INTERVIEWEE：Ray Luo, founder of Shenzhen LeLiving Development Co., Ltd.
INTERVIEWER：Isa Ye, founder of YoungBird Brand Management Co., Ltd.
“I think that a person who pursues a perfect life should have the opportunity to do three things. The first one is a commercial thing that can achieve people’s financial freedom; the second one is something that you like; and the third one is something that is meaningful and valuable to the society.”
——Ray Luo, founder of Shenzhen LeLiving Development Co., Ltd.
Isa Ye: we have studied your resume and found that you have remarkable experience. In 1984, you graduated from Business School of Renmin University of China. After graduation, you worked in State Development Planning Commission and Hong Kong Hutchison Whampoa (China) Co., Ltd [00013.HK] in succession. In 1999, you were appointed as vice president of Baijiang Gas (Hong Kong and China Gas) [01083.HK]; in 2003, appointed as deputy vice president and marketing president of Shenzhen Baishida Real Estate Co., Ltd. [1168.HK] ; in 2009, appointed as general manager of Shenzhen Eslite Real Estate Co., Ltd. In October 2016, you founded Shenzhen LeLiving Development Co., Ltd. With such abundant career experience, what makes you devote yourself into starting LeLiving? And over the past years, rural rejuvenation and construction has been booming, and in addition to the elite class and intellectuals, more and more young people positively follow this trend, what’s your opinion of the phenomenon?
Ray Luo: I think that a person who pursues a perfect life should have the opportunity to do three things. The first one is a commercial thing that can achieve people’s financial freedom; the second one is something that you like; and the third one is something that is meaningful and valuable to the society. And to me, LeLiving satisfied above three elements. From the perspective of commercial development, LeLiving is an uprising product of consumption upgrade with huge potential. As a huge market, tourism contributes about 10 trillion to GDP, so we believe that the giant will appear in this field in the next 5-10 years. Secondly, before selling service products to members, we have to experience and excavate by ourselves first which makes me happy. Moreover, I am willing to do so. Thirdly, we have become the designer of lifestyle on the one hand while on the other hand, we become the one who can improve living standards. It is a very meaningful thing to not only improve yourself but also benefit to others. Perhaps you can gather many people and make a success in business by developing a boring game, but it is meaningless to the society. Making money but without social value is not the career goal that I will choose at this stage.
We found that rural construction projects led by Leliving could push local development and rejuvenate brain-strain villages during the process. The urban elites return to the countryside and push forward local economic development through consumption. Besides, our customers will be engaged in the development of local industries, which takes most advantage of local resources and benefits local villagers. I believe the business is not only commercially sustainable but also socially significant.
I think there are two major reasons for more and more young people to join in the rural construction. On the one hand, the driving force of the market and the second is that China is now at a stage of high urbanization, and the country is simple and slow-paced. The way continues to show its charm, so that more people have a yearning. The older generation is more because the rural life is a kind of childhood memories. At the same time, the rural ecological environment and food are better than the city. Therefore, the convergence of the two forces becomes a fashionable trend driven by the market and consumption.
▲Aerial photography of Leliving ·Qishan (Tea Plantation Village)
▲Villagers are practicing martial arts in Tea Plantation
▲Foreign friends are learning martial arts
▲Young villagers return home and work at their doorsteps
Isa Ye: The concept that do the most favorite things and encounter with the most interesting people in the most beautiful places is what Leliving hopes to bring to its members through the project. So in order to achieve the goal, what efforts did you put into? As we all know, creating a theme manor with celebrities in the circles of film and television, culture, media, science and technology should be one of the most attractive ways. Could you please tell us something interesting happened among them?
Ray Luo: What makes me feel interesting is that I have seen many old friends again and our relationships have further developed. For example, director Jia Zhangke, we established cooperation since the film of Still Life. Two years ago, director Jia invited me to attend the Film Festival in Pingyao, Jiangxi Province. He happened to find that that I established Leliving Group. Hence, he proposed an idea of building an inn theming on the film. Last year, he helped me to select a local partner and an ancient courtyard, and presided over the signing ceremony for us on the second session of Pingyao Film Festival. At present, the design of Leliving Pingyao x Jia Zhangke film inn has been completed and is expected to be available before October this year. My friendship with director Jia has been lasted for ten years and is further developed in new fields.
Besides, we cooperated with Sun Mian on the project of Butterfly Resort in Lijiang, Yunnan Province. The words that Mr. Sun Yan said when signing the contract impressed me a lot. He said, “Cooperation is like the combination of two lives, and whose value is far more than the merge of the project business.” This is also the reason we emphasize on the importance of encountering with interesting people. When you meet an interesting person with abundant experience, you will gradually develop into such a person. One of the angel members who joined us is the owner of my real estate project. He happened to learn Leliving when attending a conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, and he immediately went to the project site we were working on. After returning to Shenzhen, he decided to join us. WuSang, in charge of Japanese region has lived in Japan for over 30 years and has cooperated with well-known directors in the Chinese film circle. He designed the tour of Hokkaido personally. Although it has been more than a year, people who walked through Hokkaido with him, often meets together.
Therefore, encountering with interesting people will become one of the biggest differences between the Leliving and traditional tourism.
▲The famous foodie Ouyang Yingji personally sought the taste of Suichang
▲The media giant Sun Mian and the film giant Zeng Zhiwei in Leliving·Butterfly Resort
▲The famous director Jia Zhangke cooperated with Leliving
Isa Ye: How is Leliving going since its establishment in 2016? What’s your expectations on the brand? Could you please share your dreams with us about Leliving?
Ray Luo: I hope that the Leliving will become a leading brand with innovative models and distinct personality in the field of resort and leisure. Moreover, it can fulfill the original brand promise to the market and its members. In addition, it can realize the company’s original position to design the lifestyle, improve value of life, and make people’s lives more exciting and interesting.
After two years of development, more and more people has recognize the value of Leliving. At present, there are nearly 200 members. Our projects in Lijiang, Hulunbeier and Zhejiang have been ongoing and gained praise. The project of Zhejiang Leliving·Qishan Resort was also invited to participate in the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. Projects in Pingyao, Japan, and the United States will also be on the market this year. We will further develop the design and excavation of life content products, and will also develop and try on the new retail “learning good things”, and gradually transform Leliving into a profitable model with innovative diversity, brand personality and social significance. So that the company will have positive significance for the development of individuals and society.
▲The project of Zhejiang Leliving•Qishan Resort was also invited to participate in the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018
Isa Ye: What is your opinion on the cooperation with Young Bird Plan to launch a toilet revolution international design competition in the Suichang Village, Zhejiang Province? In the competition, there were plenty of excellent works being submitted. The design is bold and innovative. At the same time, it is also well-combined with the local customs of Suichang. What is your opinion on the designers involved in this competition?
Ray Luo: As for the competition, I actually had this idea as early as two years ago, but there was no opportunity at that time. After I founded Leliving, I thought that it’s the right time to cooperate with Young Bird Plan to launch a design competition. The public toilet is a manifestation of modern civilization. If the toilets are still terrible for people to use, no matter how many buildings are built up, the civilization of the whole society is still in a defective state. We are still in the final step from the true modern civilization. Especially in the country, this problem is very prominent.
Young Bird Plan has a very deep foundation in the design field. It surprised me a lot that there are so many designers from all over the world participating in this competition. Each design work is actively exploring the modernity and publicity of architecture. And their works will enhance the quality of life and civilization of the Chinese countryside, and have a positive effect on the demonstration of the entire Chinese township.
NEO, as the prefix of TOILET, means a new, innovative toilet, combined with the pattern of local piglets, trees and farmland, which means that in the specific environment of the country, it can create a bright and beautiful place. New public toilet construction combines culture and forward-looking design. The People’s Government of Suichang County teamed up with Young Bird Plan and LELIVING to create the “NEO-TOILET”competition IP, inviting global design talents to focus on Suichang and build a“beautiful village”.
Isa Ye: According to the project plan, how is the construction of Leling·Qishan Resort going, and when it can be completed? When the champion work “Stop Pavilion” will be built? What’s your opinion on the project and what’s the value of it?
Ray Luo: The project of Leliving·Qishan Resort has come to an end. It is expected to entertain the first batch of guests in April. The competition winner “Stop Pavilion”has selected the building site and will begin its construction once the drawings are completed. Together with the Leling·Qishan Resort, it will become a new symbol of the Zhejiang Rural Revitalization Project. Through the competition, we not only obtained a variety of public toilet design solutions, but also made attractive mark-up landmarks in various conspicuous locations in Suichang County, which improved the quality of experience of the region as a tourist function, and also had a 1800-year history of Suichang. This innovative form is displayed to the world.
▲One of the houses after the reconstruction
▲The interior structure after the reconstruction
Isa Ye: Since 2013, Young Bird Plan explore the direct demands, accelerating industrial upgrading and urban renewal hatch. AsLeliving is currently investing considerable energy and cost in the rural revitalization, could you please share your views on urban renewal? Do you think design plays an important role in the project? At the same time, what is your expectation on our further cooperation in the future?
Ray Luo: Urban renewal is more complicated because of the high spatial density. We have to consider the project in various aspects including the relationship between city and people, among people. And we have to understand the relationship from a future perspective, otherwise a project with large investment will become a project with very low utilization, which is a great waste.
There are many different types of projects in Leliving, and I believe that Leliving and Young Bird Plan will have more cooperation.