YANG YU YANG YU BELONGS to a minority among mainland senior executives. The executive director and chief general manager of Xinao Gas Holdings - a main-board listed firm supplying piped gas in China - insists on a punishing work schedule that causes staff to complain, and shareholders to applaud. Unlike his peers, like those in state-owned enterprises who cut deals on golf courses or in night clubs, Mr Yang does not play golf and his close allies are his wife and a few goldfish at home. He has spent his whole career in the mainland's gas industry. Prior to joining Xinao in 1998, he worked at a number of gas and petrochemical distribution companies. He spends half of the year working at the company's headquarters in Hebei province, and the other half travelling around China overseeing existing or new projects, or abroad for meetings with analysts, investors and the press. Given his workload, Mr Yang's only complaint is that he has insufficient time. No golf, no karaoke and no shopping does not necessary make Mr Yang a dull boy. This, he conceded to The Informer, was because he is a workaholic. A typical day goes like this: 6.30am - Mr Yang normally jumps out of bed immediately upon hearing his alarm clock. 'The first thing I do is switch on the television and watch news.' 7.30am - He arrives at the office punctually for a routine breakfast meeting - every working day has a breakfast meeting. Mr Yang is rarely late for the meeting, which is attended by his boss and at least 20 senior managers. The opportunity to wolf down a free hot breakfast also keeps Mr Yang punctual: 'It's very tasty and the menu is different everyday. Sometimes it is Chinese food and sometimes it is Western.' 8.00am - Starting work in his office, supervising the company's projects in 29 cities, Mr Yang saves time by ringing local managers for updates. 'Most of the time is about ringing, ringing and ringing. It's the most efficient way to manage the projects.' 12.30pm - Lunch time. Mr Yang often stays back in the office's canteen for a free lunch. Otherwise, he goes out for a business luncheon. 2.30pm - Getting back to work in his office, Mr Yang brainstorms - on how to secure new deals or prevent rivals from snapping up projects Xinao wants. 6.30pm - Having finished work for the day, Mr Yang heads home. His staff once complained against long working hours, but in vain. 'I told them that we are in the service industry and the company's business is taking off. We have to work harder.' (Daily business hours for most mainland companies are between 8.30am and 5.00 pm.) 7.00pm - Mr Yang eats dinner with his wife at home. They have a daughter, but she is away, studying in Britain. 7.30pm - This a time for taking care of his goldfish and surfing the Web. Sometimes, Mr Yang spends half an hour exercising - playing table tennis or badminton. 12.00am - Collapsed in bed. Mr Yang said he had maintained this routine for the last 12 years. 'I don't feel . . . tired, I have got used to it,' he said. 'I only wish I had more time.' Working six days a week and a few hours on Sundays, Mr Yang finds he has no time to waste. 'Sometimes I am astonished to find that I still have the same amount of money in my pocket after a few days.'