To outsiders, Wang Laichun seems similar to Terry Gou, both being authoritative and patriarchal founders.
Wang Laichun always carries a low-key demeanor that doesn’t quite match her fame. In public interviews, she speaks softly with a slight Cantonese accent unique to Guangdong people. However, her voice is clear, and she narrates the story of her company’s development in an approachable and amicable manner.
Judging by her appearance, it’s hard to tell that she is the leader of a company with a market value of over 200 billion yuan. Currently, Luxshare Precision has a workforce of over a hundred thousand employees.
In the first three quarters of 2022, Luxshare Precision’s revenue exceeded 145.2 billion yuan, with a growth rate of 79.3%. Profits reached 7.18 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of over 39%. Some institutions predict that the company’s annual revenue may exceed 210 billion yuan.
The headquarters building in Qingxi Town, Dongguan City, stands out among the surrounding factories. The 20-story complex is located on the west side of the factory area. The entrance lacks elaborate decorations, but upon approaching the front, one can see the large character “Luxshare Precision” standing tall within the gate.
This is one of the earliest factories of Luxshare Precision, where over 13,000 people work and live. There are four dormitory buildings alone. In the eyes of locals, Luxshare Precision is a company with very strict management. When mentioning Wang Laichun, those familiar with the manufacturing industry gives her a thumbs up.
From initially relying on Foxconn orders to now being a giant in the industry, Wang Laichun’s Luxshare Precision has a deeper understanding of manufacturing transformation and diversified development.
Since last year, Wang Laichun has been continuously expanding Luxshare Precision’s “ammunition depot,” entering the automotive industry chain and becoming the third-largest shareholder of Chery Holdings, an automotive manufacturing company, focusing on the intelligent electric vehicle field.
It has been reported that Wang Laichun once stated that within the next 20 years, Luxshare Precision aims to push 30% of its products into uncharted territories within various industries.
In 2021, Wang Laichun launched three five-year plans, comprehensively developing consumer electronics, automotive, communications, industrial, medical, and other businesses, and set a strategic goal for the automotive business to enter the global top ten Tier 1 (first-level supplier) businesses.
This is an ambitious goal.
In recent years, more and more manufacturing enterprises and leading OEM factories have shifted their focus to a “multi-legged” approach to optimizing their business models. Whole vehicle manufacturing has become a highly sought-after sector.
Wang Laichun recalled in a previous interview that she gradually understood the importance of setting short, medium, and long-term plans for the company since around 2012. With clear planning and team collaboration, Luxshare Precision entered the market with connection lines and connectors, continuously deepening its layout in core consumer electronic components, even possessing whole machine manufacturing capabilities, and expanding into different fields such as automotive.
In February 2022, Luxshare Precision signed a “Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement” with Chery Group to engage in new energy vehicle ODM whole vehicle R&D and manufacturing. At the same time, Luxshare Limited became the third-largest shareholder of Chery Holdings through equity acquisition, officially embarking on a bold gamble in the automotive industry.
Wang Laichun stated that the reason for investing in Chery was due to the recognition of its whole vehicle manufacturing business, hoping to leverage this platform to provide strong support for the future development of both parties.
In Wang Laichun’s words, Luxshare Precision is a private enterprise with a wolf-like spirit and vigor, like a guerrilla team, possessing the ability to quickly adapt and be enterprising. Luxshare Precision is now setting its sights on conquering the automotive industry as its new target.
Wang Laichun hopes that the contribution rate of the automotive industry will increase to 30% in the next 20 years. However, the input-output of the automotive industry cannot be achieved overnight. “It will take at least 3 to 5 years for the automotive industry’s performance to land and help the company.”
She has a masculine side
Wang Laichun, 56, was born into an ordinary Chaozhou family in Chenghai, Guangdong. In 1988, she became one of the first 100 employees at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory. Foxconn’s management philosophy, thinking mode, and emphasis on hard work resonated with Wang, and her business capabilities quickly improved with the company’s development, rising from a general worker to a grassroots cadre.
In her ninth year at Foxconn, Wang reached a turning point in her life. In the 1990s, a wave of resignations and entrepreneurship swept through China, and many workers chose to start their own businesses. Wang also saw new opportunities in entrepreneurship. Encouraged by her former boss, Guo Taiming (the younger brother of Guo Tai-ming), Wang made the decision to start her own business and founded Luxshare Precision.
Foxconn was an important driver of Luxshare Precision’s rapid development in its early days. Guo Taiming handed over unfinished orders to Luxshare, and within a few years, Wang had received Foxconn orders worth over 1 billion yuan. According to public reports, in the early days of the business, Foxconn alone contributed more than half of Luxshare Precision’s revenue.
At the same time, Wang gradually became aware of the risks involved.
As early as 2004, Wang realized that relying solely on contract manufacturing was not a sustainable strategy and that independent development of customers and research and development of their own products was the correct direction for the company’s development.
Based on her past industry experience, Wang believed that the differences in consumer electronics often centered on applications and that the core of these differences lay in the manufacturing capabilities of components and complete machines.
So, initially, Luxshare Precision only targeted two parts, connectors and cables, and invested heavily to form a technological advantage. Later, through the acquisition of Jiangxi Bosom, Luxshare completed the integration of the upstream industry chain of connector and cable manufacturing, becoming a leader in the field. Subsequently, from connectors to motors, wireless charging, and electronic modules, Luxshare Precision aimed to be a leader in every industry it entered.
At the same time, changes in the industry environment also provided opportunities for Wang Laichun. In 2011, since Tim Cook became Apple’s CEO, he insisted on finding more suppliers to improve the supply chain’s risk resistance.
That same year, Luxshare Precision acquired more than half of Kunshan Liantuo Electronics’ equity, entering Apple’s supply chain. In 2016, Luxshare Precision acquired Suzhou Meite, which specializes in acoustic technology, accurately entering Apple’s acoustic supply chain and seizing the opportunity to manufacture AirPods.
To win this opportunity, Luxshare repeatedly experimented and solved the technical problems of internal connectors through automation, greatly shortening the production cycle, and achieving a product yield close to 100%.
To outsiders, Wang Laichun is similar to Guo Taiming, a domineering founder. However, in public interviews, Wang Laichun revealed that her son described her as “hermaphroditic.” She does not reject this definition.
She admitted that during the period of rapid development of the company, the team would bear pressures that ordinary people could not understand. At this time, Wang Laichun played more of a sister or mother role, leading the company through the most difficult times. But as the head of the company, she believes that company management must have iron discipline.
From an ordinary “factory girl” to the head of a hundred-billion-dollar group, Wang Laichun’s manufacturing story continues.