Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For helping power up renewable energy projects across Asia

With its sights set on carbon neutrality by 2060, China has been investing heavily in wind power—installing more offshore capacity in 2021 than the rest of the world did in the previous five years. But those wind turbines can’t rotate—or generate power—without bearings. And Anbang Jin, along with his project partners, is making sure there’s a ready supply, driving a CNY1.04 billion project to build a 22,000-square-meter (237,000-square-feet) production hall in Nanjing for German manufacturer Schaeffler Group

The project was launched in mid-2019, but when the pandemic hit during the construction phase, nearly every aspect of the plan was thrown off course. "Construction stopped, workers couldn’t return to work, international business travel was banned, and international logistics difficulties led to high transportation costs and unpredictable delivery times for equipment and raw materials," Jin says.

With stakeholder support, he pushed forward with a two-pronged approach. First, he and his team members engaged in intensive discussions with local government officials to determine how and when work could resume. While meeting strict safety protocols, they recovered the construction work in stages. Second, with most global travel prohibited, Jin and his project team sought remote support from Schaeffler colleagues in Europe. Using advanced technologies like augmented reality headsets, he and his team presented real-time project status updates and exchanged project information and technological knowledge. 

The production hall, which opened in 2021, now produces 12,500 large-size bearings per year, making Nanjing Schaeffler’s largest producer of wind power bearings. And Jin sees an even wider impact: "We’re making a contribution to the global low-carbon economy."

Q&A: Anbang Jin on breaking tradition, trusting young people and taking a different path

What project has most influenced you personally?
In 2018, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sent his Tesla Roadster into space. This project shows that project professionals must break the shackles of tradition and try what hasn’t been done before. Crazy ideas and brave actions can bring about unexpected changes.

What’s your project management superpower?
Strong communication skills. I can express my opinions logically, so others understand and trust me—which helps move the project along more smoothly. 

How are young people changing the world of projects now? 
Many young project managers I have met demonstrate bravery, persistence, agility and creativity. They also know how to use new media to collaborate with other young people around the world.  

What’s the biggest challenge facing young project leaders right now? 
Young people need to receive more trust and power. There are still many doubts about young people due to their lack of experience, but they’re full of passion and creativity. Give them more opportunities, and they can change the world.  

What movie are you obsessed with recommending right now? 
The movie Green Book touched me deeply. The pianist and the punk are opposites, but together they create the ultimate harmony. 

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self? 
"All roads lead to Rome." This has two meanings. First, there’s more than one way to solve problems, so we need to be flexible. Second, there’s more than one road in life, so never give up. You might find a better way forward if you take a different road.