“The reasons why I founded Blue Sail Medical was to push society forward and promote greater well-being. People will not buy your product or service if it is not providing any form of social value,” says, Liu Wenjing, co-founder and chairwoman of the Chinese medical equipment company Blue Sail Medical Group.
Founded in 2002, Blue Sail Medical now comprises 70 subsidiary companies, factories in 20 countries and a sales network that covers over 100 countries. Its main products are protective gloves and coronary stents, a small mesh tube that holds open weak or narrow arteries in the treatment of coronary heart disease. Liu has transformed Blue Sail Medical into a market leader in the protective glove and medical device industry in China. In the first three quarters of 2021, Blue Sail Medical’s net profits were RMB 3.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 128%.
Liu Wenjing graduated from CKGSB’s EMBA and Business Scholar (DBA) programs. As China’s leading business school, it’s not surprising that CKGSB has been able to produce so many business leaders playing a pivotal role in China’s economic development. More than 18,000 successful entrepreneurs, industry leaders and executives of multinational corporations have chosen to study at CKGSB for the original China insights, world-class faculty and peer-to-peer learning with China’s movers-and-shakers. More than half of CKGSB’s alumni are at the CEO or Chairman level and, collectively, lead one-fourth of China’s most valuable brands.
After graduating from university in 1993, Liu worked at Shandong Qiulu Petrochemical Company, before raising RMB 7 million in 2002 to co-found Blue Sail Medical. Liu told CKGSB that the biggest problem at the beginning was obtaining funding. Due to a lack of development opportunities in China, Liu realized that the biggest market potential for her products was overseas. Speaking very little English, she travelled abroad to pitch her company to customers and investors. She was very successful and by 2010, Blue Sail Medical was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and by 2012, it had acquired 22% of the world’s protective gloves market, becoming the largest manufacturer of PVC and nitrile protective gloves globally.
Liu’s decision to go public was greatly due to her conversations with CKGSB Dean Xiang Bing while studying for her EMBA with CKGSB from 2007-2009. In an interview with CKGSB, she recounted the Dean’s words, “In an era of chain-to-chain competition between two supply chains, it is fundamental for Chinese companies to become world-class companies.” She continued to say, “As the world becomes more and more diverse, every industry is constantly changing. The [Business Scholar Program at CKGSB] allowed me to understand these changes occurring across various industries. “
In 2013, Liu changed Blue Sail’s strategy and launched into the high-value consumable markets. With the acquisition of companies such as Biosensors International, Blue Sail Medical now produces industry leading stents such as the BioFreedom, the world’s first polymer-free stent. Other acquisitions have enabled Blue Sail Medical to become a major player in other areas of cardiovascular research, such as medical imaging and artificial heart technology.
Despite facing major challenges in the industry, including fierce competition and falling stent prices, Liu Wenjin has consistently reformed and upgraded the company to ensure it remains a leader in the healthcare industry. In both 2014 and 2015, Liu was listed by Forbes as one of China’s Top 100 Businesswomen.