Honorary Chairman of China’s Largest Private Steelmaker Shagang Dies of Illness
Chen Shanshan
DATE:  Jul 01 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Honorary Chairman of China’s Largest Private Steelmaker Shagang Dies of Illness Honorary Chairman of China’s Largest Private Steelmaker Shagang Dies of Illness

(Yicai) July 1 -- Shen Wenrong, honorary chairman of Shagang Group, died of illness at the mature age of 78 yesterday after more than four decades of leadership, China’s largest private steelmaker announced.

Shen Wenrong's son Shen Bin has been the chairman of the world's fifth-biggest steelmaker since 2019 when the father stepped down, only retaining the title of honorary chairman. He resigned as president of Shagang in 2011 and was succeeded by Gong Sheng, the former vice president.

The industry veteran rose through the ranks and built the steel giant by taking risks in technological upgrading. Born in 1946 in Jiangsu province, Shen Wenrong worked at a ginnery after graduating from secondary school. In 1975, workers at the factory raised funds to set up a steel rolling mill with an initial annual capacity of 500 tons.

In 1984, Shen Wenrong became the director of the mill that turned into Shagang. Under his leadership, Shagang introduced advanced technologies to enhance production. In 1988, he splurged on importing a powerful electric furnace from the United Kingdom, the first of its kind in China, which helped the company quickly seize the local rebar market. In 1996, Shagang’s annual steel output exceeded one million tons.

In 2002, Shagang acquired a steel plant in Dortmund, Germany, from Thyssenkrupp, one of Europe's largest steel companies, and relocated the factory to Jiangsu's Zhangjiagang with over 1,400 workers, which upgraded the Chinese firm's operations. By 2005, its annual production capacity surpassed 10 million tons.

China's steelmaking landscape has shifted to overcapacity so Shagang moved onto expansion based on mergers and acquisitions. Since 2006, the company has acquired multiple rivals, including Jiangsu's Huaiyin Iron and Steel, Anyang-headquartered Yongxing Iron and Steel, and Dalian-based Dongbei Special Steel Group.

Shagang’s annual production capacity reached 41 million tons last year, only lagging behind state-owned Baowu Group and Ansteel Group, according to statistics from the World Steel Association. Shagang has also been on the Fortune 500 list for 15 straight years. It ranked 348th with revenues of USD42.8 billion and profits of USD558 million last year.

Editors: Dou Shicong, Emmi Laine

Follow Yicai Global on
Keywords:   Shagang Group,Shen Wenrong,Steelmaker,obituary