Industrialist Xiaofeng Peng was one of the richest men in China as recently as 2008. His company, LDK Solar, took on massive debt to begin producing polysilicon. But construction took longer than expected and costs were higher than anticipated. By the time the plant was operating at full capacity, the technology was obsolete. Meanwhile, LDK’s Solar line of business went into cyclical decline.
Now, LDK is under liquidation and has yet to release its 2013 financial statement. Because he personally guaranteed some of the loans, Mr. Xiaofeng is being sued by one of the state banks.
Recovery from bankruptcy
Because of the extreme financial risk, those who start new businesses have always been at risk for financial failure. But that does not keep them from trying. Here are just a few entrepreneurs who did not let a financial setback (and in most cases, several setbacks) derail their plans:
- Milton Hershey: Mr. Hershey had no formal education, which may be one reason he went bankrupt in both Philadelphia and New York City. He sold his next company for $1 million, an unheard-of sum in 1900.
- Henry Ford: He lost two businesses before finally getting it right with the Model T; his first venture, the Detroit Automobile Company, produced only 20 cars.
- Walt Disney: Mr. Disney started his first film company in 1922. After a dispute with a client, the studio was unable to cover its overhead. A few years later, Mr. Disney released the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, which substantially revived his film career.
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