Hello smarty, is my phone still there?

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

hard­ware and fash­ion.

Af­ter a year’s re­search and devel­op­ment, the com­pany re­cently launched an in­tel­lec­tual pack that can raise an alarm when a cell-phone in­side is in dan­ger of be­ing stolen. The “HiS­mart Pack” is no dif­fer­ent from or­di­nary ones in ap­pear­ance, ex­cept that it has a sil­ver round but­ton on one of its shoul­der straps.

The but­ton is a chip in which Blue­tooth is in­stalled. The pack’s alarm func­tion is per­formed through the chip. When the cell-phone in the pack is con­nected with the chip through Blue­tooth, the chip will rec­og­nize the dis­tance be­tween the pack and the phone au­to­mat­i­cally. When the phone is away from the pack for more than 10 me­ters, ac­cord­ing to Zhou, the chip will send out an alarm, warn­ing the owner his de­vice is in dan­ger of be­ing filched.

In ad­di­tion, the pack dis­tin­guishes it­self from oth­ers in that it frees its users from hold­ing on to their cell-phone all the time, while puff­ing out mu­sic, photography, po­si­tion­ing and other func­tions can be done with the “mag­i­cal” chip.

“Bags are the most widely used among men. How­ever, as a con­sumer my­self, I feel that those in the mar­ket have var­i­ous draw­backs — in­con­ve­nient, un­fash­ion­able or can be eas­ily bro­ken. Thus, we want to make a prod­uct to get rid of all th­ese prob­lems,” ex­plains Zhou.

For a com­pany that ex­cels in mak­ing mo­bile power packs, designing a fash­ion­able pack with in­tel­lec­tual fea­tures is a big chal­lenge. “We have had no any ex­pe­ri­ence in this field. We did not know how to achieve the pack’s func­tion of size change. We did not know what ma­te­ri­als to use for the pack. We were mak­ing ex­plo­rations in the ocean,” Zhou humbly re­calls.

He thus bought types of such packs from all over the world, an­a­lyz­ing their ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages for in­spi­ra­tion. “I went to Ger­many and other coun­tries to buy var­i­ous packs, brought them home and made a care­ful study of their char­ac­ter­is­tics.” Even­tu­ally, the time was up for tak­ing the plunge. Hav­ing launched his en­tre­pre­neur­ial ca­reer nearly a decade ago, Zhou set up an ad­ver­tise­ment com­pany in 2006 with his long­time friend Fan Jun­ping, who’s now Lepow’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

The com­pany grew steadily, but Zhou felt the bot­tle­neck of its devel­op­ment. “The value we cre­ated from the ad­ver­tis­ing busi­ness was low and the im­pact was small. We aim to make our own brand and gain high recog­ni­tion from the public,” says Zhou.

“For me, whether a busi­ness de­serves to suc­ceed or not de­pends on whether it’s able to cre­ate value.”

Re­al­iz­ing what they truly have to achieve, Zhou and Fan quit the ad­ver­tis­ing ven­ture and founded Lepow in 2011, spe­cial­iz­ing in pro­duc­ing fash­ion­able mo­bile power packs.

Although Lepow’s elec­tronic prod­ucts are win­ning over a big­ger mar­ket share, Zhou felt the pos­i­tive trend in the domain of in­tel­lec­tual hard­ware and stepped into the mar­ket de­ci­sively.

“Many of the wear­able in­tel­lec­tual de­vices in fu­ture will be de­vel­oped from or­di­nary ar­ti­cles in our daily lives, for ex­am­ple, shoes or hats. The com­bi­na­tion of fash­ion and in­tel­li­gence will have a big mar­ket,” Zhou reck­ons.

In mid-March, Lepow re­sorted to crowd-fund­ing on Indiegogo — a well-known crowd­fund­ing plat­form in the US, rais­ing $50,000 for the pow­er­pack ven­ture. The in­no­va­tive prod­uct gained wide pop­u­lar­ity on the web­site, with the com­pany meet­ing its ob­jec­tives within 30 hours af­ter the fund­ing ef­fort be­gan.

“HiS­mart” is not the first in­tel­lec­tual pack that had come onto the mar­ket. Prior to that, GD, a kind of in­tel­lec­tual lady’s bag, had al­ready changed peo­ple’s tra­di­tional per­cep­tion of a hand­bag. With a 2600mAh bat­tery in­stalled, the bag re­lieves its own­ers’ anx­i­ety of their cell-phones run­ning out of power in an emer­gency.

The in­tel­lec­tual-hard­ware mar­ket has been wit­ness­ing ex­plo­sive growth in re­cent years. E-com­merce gi­ants and other prom­i­nent en­ter­prises, in­clud­ing Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi, have joined in the fray.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by JD.com — one of the main­land’s big­gest e-com­merce web­sites — sales of in­tel­lec­tual hard­ware through on­line plat­forms rock­eted by 280 per­cent year-on-year, with roughly 8.7 mil­lion prod­ucts sold in 2014. The in­dus­try’s mar­ket scale is ex­pected to reach 30 bil­lion yuan ($4.8 bil­lion) this year, the re­port says.

For Zhou, how­ever, win­ning a huge mar­ket share is not his prime con­cern. What he val­ues is a sense of iden­tity from his clients. “It would be enough if a group of peo­ple like our prod­ucts. We don’t go af­ter vi­o­lent growth. We trea­sure the cre­ation of won­der­ful works.”

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