Lei Jun of handset maker Xiaomi turned 46 yesterday. Here are 10 fun facts

Chinese sometimes refer to Lei Jun as the “Steve Jobs of China,” because of his dynamic personal leadership style and, perhaps oddly, his fashion sense. But like Apple, Xiaomi has a cult fan following and intense brand loyalty in China.
Lei Jun, founder and Chief Executive Officer of China's mobile company Xiaomi, shows Mi Notes at its launch in Beijing January 15, 2015. China's Xiaomi Inc staked its claim to Apple Inc's crown on Thursday as the world's third-biggest smartphone maker and most valuable tech start-up unveiled the flagship Mi Note, its challenger to Apple's iPhone 6 Plus. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS TELECOMS) - RTR4LHWQ
Lei Jun, founder and Chief Executive Officer of China’s mobile company Xiaomi, shows Mi Notes at its launch in Beijing January 15, 2015. China’s Xiaomi Inc staked its claim to Apple Inc’s crown on Thursday as the world’s third-biggest smartphone maker and most valuable tech start-up unveiled the flagship Mi Note, its challenger to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.

Lei Jun celebrated his birthday on Dec. 16. He turned 46.

Lei Jun and De Liu created Xiaomi in April 2010, but in just five years their little startup has transformed into a $46 billion smartphone and electronics appliance juggernaut.

Xiaomi is vying for supremacy in its home turf with compatriots Huawei and Lenovo, not to mention global super players Samsung Electronics and Apple. In China it is the second largest smartphone maker after Huawei and, on the world stage, it is ranked No. 5 after Samsung and Apple, and then Huawei and Lenovo, depending on how you parse market share.

Chinese sometimes refer to Lei Jun as the “Steve Jobs of China,” because of his dynamic personal leadership style and, perhaps oddly, his fashion sense. But like Apple, Xiaomi has a cult fan following and intense brand loyalty in China. Here are 9 fun facts about one of China’s tech super-heroes:

  1. Jun founded his first business in 2000, Joyo.com, an online bookstore, which he sold to Amazon.com for over $75 million in 2004. He’s got the Midas touch!
  2. Jun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Wuhan University in 1987. But Steve Jobs never graduated from college.
  3. Before Xiaomi, he was CEO of King Soft, now China’s largest office suite developer, for 10 years. He is still chair of King Soft. Busy bee!
  4. While China is not well known for customer service, it is said that Jun took it so seriously that he studied Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao and famed US retailer Wal-mart.
  5. Since Xiaomi is reknown for its savvy marketing, it is no wonder that Jun is said to believe social networking, mobile and e-commerse are the future. That sounds like Steve Jobs, too!
  6. Jun famously accepted investor Yuri Milner’s ALS ice bucket challenge. But Jun then one upped Milner by calling out Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gau and Baidu founder Robin Li. What a nice guy!
  7. Jun could very well be one of the most prolific angel investors in China. He has invested in over 20 startups, including Yu Jin Hui’s cosmetic venture group. Cunning business smarts.
  8. Big shot Jun is ranked at No. 4 on China’s Rich People’s list and No. 16 on a list of the richest people in tech, according to a Forbes ranking of Chinese business notables.
  9. Jun has been valued at a personal net worth of over $13 billion. That’s a lot.
  10. Brainy Lei Jun’s childhood hobby was building home radios. What a nerd!

 

 

 

 

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South Korea office suite developer Hancom deepens ties with China’s King Soft

 

Lee Hong-koo, right, CEO of Hancom poses with China's King Soft CEO Lei Jun, who is also CEO of handset maker Xiaomi.
Lee Hong-koo, right, CEO of Hancom poses with China’s King Soft CEO Lei Jun, who is also CEO of handset maker Xiaomi.
South Korean office suite developer of Korean language programs Hancom inked another MOU with Chiense software behemoth Kingsoft to futher develop cloud computing based office software for the CHinese market on Dec. 17.

The two companies agreed to do more software exchanges and cooperation for advanced work processing programs for PC, tablets and smartphones.

This came on top of an MOU in August in Beijing to cooperate on building a web-based office solution and to explore other overseas markets, markets besides Korea and China (perhaps Japan and Southeast Asia??).

It signifies business cooperation between the two leading office software companies, which will certainly affect the global markets. Hancom is Korea’s largest office suite developer and KingSoft is China’s.

Xiaomi CEO and chairman Lei Jun doubles as chairman of KingSoft, and the company reportedly plans various joint projects with Hancom and to launch joint software solutions, as well as R&D, strategic overseas investment and M&As.

 

Hancom also recently bought a Belgium-based software company that specializes in enterprise PDF word programs. iText Group NV’s software allow companies to change their data on servers and web browsers into PDF files. It has been distributing open-source PDF technology and earning a profit by licensing these. It has supplied its solution to HP and GE Healthcare, who are among 3,000 of its enterprise clients.

Hancom says it wants to use iText’s brand value and clientele to expand globally. It will create new products using the PDF solution while approaching iText’s clients with its own.

South Korean TVs’ market dominance slowly weakening against Chinese rivals

Samsung is focused on the premium end of the TV market as its strategy to stem the torrent of Chinese companies eroding its market share.

Reporters check out Samsung TVs at a trade show.
Reporters check out Samsung TVs at a trade show.

Even though the Chinese makers are nibbling at South Korean market share, those Korean TV makers continue to enjoy dominance at the premium end of the global TV market.

South Korean TV makers are slowly losing ground in the global market in the face of Chinese rivals and faltering TV demand worldwide despite their strategy of keeping the tech edge over Chinese rivals by developing new innovative products.

Let’s look at some numbers. According to the a report in August by market tracker DisplaySearch, the combined share of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics — the two big South Korean players — came to 34.8 percent in the first half of 2015. That’s a 4.3 percent drop from a year ago. Not much but the question is whether this is an irreversible trend.

In the meantime, Chinese makers saw their combined share soar 4.6 percentage points to 25.9 percent over the cited period.

Samsung’s share dipped to 20.8 percent, while LG’s retreated to 13.9 percent over the same period, the report said.

LG Electronics is mass-producing OLED TVs, first in the world, while Samsung Electronics is focusing on premium models such as LCD-based SUHD TVs.  It is top-notch technology, but the jury is still out on whether that is innovative enough or if even out competing their Chinese rival on the premium end is the right strategy going forward.

TCL Corp.’s share increased to 5.7 percent from 5.1 percent, and its local rival Hisense Co. also bolstered its presence to 5.4 percent of the global share from 4.9 percent.

South Korean companies’ TV sales have slowed over the past year. Samsung sold 24.1 million units in the first six months of 2015, down 15.2 percent from the previous year. LG’s TV sales sank 16 percent on-year to 13.6 million units as of end-June.

In contrast, Chinese makers boosted their combined sales to 25.4 million units from 21.9 million units during that time.

While the financial media has reported that China weakening its currency by letting it float unhindered in currency markets make things harder for Korean makers, that seems a little exaggerated.

From May, the Chinese Yuan decreased in value in relation to the Korean won by about 5 percent to about 5.45 Yuan for 1,000 Korean won from about 5.71 Yuan.

China’s move may further hurt Korean companies that have already been struggling to vie with Japanese firms backed by a cheaper currency, market watchers here said, adding there is a need to draw up fresh strategies that will help tide over the slackening sales.

Sure, a weaker Yuan is a disadvantage for Korean exporters since it undermines their price competitiveness versus Chinese rivals in the global market. But a 5 percent difference over a four month period is not going to make a crucial difference. It is one factor among many at play here.