Xiong Shuihua grew up in a wooden hut in Xiongkeng village in the city of Xinyu in southern China. The tight-knit community often helped support his family as he grew up.
Today, Shuihua is a millionaire business tycoon and he returned home recently to repay his community for their kindness.
Shuihua bulldozed the entire village and replaced it with free luxury flats for everyone. Those who were especially kind to him and his family received villas. Shuihua has also promised three meals a day to the older residents of the village and those who have low income, to insure they can get by.
The 72 families that occupy the village were previously living in poor conditions and used dirt roads for transportation.
“I earned more money than I knew what to do with, and I didn't want to forget my roots.” Shuihua said. “I always pay my debts, and wanted to make sure the people who helped me when I was younger and my family were paid back.”
Shuihua made his millions in the steel industry.
Local resident Qiong Chu, 75, said, “I remember his parents. They were kind-hearted people who cared very much for others, and it's great that their son has inherited that kindness.”
The area now features public art, including a statue, verdant growth and a playground.
Though the village was nowhere near as impoverished as some areas in China, poverty remains an issue in the world’s most populous country. About 27% of people in China live below the poverty line, which is comparable to California’s poverty rate, which is 23.5%.