Chief Diana Chen

SPECIAL REPORT

By THEODORE OPARA

‘SUCCESS does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will,” says the Indian great man, lawyer and nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi. This wise saying aptly captures Diana Chen, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Choice International Group, CIG, the parent company of CIG Motors Limited, GREE Air Conditioner and Lontor E-home.

Diana Chen can never be missing in the crowd no matter the calibre of people. She is often heard and very well too. In less than a decade of doing business in Nigeria, Diana has become well known all over the country for her quality of products. She employs hundreds of Nigerian youths and creates business opportunities for thousands of Nigerians who deal in her products.

First, she introduced the Lontor product which lights up every home in Nigeria. There is hardly any family in Nigeria that doesn’t use the product which includes rechargeable fans, lights, bulbs, torch, etc. These products have dominated the market since their introduction.

As if this was not enough, Diana Chen introduced the award-winning Chinese auto brand, the GAC, which also became a household name across the country. Like a wildfire, the GAC brand of automobiles has penetrated the market with Diana Chen recently winning the Auto CEO of The Year prize at the prestigious Nigeria Auto Journalists Awards. She is the first to be decorated with this prize by the auto journalists while her GAC GSA Sports Utility Vehicle won the Most Fascinating SUV of The Year award, the first by any Chinese made auto company.

The GREE Air Conditioner is her latest addition to the market and it has followed the footstep of other products introduced into the country by Diana who is no stranger to leading Nigerian business businessmen and high network Nigerians.

Diana’s success didn’t come by chance, it was earned through hard work and she is not slowing down at all. She is full of surprises. Who knows what next the ever-smiling Chief Executive Officer is going to drop on the table. Diana’s CV is intimidating.

Though she doesn’t have the size, her products and carriage do that. She has guided the CIG to establish several subsidiaries and overseas branches, and its product line covers many industries providing quality products and services to Nigeria and the African community at large.

Diana Chen is also Vice-Chairman, China-Africa Business Council and Regional Director of the Belt & Road International Commercial Mediation Centre in West Africa.

She was actively involved in the establishment of the mediation centre in West Africa in 2019. The Belt and Road Initiative is a strategy initiated by the People’s Republic of China that seeks to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.

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These positions are proof of her commitment to promoting China-Africa cooperation and China-Nigeria trade and cultural exchanges. She is also credited with promoting the industrialisation of Africa through the establishment of an auto assembly plant in Lagos, Nigeria which is currently at the construction stage.

Drawing inspiration from Maya Angelou’s immortal statement that ‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away, Diana has been a committed promoter of African cultural values. She engages invaluable sponsorship of major events in this sphere of life. Some of them are the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, The Voice Nigeria and Miss Nigeria.

She also supports the development of sports, and has been involved in sponsorship of the 21st African Athletics Championships; the Lagos City Marathon; Feet & Tricks Football Competition; and the Lagos State Charity Boxing Exhibition (Rumbles in Lagos). These engagements and active participation in local public welfare activities and shows have earned her accolades and recognitions.

Chen was 2015 conferred with a chieftaincy title in Nigeria, making her the first Chinese female chief in the country. She launched the Choice International Business School in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, an initiative meant to give opportunity for company’s workers to acquire more knowledge while earning their living. Chen is Vanguard’s Foreign Investor of the Year.

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