Nanshan Americ

Nanshan America Advanced Aluminum Technologies, is slated to open early this summer in Park 350, a 330-acre industrial park near Veterans Memorial Parkway and U.S. 52 in Lafayette.

Industry Maker

Lijun Du and Nanshan America help balance the equation

As the United States and now global economy wrests itself from the grip of a lingering downturn, there are many stories about what has been lost –– jobs, incomes, homes, assets, industries and even livelihoods.

The story of Krannert alumnus Lijun Du, president of Nanshan America, follows a different plot line. 

Working with the support of the state of Indiana, local government and Purdue University, Du and his company are helping to push the balance sheet back up, opening a narrative about what has been gained.

Bringing worlds together

Like a growing number of international executives, Du received his business training in the U.S., earning a Master of Science in Industrial Administration (MSIA) from the Krannert School in 2004 and a second graduate degree in public administration from Syracuse before eventually taking his new skills home to China. 

But something else happened along the way, first at Purdue and then at Lafayette’s Oscar Winski Co., where he served as the metals company’s director of China operations. A seed was planted and a connection made, one that Du would maintain after leaving the states.

“My first visit to the United States was to attend Purdue, which was a real culture shock,” he says. “I didn’t speak or understand English very well. As my language skills improved, so did my understanding of Western business philosophy. I couldn’t have accomplished what I have in my career without Purdue and the Krannert MSIA program.”

Du remembered that experience as he rose quickly through the ranks at the Nanshan Group, one of the top 200 enterprises in China with operating units in the textile, finance, tourism and education industries. Publicly traded on the Shanghai and London stock exchanges, the company employs nearly 40,000 associates globally and posts more than $5.8 billion in annual sales.

And today, Du is back in Boilermaker country, bringing the company’s America division with him –– along with a $160 million manufacturing facility in the University’s backyard, up to 200 high-tech jobs for Indiana and a five-year, $10 million commitment to support Purdue’s international programs and fund research, training and scholarships.

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