone who was laboring as a peasant in the fields seven years ago.
Mr. Xian admits things have moved fast for him, but he insists others have got rich quicker and have bigger houses with lifts. A lift appears to be the ultimate status symbol in the Qiaotou district. “Look over there.” he says, gesturing from his roof garden towards a large new dwelling up the street. “There is a much bigger house than mine with a lift in it.”
-Madam Jiang, Mr. Xian’s talkative wife, still cannot quite believe the couple’s good fortune. She recalls that when they were married in 1957, they lived
Manufacturers claim that 101 hair products are natural stimulants for healthy hair regrowth.
The products were invented by Dr. Zhao Zhangguang, chairman of the Beijing Zhangguang International Institute of Hair Re-growth and Care.
There are actually a series of 101 hair tonics each designed to help people with particular problems. 101D with 101F hair tonics may have an effect on people who have been suffering from types of alopecia for differing periods while 101B is claimed to be effective in preventing hair loss, removing dandruff, stopping itchiness and dispelling oil.
The 101 shampoo can nourish hair, remove dandruff and stop itchiness. It is to be used in association with the various hair tonics.
Promoters say there are many factors, which can determine whether the 101 series can work, such as emotions and diet. Products contain natural herb extracts with no drugs or chemicals.