Alumni of Inno-Tech Entrepreneurship Program,PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University
Founder of Shenzhen FreeYond Technology Co., Ltd
Former Vice President of Gionee Group
2012-2022:Agitation for Ten years
When Yu Lei took office as the Vice President of Sleemon in September 2012, it seemed that the onlookers did not realize what was going to happen here. After that, in a series of "bombings" such as Sleemon's "business growth of more than 30%", "substantial increase in profits", "stock price has tripled" and so on, people finally reflected that if the Chinese furniture industry at that time was like a "stagnant water" that had not moved for a long time, Yu Lei's entry was like a stone thrown into it.
Some people admire this stone, some people worship it, and some people jump their feet. But it is undeniable that the ripples caused by it have not yet dissipated in the industry. In June 2015, Yu Lei left behind a "farewell message", which turned into a time bomb, while he turned around on the shore and said, "Tomorrow, in the smartphone industry, there will be a new person waiting for the decisive battle with Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi and Huawei", leaving the people behind endless regret.
I want to do something great. In fact, the furniture industry has a lot of money because of its high sales, but even the top companies in this industry have sales of more than one or two billion. I think this is relatively just a "small prosperity", I do not like this, I like the turbulent years. It is very exciting to enter the mobile phone industry. Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple, which you can only admire before, have become rivals, which is particularly exciting. "
Many people in the world have ambitions, but few people dare to trumpet their ambitions to the world. The more terrible kind of people will let the audience waiting to "see the joke" gradually find that his ability can really match those "big words" he said at the beginning. After assuming the post of Vice President of Gionee mobile phone, Yu Lei emerged like a new force, pulling Gionee out of the valley and running all the way until the end of 2018.
When it comes to the highlight moment of Gionee, it can never be bypassed that Yu Lei's 2015 planned "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" smartphone conference of Gionee M5 Plus . On the stage of the press conference, Huang Jiaju was "revived" by holographic projection. He and his younger brother Huang Jiaqiang sang "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" on the same stage again. After the singing, the two brothers also slapped each other across the air. At this moment, countless people were moved to tears. In this year, the sales of Gionee mobile phone also witnessed explosive growth, from 0.2 or 0.3 million to 2 million, and the monthly sales at the end of the year increased dozens of times compared with the beginning of the year. Yu Lei spent only 30 million yuan on the input-output to achieve this effect - an extremely low budget for the mobile phone industry.
In fact, Beyond is not only the youth memory of Gionee consumers at that time, but also Yu Lei's deep feelings. In the 1980s, when Cantonese songs were popular all over the country, he was very fond of pop music and knew all about popular bands represented by Beyond. He still remembered that in the summer of 1990, on the night of the end of the college entrance examination, he and several classmates rode their bikes on the Stadium Road and the West Lake in Hangzhou, singing loudly, which was Beyond's《Goodbye My Dream》.
Although there are too many coincidences, Yu Lei knows that fate or luck does not come suddenly, and he will view his experiences in these years historically. Just like after leaving Gionee，he joined BrainCo, a high-tech company that researches non-invasive brain computer interface technology,although it seems not the same way as the previous choice, it is derived from "the love of high-tech and technological innovation all the time". And if we look back historically now, it is this love from beginning to end, as well as the growth, observation and reflection in Gionee and BrainCo, that is the best time for the birth of FreeYond today.
FreeYond: Free and beyond
Yu Lei told us that the name FreeYond comes from the science fiction American drama《Upload》, because Free represents "freedom" and Yond implies "transcendence". Yu Lei thought, that's it.
Yu Lei has answered the confusion of too many people about why he chose to enter the smartphone industry in the current economic winter. In his view, FreeYond's goal is never just to make smartphone, but to turn itself into an entrance - the door for cutting-edge technology to enter the daily life of ordinary consumers. In the foreseeable upcoming technology 4.0 era, the mobile phone will become the hub of everything, and also usher in its own huge change.
Although FreeYond was just registered in June this year, it can be seen from the media comments that many peers regard it as a kind of "rebirth" of Gionee. This is not only because Yu Lei, the former vice president of Gionee, entered the mobile phone industry again in the spotlight, but also because Yu Lei almost moved to the most powerful team of Gionee.
The 18 members of the company's start-up team have accumulated 224 years of work experience in the mobile phone industry. Yu Lei said frankly that this is a group of "old goblins" in the industry, so "we spend a lot of energy on product definition, and know which pits are not worth stepping on". With this configuration to welcome the debut of the first battle, the team not surprisingly handed over a very impressive answer - FreeYond, as the fastest mobile phone company in history, achieved from design to mass production in just a few months.
Our team now has 30 people, but it can be said that 30 of us have completed the work of 300 people in other companies. If we open up the volume this month, we will sell nearly 10000 sets in Nigeria. You should know that it took Xiaomi several years to sell 50000 sets in Nigeria. We are still very fast.
To gather such a highly efficient, experienced and highly effective team, it is necessary for everyone to recognize Yu Lei's character and ability, as well as the company's positioning and strategy of "heroes have similar views". In FreeYond, there is no such thing as seniority and flattery. "People in our company are very attractive, and colleagues often 'quarrel' with the boss, which is not polite at all", Yu Lei said with a smile. He knows that talented people are also often prominent, and the ability to question and think often is the trait he appreciates.
In terms of strategy, Yu Lei has full confidence in FreeYond. Some time ago, Liu Lirong, the founder of Gionee, expressed his affirmation of FreeYond's strategy to a colleague in the team, encouraging him to follow Yu Lei. All members of the team are more confident to be recognized by such a senior in the mobile phone industry. But for Yu Lei, he said, "I always knew that our strategy must be right".
Yu Lei once wrote in an article, "Contrary to what people think, I don't like socializing, making friends, and I don't like my life disturbed by others.". He told us that, because of the closure of the epidemic, he had been kept at home for more than a month, but for him, "it's nothing". He enjoyed time alone - watching TV, reading, writing and playing chess.
He talked with us about his hobby of playing Go. Since the end of the last century, when dial-up Internet was used, it has spanned a quarter of a century. Playing Go is still an important pastime besides Yu Lei's work. When most hobbies are lost in the long and complicated years, what can be retained may really show the bottom color of a person's life.
It was playing Go that made Yu Lei get to know Liu Lirong, who was also an expert in Go. Gionee opened the door after he knew someone by playing Go. Last year, Yu Lei participated in the Go competition on behalf of Peking University in his spare time. This year, with the startup of FreeYond, the company has a large number of trivial and complex affairs, which occupy most of his time and energy. He also occasionally plays several fast chess games with his mobile phone during the break.
Go likes to be "quiet". In this seemingly small chess game, it is the mentality and intelligence of both sides that compete. Yu Lei is immersed in such a state that he tries his best to grasp the core without wasting effort in the flashy place. This is also his consistent position in various fields. In his work, Yu Lei also hopes to "return to the basics" and put everything valuable into the most essential things.
He encouraged his team members to keep the style of hard work and plain living. He also printed these words on his T-shirt and wore them on his body. When considering the office location, Yu Lei intended to let everyone work together outside. Later, the team members found it inconvenient to hold meetings, so they rented the office building. In addition to the necessary configuration, the office is also naturally simplified. Even the CEO's office is full of second-hand furniture. Yu Lei pointed to the sofa behind him. "It was bought in the second-hand market for several hundred yuan.
Our teams are all from large companies, so I'm afraid they have some 'problems' with large companies. We must look at ourselves as small companies and start-ups. Since the company is in the start-up stage, the team salary must be less than before, including myself. In the future, everyone's income may be higher, but the quality of hard work and plain living cannot be lost. This will be a quality that will accompany FreeYond to go on. "