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World Mag > WM Winter 2016 edition > Interview with Tianqi Yang CEO of DHS

Interview with Tianqi Yang CEO of DHS

“AISB taught me that knowledge should not be taken for granted, and if I’m genuinely interested in a subject, I have to pursue it.”
Tianqi Yang Class of 2009
Tianqi Yang Class of 2009

WM: What was the most important in uence that the AISB education had on you?

TY: AISB taught me that knowledge should not be taken for granted, and if I’m genuinely interested in a subject, I have to pursue it.

WM: What did you study after high school?

TY: I studied sociology and later switched to economics at LMU in Los Angeles. I also took a variety of courses in philosophy, history and marketing. All the interests I pursued during college were related to what I learned at AISB, which seemed just like some random interests at the time but later proved to be the stepping stone for the greater curiosities that contributed to my overall world view and social values.

WM: What work experience did you undertake during college, and how has that in infuenced you? 

TY: During college I worked in a temporary job for a small lm studio, where I learned that a zealous work attitude is very much appreciated by American employers. After graduation I worked at a famous American maker of bicycle components, where I learned that a noble company mission could be the most important factor in helping talented people reach their personal potential, hence the company’s potential. It was a very small team that creates immense commercial and social value. My experience in that company taught me to believe in my dreams because I don’t have to be alone in that journey. All I need to do to achieve them is to build a dream team.

WM: What is the story of your family business?

TY: My family rst visited Romania in 1998. During their vacation, the mayor of Petrosani, Hunedoara convinced my father to invest in his city. At that time, the mines were closing and there was a surplus of workforce in the region. All the cumulated wealth my family earned over the years has been reinvested into the same business they started in 1999 – DHS, the largest bicycle factory in Romania.

WM: How did you decide to come back to Romania and manage your family business?

TY: My first job was on the assembly line of the bicycles: I was 14 and it was the middle of summer vacation. My parents loved to talk about work even at home so I learned about the bicycle industry ever since I was a child. even during my college years, I attended all the most important tradeshows in this business. During the 2013 Las vegas Interbike Show, I found an American company who had their production in China and Taiwan and I managed to lead them to Romania and start a collaboration with my company in order to expand their presence in Europe.

This opportunity was probably the reason I had no difficulty finnding a job in the bicycle business after graduating from university. During my first job in the States, the company I worked for also had a sister NGO which promotes alternative transportation as a solution for global warming. As the CeO’s research assistant I was involved in the study of the global trade of fossil fuels and I participated in lobbying for environmentalism. Honestly, I did not hold my company in high regards before, but it is during the year 2014 that I nally decided that my family business is a perfect place for me to begin achieving my dream as being a part of the sustainable future. I know this sounds cheesy but I believe people our age can hardly be motivated by wealth alone.

WM: What have been some challenges you have encountered until now?

TY: It’s been an entire year since I worked here now. I’ve encountered new challenges, daily. This company was a welloiled machine when I rst took over, but not exactly ready for the plans I have in term of human resources, which is the biggest challenge. We had loyal and capable people but everyone was already a screw in the machine that I couldn’t delegate for new projects. While not exactly experienced in hiring, I faced di culty attracting people who shared my vision. Since hiring new people proved unbene cial in the short-term, I’ve established an internal promotion system that involves everyone from line workers to top management. During the process, I’ve managed to convince some high level managers to find replacements for themselves thus making them available to run new projects and set new departments. This is a costly process, but what I currently have is a large company that runs itself like a small or mid-sized company, where most of the decision making is done by the “dictator,” my beloved father.

The change I’m about to bring rst is a system where everyone can have a shot in reaching their personal potential, and I believe this is the solution to all other challenges that I have in hand. This idea is inspired by my understanding of the history of Roman and Mongolian empires. An empire’s internal conflicts are minimized when there are permanent wars to be fought and lands to be conquered; every general can become a king if he can conquer enough land to call a realm. I believe that all of the company’s current challenges will be solved by the people who share my dreams, and my job as General Manager is to keep creating new opportunities for my employees and for my business. 

Read the entire WORLD Magazine Winter 2016 edition here.


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