In a small county town in Shandong, there was a young boy. When he was in the fifth grade of elementary school, the school’s new principal installed a few cement ping-pong tables on campus. His eyes lit up at that moment, as if something inside his DNA had stirred. Encouraged by his father’s colleague who said, “Since you like playing ping pong, why not learn it?” This young boy, Wang Zhehan, began to diligently practice his skills at the Shandong Luneng Table Tennis Club.
Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult to stand out in the fiercely competitive sports school. So he returned to school to focus on his studies. Having trained in sports since childhood, he felt that he was far from being among the top athletes in competitive sports. This was undoubtedly a blow to the young Wang, but the seed of love for ping-pong had already been planted in his heart.
After graduating from middle school, Wang worked part-time at a traditional ping-pong gym during the summer. Inspired by his teacher’s successful private coaching business, Wang started dreaming of having his own gym.
Thanks to his athletic talent, he was admitted to a university in Jinan, the capital of Shandong. Just two months into his university life, he participated in an amateur ping-pong game and won. Taking place in a small gym with only three ping-pong tables, the game was bustling with players. The moment Wang stepped into the gym, his passion was ignited, and soon he found a basement and opened his first gym.
However, he faced numerous challenges that were overwhelming for a young and inexperienced man. He had limited funds, a poorly decorated gym, and difficulties in recruiting coaches and students. In the early days, Wang worked as both a renovator and a table tennis coach. To save money on renovation, he did the painting himself and ended up with green arms just before his final exams. His appearance shocked his teachers and classmates. Regardless of the weather, he would ride his old bicycle to the gym, never taking a break, and personally teach students.
Wang’s first gym was a success, but when he opened the second one, it unexpectedly failed. He believed it was because of the unfavorable location. He tried again in the city center, but that also ended in failure due to the oversupply of gyms. Disheartened, Wang attempted other educational services projects, but none worked out, which made him realize that switching industries was easier said than done.
Despite the challenges, Wang excelled in his business after more than a decade of toiling in the industry. When he looks back on his journey of not giving up, he remembers a boy he once taught. The boy joined Wang’s gym when he was in second grade, lacking any talent in table tennis. Surprisingly, over five years, the boy remained dedicated to training. This unwavering spirit deeply touched Wang and perhaps even inspired him to continue opening and managing ping-pong gyms.
Today, Wang’s chain of ping-pong gyms has expanded to over 300 locations across China. He has world champions in his table tennis club, which is a part of the Chinese Super League. His next goal is to establish teaching programs for all age groups, contributing to the national fitness campaign and inspiring one million children across the country to develop a love for table tennis.
Throughout this journey, he has discovered his strengths. He possesses a natural talent for managing gyms. He has transformed from an ordinary, mediocre, and self-doubting young boy into a confident and cheerful leader. This path has been a mix of challenges, hard work, tears, and moments of doubt. However, these experiences have shaped him into who he is today.
The recently released Chinese film “Someone in Glowing Twenties” is based on Wang’s life story. It depicts the entrepreneurial journey of four young individuals intertwined with their personal growth. However, contrary to what the movie implies, Wang’s dream of owning a table tennis gym still burns as strongly as it did in his twenties. As of today, Micro Connect has invested in 222 gyms managed by Wang’s Lexuan Sports.