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TCL's Li wins business accolade

Li has spent his entire working life in the electronics industry.
Li has spent his entire working life in the electronics industry.

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(CNN) -- Li Dongsheng, the chairman of Chinese electronics giant TCL, has been named Asian businessman of the year by U.S. business magazine Fortune.

TCL, which signed a joint venture with French group Thomson in late 2003, is the biggest maker of mobile phone handsets in China. It also makes other consumer electronics products, including television sets.

Li's avowed goal is to make TCL one of the world's top five players in the global mobile communications sector in three years.

TCL's international exposure began in 1999 when it set up a television factory in Vietnam.

Fortune Asia editor Clay Chandler told CNN Monday the Chinese leadership had made the creation of global brands to challenge Sony and Samsung a "national imperative".

He said TCL had a better chance than other Chinese makers of becoming a global name because of its "buy rather than build" strategy.

Chandler said TCL's current strength was its internal distribution and marketing abilities, rather than its technology. The challenge ahead would be to create world-class technology.

Earlier this month, TCL launched an initial public offering to raise 2.5 billion yuan ($302 million) to fund its expansion.

Li, now 46, graduated from South China University of Technology in Guangzhou in 1982.

He has spent his whole working life in the electronics industry, first with Huizhou TTK Household Electrical Appliance Co Ltd and later with the various TCL Group companies.

Li is already the recipient of numerous awards in China. In 1994 and 1995, he was named "special contributor to China household appliance industry" and "national excellent young entrepreneur" respectively.

In 2000, he was named a "national model worker" and in 2002 was voted a Deputy to the Chinese Communist Party's 16th Congress.

Fortune magazine, like CNN.com, is part of the Time Warner group.


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