No one thinks that a master who used to work as a senior manager, owns business and earns tens of billions of dong a year raises pigs, especially when this woman is extremely clean.
Business opportunities are everywhere, just know how to seize them
Cai Liqun, a woman from Jiangxi province (China) received a degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University at the age of 25. This woman became an office worker in a foreign company. At that time very few people spoke English, Cai Liqun advantageously earned a salary of 800,000 yuan/year after being promoted to senior management, and soon bought a villa in Shanghai.
In 2008, Thai Lap Quan resigned and started his own business, producing auto parts with a profit of 5-6 million yuan/year. Her first 40 years can be said to be calm and successful. No one expected this woman to retire peacefully, suddenly “loving pigs” and starting a new career at the age of 44.
The story begins with the time Thai Lap Quan took his parents to his hometown in Le An district, Jiangxi province to play in 2010. By chance, her father caught a very familiar pig on the side of the road. It is the Le An flower pig breed, everyone thinks this breed is about to become extinct. Villagers said this type of pig is still there, but now the numbers are very rare.
Li’an flower pig is only found in Jiangxi province, also known as “panda pig” because of their appearance. Braised Le An pork dish is very popular with locals because of its tender meat and distinctive delicious flavor. Thai Lap Quan’s first thought at that time was “this pig is so delicious that it cannot go extinct”.
Thai Lap Quan bought some flower pork and brought it back to Shanghai, and his friends all praised it. Someone even suggested to her to raise pigs. This woman saw a business opportunity and immediately returned to her hometown to collect Le An pigs scattered throughout the village.
Deciding to engage in animal husbandry, Thai Lap Quan faced fierce opposition from his family. She herself has always been obsessed with cleanliness, while raising pigs, no matter how strict the hygiene requirements are, can’t avoid the smell. However, Thai Lap Quan still believes that this is the path she must take.
The master of raising pigs is about to become extinct
Because the pig farm is located in a place with difficult roads, Thai Lap Quan could only walk with his partner and bring back pigs, not leaving any pigs behind. In a few months, she bought more than 300 pigs for more than 1 million yuan.
She hired experts to test the blood of these pigs, identifying relatively purebred ones for breeding. The time when Thai Lap Quan built a pig farm was when many problems arose.
Le An flower pig is very active, with the height of a normal pig house, it is impossible to let these pigs obediently stay in the cage. She can only raise the fence and open the playground for pigs. Thai Lap Quan accompanies the growth of the pigs, feeding and bathing them every day.
In 2012, her pig farming grew, attracted local attention and was ordered by the largest hotel in the district. Thai Lap Quan took advantage of the opportunity, increasing the price by 50 yuan/kg. But this price has hindered sales, she only has 2 ways: sell at a reduced price, or continue to invest to find new markets. With the bravery of a longtime business person, she decided to choose the following option.
The fertility of Le An flower pig is higher than that of common pig. By 2014, Thai Lap Quan had bred more than 500 animals. The sudden increase in the number of pigs prompted her to invest more money and quickly shape the output for the pig herd.
Trading in meat, which is relatively new to the market, this woman focuses on two factors: creating products of outstanding quality and proving that quality.
Le An flower pork has a red-pink color, a characteristic flavor, but the disadvantage is that the fat layer is thicker, limiting this disadvantage to be able to compete with pigs raised in other localities. Thai Lap Quan reduced the amount of high-calorie feed for pigs, increased grazing and regular exercise in the mountains, reducing the fat content of pigs by one third.
After being confident with the product he created, Cai Lap Quan went to a department store in Shanghai. She is not afraid to cook Le An pig liver on the spot in front of customers to prove the quality of the meat. Pork liver is an organ that can directly reflect the quality of meat. Once there is a problem with the quality of the meat, the liver will have a strange smell.
Le An flower pigs have to raise 1-1.5 years before they are released, while common-raised pigs only need about half a year. In addition, Thai Lap Quan feeds pigs with mountain spring water, corn and forage, so the pork has a fresh taste, and customers praise it at the first try. With good news from far away, Li’an flower pork successfully penetrated high-end supermarkets and specialty stores in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou.
Thai Lap Quan sets prices differently by department, but mainly targets high-end customers. The cheapest front leg and back meat are sold for 98 yuan/kg (more than 300,000 VND). The market price of other parts of Le An flower pig can be up to 240-396 yuan/kg (about 800-1.3 million dong).
During the festival season, Thai Lap Quan’s business is more favorable. The phone rings every day. “Although Le An pork is relatively expensive, consumers are still willing to spend money to buy it because of its high quality and nutritional value,” Thai Lap Quan said.
In 2017, Thai Lap Quan raised 1,000 pigs, sales in Shanghai were 5 million yuan/year. This woman’s total market sales outside Jiangxi province is up to 8 million yuan per year (~ 27 billion dong).