Paul Hsu

Paul C. Hsu

Member at First Presbyterian Church

Company:
First Presbyterian Church

General Information

Experience

Wisconsin Department of Health

Education

MBAHarvard Business School

degree - finance , University of Wisconsin

master's degreeGraduate School of Social Work

Affiliations

Founder - Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises Inc

Recent News  

Wausau Daily Herald - Ginseng dream pays off big for area businessman

About Paul HsuPaul Hsu is owner of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises Inc. in the town of Texas and Hsu Ginseng Farm LLC.His international sales top $30 million annually, and he employs 500 people worldwide, including about 65 in Marathon County.File photo It was the mid-1970s and Paul Hsu's family encouraged him to continue working for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services.He had a wife, a baby on the way and a secure job that paid well.Good thing for Marathon County that Hsu is a risk-taker. And good thing his wife, Sharon, was a nurse and able to support the family should her husband fail in his business endeavors. Hsu, 63, is the owner of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises Inc. in the Town of Texas and Hsu Ginseng Farm LLC.His international sales top $30 million annually, and he employs 500 people worldwide, including about 65 in Marathon County.His payroll tops $2 million, and "Wausau is at least half of that," Hsu said. At its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, ginseng sales funneled $90 million to $100 million into the county's economy, Hsu said.Competition, especially from Canadian and Chinese growers, has dwindled ginseng sales in the county to about $10 million to $12 million, so Hsu has been forced to diversify his business or close up shop. With Hsu promoting sales in China, Wisconsin used to produce about 3/4 of the world's ginseng.That fraction has since dwindled to about 1/10th. His pioneer attitude, though, led Hsu to expand sales to health food products, sea food products and Chinese herbal products.Ginseng now accounts for 50 percent of his companies' sales. "Without (diversifying) in the last 10 to 12 years, I would be history," Hsu said. He spends about two or three months each year on the road promoting his products in China and other Asian countries. "The competitor came to Wausau to compete, so I went there to compete with them," he said. Hsu hails from Taiwan.People here sometimes mistake him for being Hmong, which is understandable considering the majority of the county's 6,100 Asian residents -- according to the 2000 U.S. Census -- are Hmong. Hsu moved to the United States in 1969 to get a master's degree from the Graduate School of Social Work: University of Denver. Wisconsin paid for some of his graduate work, so when Hsu completed his schooling in 1971 he was required to work for the state for two years. In 1972 a friend told Hsu about ginseng production taking place in the Wausau area.In 1974, Hsu read an article about ginseng in Mother Earth magazine and decided to investigate. He had sent samples home to his family, and Hsu's mother raved about its health benefits, saying her diabetic condition and arthritis, among other things, had greatly lessened . Hsu went home in 1975 to see for himself and "it made a believer out of me," he said. Intent upon taking advantage of the growing Chinese market, Hsu's family discouraged him from launching a ginseng business.Everyone except his wife. "One sentence changed my life," Hsu said, before sharing Sharon's words, "'You can try in case you're interested and if you fail, I can support the family.'" Hsu quit his job with the state and moved to Wausau with the first of three sons and Sharon in tow. The stress of a new job, a move and a new baby was nearly unbearable. "The say a lot of divorces are because of that stress," Hsu joked. The strain was worth it, though, he said.Wausau is a great place to live, work and play.In addition to his business responsibilities, Hsu is an active member of the community. He's a member of First Presbyterian Church on Grant Street. Two of his sons attend Harvard -- William, the oldest, could graduate in June from the Harvard Business School with an MBA; Jonathan, the youngest, is a Resident 1 at Harvard Medical School. His middle son, Tony, has medical issues and works in his father's office, he otherwise probably would be in college, too. "That's direct proof how well our (Wausau) school system is," he said. People complain about property taxes in Wisconsin, but it's worth every penny when you compare the quality of life here in the state to other regions of the country, he said. As a taxpayer, Hsu is entitled to an opinion -- a really big one. "I pay a lot of real estate taxes because I own 800 acres in Marathon County," Hsu said.

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Wisconsin Ginseng Dealers

Paul C Hsu
Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises Inc 209 S 4th Street Readstown, WI 54652

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News & Events - GoldenSeal Sanctuary

A panel discussion with insights from Paul Hsu of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises, Brad Castle of Emerald Castle Farm, Adam Seitz from Pennsylvania Certified Organic, as well as Bob, Tanner, and Chip came next.

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