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Dialogue with Yang Meng: Starting from a small micro-enterprise and now becoming a giant, how has Anke created innovative value in the past 10 years since it went global?

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-11-19      Origin: Site

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Dialogue with Yang Meng: Starting from a small micro-enterprise and now becoming a giant, how has Anke created innovative value in the past 10 years since it went global?

Anker Innovation Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as: Anker Innovation) released its semi-annual financial report on its official website in mid-August. The content shows that from January to June 2021, Anker Innovation’s cross-border revenue and online revenue increased by 49.12% and 49.12% respectively. 38.49%, the company's total revenue was 5.371 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 52.24%.

From a small micro company when it was founded, it has now become a listed company at the top of the 3C category pyramid.In the past 10 years of being involved in cross-border e-commerce, in addition to the familiar power bank, Anker Innovation has successively launched Soundcore, eufy, Nebula and other brands, building a matrix of smart home products including cameras, Bluetooth speakers, etc., and has been in the limelight for a while. two.

Former 3C giants such as Aoji and Zebao, which started at almost the same time, suffered successive losses in the wave of account bans and are now losing momentum. After several months of industry reshuffle, Anker Innovation has become the only cross-border star company. of survivors.Sure enough, the slogan 'long-termism' is not just a casual statement.

In the past 10 years Anker has been engaged in cross-border e-commerce, it has successfully caught up with Amazon's global expansion bonus period, and shared the main share of the 3C category of Amazon's North American site with Aoji, Zebao and others who started at almost the same time.Anker Innovation founder Yang Meng said in a previous interview that the company allocated 3% of its manpower to an Amazon store.Equally comparable to manpower allocation is investment in scientific research and technology.While iOS users were envious of the lightning fast charging equipment provided by Android manufacturers, Anker Innovation sensed market opportunities and decided to spend heavily on research into GaN (gallium nitride) technology.The cost is high, but the results are very good.North American users who have used Anker's 30-watt fast charging head have said that it is like a power bank with the texture and feel of an iPhone, which is absolutely amazing!The last sentence in the semi-annual report, 'Creating innovative value,' is perfectly highlighted.

Anker Innovation, which has gone through a 'tin marriage' with Amazon, seems to be tired of maintaining the 'sweetness' between the two.In May this year, Anker held China's first press conference in Shenzhen, China and released three new IP co-branded products.Anke's return to the local market is particularly smooth against the backdrop of the platform's tightening regulatory policies.Where will Anke’s future focus be?

The following is Anker Innovation founder Yang Meng’s recent exclusive interview with The Verge, where she told reporters about Anker Innovation’s journey over the past 10 years since it “went global”. The following is the transcript of the interview, which has been slightly edited.

host:Mr. Yang Meng, Anker Innovation’s position as the leader in Amazon’s 3C category has never been shaken. The semi-annual report also shows the strong consumption power of the North American market. However, judging from Anker Innovation’s recent actions, it seems that it is not aiming at this. ', I intend to bring the battle back to China. I would like to hear your thoughts.

Yang Meng: Indeed, we held a grand product launch conference in China in May this year. We followed the popular IP co-branding route in China. I also answered similar questions from reporters at the conference. I think now Anker Innovation has broken through the limitations of previous cross-border e-commerce companies and set its sights on the world.Starting from the R&D center in China, we have offices in cities and regions such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Australia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe.

The number of employees in Anker Innovation's entire team has exceeded 3,000. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is a 'big company'.In the past, in order to expand its business territory, Anker Innovation focused most of its personnel, excluding product research and development, on studying the market access rules of various countries and local market conditions. Currently, our products involve a total of about 15 categories. Not much, but 'the soil and water support the people'. Even though we have a mature operating model in North America, it is not easy to do fission in other markets.When we realized this, we immediately raised the target of creation to the brand 'Anker' itself, and instead spent more energy on how the product empowers consumers rather than carefully portraying the consumption portraits of various countries' markets.

The same goes for products, don’t seek more, just seek refinement.

Consumers, especially those in North America, first learned about Anker's innovation through power banks.Afterwards, Soundcore, Eufy, and Nebula were successively launched, involving smart home series such as Bluetooth speakers, headphones, sweeping robots, and smart projectors.Create today's '3+1' product matrix.

host:Have there been any changes since its launch?

Yang Meng: For me personally, it’s okay.For the company, going public is undoubtedly an affirmation, just like fighting monsters and upgrading. Anker Innovation has been promoted to a new competition ground and ushered in a new trial. As soon as the news of the Shenzhen GEM listing came out, capital, shareholders, and the public The eyes of the three groups of people all looked at us. This wave of facial recognition was quite successful. It was both pressure and motivation.What’s interesting is that the Chinese people didn’t even know about our “Chinese ancestry” before it was launched.

This is 'flowers blooming within the walls and fragrance growing within the walls'.I just mentioned the '3+1' product matrix. As we all know, mobile power is the flagship product of Anker Innovation. What is the market performance of other smart home products?

Yang Meng:'3'>'1', the sales growth rate of Anker Innovation's three sub-brands has exceeded Anker's traditional entertainment, Anker.In 2020, Anker's contribution to the company's overall revenue has dropped to less than 50%, and is expected to hover around 40% this year.In addition, Soundcore, which specializes in Bluetooth speakers and headphones, and Eufy and Nebula, which specializes in smart home series, will each account for 30%, but the latter is expected to be higher than the former.

Not long ago, the European Union's initiative to 'unify the use of Type-C charging interfaces for all electronic and digital products entering the EU area' once again shocked Apple into a cold sweat. How does Anker Innovation view the EU's announcement to enforce this standard? ?

Yang Meng: After reaching a unified interface, nearly 300,000 tons of electronic waste will disappear from the earth. This is of course a good thing.

Will the era of Type-A (USB-A, traditional USB host port design) end here?

Yang Meng: Very possible.At least according to Anker Innovation’s data, the sales proportion of Type-A interface data cables has been declining.

Nowadays, buying an iPhone no longer comes with free charging heads and headphones.It is reported that Samsung will also cancel the charging head configuration when selling in some markets.If these major manufacturers no longer provide consumers with 'free' charging heads, will it be a good thing for Anker Innovation?

Yang Meng: In the past, most users would not buy a charging head separately.According to our survey, about 50% of these users still use old chargers, and a small number of people will choose official ones. As a third-party charger brand, we have undoubtedly earned a wave of free opportunities to gain popularity.Through the fermentation of this incident, the public can understand the advantages of Anker charging head, such as small size, high power, durability and strong adaptability.In September, the new iPhone 13 was released in Yuanfeng Blue color, and Anker Innovation also took advantage of the trend to launch the high-looking fast charger of Ice Cube Xiaofang.

In an interview in 2018, you mentioned that in the future, gallium nitride will be used to replace silicon materials in charging heads to achieve a more compact size and greater charging power.Now the application of gallium nitride has become part of your core competitiveness.Anker Innovation clearly stated 'Innovation and Creation Spirit' in its semi-annual report. What does the development of cutting-edge technology mean to Anker Innovation?

Yang Meng: First of all, I think the power (wattage) of the charging head is not the only criterion for measuring the quality of a product.Anker Innovation GaN charger has been around for some time. We launched the second generation GaN2 at the beginning of this year and plan to launch GaN3 next year.GaN chargers can reduce the size to the size of a cube of ice while achieving 65-watt fast charging.GaN3 will only get smaller, faster, and more lovable.Major manufacturers on the market, such as Apple, use a charging power of 20 watts, and a full charge takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Other Android phones have a charging power between 40-60 watts, and a full charge takes 30-40 minutes. There are also The brand achieves 120 watts, and it only takes less than 20 minutes to fully charge.All major manufacturers are competing with power, and chargers for laptops and gaming notebooks are also forced to join the industry.

This year, Anker Innovation has announced that it will increase the output of the dual-port series to 65 watts or 90 watts.In the future, it may increase to 150-200 watts, or even 250 watts.Gallium nitride can very well improve the side effects of performance upgrade products, which is bloated and bulky.The impression of Anker's innovation in the minds of consumers has always been simplicity and ingenuity. This is one of the aesthetic concepts of Anker's product design, and it is also Anker's original intention to make chargers.

Gallium nitride was introduced into the charger market only 2 or 3 years ago, but you have already put next year's iteration plan on the agenda.Anker Innovation seems to be the first company in the 3C industry to integrate gallium nitride into chargers.As the first person to try something new, how will Anke make good use of this trump card in its future product development direction?

Yang Meng: Indeed, Anker can achieve this by cooperating with gallium nitride charging chip manufacturers. Anker is almost the main customer of these companies.The chip is just a smart brain without a soul. Failure to keep up with performance such as heat dissipation and system compatibility is the same as having too much ambition and too little power.At present, Anker Innovation's 30-watt and 65-watt products use gallium nitride charging chips. It has been cooperating with Power Innovations for nearly a year. The latest generation of GaN2 can be said to be the best in the 65-watt charger market. The variety of films, good looks and comfortable use are also evident from user feedback.

Speaking of chips, what impact does this 'chip shortage' have on you?

Yang Meng: The main reason for the current 'core shortage' is 8-inch wafers (wafers, silicon wafers used to make silicon semiconductor circuits). It is not difficult to find a manufacturer on the market that can produce 12-inch wafers, but It will take some time to verify the necessity of the transition from the former to the latter.Furthermore, most of the current 8-inch wafer production capacity goes to the automotive industry, not 3C. In this transitional period between old and new, we need to keep our eyes open and re-evaluate the production strength of previous cooperative manufacturers. The task is indeed very heavy. , Anke is also crossing the river by feeling the stones.

It is true that technology drives innovation, but when it comes to mediating certain interests, Anker Innovation, as a third party, can always only be 'Party B'.Without Apple's MFI (English abbreviation for 'Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad') certification, no matter how many watts the charging head is, it will be a slow start.Apple's global mobile phone shipments this year are closely tied to Xiaomi's, taking turns to be the second best. Since Apple can't give up the cake, how are you going to deal with the relationship with 'Party A's father'?

Yang Meng: It’s understandable for Apple to do this, right?Those 'lightning fast charging' data cables on the market that do not have MFI certification and cost at least 5 US dollars will actually increase the internal consumption of the device.By doing this, Apple can also establish an industry standard that specifically serves iOS users. It is at least a good thing for consumers to indicate whether there is MFI certification.

Not only wired charging, Apple also uses MFI certification for the magnetic wireless charging function, MagSafe.Electric cars have become sexy and individual in the hands of Musk. Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun announced at the beginning of the year that he would invest US$10 billion in building cars within 10 years. Apple’s car-making plan finally showed signs of rebirth after years of hiatus. The market is there, but why can't we find 'MFI certified MagSafe car charger' on the market? What is Anker Innovation's idea?

Yang Meng: As long as the problems of heat generated during car operation and charging cannot be solved, it is really impossible to build wireless charging for cars.(Editor’s note: After Yang Meng’s interview, Anker Innovation did officially announce several magnetic wireless chargers suitable for iPhone, including a car charger. Yang Meng remained silent during the interview, but the reporter After seeking his own opinion, he released his original words in the interview: 'I can't say more about Apple's MFI certification, but we have taken a big step towards magnetic charging after launching the MagGo series. All six new products are suitable for The colors, materials and craftsmanship are extremely exquisite. This is the future of Anker.')

You just mentioned that 'competing products' worth $5 are not what we are talking about, but are determined by Amazon's algorithm.Even if 'Anker' is entered in the search box, Amazon will still recommend 'competing products' with lower unit price to consumers in a conspicuous position, which can even be said to be an 'uninvited customer' that lowers the level of the entire industry. '.Amazon sometimes turns a blind eye to these three-nothing and OEM products, but this year it directly drowned many Chinese big sellers in this wave of account bans with just one order. For you, it is a relatively powerful competitor. Aoji and Zebao were not spared either.Anker Innovation has been working with Amazon for nearly 10 years. The platform's dividend period has pushed Anker Innovation to the top of the 3C category, and has also made Anker Innovation a cross-border star enterprise. .How does Anker Innovation view its relationship with the platform now?

Yang Meng: Amazon’s single platform still accounts for more than half of our business, but we are slowly migrating to omni-channel.Costco, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Verizon and other platforms have also successively put Anker Innovation's products on the shelves, and Anker Innovation has also laid out its independent website business.You can’t hang yourself from a tree. Fighting counterfeit goods on Amazon is like an endless game of cat and mouse.It’s time to see if the outside world is also quite exciting.Speaking of being banned, I won’t comment much.Anker Innovation has always been cautious in its words and deeds, and the account ban incident fully demonstrates how important it is to read the Seller Code carefully.

'Dog bites dog, hairy mouth', seller A maliciously leaves a negative review for seller B, company B tries to 'neutralize' this malicious intention and then turns around to find someone to write negative reviews. This phenomenon can be said to be very common on Amazon. You can What do you think?

Yang Meng: Anker Innovation has also been pranked by peers in this way. The number of negative reviews on the listing increased sharply overnight, and many people specifically marked the negative reviews as 'helpful'.I can understand why a big tree attracts attention, but the return on investment must be considered in any game play. If the cost of creating a fake account is raised, then those who do good things will soon lose interest. This is also the underlying logic of Amazon’s new policy.

It has been some time since the scandal of Amazon's Indian site allegedly using back-end data to follow other sellers was exposed. This is definitely not an accidental incident.What do you think?

Yang Meng: First of all, Anker Innovation’s core technologies are unlikely to be copied by Amazon.There is also the issue of platform saturation. This is why Wal-Mart and Costco have been clamoring for their self-operated series for decades, but they still cannot do without the entry of third-party brands to expand SKUs. Moreover, according to our observation, self-operated series are in various categories. There may not necessarily be an upper limit on the target proportion. 3C products that keep pace with the times are certainly not so easy to be penetrated by the self-operated series of large manufacturers.Overall, Anke's situation is still relatively 'safe'.

I would like to talk to you about Anker’s innovative product matrix, such as Bluetooth speakers or projectors. Why can they quickly capture the hearts of the public?Please share it here.

Yang Meng: It’s software.For example, for a pair of Bluetooth headsets, we develop a technology called HearID.Within 5 minutes, it will lead users through a series of audio tests to gather feedback.HearID will adjust the audio output based on feedback to improve the user's listening experience. Focusing on interaction is the fundamental reason for the product's popularity.And according to the updates of iOS and Android systems, we also need to work more on software adaptation.When Soundcore was first launched, it was priced at US$99. Now the most expensive product costs US$149. We have to allocate the cost of software optimization and upgrades to consumers.

MFI certification is only a small step for Apple to dig out its moat. Other technology giants including Samsung and Google are also building ecological barriers for their products.Taking headphones as an example, AirPods headphones can best exert their synergy effect only in the usage scenario of iOS system.What impact do you think this will have on Anker Innovation?

Yang Meng: All I can say is that the EU should hurry up and unify Type-C.Just kidding, all I can say is there is nothing we can do.

It is said that it is difficult to make money in major categories. The shipment volume and unit price of mobile phones, which are just needed, have been rising year after year. Does Anker Innovation have any ideas about manufacturing mobile phones?

Yang Meng: We realize that with the current team structure of Anker Innovation, if we touch large categories easily, we may be sent away directly. Anker Innovation still chooses to specialize in small categories.For example, the conference room can be turned into an all-in-one office space that integrates cameras, microphones, speakers, charging, and even screens.

Where will Anker Innovation go next?

Yang Meng: We expect to add 2 or 3 new categories.One is Anker Work, which is about enhancing product performance and utility, and the other is Anker Make, which is about 3D printing equipment.New products in the Anker Work series have been launched, and Anker Make plans to launch them next year.


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