Under siege from competition, Beijing Zhangguang 101 is dumping outdated practices and aims to list in Hong Kong Investors weary of bank and property stocks and looking for something new will be able to put their money in a product with a market that is limitless - hair restorer. Beijing Zhangguang 101, China's biggest manufacturer of medicine to save one from the curse of baldness, has decided to seek outside strategic investors and a listing in Hong Kong. 'The Growth Enterprise Market invited us to list in 2003 but we refused because the time was not ripe,' a company spokesman said on Friday. 'But now we need large amounts of capital to expand abroad and fend off domestic competitors. In addition, the family management system does not work any more, so we have decided that it is urgent to list and turn ourself into a company using international management methods.' The firm wants to attract strategic investors and then list. The company is named after its founder Zhao Zhangguang, 62, a barefoot doctor from a poor mountainous village near Wenzhou who has become a multimillionaire, with more than 50 brands to make hair grow and sales in 56 countries. This year, it is opening factories in Japan, Brazil and Hungary and six subsidiaries in developed countries. A private firm, it does not publish sales and profit figures. The stock is likely to attract romantics rather than men in designer suits and code-locked briefcases. Mr Zhao's family was so poor that he left school at 13 and worked with his father, a herbal doctor who did not ask his patients for money but accepted their gratitude in the form of eggs, chickens and cigarettes. Mr Zhao learnt the secrets of using mountain herbs and plants to cure illness. One windswept evening in 1973, a distraught couple arrived with their daughter, a young teacher who was bald, the laughing stock of the village and without hope of finding a husband. After three years of work and 100 failed attempts, the 101st succeeded - hence the name. The potion was given to a patient suffering from fever and skin rashes - and he reported no cure to his fever but that he was growing hair. The recipe is a blend of ginseng, root of milk vetch, Chinese angelica, a type of aconitum, dried ginger, walnuts, salflower, red-rooted salvia, a psoralea and alcohol. Mr Zhao set up factories in Zhengzhou, Beijing and other cities and the fame of 101 spread across the country, where he now has 2,000 service centres, and to Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. In 1986, he moved his operations to Beijing. He was feted by national leaders, former premier Li Peng and former National People's Congress chairman Qiao Shi, whose full head of hair suggests that they are eager users of his product. Mr Zhao has received inventor awards at international fairs in Brussels, Paris and Geneva. Attempts to diversify out of hair and skin products did not succeed. Now it is determined to concentrate on its core business. So maybe it is time to sell shares of Cheung Kong (Holdings) and China Construction Bank Corp and invest in the tireless vanity of men.