The Creator in the Red Sea
"continuous entrepreneur" is the most distinct label on Li Chuangang.
As a staunch participant in two decades of rapid change in the consumer electronics industry, his experience is typical. An alumnus of Peking University, he has worked as an executive in both foreign and listed companies in the Fortune 500. in his first job, he set the record as the first Chinese branch president of LG Electronics, and worked as an executive at iFLYTEK, creating a collection of popular To C styles. He has had three entrepreneurial experiences, including one that the smart speaker project was acquired by a big company, and the other time he made the smart recorder number one in the industry from 0 to 1.
No matter what kind of identity he is at the moment, Li Chuangang is always tireless in choosing to break into new areas and deal with more complex challenges. Today, he refreshed his label again and chose to become a partner and CEO of Magic Technology.
When standing at the crossroads of change again, Li Chuangang had a conversation with 36 krypton. Among them, there are not only the review and perception of the past entrepreneurial experience, but also the thinking and prediction of entering the Red Sea market, as well as the grasp of the current and future technological wind direction. In the conversation, he rarely mentioned obscure business theory, but repeatedly stressed the importance of "technology" and "innovation" and always regarded himself as a staunch innovator.
Consumer Electronics 20 years, Challenge and Development since joining LG in 2001, Li Chuangang's career seems to have been engraved with a deep brand of "consumer electronics". He has always been closely linked with this industry and cultivated deep feelings. In the 2G era, he took 13 years from a grass-roots employee to become the first Chinese branch president of LG Electronics (China), promoting LG phones to double the sales miracle of Samsung in the Chinese market.
At LG, Li Chuangang witnessed for the first time the power and value of innovation, which has always affected his career. He recalls that the slider-designed LG chocolate, which was launched around 2005, was almost one of the most successful products for 2G phones at that time. The novelty of the design makes this product the collective memory of many people, which is the value of innovation.
According to Li Chuangang's recollection, this pursuit of innovation has also become the methodology for the positive operation of this enterprise. Although many companies are eager to innovate and create value for their customers, not many companies can actually do so.
When working at LG Electronics (China), Li Chuangang was influenced by the company's "sense of ownership" corporate culture, so he never had a simple migrant mentality, but always maintained a strong sense of ownership. This mentality inspired his creativity and planted the seeds of entrepreneurship in the process.
At the end of the 3G era, Li Chuangang started his first business. In 2012, he founded Parkson Electronics, but the project was not plain sailing. At that time, the company's business was also focused on electronic products, but the launch of mobile phones for the elderly, children's watches and other products were imitated by others. There was no big innovation in this, so it didn't succeed. Referring to this experience, he joked: "an entrepreneur worth investing in needs to go through three to five years of failure first."
Paixin is more like a course that transforms Li Chuangang from a senior management to an entrepreneur and gives him a better understanding of what "innovation" means to technology companies. Three years later, Li Chuangang co-founded Xiaoyu Home to launch the industry's first screen smart speaker around the world. When making product innovation, Li Chuangang asked himself whether there is an innovative electronic device that can add a "screen" other than televisions and mobile phones in the home to meet the multi-functional needs of the family with the increasing breakthrough of artificial intelligence technology.
Eventually, Xiaoyu became the "third screen" with video calls, voice interaction and other practical functions at home. This functional device based on voice interaction has successfully attracted consumers, setting a record of 10% of daily active users.
This product has gradually evolved from the initial "video call robot" to "intelligent speaker with screen", first hatched by innovative workshops, then strategically invested, and also has a more well-known product name-small intelligent speaker. It has also become the fastest growing brand in the Chinese market in 2019, ranking first in the market with screens.
For this success, Li Chuangang summed up the following key points: to understand the technology, use a large number of market research to fully insight into the pain points and needs of users, really bring a subversive experience for consumers, and solve the pain points of consumers.
The innovative flywheel is turning faster and faster. in 2018, Li Chuangang, vice president of iFLYTEK, came up with the idea of using artificial intelligence technology to make a subversive innovation in the sound recorder.
When he returned to his alma mater, Peking University, Li Chuangang saw that teachers and students were generally using traditional recorders, and the process of sorting out the minutes of the meeting was extremely tedious. This is precisely the pain point that can be solved by smart recorders. Based on artificial intelligence technology, it can reduce a lot of time needed to sort out the minutes of the meeting, and it is also convenient for keyword search after finishing the paper.
He decided to make a smart recording pen, and become an innovator and leader in the category, even surpassing Sony, the number one brand in the industry at that time. This bold goal has also been questioned within the company, he recalls. "people will think it is' unreliable'." However, Li Chuangang's obsession with innovative business makes it impossible for Li Chuangang to give up the space of imagination.
As a result, with the support of Hu Yu, chief executive of iFLYTEK, Li Chuangang set up a joint venture and a team of 100 people to launch iFLYTEK intelligent recorders that can translate voice into text in real time, organize meeting summaries, and easily share. Not only quickly surpassed Sony to become the number one in market share in 2019, but also made a number of "number one in the world" achievements through the continuous introduction of new products and expansion of categories.
In a series of attempts, Li Chuangang keenly grasped the window of artificial intelligence technology and accurately captured the opportunity of speech recognition, semantic understanding and neural network technology coming to the fore in practical applications. This insight is the source of his self-confidence as an entrepreneur and the strength to step into the next new field.
Stepping into a redder and wider sea, Li Chuangang joined the demons in 2023. Speaking of this transformation, he said frankly that he was looking for a larger category. "I want to enter the field of wearable devices, and I happen to be familiar with headphones." Headphones are undoubtedly a red sea full of strong people, including old players of sound quality, such as Sennheiser, Sony, BOSE, etc., as well as big-name headphones such as Apple and Huami OV, as well as Shaoyin, which is perpendicular to the field of sports, as well as popular brands such as Walker and Beats.
It is in this larger Red Sea that Li Chuangang still uses "innovation" as a compass to explore more possibilities. As an entrepreneur, he sets aside four to five years for an industry. In the first year of his new career of making headphones, the key word he gave was "try".
Li Chuangang believes that the development of the consumer electronics market will face three major trends, among which the opportunity is contained. The first trend is "product intelligence", almost all consumer electronic products will be enabled by artificial intelligence. For example, intelligent speakers are empowered by artificial intelligence technology to produce innovation. The original recorder has also developed into an artificial intelligence recorder, showing the new characteristics of artificial intelligence.
The second trend is "scene segmentation". For example, the category of headphones is also growing and improving-from wired to wireless to TWS headphones, as well as different types of scene headphones such as sleep-aiding headphones and noise reduction headphones. With the deep segmentation of the market, headphone categories that meet different specific groups and specific scenes will continue to emerge, showing endless potential for innovation. Based on this change, Li Chuangang pointed out that professionalism will become a decisive factor in market competitiveness, and in-depth understanding and meeting specific needs will become crucial.
Stepping into the post-epidemic era, a new subdivision scene has also come to the fore, and the sports tide brought about by health needs has emerged. Li Chuangang pointed out that throughout the global headphone market, the sports headphone market is the fastest growing area, which is the most eye-catching in the global headphone market this year. Relatively speaking, the market for other types of headphones, such as TWS headphones, is relatively stable.
As a runner, by communicating with his fellow runners, Li Chuangang learned about the pain points when using headphones, including discomfort and poor sound quality, which inspired him to think about the innovation of sports headphones.
Trend 3 is "brand centralization". Li Chuangang sharply pointed out that in the future market segments, there will be a "dominant" situation, that is, a brand can occupy 60% to 70% of the market by virtue of its expertise. In this context, how to solve the pain points of traditional sports headphones and create a new category is particularly critical.
Li Chuangang said bluntly, "accurate judgment is one of the most important qualities of CEO." His macro judgment focuses on the overall outbreak of the sports and fitness market, while the micro judgment focuses on the scarcity of sound quality in this market. As a ten-year-old brand, ten thousand demons products have spread all over the world, and sound quality has always been its strong point, but this is precisely the deficiency of sports headphones.
Driven by this deep understanding, Li Chuangang led the launch of a new segment of products-the ten thousand demons S30 and S50 open sports headphones. Both headphones use cutting-edge air conduction technology, which enables sound to be transmitted to the auditory nerve more naturally through the tympanic membrane than bone conduction headphones.
In the end, after the launch of the ten thousand demons S30 and S50, the sales volume more than doubled. Driven by innovation, it finally subverts the tradition and realizes a new definition of the sound quality of sports headphones.
Li Chuangang said that in the future, ten thousand demons will create a more complete product matrix in the subdivision of sports headphones. Taking BMW as an example, he pointed out that Wanmao planned the three-series, five-series and seven-series as low-to-high product lines, and different series aimed at different consumer groups to create in-depth product lines covering the whole population.
Outside China and the Asia-Pacific region, open sports headphones will also have broader prospects for the European market, which is in its infancy. Li Chuangang said bluntly that there are more than 20 million sports headphones in China alone, and Wan Monster aims to become the leading brand in the region by 2024 and the number one brand in the field of air conduction sports headphones in 2025.
3. AI + everything, seeing the new future of consumer electronics in the next five to ten years, Li Chuangang is convinced that artificial intelligence will permeate every corner of life like water and electricity, especially in the field of consumer electronics. All industries will experience the baptism of artificial intelligence. After headphones, he expects to further expand the entire wearable device market, and foresees that this field will be completely subverted by artificial intelligence.
He firmly believes that all kinds of smart devices will become platforms for mutual empowerment, whether they are watches, glasses, bracelets or headphones, their functions will be expanded and improved, but this will require the continuous development of time and technology. Among them, smart hardware should pay more attention to the needs of users, such as providing heart rate monitoring, health advice and other functions. Citing the needs of professional runners as an example, Li Chuangang believes that headphones have the potential to store music, guide daily training and monitor physical indicators, and is optimistic about the market prospect of specialized headphones.
In the competition and reshuffle of the consumer electronics track, Li Chuangang's view is that "subdivision of the scene is equal to the brand." He believes that if small brands want to find the scene of their own survival, as long as they are professional enough, they can gain a foothold in the game of competition in the future. "not big companies can eat small companies", the key lies in product research, innovation, and how to solve the pain points of consumers, whether the solution is thorough.
As a business school student with a professional background, Li Chuangang emphasizes the brand-building concept of "making products well in a down-to-earth manner, long-term accumulation and continuous improvement". He always believes that enterprises should focus on excellent products and emphasize the importance of product quality and word-of-mouth communication. In the future, excellent products accumulate word-of-mouth for a long time is a solid foundation for the formation of a brand.
Reviewing his entrepreneurial history of more than 20 years, Li Chuangang profoundly concluded that entrepreneurs need to always maintain curiosity and regard it as their own instinct. His pure love and firm spirit of innovation in the field of consumer electronics has always been his belief, which has led him to create a series of high-profile explosions. As he followed when he dared to enter the Red Sea: "the greatness of consumers is that they will always support innovators."
No matter how the Red Sea is under the sea, it is undergoing rough changes. Looking back at the past decade when consumer electronics lost innovation, we still witnessed the Internet of everything possibilities offered by 5G, experienced the rapid popularity of wearable smart devices, and looked forward to the explosion of innovation brought about by generative AI.
In the future voyage, we firmly believe that the chopping waves of brave entrepreneurs will open an era of innovation full of infinite possibilities. The wind of change has set sail, and we look forward to a more intelligent and innovative future in the rough Red Sea.
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