Business | Goodbye to diplomacy in China; Hello my American dream

Burning bright

Trained since 12 to be a diplomat, entrepreneur Mei Xu gave it up and bravely walked a different path. Today she’s at the helm of a US$100 million candle business

March 13, 2017 3:00 PM (UTC+8)
  • On her way. Mei Xu, 16, at Hangzhou Foreign Languages School. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    On her way. Mei Xu, 16, at Hangzhou Foreign Languages School. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
  • Ready for diplomacy? An 18-year-old Mei Xu by West Lake in Hangzhou. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    Ready for diplomacy? An 18-year-old Mei Xu by West Lake in Hangzhou. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
  • Say cheese. Mei Xu (center, in yellow blouse) in the Class of 1989 at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    Say cheese. Mei Xu (center, in yellow blouse) in the Class of 1989 at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
  • Fresh start. In 1992, Mei Xu lived near  Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    Fresh start. In 1992, Mei Xu lived near Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
  • Budding entrepreneur. In 1994, Mei Xu at the Charlotte Gift Fair in North Carolina with samples sent from her friends in China. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    Budding entrepreneur. In 1994, Mei Xu at the Charlotte Gift Fair in North Carolina with samples sent from her friends in China. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
  • In 2011, Mei Xu opened her third factory in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    In 2011, Mei Xu opened her third factory in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
  • US President Barack Obama meets Mei Xu aftar business leaders attend the Insourcing American Jobs forum in Washington, DC. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu
    US President Barack Obama meets Mei Xu aftar business leaders attend the Insourcing American Jobs forum in Washington, DC. Photo: Asia Times/Handout via Mei Xu