Fortune China Merchant of the Year Revealed: “No Hero” Wang Chuanfu

Wang Chuanfu epitomized individual heroism after China resumed its college entrance exam in 1977: before his generation, personal dreams could easily have been stifled by collectivism and egalitarianism. Wang Chuanfu, a man who doesn’t want to stay in his comfort zone, has made two leap-forward adventures: from the consumer electronics industry to cars and one from cars to rail transit. In the end, it has become an important weight for a country to participate in global competition in the new energy era.

Originally published as Fortune (Chinese edition) January 2020 Original title: “No Hero”

In the spring of 2020, at some point in the fight against the global new corona epidemic, Wang Chuanfu stood in a corner of his Factory in Shenzhen, as if he were back to the scene he had when he founded BYD 25 years ago.

At 3 a.m. on one day of this year’s Spring Festival, Wang Chuanfu was still in his mask factory. The production line took 10 days from design to mass production. For a simple comparison, it usually takes up to 15 days to make a mask machine. Just as 25 years ago, Wang Chuanfu was at BYD’s battery production plant, and he was often cautious until the early hours of the morning.

A brief description of BYD’s mask production process: Engineers need to draw 400 drawings in three days, and then the company uses its own factory molds and die beds to produce 1,300 of the approximately 2,000 parts, including gears, chains, rollers, rollers, and so on, while assembling a mask machine. The company then produced these mask machines at a rate of more than 10 a day, with the final result reaching a production capacity of 5 million per day by the end of February, equivalent to a quarter of the previous Chinese mask production capacity.

Generally speaking, Wang Chuanfu will appear on the mask production line at 4:30 p.m. every day, and then leave at about 10:30. People close to him said: “This kind of thing was only done 25 years ago, when BYD was making batteries, Wang always personally to watch the line.” Twenty-five years later, I saw this scene again. “

He lives on a floor of about 15,000 square meters and can have up to 200 production lines. Divided into morning and evening two classes, each class production of 10 hours, the machine is 24 hours to start, each production line of 3 people a group.

Wang Chuanfu’s approach to stimulating production is simple – cash and the Dragon and Tiger List. He subcontracts each production line to each business unit, and which team produces more per day will reward the team with cash. Motivated, an ordinary production line can sometimes exceed the limit capacity of 50,000 masks.

Outside of the outbreak, Wang Chuanfu’s transformation from obscurity to china’s participation in the global new energy era is an important weight, all related to Wang Chuanfu’s past, his experience is worth careful study under the microscope.

Fortune (Chinese edition) – In 1992, Wang Chuanfu, a 26-year-old young man from Anhui Province, cast doubt on his identity.

Outsiders see him as having a job that is absolutely the envy of his peers. After graduate school, he stayed directly in Beijing Nonferrous Metals Research Institute, at the age of 26 was promoted to the institute’s 301 deputy director, became the country’s youngest director.

In this position, due to the lack of a full-time director, he became the actual first-in-command, managing 400 people almost all of them master’s and doctoral. The path lies ahead: the director, the dean, and the predictable path to promotion.

But Wang Chuanfu felt terrible.

In the research institutes at that time, want to innovate need layer approval, financial personnel are wary of everyone’s reimbursement, directors are no exception. Also in this year, the line of sight across Beijing’s scale of central enterprises and research institutions, to the south 2,500 kilometers, “The Story of Spring” rang through Shenzhen.

After Deng Xiaoping’s southern tour speech, someone recorded Shenzhen at the time: a man who came to Shenzhen that summer to find a job, and lay in front of the bank at night. The next day, he got up and looked silly, and there were a few blocks behind him. Someone even immediately wants to buy his bank door for 100,000 yuan. Between his doubts, he raised the price again: 150,000. These crazy people were the earliest awakenings in China’s capital markets, and they had to buy stock subscription certificates, which was the starting point for the Chinese’s raw desire for wealth and personal success.

An inexplicable, restlessness about wealth, power and desire is spreading in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city. The gold diggers who came to Shenzhen believe that: rich and expensive insurance. The young man, Wang Chuanfu, came to the adventurer’s paradise and started a small workshop-style company, BYD.

At first Wang Chuanfu was just a busy little person in Shenzhen. Although he felt the “own decision” of the smooth, but also feel the loss of institutional security of the uneasiness, carefully run the company, he said he knew “the canteen at noon every dish there are a few pieces of meat.” “

These are now perhaps the least important parts of his memory. Wang Chuanfu, 54, has become one of the world’s hottest electric vehicles: BYD’s cumulative sales of new energy passenger cars exceeded 730,000 units, while China’s new energy vehicle stake reached 3.44 million units, according to which BYD already accounts for more than a fifth of the country’s new energy vehicle ownership. This means that if you look on the streets of China, about one in five new energy vehicles is BYD. In another comparison, BYD sold nearly 230,000 new energy vehicles last year, while volkswagen, the auto industry’s forerunner, sold 79,000 electric cars worldwide, nearly three times as many electric vehicles as VW did in the new energy sector.

Wang Chuanfu, Chairman and President of BYD Co., Ltd. Photograph: NIC MA

In most people’s eyes, BYD’s comparison with Tesla is not in one dimension. But history has brought the two companies together: BYD and Tesla almost all started developing electric cars in 2003, and now BYD, deep in Pingshan, Shenzhen, has been producing them with its own batteries; In 2013, Mr. Wang said, “Once household consumption is started, BYD can build Tesla in minutes.” Musk responded: Wang Chuanfu is not my opponent, BYD is just a good battery.

Now, Tesla’s model 3, which sells for $299,000, is about to compete in the Chinese market with BYD’s main model of around 200,000.

In fact, BYD’s new energy vehicle sales have been ahead of Tesla since 2016, when tesla just overtook THE company last October, but that number is still a struggle for competition.

BYD’s value in solving social problems has been recognized while completing its business ventures. BYD is third in Fortune’s list of 52 companies that changed the world last year, behind Qualcomm and MasterCard, which rank edgy apple and Alibaba. This is the second time BYD has made the list.

Fortune magazine’s first report on Wang Chuanfu came ten years ago. At the time, Mr. Wang attracted global attention for his investment in Mr. Buffett, and berkshire still shows no sign of exiting BYD’s shares and has earned more than 600 per cent of his return. Buffett and his partner, Munger, have also fulfilled their long-term value investment promises, and Charlie Munger’s assessment of Wang Chuanfu still seems to be out of date: “He’s a jack Welch and Edison complex.” I’ve never seen anyone like this before. “

Wang Chuanfu epitomized the era of individual heroism after China resumed its college entrance exam in 1977: before his generation, most of his personal dreams were stifled in collectivism and egalitarianism. He was the one who took the initiative to jump out of his comfort zone and completed two leap-forward adventures, one from the consumer electronics industry to the car, one from cars to rail transit, and he himself became an important weight for China’s global competition in the era of new energy vehicles.

In Pingshan Wang Chuanfu, far from the center of Shenzhen, lives a life unknown to outsiders: he will ask himself to be in the office at 7:30; after a business trip, he will still go to work when he arrives in Shenzhen at 11 o’clock; he will assemble a team of executives in 5 minutes, and he will ask executives to report as briefly as possible. He said he couldn’t understand how much tens of thousands of yuan was spent on a trip and thought it was “incredible”.

Ten years later, we face Wang Chuanfu again, listening to him tell the story of the past 10 years of new energy boom era, an engineer’s radical, reflective, stubborn and persistent.

One

I was sitting on a plane to Shenzhen with the front page of the newspaper: “Beijing 20,000 taxis next year”, “oil to electricity.” Shenzhen has completed the transformation of taxis, the people who changed all this is the person I will face the interview.

The coincidence suggests that the whole of China is on the road to new energy transformation, no less fast than, or even ahead of the world. In the past year, China has sold 1.2 million new energy vehicles, accounting for 58% of the world’s share, and has become the world’s largest market for new energy vehicles.

In the global economy, where the giants of the fossil fuel age are scrambling to adapt to new realities, electricity and oil producers want to ride on the top of the renewable energy wave rather than being overwhelmed by it.

All carmakers are at the most terrible crossroads. The rise of electric cars is redefining car manufacturing, from one large engine to multiple small ones; batteries replaced fuel tanks; and transmissions into software systems that are ever more powerful. If established carmakers fail to adapt proactively and quickly, corporate infrastructure, long considered a landmark asset, may end up being a difficult cost.

The meeting with Wang Chuanfu takes place in a simple conference room. I’ve been to Tesla’s offices in Beijing, where they named conference rooms after ancient scientists such as Zhang Heng and Zu Chong, while BYD called the conference rooms numbers 1 and 2. Wang Chuanfu dressed simply, just from a customer forum, almost no chill directly into the theme. This confirms the claim that he typically only lets executives report for five minutes, so that the nearly three-hour photo shoot and interview is a little extravagant.

Our conversation began with the Fortune list. When it comes to changing the world, Wang Chuanfu is like a sophisticated instrument, and some numbers are out: in London’s PM2.5, the proportion of motor vehicle emissions has reached more than 50%; Resources and air have become increasingly unable to carry the development of conventional fuel vehicles.

He has his own calculation method. For example, 70% of China’s oil is imported, compared with 170 units per thousand cars and 800 units per thousand in the United States. He argues that the data suggest that China will rely on more oil imports if it reaches The U.S. level. “It’s not safe to have oil that can’t be brought back, it’s safe to go through a lot of straits. “

The Chinese government is concerned about air pollution and the country’s growing dependence on foreign oil, and electric cars are a possible solution. To support industry growth, you can see electric car charging stations popping up like Starbucks in China’s major cities, some big enough to charge hundreds of cars at the same time, and two such parking charging buildings in BYD’s campus.

The trend of national will is clear: China in the 20th century lags behind the world in fuel cars, and the 21st century will almost certainly lead the world in the development of electric vehicles.

The result is a fast-paced, economicly risky, and everyone’s hope of winning. “It’s a bit like the California gold rush. Feng Sihan, head of VOLKSWAGEN’s China operations, said.

Wang Chuanfu is an activist, beneficiary and controversial in new energy vehicles. In the past three years, BYD’s sales of new energy vehicles have doubled in two years. At last year’s Boao New Energy Forum in Hainan, he made a repeated point that he hopes to ban fuel cars at least in some areas and applications by 2030. Criticism has poured in, with traditional manufacturers criticizing him as BYD still produces fuel vehicles, not less than new energy vehicles. Wang Chuanfu was not troubled by these sounds, as if nothing had happened, and he firmly believed that he was doing the right thing.

As the Chinese government’s policy of subsidising new energy vehicles receded in the second half of last year, the market has reacted with a keen sense. The companies affected, of course, include BYD. According to statistics, BYD’s new energy vehicles sold a total of 229,500 units by the end of 2019, down 7.39 percent year-on-year and completing three-quarters of the target at the beginning of the year.

By comparison, BYD is not easy. In 2019, BAIC New Energy sold about 150.6 million units, completing 68.45 percent of its expected sales, Waymar Motor delivered about 169,000 units, completing 16.9% of its full-year target, and Xiaopeng Motor delivered about 166,000 units, completing 41.52 percent of its full-year sales target.

Wang Chuanfu does not shy away from the decline in sales of new energy vehicles. He knows clearly that most Chinese consumers now have a “family second car” mentality for new energy vehicles. “

While he agrees that the decline in subsidies must have contributed to the decline in sales, he said there were also macroeconomic downturns. He analyzed that the user’s mentality is: the second car can buy, can not buy. On a larger level, the rapid “new forces of building cars” new energy vehicles in the first half of this year gave the public a clear sense of electric vehicles, but these new forces in the second half of this year have encountered unprecedented challenges.

But in reality, the Chinese government’s retreat policy has come to an end. On January 11, 2020, Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China, said at a high-level forum of the China Electric Vehicle 100 People’s Association that “the new energy vehicle subsidy policy will remain relatively stable in 2020 and will not be significantly reduced.” “

Wang Chuanfu is a pragmatist. He knows that the development of batteries has not yet ushered in a “technological explosion.” Lead-acid in the 1950s was short-lived and contained heavy metal lead, but it is still used in high-end models such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. His summary is: BYD is not not trying to study new battery technology, in fact, in the case of hard work, BYD found that the development of new battery technology is still a slow process, but the current battery progress process is slightly faster than in the past, but the overall technology change cycle has not changed much. Earlier this year, BYD launched a “blade battery”, which Wang Chuanfu said was 50% more bulk than the original lithium iron phosphate battery, with the first model, the Han, reaching 600 kilometers.

Two

The newly designed BYD’s new electric car has countless elements of tribute to the dragon, especially the front face. Photograph: NIC MA

From Shenzhen Bao’an Airport, it takes a nearly 2 hour drive and three toll highways to get to BYD’s global center. After learning that we were meeting WITH BYD’s founder, the taxi driver, surnamed Huang, offered to talk about the e6 he was driving. “Shenzhen taxis are by diByd. “To be precise, there are 21,000 BYD e6 taxis in Shenzhen, and all taxis have been fully powered.

As the hatchback accelerates, you hear a faint “nuisance” sound, the taxi driver says. In his mouth, the electric car can run 400 kilometers, two hours can be fully charged, and “the charging pile can be found at any time.”

Another reason he likes BYD is the price. The electricity bill is far lower than the cost of oil, but he added that by BYD’s 1,500 yuan maintenance fee is paid each month, which guarantees a free replacement if the battery mileage is below the standard range of a warranty. This approach is similar to “insurance”, after all, batteries have become the main cost of an electric car.

“The cars of the future must be electric. He expressed his bullish view of electric cars. “At least it’s a mixture of oil and electricity. He followed suit again.

What the taxi driver didn’t know was that wang Chuanfu, the producer of the e6, began the process of retrofitting electric cars more than a decade ago.

2001 was a crucial year for China: its accession to the WTO, its acceptance of the constraints and open-door policies brought about by global trade. China’s most important authority, the National People’s Congress, for the first time by resolution, put forward: “Encourage cars into the family.” “

Businessmen who want to take risks are eager to try. For example, the almost forgotten mobile phone company Waveguide became the largest shareholder when it acquired a 36% stake in Nanqi Xin Yato in October 2003. Nanqi and waveguide production of the first product called XinYatou, the car in the first two months of the market sales momentum is not bad, but because of the waveguide and Nanqi in the car business strategy differences, and eventually parted ways. In August 2004, The total divestment of the wave guide.

One day in June 2002, at BYD’s Shanghai production base, Wang Chuanfu asked Mao Dehe, then general manager of the second division, to open the lid and ask Mao He: “What is the principle of the transmission of the car?” “This is considered to be the first question raised by Wang Chuanfu to make cars.

Everyone is ambitious, but most people don’t really want to cross the border, which is clearly not Wang Chuanfu’s character, he wants to buy a car company.

Four months after Mao De and the question, Wang Chuanfu and Feng Qichu, then chairman of Shaanxi Investment Group, met in an hour of negotiations to finalize BYD’s stake in Qinchuan Automobile.

In the early transformation of equipment enterprises in mainland China, four enterprises acquired the automobile manufacturing technology of Suzuki in Japan: Changan Otto of Chongqing, Jiangnan Otto of Hunan, Qinchuan Otto in Xi’an, and Bei Otto of Jilin River. Qinchuan launched the “Fleur” sedan, known as “China’s cheapest car” has achieved a short-lived success.

But everything is uncertain. Liu Zhenyu, then general manager of Qinchuan Automobile, recalled that before Wang Chuanfu arrived, there was a more powerful controversial figure in Xi’an, and that was Yang Rong, the former chairman of Brilliance Automobile.

Wang Chuanfu had little hope. In the fall of 2002, Herong chartered a plane to Xi’an to throw out a 20 billion yuan investment plan for Qinchuan, and has signed an agreement with provincial government leaders. Yangrong’s plan is to enter funds into Qinchuan, to carry out holding, and Qinchuan and Yangrong plan to buy the British Rover Car together, as two domestic and foreign vehicle manufacturing base, supported by Rover, and Qinchuan together to produce the entire vehicle, new models at home and abroad simultaneous lying.

This perfect-sounding plan was instantly dashed. Less than half a month after Herong left Xi’an, he called Liu Zhenyu and said, “I’m afraid Not.” The acquisition ultimately failed because of a series of stakes in Yangrong and the Liaoning provincial government.

In January 2003, BYD bought a 57% stake in Xi’an Qinchuan, held by Shaanxi Investment Group, for 199.5 million yuan, and a 20% stake in Xi’an North Qinchuan Machinery Company for 0.7 billion yuan.

A bad situation needs to be faced with Wang Chuanfu. The day after the signing of the agreement, it is Qinchuan Automobile’s dealer conference, Wang Chuanfu debuted, this day BYD will also make an announcement. Questions arose: the media and shareholder fund managers were surprised to see them on Mr Wang’s mobile phone. There are even fund managers who tell Mr Wang directly: If you insist on buying, we will sell BYD shares until we die.

Although Mr Wang was ready to face the inquiry, the market reaction was still a shock to him. He kept explaining to the media and investors that the conference call had been open all day, with no time for dinner, and that the hotel had rushed to deliver a bowl of noodles.

At the opening of the next day, fund managers made good on their promises. BYD’s shares fell sharply from HK$18 to around HK$14, wiping hk$2.7 billion off its market value in two days and falling continuously, to a low of HK$12.5. Wang Chuanfu recalled the experience when still booed: “At that time, in the face of questioning we are not dry, but how to do the problem, we have been optimistic about the car, the second half of the life will be dry car.” “

Reality always gives Wang Chuanfu a heavy blow.

“It’s ugly. “There’s finally a dealer under the stage who has told the truth. The seven dealers who came to see the car at the time walked away with six people, all of whom were waiting for Wang’s final decision.

This is BYD’s first car, codenamed “316”. BYD spent a year and hundreds of millions of dollars to build the product, Wang Chuanfu after a night of suffering decided to scrap it. At the same time, this means continuing to invest money and time.

BYD’s in-house instinct is to make a model between “Sally” and “Santana”, which they think is too small and Santana is a bit high-end, so an internal code-named 326 is ready to be hatched.

Speaking Mandarin with an Jiangzhe accent, Lian Yubo is one of THE key founders of BYD Motor and is now president of BYD Automotive Research Institute and senior vice president of the company.

Wang Chuanfu asked Lian Yubo a year can prepare the product, Lian’s answer is: almost impossible. But by this time BYD has run out of time, a year has been the limit. Lian Yubo recruited horses, carried out a lot of research, in the following year’s May 326 model signed off, in September 2005, this officially named F3 car listed in Shandong, the price of about 80,000 yuan. According to Lian Yubo, Wang Chuanfu always gives him pressure, but this pressure is calculated by Wang Chuanfu. “He’ll put reasonable pressure on us.” Lian Yubo said.

Fortune (Chinese edition) was filmed at by BYD 10 years ago. Photo: CMC

Recent pictures of BYD’s factory. By the end of 2019, BYD’s cumulative sales of new energy passenger cars exceeded 730,000 units. China’s new energy vehicle ownership of 3.44 million vehicles, according to this data BYD has accounted for more than a fifth of the country’s new energy vehicle stake. Photo credit: COURTERY OF BYD

By today’s aesthetic, the F3 is far from perfect, but it is the cornerstone of BYD’s cars.

At that time, this car almost a car is difficult to find, there are customers in the shop in order to buy F3 to do everything possible, such as deliberately a new car in a showroom to create a little scratches on top of others, the customer himself took the car away. By the third year, F3 sales can reach 30,000 units per month, throwing away the same price of the second place several times as much, this success has strengthened Wang Chuanfu’s confidence to make cars.

Wang Chuanfu did not know the “sinking market” term that is now popular on the Internet. But in reality, BYD starts with the sinking market.

The second time I went to interview BYD, it was one of the most important events in the Chinese business world, the Double Eleven Shopping Festival. Alibaba and BYD represent different types of companies, Alibaba with founder Jack Ma’s keen eye and the rapid growth of e-commerce in the field of commodity circulation, while Wang Chuanfu is an engineer and industrialist, in the physical world of production and manufacturing are on schedule.

“HAS BYD BEEN INVOLVED IN THE PRICE REDUCTION OF DOUBLE ELEVEN?” I asked.

“Some of our models are already very cheap. “The other side gave me a sly answer.

Another clue to the story is the electric car version of the F3. Wang Chuanfu’s real ambition is the F3 electric version, and BYD’s journey to electric cars begins.

Long before the acquisition of Qinchuan, Wang Chuanfu simply believed that the demand for batteries in consumer electronics was obvious, but not huge, and that the transportation system was perhaps a much larger market than consumer electronics for electricity. And he reckons that China is bound to become a new energy power, which is almost the only cure for urban pollution. “Entrepreneurs should be good at solving social problems and develop themselves to win-win situations for themselves and society. He said.

Pollution may be worse than Wang Chuanfu expected. January 12, 2013, the second weekend of the New Year, a fog that runs from north to south china has awakened even the most common Chinese to find that environmental problems are imminent. The most popular words on television this day are haze and PM2.5, where at one point the PM2.5 content per cubic meter of air in Beijing was more than 1000 micrograms, more than 40 times the World Health Organization standard. For the first time in China’s meteorological history, an orange alert has been used for smog.

Since then, China has repeatedly introduced policies to try to solve environmental problems. In September 2013, the State Council issued the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution, one of the important elements of which is “to vigorously promote new energy vehicles.” “According to this plan, public transport ational sanitation and other industries and government agencies should take the lead in the use of new energy vehicles, take direct licensing, financial subsidies and other ways to encourage individuals to buy. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities each year new or updated bus, new energy and clean fuel vehicles accounted for more than 60%.

Mr Wang’s calculation is that emissions in most chinese cities can be divided into three “one-thirds”, with buses and taxis accounting for 2 per cent of passenger cars in the city, but these vehicles may account for “one-third” of a city’s emissions. Shenzhen, for example, has 3m cars, and 60,000 taxis (including net-cars) and buses account for a third of the city’s emissions. The reason is that a private car may only drive for two hours a day, while a taxi can drive 18 hours a day, and a bus goes from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. This is the first third that Wang Chuanfu has to solve.

He wants to convey this idea to the government, but it is not an easy process.

The initial fears are normal. Even a government like Shenzhen, which is willing to try new things, worried that the batteries of electric buses would catch fire and kill people, so BYD experimented with an electric bus running empty on the road for two weeks and then running on a sandbag for two months, even causing public curiosity.

The experiment was a success. In 2011, BYD took advantage of the World University Games, Shenzhen began the first batch of 200 BYD K9 electric buses trial operation. This year is considered BYD’s first year in the field of electric buses, and it also kicks off the global electricization of public transport. Shenzhen now operates more than 16,000 pure electric buses.

Wang Chuanfu can’t remember how many recommendations BYD drafted to Shenzhen and the central government, but he remembers when Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai studied the new energy vehicle industry, and then in July 2014 the State Council issued 30 conditions for accelerating the development of the new energy vehicle industry, about 20 of which came from BYD.

He gave an example. China’s public transport system, because of its livelihood projects, will be subsidized by the central government to bus companies, which will lead the government to buy more fuel cars than electric cars.

BYD insists that this policy should be changed. Wang Chuanfu hopes to eliminate fuel subsidies or reduce them year by year, and increase operating subsidies for electric vehicles, so that bus companies will be motivated to buy cars. It is clear that his reverse export of government has been successful. “Others didn’t think about it, but BYD had such a problem and gave advice to the central government. The central government felt it was reasonable and adopted it. “

In the battery age, BYD firmly judged that China must have a big market for retrofitting transportation systems with batteries, because energy and environmental pollution are social problems. Wang Chuanfu’s subtlety lies in his precise strategy: the transformation of traffic electricization begins with the opening of public transport, to the sub-fields of taxis, logistics vehicles and private cars. Mr Wang used his logic to convince the government that this strategy had become a Strategy for Shenzhen, and then a national strategy, and now a global consensus. Recently, Japan, britain, the United States, Brazil and India are all undergoing an electric transformation starting with buses, and from the point of view, it’s all likely to be BYD.

Mr Wang has given the Indian government a gift from China’s open electric car policy. India, like India and China, are coal-to-oil-poor countries, with oil imports as high as 84 percent and air pollution even worse than China’, he said. Two-thirds of these policies are proposed by BYD. “Government leaders have to come to BYD and talk to us to get a chat about what they want when they’re doing research. “

The voice of the doubt is that BYD is the beneficiary of government subsidies. But in Mr Wang’s view, the logic is that BYD is a participant in the electric car policy, and of course the beneficiaries. “China’s policy seems to be set by BYD, in fact, you think about it because we raised this issue, and finally all manufacturers and industries have benefited. “

BYD’s advice on public policy is also exporting overseas. A case in point is Chile, which is rich in lithium, accounting for about 30 per cent of the world’s total, and which itself is heavily polluted. Mr Wang’s reasoning for persuading the Chilean government is that electric cars must be developed from a pollution perspective, and that the biggest beneficiary of the development of electric vehicles will be Chile, whose lithium mine is Middle Eastern oil once the world’s electric cars are developed.

Wang Chuanfu firmly believes that China has the most scientific and complete new energy subsidy policy system document for electric vehicles. These policies from the public transport, rental, private cars, logistics vehicles one by one set up, and not to pat the head to think out, but after careful consideration of the results.

Three

Inside the company, Wang Chuanfu also put the idea of electric cars to everyone.

Inside BYD’s guest house, the 21-year-old waiter is from Yichun, Jiangxi Province. When she heard that Beijing’s taxis were not produced by BYD, she was surprised with a name: “Why not us?” “

In this 1990s-style guest house, the 17th floor plays Cruel Moonlight, and you’ll often see people of different colors. “Iger likes to drink beer, and Germans seem to like to drink beer. She said.

BYD is eager to become a world-renowned electric car brand. That’s why BYD brought in Wolfgang Iger, a former design director at Audi, in 2016 from Italy to Volkswagen’s design studio.

THE LOBBY OF BYD’S GLOBAL DESIGN CENTER. Photograph: NIC MA

The place where I met Iger was in the lobby of the Global Design Center that BYD had built for him. Iger was dressed in a European style: brown suede sneakers, funky tight blue twill edumbling trousers, a white shirt, and a well-trimmed window-shaped plaid blue sports jacket that reflected the colour of the pupils. When I asked him where his clothes were made, he grinned and answered with the right tone: “Italy.” “

Iger says leaving Volkswagen to join BYD is actually very simple. “In my opinion, it’s very attractive to build the electric car brand of the future. He added, “It’s the icing on the cake for my career.” “

Since Iger joined, BYD has established a North American Design Center in Los Angeles, not far from Lancaster, California, where the company makes electric buses for the United States. BYD’s global design team has grown from 120 to 200, with plans to expand to 300.

Iger’s top industry experts include Ferrari’s former head of exterior design and the former head of the Mercedes-Benz senior design studio based in Como, Italy. He said the reason the two chose to join was the same: “Designers have the opportunity to raise awareness and influence the future here.” “

When he first joined the company, BYD’s car design was “extremely ordinary” and “no emotion,” Mr Iger said. He wants to create a global brand that combines German technology, Italian sports car and chinese culture.

The key Chinese element he used was the dragon, which symbolizes strength and good luck. The newly designed BYD’s new electric car has countless elements of tribute to the dragon, especially the front face. He wanted the headlights to be reminiscent of “dragon’s eyes” and the grille to think of “dragon’s mouth”, where the chrome or lighting made people think of “dragon’s beard”.

Wolfgang Iger. Photo credit: COURTERY OF BYD

It sounds a bit dreamy, Iger later explained, and similar designs are unlikely to be used in fuel cars. In BYD’s design, the dragon’s eyes, the headlights, are visually prominent because the bonnet tilts downwards at a steep and tight angle. It does not work on cars that have an engine fitted because the engine requires a higher profile on the front and a pore. “The fuel car can only be followed. Electric cars are the leaders. “

Four

Batteries are the cornerstone of all BYD products.

In February 1995, Wang Chuanfu borrowed 2.5 million RMB from his cousin Lu Xiangyang to set up BYD Industrial Co., Ltd. There are six workshops in small workshop-like factories, mainly producing nickel-chromium batteries, producing less than 3,000 per day.

“Upstairs and downstairs, electric telephone” was the 1990s ordinary Chinese family’s vision of a better life in the future. Landline is a luxury in life, at that time, to the telephone office reported the cost of installing a telephone about 5000 yuan, equivalent to an ordinary worker’s salary of about a year, most people can not imagine a few years later the scene of a mobile phone.

Since the 1980s, Guangdong has been at the forefront of reform and opening up, and analog mobile communication technology has emerged in neighboring areas such as Hong Kong and Macao. In 1987, China Mobile also started, when the mobile phone is known as “Big Brother”, the price of more than 30,000 yuan, and has 6000 yuan in internet access fees and 0.5 yuan per minute of high call charges, when China’s average wage is less than 100 yuan a month.

Starting almost at the same time as mobile communication technology is the lithium-ion battery industry. After the first successful development of lithium-ion batteries in the world in 1985, Wang Chuanfu decided to invest in lithium-ion batteries on a large scale, and he believed that mobile communication technology must be the future. So in July 1996, he took all the money RAISEd by BYD and went on a trip to Japan with great interest, but ended up in frustration.

Mr. Wang found that the $1 million he brought with him was enough to buy a small production line that produced 10,000 batteries a month in Japan, and that Japanese companies were not allowed to visit the workshop at all, leaving Wang Chuanfu and his team across two layers of glass.

Wang Chuanfu decided to do it himself. His method is old and effective: using human-and-clamp-and-home-made improvised equipment.

This is the world’s first hand-made lithium battery production line, no drying room and no dust-free workshop.

In order to solve the waterproofing problem in the lithium battery production process, he proposed the concept of “simple drying room”: in a house, put a lot of desiccant, when the start of work, the door is sealed, the battery from a very small window in and out, the effect is good. Further research has found that the body produces a lot of water, so he asked employees to wear masks, battery drum problems have been improved.

Later, the industry concluded that BYD’s approach was “technology-intensive and labor-intensive”. This approach reduced production costs to an incredibly low price: at the time, lithium batteries were always $8 to $10 on the international market, while BYD directly lowered the price of lithium batteries to $2.50.

“BYD’s batteries can’t be said to be better than Japanese batteries, but they’re not much worse, and prices are hugely competitive. “One analyst told me that their batteries were no better than those of Panasonic, Samsung and LG, but not worse than those of their competitors, and that the price was an unparalleled advantage.

The financial turmoil has done by BYD to some extent. With global battery prices plummeting by 20 to 40 per cent in 1997, Japanese battery makers were on the brink of losing money, while BYD grew by 100 per cent between 1995 and 1997, and both BYD and Wang Chuanfu have gone from small roles to the world’s influence.

For Mr Wang, the biggest customer in the battery industry at the time came from Motorola.

Motorola entered the Chinese market in the 1980s. But Motorola’s products only buy Japan’s Mitsubishi and Sony. Wang Chuanfu found The operand, then General Manager of Motorola Asia Pacific, and asked him, “Do we have a chance to do Motorola?” He Yipeng showed hesitation, he said: “Motorola is a picky company.” “I must do it. Wang Chuanfu said.

When Motorola first recommended the Six Sigma management system by BYD, it found that BYD was all manual and couldn’t be used at all. Immediately returning to headquarters for a meeting, Motorola’s response was: “The duty of quality is to ensure that the product is in line with Motorola quality, whether it is manual or machine production.” “The audit was then initiated.

There are many variables in the audit. One, for example, is how to reduce the burrs of the battery, the early battery polar pieces are hand-crafted, hand-picked, pole pieces are also the same. A Motorola professional says BYD’s production process is different from Japan’s, where it is first pressed and then sliced, which produces burrs, while BYD is first sliced and then pressed, and the previous burrs are flattened through the process of pressing the tablets. He took a battery pole at the scene, kneaded it into a ball, and then pressed the piece according to BYD’s method, which immediately smoothed out. He was surprised, saying BYD had passed the test.

After taking an order from Motorola, Nokia also sent a visit to BYD in December 2000 and subsequently signed nokia. Today, most people know that BYD is a car manufacturer, but what they don’t know is that BYD is still one of the main suppliers of Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo.

Five

In byd park, the crowd slot begins at around 7:50 a.m. every morning.

Young people wearing light blue work clothes walked through a gate, from the dormitory to the job, dozens of buses from Kwai Chung, Baolong and other places to come, people get off one after another, self-driving people in the trunk of security checks, before entering the park. They would walk over an overpass and get to their jobs in about 10 minutes.

All the vehicles you can see here are clear-cut, unified brands, and in the distance there is a modern single-track train passing through the air, like an air railway 10 meters high, named “cloud rail” by Wang Chuanfu.

This is also Wang Chuanfu’s second cross-border.

In March 2010, BYD’s internal OA system issued the first standard regulation document on the track – “Rail vehicle structure with aluminum alloy extruded profile with welding wire.” Rumours that BYD is building electric trains have been going on for six years.

Breaking the rumor is a dinner party. Around the Spring Festival in 2016, Wang Chuanfu invited his direct management staff to dinner, at this dinner, Wang Chuanfu first revealed his rail transit plan: the small and medium-sized rail transit market in China has a trillion-level market, he called the rail transit industry to “rebuild a BYD.” He believes that the electric bus is ten years ago to walk a “road that the ancients did not walk”, rail transit actually walked a “road that others have walked”, but BYD’s direction is not the same, it does not do large-capacity subway, but focus on the medium capacity of the new cross-seat monorail “cloud rail” and small volume of rubber wheel tram “Yunba”.

Like electric cars, Wang Chuanfu is thinking big. China is on the road to full urbanization, while the city is most in short supply with road resources and the solution is public transport. Simply put, cloud rail, cloud bus is a less expensive rail transit than the subway, it does not occupy road resources, passengers can also browse the scenery in the air. As far as cloud rail is concerned, BYD has a cost advantage over its global competitors, Wang said. “

Perhaps from the cloud track, Yunba’s case, more clear lying Wang Chuanfu strategy, first he wants to enter a solution to social problems of the big market, and then use technology and cost advantages to become the participants and beneficiaries of new industries.

Six

Before I met Wang Chuanfu, I was reminded that he was reluctant to mention his past. But in the interview, he took the initiative to talk about the poor years.

Wang Chuanfu was born in Anhui province. At that time, Anhui’s school high school only 2 years, primary school Wang Chuanfu’s father died, unfortunately in high school, his mother also died, which caused him a heavy blow. Brother and sisters have been married for Wang Chuanfu to continue reading.

What changed Wang Chuanfu’s fate was a test paper. At that time in Anhui Province, there will be a round of pre-test before the official college entrance examination, in this round of pre-college entrance examination, 60% will be eliminated. When Wang Chuanfu walked out of the examination room to check the answers with others, found that he actually than others less than a test paper, even so, he became the only one of the two science students to go to college.

He wanted to study radio at Hefei University of Technology. “The children in the countryside don’t want to come to the province. “But in the end, Wang Chuanfu was admitted to the chemistry department of Zhongnan Mining College, which he did not fill in, until he received the acceptance letter, and then he went on to enter the Beijing Institute of Nonferrous Metals, where he stayed after graduation.

Wang Chuanfu used his own methods to deal with the relationship with the times: with technology and labor-intensive work to complete capital accumulation, and then in a new and larger field of adventure, he seized the opportunity of the times. Like most successful Entrepreneurs from China’s 92th School, he is a beneficiary of China’s reform and opening-up policy, having organized a team of executives to visit Deng Xiaoping’s hometown to remember the founder of china’s reform and opening-up.

Wang Chuanfu’s hometown of Anhui Province is a county of inaction, reminiscent of “inaction and governance”. Many people may misunderstand what it means. “Inaction” is not simply inaction, but inaction. Because you follow the objective law, you do everything.

“No hero” here is just a person who follows the objective law of the representative, perhaps history makes this person happen to be called Wang Chuanfu.

After BYD completed its acquisition of Qinchuan Automobile, some people recalled the scene: Wang Chuanfu came to the company, turned around, sat in the chairman’s chair, said nothing.