Shap­ing Huami as king of wear­ables

The He­fei, An­huibased wear­able gad­get maker is look­ing at 1.5b yuan in rev­enue this year, up 50 per­cent

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU LIXIN in He­fei zhulixin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Wear­ing a Xiaomi wrist band on his left hand and an Amaz­fit smart­watch on the right, HuangWang pro­posed a toast to his busi­ness part­ners dur­ing an evening banquet on Aug 30 af­ter he an­nounced the launch of the smart­watch in the af­ter­noon.

“The Xiaomi band re­minds us of the suc­cess and glory we have achieved, while the smart­watch rep­re­sents our am­bi­tions for the fu­ture,” said Huang, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of An­hui Huami In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd.

As Huang ad­mits, peo­ple who know the firm are not as many as those who know the Xiaomi band, or theMi band.

Un­der the Xiaomi brand, Huami had sold more than 20 mil­lion fit­ness-track­ing wrist­bands by June, rank­ingNo 2 in the smart wear­able sec­tor glob­ally. Huami is sec­ond only to the United States ri­val Fitbit Inc, the world’s largest manufacturer of wear­able fit­ness gad­gets, in terms of to­tal ship­ments.

OnHuami’s prod­uct cat­a­log is also the Xiaomi smart weight.

Huami reported a to­tal sales rev­enue of 1 bil­lion yuan ($151.5 mil­lion) in 2015, while the num­ber for this year is ex­pected to hit 1.5 bil­lion yuan.

The com­pany head­quar­tered in He­fei, cap­i­tal city of east China’s An­hui prov­ince, was es­tab­lished in Jan­uary 2014 and was fi­nanced by Xiaomi Corp, a lead­ing elec­tron­ics

It was the ex­pe­ri­ence in Huawei that gave me some ba­sic ideas of how to run a com­pany of my own.” Huang Wang, CEO of An­hui Huami In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd

and smart­phone maker in China, and Shun­wei Cap­i­tal Part­ners. The Xiaomi band was rolled out in Au­gust 2014.

In De­cem­ber of that year, Banyan Cap­i­tal, Se­quoia Cap­i­tal and Morn­ing­side Ven­tures in­jected an­other $35 mil­lion into Huami. Huang said the com­pany is now plan­ning its third round of fi­nanc­ing, with the firm’s val­u­a­tion hit­ting $800 mil­lion.

Af­ter ex­chang­ing some con­grat­u­la­tions and thanks with the guests at the banquet, who were govern­ment of­fi­cials, in­vestors and me­dia re­porters, Huang went back to the ta­ble of his col­leagues. “I should stay with them on this big day.”

ThoughHuami was named one of the 50 fastest-grow­ing tech com­pa­nies in China by Forbes at the end of 2015, Huang said he ac­tu­ally has spent more than 18 years to achieve what he has got.

Born in 1975, Huang grad­u­ated in 1997 from theUniver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy of China, which is based in He­fei. He ma­jored in mi­cro­elec­tron­ics and was re­cruited by the Shen­zhen-based global tech­nol­ogy gi­ant Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd.

Af­ter join­ing the com­pany, Huang par­tic­i­pated in the found­ing of a joint R&D cen­ter byHuawei andMo­torola, a global telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant then, un­til 1998, when Huang quit the job and re­turned to He­fei to start his own busi­ness.

“It was the ex­pe­ri­ence in Huawei that gave me some ba­sic ideas of how to run a com­pany of my own,” said Huang, who has founded four com­pa­nies in the last 18 years.

The first com­pany was fo­cused on em­bed­ded de­vel­op­ment tools based on the Linux sys­tem. “Through co­op­er­a­tion with Mo­torola’s chip de­vel­op­ment depart­ment, our tech­nol­ogy was ap­plied in the Mo­torola mo­bile phones glob­ally,” saidHuang.

In 2009, Huang founded He­fei Hua­heng Elec­tron­ics Tech­nol­ogy Ltd, which was fo­cused on a tablet per­sonal com­puter brand and a smart­watch brand.

“At that time, Ap­ple Inc hadn’t launched the iPad prod­ucts yet and our prod­ucts had been very prof­itable un­til around 2012, when the whole tablet per­sonal com­puter busi­ness started to de­cline sharply, in­clud­ing the iPad, partly be­cause smart­phones be­gan get­ting big­ger,” said Huang, whose com­pany had also de­vel­oped a smart­watch by 2013.

“To start with the tablet com­puter or smart­watch would be too risky. Back then, we didn’t have enough feed­back from the con­sumers for the much more so­phis­ti­cated prod­ucts, while a fit­ness band is much eas­ier and has a much lower cost,” said Huang.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Huang Wang speaks at the launch of the firm’s Amaz­fit smart­watch on Aug 30 in Bei­jing. The com­pany has sold more than 20 mil­lion fit­ness-track­ing wrist bands by June-end un­der the Xiaomi brand name.

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