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Liu Zhi: a Chinese son's dilemma

Author: Carlock, Randel S. ; Florent-Treacy, ElizabethINSEAD Area: Entrepreneurship and Family EnterprisePublisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 2009.Language: EnglishDescription: 2 p.Type of document: INSEAD CaseNote: Latest version available via https://publishing.insead.eduAbstract: Originally from Thailand, Zhi considered himself to be in voluntary exile in London. Years before, he had turned his back on tradition, on his family’s business empire, and on his family, and fled to the West. His father, Liu Hong, had been his mentor but also, in Zhi’s eyes, his tormentor. He had had no option but to free himself from his father’s influence and from the family business. And then, out of the blue, Hong telephoned Zhi in London. He began by reminding his son that after several years of declining profits, Plantation Sugar Trading, the family company founded by Zhi’s great grandfather, was struggling. As Hong had no other sons, responsibility for the family enterprise fell on Zhi. He would have to return to Thailand or Hong would sell the company as quickly as possible. What should Zhi do?Pedagogical Objectives: This case allows us to understand the need for communication in the family business and the need to establish a structure that encourages family participation. It also deals with the next generation's challenges and recognition as well as the character and the leadership style of the owning generation.
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Latest version available via <a href=https://publishing.insead.edu>https://publishing.insead.edu</a>

This case allows us to understand the need for communication in the family business and the need to establish a structure that encourages family participation. It also deals with the next generation's challenges and recognition as well as the character and the leadership style of the owning generation.

Originally from Thailand, Zhi considered himself to be in voluntary exile in London. Years before, he had turned his back on tradition, on his family’s business empire, and on his family, and fled to the West. His father, Liu Hong, had been his mentor but also, in Zhi’s eyes, his tormentor. He had had no option but to free himself from his father’s influence and from the family business. And then, out of the blue, Hong telephoned Zhi in London. He began by reminding his son that after several years of declining profits, Plantation Sugar Trading, the family company founded by Zhi’s great grandfather, was struggling. As Hong had no other sons, responsibility for the family enterprise fell on Zhi. He would have to return to Thailand or Hong would sell the company as quickly as possible. What should Zhi do?

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