Jack (Bi Tian) Yuan couldn’t help but notice something major was happening when he was visiting China in January 2020. On school break, the Stanford undergrad expected to see large gatherings and festivities for Chinese New Year. Instead, he saw a city of 15 million people become “a ghost town” on the eve of the festival. Back in the U.S., he couldn’t help but notice how ill-prepared the rest of the world was for what was coming.
“When I returned to the States, I noticed a lack of masks in California, and retail stores such as Home Depot and CVS had a lack of masks,” Yuan told BOSS over email from China, where he was continuing work for Tianchi Medical, the company he founded to deliver PPE to where it was badly needed. “Another trigger was that I was the only person (in New York City, where Yuan grew up) wearing a mask when the pandemic started, and everyone was looking at me like I was the odd one wearing a mask. These two triggers were my moment when I realized what happened in China was going to happen here, as well as worldwide.” With classes gone virtual, Yuan set about building what has become a $200 million supply chain that has delivered more than 340 million masks and 700 million gloves around the world.
What A Start
Supply chains are still reeling from the havoc COVID-19 brought. Last spring, they were crumbling all around, leading to shortages of all kinds of goods. It was during this chaos that Yuan headed to Guangzhou, China, and began building Tianchi Medical’s mission to get PPE to hard-hit countries.
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