Lei Jun: One last venture for the Xiaomi car!

 A few days ago, I met a cultural figure, Xu Zhiyuan, for a run in Beijing's Olympic Forest Park. Bathed in the early morning sunshine, it was a vibrant place and we had a very good chat.

He and I are very different people, and our backgrounds are very different. Probably the only thing we have in common is that we both studied computers in university.

I was curious as to how he wanted to switch to journalism and running a magazine when he had such a good degree in computer science.

He was also curious as to how I had changed and transformed so many times in my career over the past 30 years.




01

Metamorphosis


I have indeed undergone many major metamorphoses in my life so far. In enthusiast terms, I've flashed a few ROMs for myself, and here I'll talk about three of them.


The first time I "flashed a ROM" was at Kingsoft, when I was 28 years old.



I loved writing programs and thought I would write for the rest of my life. You may not believe me, but at first I was reluctant, as I preferred writing programs. I was reluctant at first, as I preferred to write programs, but Mr. Koo insisted, so I decided to give it a try first and then go back to writing programs when I had a suitable general manager.


At this time, an accident happened that changed my life. A colleague, when helping me to sort out my computer, accidentally formatted my hard drive with a backup disk, and all the code I had saved over the years was lost. ...... I still remember this colleague's name was Liu Guangming.


There was no way back, so I had to concentrate on the general manager, which forced me to learn management, marketing and sales, and from then on to a completely different path in life.


The second time was in 2007, when I left Kingsoft to work as a full-time angel investor.



This choice had very much to do with my previous experience of founding Excel.com. It was the largest e-commerce site at the time, but I had to sell it to Amazon in 2004 because I couldn't raise enough money, and it became Amazon China.


At that time, Chinese entrepreneurs did not know how to start a business, and it was difficult to raise money, so the process of starting a business was extremely difficult. I had a very deep understanding of how difficult it was to start a business and I wanted to be a friend to entrepreneurs and help them genuinely and sincerely. In this way, I became one of the first people to do angel investment.


Talking about Excel, to this day, people still ask me, "Do you regret selling Excel at the beginning? I don't regret it, but few people can understand the pain of it.


When I visited Bezos in Seattle, USA, a few years ago, he came up and said, "I'm sorry we didn't take care of your Premier.



For the third time, in 2016, I had to take over the mobile division myself when Xiaomi suffered a setback and was in a life-or-death situation.


This was a huge challenge for me, and I became a hardware engineer, learning on my own while leading a remedial course on manufacturing. After five long, non-stop years of learning and catching up, we were able to improve our capabilities in hardware substantially, and we returned to the top three in the world in terms of mobile phone sales.


The hardware industry, myself, was a sort of introduction.



02

The experience of metamorphosis



From programmer to manager, from entrepreneur to investor, from internet to hardware, it was all a huge renovation of cognitive structure and life experience. Some of these major metamorphoses were reactive adaptations, others were active choices. But in either case, it required fearless courage, a strong will, an exceptional ability to learn, and the resilience to confront great pain.


After all, each time you enter a new field, most of your past knowledge, experience, prestige and accolades are wiped out, and all you can rely on is a heart that is ready to move forward.


Thanks to these pains and trials, it can be said that without these "repaints of ROM", there would be no Lei Jun today.



To win a more interesting life, we must continue to transform and refresh. That's why I love running, running in the early morning sunshine, feeling the beauty of nature and life.



03

Deciding to build a car


The past two and a half months have been another new journey for me to embrace my transformation.


Pictures


Eight years ago, in 2013, I met Elon Musk twice, and that year I became a Tesla owner and started to follow the electric car industry.


Car building has always been a very trendy topic. Over the years, we have discussed it a few times at Xiaomi executive meetings. It wasn't until January 15th this year that the Board of Directors asked us to take a serious look at the electric car industry. To be honest, at first, I was reluctant in my heart. The mobile phone business had only just regained its third place in the world, and the battle had not yet really been fought, so would doing a car be a distraction? However, the tree wanted to be quiet but the wind would not stop, and where would we go before the tide of the times?



We started our research in earnest on January 15. Many friends advised us to do it, "Xiaomi knows a lot about hardware and the internet, you should start doing it immediately." They also said, "Your peers are doing it, if you don't do it, you'll be left behind."


There are also many people who kindly advised us that the automotive industry is very complex, with investments in the tens of billions of dollars and a particularly long cycle, and that it is easy to fall into a hole, and that you are amateurs and probably can't handle it. Also, others have been doing it for five or six years, and it's too late for you to do it now.



This decision is just too important for Xiaomi today.


During that time, during the day, I would think of 10 reasons why I had to do it, and at night, when I calmed down, I could list another 10 reasons why I couldn't do it.


When we entered the smartphone industry, we had nothing, and which of our competitors at the time was not a giant, and we still achieved the miracle we have today. Today, Xiaomi is one of the top 500 companies in the world, so much stronger than a decade ago. What is our biggest worry?


There is really only one difficulty: do we dare to do it? Do we dare to show our swords in the face of difficulties? I repeatedly asked myself, can I still have the same courage, the same determination and even the same physical strength as I did ten years ago?


The rice fans have given me the greatest inspiration during this process.


Photos


At the end of last year, we held a New Year's Wish event where we helped rice fans to make their New Year wishes come true.


One of the fans, whose ID was "Carrefour Pirate", had a particularly cool dream. He wanted to travel around China in a caravan with a full set of Xiaomi smart home products to experience what "walking smart life" would be like.



I agreed to help him realise this dream. The caravan conversion is now almost complete. Our first car is actually a converted smart caravan.


Before the Chinese New Year, we organised a New Year's Eve dinner event with our MiFan friends and I received a special gift.


I'll show it to you.



The Mi Fan who gave me this gift is called Wu Xiangyu. The book is a list of his purchases on Xiaomi Mall over the years.


It's a thick book, and it's really heavy when you pick it up in your hand. What touched me was not just the fact that he had bought 350,000 yuan worth of Xiaomi products over the past 6 years, but this quote from him:, but this quote from him: I always believe in Xiaomi, and this is a testimony of how I grew up with Xiaomi.


A few days ago, my colleague told me that he had read various news recently and was also very concerned about whether Xiaomi builds cars or not, and he said that as long as Xiaomi builds cars, he will definitely buy them!


I hear you, Wu Xiangyu, thank you!


It's not just Wu Xiangyu, there are very, very many people who are looking forward to Xiaomi building a car.


This evening, before the launch, we did a survey on Weibo and the result was that more than 95% of netizens supported Xiaomi to build a car.


Why do so many people want us to build a car?

Why do people think we will win?


I think it's because people believe in us and our ability to make a good car that everyone likes; they believe in us, with the industry's most complete smart ecology and the support of countless Mi fans around the world.


At the same time, we are very aware of the risks in the automotive industry, with tens of billions of dollars of investment and three to five years to see results. This is not a small risk for Xiaomi, but with ten years of entrepreneurship Xiaomi has already accumulated a certain amount.


Xiaomi now has an R&D team of more than 10,000 people, a solidly growing global third mobile business, the best smart ecology, and a cash reserve of 108 billion yuan.


These are the numbers disclosed in our just-released 2020 Annual Report, and I can now proudly say that a Xiaomi, the best to date, is striding into a new journey with high morale.


In the past 75 days, after 85 industry visits and communications, more than 200 in-depth exchanges with senior members of the automotive industry, four internal management discussions and two formal board meetings, today we finally have the most significant decision in Xiaomi's history: Xiaomi is officially entering the smart electric vehicle market.


Over the next ten years, we will invest US$10 billion, with an initial investment of RMB10 billion.


From personal devices, to smart homes and smart offices, to smart mobility, Xiaomi will use the power of technology to provide Mi fans with an all-round and full-scene beautiful smart life, a mission fire that is always burning in our hearts.


I look forward to seeing Xiaomi smart electric vehicles riding on every road in the world.

I believe that Xiaomi can make every one of our users, no matter when and where they are, immerse themselves in the happy life brought by technology.



This is the original intention of Xiaomi to build cars.


This time, I will personally lead the team in what will be the last major entrepreneurial project of my life.


I know very well what this decision means, and I'm willing to stake my entire life's reputation to once again suit up and fight for Xiaomi Auto!



I am prepared to sprint full steam ahead for at least another 5 to 10 years, and we will face this brand new journey with great commitment, immense reverence and enduring patience.


You ask me if I'm under pressure? I would like to answer you that from this moment on, I no longer care about whether there is pressure or not.


All I care about is how to make a good car for the Mi fans.


We are still confident and confident in making a good car. If you are willing to wait, we will do our best!


In a few days' time, it will be April 6, Xiaomi's 11th birthday. 11 years on the road, at this moment, we understand the meaning of growth more particularly.


What does it mean to be "born"? I can now share my answer with you.


It's about having a strong belief and optimistic faith.


It is the spirit of constant search for newness and vibrant hope.


Living and breathing is the magnificent picture of each and every one of us taking part in driving the world forward at last.


This is Xiaomi, and this is what we are all looking forward to.


A journey that will always take us far, with the courage to go on, and a future that will never end!


Thank you all!

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