Tao Huabi (陶华碧) is the founder and chairwoman of the board of directors of Guiyang Nanming Laoganma Special Flavor Foodstuffs Co. Ltd., one of China's leading private enterprises.
Born in Meitan County, Guizhou Province, in 1947, Tao never went to school and her husband died when she was in her thirties. To eke out a living and raise two young children, she used her savings to open a noodle stand in 1989. The noodles were served with Tao's homemade pepper sauce, and they proved extremely popular. A friend in the noodle business suggested that Tao open a chili sauce factory. She took the advice and started a plant in the neighborhood in 1996.
Laoganma, which literally means "old adoptive mother" in Chinese, is Tao's nickname given by her customers for her kind and affectionate nature. Tao used the nickname as her pepper sauce's brand. Many local restaurants and grocers began to sell Laoganma. Within a year, Tao opened her company - Guiyang Nanming Laoganma Special Flavor Foodstuffs Co. Ltd. From an initial stock of only 100 bottles sent out to local restaurants, her company now produces 1.8 million bottles of chili sauce every day, with output value exceeding 2 billion yuan (about US$317 million) annually by 2011. The company's products can be found in 45 countries and regions around the world.
Due to her success, Tao has received many honorable titles by the province and the state, including Model Worker, Excellent Entrepreneur, and Pacesetter. She was elected as a deputy to the Standing Committee of the Guizhou Provincial People's Congress, member of the Standing Committee of the Guiyang Municipal People's Political Consultative Conference, and vice chairwoman of Guiyang's Nanming District People's Political Consultative Conference.
Speaking during the fifth session of the 11th National People's Congress in 2012 in Beijing, Tao said: "I am a person who has experienced difficult environments. I know how to cherish everything I have done."