Wang joined the People’s Liberation Army as a reconnaissance scout in 1976 while still a high school student. He studied at the State University of New York, where he received his masters degree in mass communication in 1994.
Discharged a few years later, Wang secured a position at the Chinese National Commodities Bureau in Beijing. However, unlike many Chinese of that time who were content with lifelong employment at government agencies, he soon quit his work because of his strong personal interests in arts and photography. In 1985, Wang became a self-employed professional designer and photographer, first making children’s pictorial books, commercials, and calendars, then managing the marketing department of a local company. In 1989 Wang went to Michigan to study mass media communication, and later transferred to the State University of New York, where he received his masters degree in mass communication in 1994.
While a student in the US, Wang also worked as a part-time cartoon artist and photographer, typically laboring 13 to 16 hours each day during weekends. By the time of his graduation, Wang had accumulated personal savings of $100 000. Again unlike many other mainland Chinese students who settled for a comfortable living in America, Wang’s dreams were of fame and success in his native country. He promptly returned to China in 1994, and spent all his money setting himself up as boss of a privately-owned company that he believed could one day be the ‘Chinese Warner Brothers.’
Nevertheless, the road to success was neither easy nor straightforward. At the beginning, Wang published a small magazine with commercials tailored for upscale clientele and foreign diplomats in Beijing. The breakthrough came when Wang presented his design to the Bank of China for its first standardized corporate image plan. When his winning design was implemented in 15 000 branches of the Bank of China across the country, other banks and large corporations quickly followed, and business began to boom. In a few years, Wang’s Huayi Brothers Media grew to become one of the top ten advertising firms in China, with clients including China State Power and the Sinopec Group among others.
Now with plenty of money, Wang first tried to expand his business into the fields of medical and automobile sales without much success. His luck turned in 1998 when a former colleague convinced him to make a popular drama series for the massive Chinese television market. Though he had no experience in TV production, Wang reaped a 100 percent return on his investment as a result of a successful promotional campaign. On 18 December 2000, the Huayi Brothers’ Taihe Film and Television Investment Company was incorporated with Wang as president and CEO.