This Shandong guy sold enough duck eggs last year to circle the Earth. He started from zero

Ant Financial
Aug 26 · 3 min read

Zhao Yong, a native of China’s northern Shandong province, has been selling salted duck eggs on e-commerce platform Taobao for the last ten years.

It’s a humble product, but not a small business.

Zhao now earns about RMB 18 million (USD 2.5 million) annually from selling these brine-preserved eggs. In other word, those eggs that he sells each year -often used as a condiment to meals of porridge on Chinese breakfast tables - can fill up to 100 lorry trucks.

Salted duck egg. Yummy.

And if you line them up end-to-end, those eggs would be enough to wrap around the entire circumference of our Earth.

Like many inspiring “from zero to hero” entrepreneur stories, Zhao built up his salted egg empire almost from scratch, and he had hardly any help in the beginning.

When he decided to quit his job and start his own online salted egg business ten years ago, he merely had RMB 5000 in start-up funding, almost all of which came from the gift money collected at his own wedding.

Meanwhile, his wife and relatives were all against his idea, and thought he’d only be wasting his life and money trying to build a business out of a computer.

Zhao at the county commercial business registration office

Shortly after, Zhao ran out of the initial funds. To keep the business running, he sought out everyone that he could think of borrow money. Unsurprisingly, the response was not as good as he expected.

Zhao then heard Alipay had created an online bank that could lend money to small businesses with just a few clicks on his mobile phone.

He was full of doubt. Is this even possible? Is it a scam? But this was his last shot, and Zhao decided to give it a try.

And so, the turning point in Zhao’s story began.

In 2008, Zhao obtained a RMB 10,000 business loan from the online bank, which helped his Taobao shop tide over its cash crunch. Since then, he has relied on the bank — later renamed MYBank — to solve all of his cash flow issues.

So many eggs…

By the year 2016, Zhao’s credit limit increased to RMB 970,000. With the capital injection, he made history by selling RMB 1.65 million worth of salted eggs in a single day during that year’s November 11, which was the annual Double 11 online shopping festival.

Looking back at those days, Zhao said: “All my relatives couldn’t believe it, that MYBank can grant money to a nobody who had nothing to his name.” Yet today, he’s a successful businessman whose humble start-up story is an inspiration to many.

So, what’s next for Zhao Yong? He’s now a part-time teacher at the Feixian Technical Secondary School of Shandong teaching e-commerce practice.

Training the next generation of e-commerce champions

When asked whether his teaching would clash with his business, Zhao admitted it, but also said he never regrets spending the time to give back.

“I have a firm belief that my path of entrepreneurship also applies to everyone else. I want young people to be successful in business instead of expanding my own.” Zhao said.

Now, let’s get our hands on some of those yummy salted eggs.

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Alipay and the World

A magazine about the world’s leading digital lifestyle and payments platform Alipay and how it’s working with partners around the world to revolutionise finance for over 1 billion users

Ant Financial

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Ant Financial is a tech company dedicated to bringing inclusive financial services to the world, through Alipay and its global partners. Visit us: antfin.com

Alipay and the World

A magazine about the world’s leading digital lifestyle and payments platform Alipay and how it’s working with partners around the world to revolutionise finance for over 1 billion users

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