(Yicai Global) July 10 -- Familiar with dapper financial mogul from the movies and white-collar workers in suits working in Shanghai's Lujiazui financial district, I was a bit taken aback upon seeing Qi Shi for the first time. Is the man in sportswear, jeans and sneakers the founder and chair of East Money Information, a listed firm with a market cap of hundreds of billions of yuan?
Friendliness came into his eyes. He has a warm palm and a sincere smile.
Qi graduated from prestigious Shanghai Jiaotong University where he majored in materials engineering. Instead of working in the materials industry, he went to a futures company on graduation. After leaving the company, he set up an investment advisory firm and ran a securities newspaper before founding Shanghai Dong Cai Information Technology in 2005, the predecessor of East Money Information. He witnessed ups and downs in China's capital market, with some getting rich overnight while others went bankrupt in the same interval.
The website multiplied its internet traffic to 30 times as much as its rivals' in three years, and went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange's ChiNext market in five years, with over CNY600 billion (USD85.8 billion) worth of funds sold last year, a figure more than that of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China over same period. Qi didn't tout these achievements in the interview, however, as if they had happened of themselves.
I asked him what the company's long-term development goal is. Will it create a "financial empire"? Qi gave me a straightforward answer: No. The firm will try its best to be a fund seller and a securities brokerage, he said, adding expect routinely published annual budgets, since East Money Information hasn't set a strict profit target.
Time will tell. Businesses without targets/insights will simply go with the flow, and only the surefooted will survive. This is especially true in the financial sector. In that sense, Qi's operating style is quite good.
Editors: Chen Juan, Ben Armour