Luo Hong is a man passionate about the environment and Man’s relationship with
wildlife. Armed with his camera, he travels to Africa capturing images of wildlife
in the hopes of raising awareness on our connected and shared destinies. He was
named “Climate Hero” by the United Nations Environment Program.
The story of Luo Hong is the stuff that movies are made of. Born in 1967, Luo Hong
at the age of 16, dropped out of school to start a photography business, taking
pictures and selling landscape images of rural Sichuan. This business did not
work out for the young photographer, so he then decided to start a small bakery
shop in 1992.
The interesting part of the story occurs when in 2000, Luo Hong founded a moon
cake factory in Shenyang, but to only 1 year later take it down and build a new
one. He felt that the old factory did not match international sanitary standards,
so he invested 50 million yuan (6.7 million US) to rebuild and meet the international
standards of the pharmaceutical industry. This act of business conscience made
Holiland Bakery the “last man standing” after the scare to follow a short while
after when bakeries across&n bsp;China were shut down after the crack down on
sanitation. In 2006, he established the Luo Hong Environment Foundation with the
aim of training and educating children worldwide on the impact we are having
on the planet’s fragile ecosystem. Holiland now has over 800 stores in more
than 60 cities across China, selling cakes and bread, moon cakes and sweet
dumplings — baking his way to success, this Billionaire has done it from the
“I am more of an impulsive type. I have found the real excitement of my life
and know exactly what I want, that’s enough” he says.
KA — Your recent exhibit is entitled “Shared Destiny”, in which you present
stunning images of wildlife that at once captivates and gives one the sense that
they (the animals) are very fragile even in their strength. Do you consider, that
we will have to share the destiny of the wildlife we are destroying?
LH — Earth is a complete and balanced ecosystem, and if a link goes missing,
there will be large and sometimes catastrophic damages. In this sense, all life
on Earth share the same fate. As we can now see how closely linked we are as
humans, to other biological species – we cannot help to feel anxiety for our own
kind when witnessing the accelerated extinction of so many other life beings on Earth.
KA — The patience that is required to create some of these images such as waiting
3 days to get the image of the giraffes behind the setting sun, seems to be a
patience of joy. What is it like waiting for that sort of magic to occur?
LH — With the image of the giraffes, I had been waiting in the wilderness of Africa
for three full days – Waiting as the sun would set perfectly near the equator.
(Waiting for this image was not the most comfortable thing!) However, if you believe
deep enough that you will capture the magic, a miracle will happen. Then, the wait
for this miracle is no longer tiresome, it is a thing of joy.
KA — The fact that you have created such a vast material success creates also a
duality; on one side you need to consume to keep your businesses going, on the other
side you need to be aware of the impact Industry has on the planet. How do you reconcile
these two opposites?
LH — By being aware of the impact Industry has on the Earth, and I do my best everyday
to create in consideration of the planet. This is the key. Not only am I aware, but I
make it my life’s mission to educate and share my knowledge to as many people as I can.
KA — Charity and especially those involving children, seem to be very close to your
heart. Why is this?
LH — From my growth and success, I’ve learned that the most important thing to have
is a good teacher. For me, the teacher was my father. He taught me such good values,
and has always told me to help others. This has become the beacon of my life. As an
entrepreneur, I also believe it is my responsibility to give back to my community. My
most cherished work is the time I devote to teach and nurture the next generation with
environmental values and habits, which I believe, will have such a&n bsp;large impact on
the future of this planet.
KA — If you were to have a wish for the planet, what would it be?
LH — That people, nature and animals could live in harmony.
KA — You seem to be very comfortable in the wilds of Africa, what is it about
this place that to puts you at ease?
LH — I love to be in nature, I simply feel comfortable and relaxed. I love Africa
because when you are in the vast wilderness, you can feel how animals and nature
live together as one. I feel at home there.
KA — How important is solitude to you?
LH — Solitude is very important for me. It allows me to quietly reflect on our past,
and the way of the future.
KA — What single event in your life changed you the most?
LH — Deng Xioping’s power in China’s economical and political structure. He gave me
the possibility to realize my dreams and ambitions. He not only changed my destiny,
but also changed the fate of all Chinese people.
KA — What book are you presently reading?
LH — I am currently reading John C. Maxwell “Books on Leadership” (The 21 Irrefutable
Laws of Leadership). Before this book, I thought that the manager was the essence of
all leadership. Now, I realize that the real leaders of a mission are all those people
who are involved to help the institute and influence others. I now fully see the need
to train more people to become leaders, so their positive impact can be even greater.
KA — What is it in Luo Hong that created “Luo Hong the Billionaire”?
LH — The talent God gave me: A dream, a passion, and the ability to think creatively —
To understand the true meaning of love.
KA — If you had three wishes, what would they be?
1. That my father was still able to see my success today.
2. To cultivate more leaders; to help more people lead happy lives.
3. That my children learn from my example; how to love and help others.
KA — What’s next?
LH — My goal is to enhance the quality of life of the people in China, and create more
delicious food. I will also develop more inventive ways to instruct our future generations
on how to protect our planet…this is my mission.