• September 24th, 2020

From kindergarten teacher to tycoon … the inspirational journey of Wu

WINDHOEK - Meet Stina Wu, who started as a kindergarten teacher in China many years ago and became a multi-millionaire businesswoman in Namibia. Wu is the founder and executive chairperson of Helmsman group that owns shopping complexes and involved in building houses in Oshakati, Karirib and Rundu, amongst other businesses.   Wu is married and she is the mother of two children, a 17-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy. The boy lives in China. 

A recent completely envisaged five-star hotel expected to open this month is one of the latest projects on her business list. The hotel, Marigold situated in Windhoek West, offers services to corporate, executives and upper-class tourists to mention but a few.  New Era met with Wu at her latest establishment to speak about her business interests.

Wu said she was a kindergarten teacher in China but resigned and migrated to Namibia. According to her business associate, Wu started from humble beginnings where she owned a little Chinese shop but moved into export and import business.  The well-established businesswoman said she wants Namibia to thrive and she sees the country’s economy growing.

“I came to Namibia, 21 years ago. I started with import and exports business and later on we started with shopping complexes. We built some of the shopping complexes in the north, Etango and in Oshakati Galaxy, in Karirib, SME Park in Rundu, Windhoek near china town and Oshikango Platz at Oshikango,” she remarked.

Wu said she is now venturing into hotels but before that, her company started building affordable houses costing between N$ 400 000 to N$800 000. They have houses in Oshakati, Karirib and Kaisosi in Rundu. She said very soon they will be venturing to Eenhana in Ohangwena Region.

“We build top class houses because of the materials we are using. We want to have a good name in the market and even when people want to buy our houses, they know our name already and trust us. The houses have good prices and good quality. We don’t charge for some of the square metres - we give them for free such as the veranda,” she said.
Asked what her feeling towards locals who feel Chinese are given preference in terms of acquiring tenders and land, Wu said she does not agree as there is a policy that certain businesses are reserved for locals and she understands why the government is doing that- in order for local businesses to grow.  

But Wu said if the country wants to grow, it should have an open door for investors to come in and form ventures with locals to develop the country.

About the hotel- Wu said she set up the hotel because she saw an opportunity. “I see more people are coming to Namibia. From my side, Namibia has a lot of beautiful places and I believe if we can have proper hotels and services, there will be more people coming to Namibia and this will bring Namibia on the market. Many people don’t know Namibia and the little we try to do is to bring Namibia out to the international market,” she stated.  Wu shared that she wants to expand her hotel locally, in southern African and international market. Although she is Chinese, she said she has spent many years in Namibia and consider it her home, due to the fact that she also invested a lot of money in Namibia.

 Asked what drives her, Wu replied: “I want value for my life and I want to prove something to myself. Iam a lady but I know I can do it, “she stated while adding that this is a good time for women to venture into businesses as women are nowadays independent. 

Although she admitted that it can be challenging to compete with men, she maintained that she had proven herself through hard work.

Asked how she balances her time through her busy schedule, Wu said she is not good at balancing time. 
“It is very difficult. You spend more time at the business, you are really tired when you get home. 
Sometimes I work till 22h00 to 23h00 in the evening, when I get home, I just take a shower and go straight to bed,” she stated, noting that she spends time with her family on weekends.

On social corporate responsibility, Wu said she is involved in number of projects involving children, such as building kindergartens up north.  

Wu recently donated 200 school tables and 200 chairs to Etunda Farm Primary School, which is situated on the farm of Founding President Sam Nujoma in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Selma Ikela
2018-11-02 10:16:11 | 1 years ago

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