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Would you treat 3000 of your best salespeople to a paella feast in Spain?

Wed 01 Jun 2016, By Dean Cromwell
Would you treat your employees to a Spanish Paella feast

Well that’s exactly what one Chinese billionaire did. Li Jingyaun is the founder of the Tiens Group, a multinational conglomerate that operates in the fields of biotechnology, logistics, property, trade and tourism. The company was founded in 1998 when its main business activity was the export of traditional Chinese medicinal products.

Today the company has over 8000 employees in more than 190 countries.

These statistics are amazing, but even more impressive is the lavish treat Li laid on for about 3000 of his top salespeople. They were all flown to Spain in 20 separate chartered flights. A total of 2000 hotel rooms were booked out to for their stay and 70 tour busses took them on sighseeing trips around the country. The highlight of their trip was a bullfight in a town near Madrid.

After that it was off to an awards ceremony where huge ‘paellera’ pans were used to serve up the country’s national dish. Of course a fair amount of sangria was needed to wash down all that paella, but it seems the crowd really enjoyed themselves. They also got a tour of King Felipe VI's Royal Palace.

If you’re a business owner and fancy following Li’s example, be prepared to shell out at least $8 million for a treat like this. But it’s not the first time the Tiens Group has splashed out on treating their top sales people. Last year the company paid for 6400 people to take a four day trip to France and Monaco to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary.

That set them back $37.6 million and required 84 airplanes to get everyone to their destination. The Louvre actually shut down so the employees could take a private tour. And while they were there, they set a new Guinness World Record for the longest man-made phrase visible from the sky. What did it spell out? "Tien's Dream Is Nice In the Cote De’Azur"— a "Nice dream" that for most of us would take either a generous employer like Tien, or a lottery win.

The reason why only 3000 people made it to Spain this year was because of the higher targets the company recently introduced. Still, if you were lucky enough to be in one of those top performers, it must have been an amazing experience. And it’s sure to have had an impact on Spain’s tourism industry.

One could argue that stunts like these are often done more for publicity than anything else. After all, the Tien’s Group is a direct sales company and relies on publicity to get their name out. However, there’s no doubt that for many of the company’s employees it was a fabulous opportunity.

Like many billionaires, Li Jingyuan is a philanthropist and has done a lot for charity. He founded the Tiens Meijing International Charitable Foundation with approximately $100 million. Then there’s the Tianshi College in China. Li donated another $100 million to this private school that enrols more than 3400 students.

Not much else is known about Li, but it seems he certainly knows how to reward his employees. Doesn’t it make your annual company picnic pale in comparison? Even if you don’t have that kind of money, or that large a workforce, it does put the pressure on bosses to come up with more exciting ways of rewarding staff. Perhaps if you win the lottery you could afford to buy your personnel a nice meal…in Spain!