From giving me a chance to fail to being impressed for 36 years.

Taking photos, building motorcycles, decorating, extracting metal materials from garbage, gaining primitive capital accumulation, playing football, being a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a deputy to the National People’s Congress, bombarding stars without buying their own brands, buying Volvo, and taking a stake in Daimler are all aspects of Li Shufu. Obviously, Li Shufu is a car "predator", but we should see Li Shufu’s business logic and business sense through cars.

Everyone has a Li Shufu who understands himself.

Li Shufu is not a madman. A madman can’t buy Volvo, and it is impossible to take a stake in Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Li Shufu’s dream of building a car is deeply rooted in the bone marrow. In March 2017, Wu Yingqiu, the chairman of Global Automobile Group, and I went to Gothenburg, Sweden for the third time to run a marathon. We happened to meet An Conghui, president of Geely Automobile Group, who was on a business trip in Gothenburg, and Feng Qingfeng, then president of Geely Automobile Research Institute and head of the technology center. The four of us were catching up in a restaurant by the sea in Gothenburg. During the chat, I asked Ann Conghui how Geely came up with the idea of building a car at that time, and whether he thought of buying Volvo and the gratifying situation today.

An Conghui said that Li Shufu had a car dream in his bones. At that time, An Conghui had just joined Geely, and Geely’s business had nothing to do with cars. One day, An Conghui and Li Shufu went out on business in a Mercedes-Benz. When they were halfway through the car shop, Li Shufu suddenly told An Conghui to build a car. While speaking, a Wuling van passed by the side of Mercedes-Benz. An Conghui pointed to Wuling’s "small face" and tentatively asked, "Just build the van that just passed?" Li Shufu patted his "big Ben" and firmly said "build such a car". After many years, An Conghui still clearly remembers Li Shufu’s resolute manner when he spoke.

Since then, Geely has started a 30-year dream-chasing. The reason why Geely’s first car was named "Geely No.1" was probably influenced by Mercedes-Benz. At that time, Li Shufu’s car was a Mercedes-Benz S called "Mercedes-Benz No.1". I just don’t know if Li Shufu thought at that time that one day, he could become a shareholder of Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

At that time, the afterglow of the sunset in Gothenburg was sprinkled on the magnificent sea and reflected on An Conghui’s determined face. At this point, after 30 years of development, Geely has stood on the threshold of annual sales of only 1 million cars of Geely brand. This number does not include the sales volume of the acquired Volvo, and it is getting closer and closer to Geely Automobile’s quantifiable grand goal of 2 million vehicles in 2020 and Li Shufu’s vision of "letting Geely Automobile run around the world".

At present, Geely has formed an international automobile group with many brands such as Geely, Lectra, Volvo, Mengtong (London Taxi), Proton and Lotus. Li Shufu’s global layout has made him the largest shareholder of Daimler Group, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, the "inventor of automobiles". Li Shufu, who was thriving, even entered the financial industry and acquired a bank in Finland. When the delivery was completed in September 2017, the bank’s stock once went up.

At the domestic briefing on Geely’s acquisition of Volvo, the flash focused on Li Shufu as much as the premiere of a movie. Later, I noticed that Reuters compared Li Shufu with Henry Ford, the founder of Ford: "Both of them had lived in the countryside and were originally famous for producing cheap cars." Some people say that this is the most beautiful time for Li Shufu to enter the automobile industry in 12 years, but few people know the hardships behind the scenery.

I have witnessed the whole development process of Geely, and I have learned a lot about Li Shufu through years of contact. At first, many people called Li Shufu "Zhang Chaoyang in the automobile industry", which implied that Li Shufu’s personal brand saved Geely a lot of advertising expenses. Now it seems that this matter is small, and Li Shufu’s limelight has obviously overshadowed Zhang Chaoyang. His quick words are also called classic quotations by the industry. For example, "a car is just four wheels and two sofas", "Let Geely go to the world like selling Wenzhou lighters", "Please allow private enterprises to make bold attempts and dream of cars" and "Let China’s cars go to the world instead of letting the cars all over the world travel all over China" …

A more classic quotation is that around 1998, GM was in the ascendant of global development. At the auto summit held by Beijing Youth Daily, Li Shufu’s prediction that "GM and Ford will close sooner or later" came true 10 years later. At that time, Li Guowei, the public relations director of GM China, took the bag and left the words of "looking for a job". At that summit, Li Shufu’s experience of wanting to shake hands with the boss of a big enterprise was fresh in his memory. When describing the details, Li Shufu said, "My hand was stretched out, and the boss of that enterprise didn’t respond at all."

Experiences like this are always accompanied by Geely and Li Shufu. Around 2000, Geely produced a model named "Youliou", which is the third model of Geely after the United States, Japan and pride. As its name implies, "Youlio" is superior to Xiali and Sail, when xiali 2000 and Sail were the most popular models in the market. In order to give a grand off-line ceremony to this model that Li Shufu had high hopes for, Li Shufu also invited the vice governor of Zhejiang Province who was in charge of industry at that time and hundreds of media in China.

The good news was much worse. At that time, the vice governor was forced to reschedule the off-line ceremony because of his busy official duties. Finally, when the vice governor had time, the media leaving Beijing prepared to fly to Ningbo to attend the grand off-line ceremony held the next day, but when they approached boarding, they got a missed notice that "South China air traffic control, the plane can’t take off on time, and the take-off time is infinitely expected".

I clearly remember that the plane that originally took off at 8 pm didn’t start boarding until 12 pm, and some reporters simply went home during the long waiting process. After a two-hour flight, when the plane arrived over Ningbo, the accident reappeared. The captain announced that the plane was preparing to land in Pudong, Shanghai, because the fog in Ningbo did not meet the landing standards. When the plane arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport from Ningbo Lishe, it was already more than 4 am the next day, and Pudong Airport was closed at this time. The land traffic from Shanghai to Ningbo was completely closed because of the fog, and Li Shufu’s alternative plan to let everyone take the bus to attend the off-line ceremony was also forced to run aground.

By the time the media flew from Pudong to lishe airport in Ningbo the next day, it was already noon, so the off-line ceremony in the morning naturally failed to catch up. The secretary later said that Li Shufu’s original intention at that time was to let government officials and the media witness the grand off-line ceremony, which was very important for Geely, which had just entered the automobile industry, but it backfired. It is said that this matter has haunted Li Shufu for quite a long time.

There are many legends, reports and versions about Li Shufu and Geely. But mostly "unofficial history". I have specially heard Li Shufu talk about "the history of revolutionaries". Only by truly understanding Li Shufu and Geely can we understand Li Shufu and know that Li Shufu and Geely are a business legend that transcends automobiles.

Geely is a standard private car company, without any background or backing. It is an enterprise that goes from poor mountain ditch in Taizhou to Hangzhou, to the world and to the front of the stage.

Li Shufu clearly remembers that 10 days before China joined the WTO in 2001, the leaders of the State Economic and Trade Commission informed Li Shufu: "Forget it, I’ll get it for you." Li Shufu and Geely, who got the production catalogue, finally got the national license to produce cars. People who are familiar with and know Geely know that in the early days, Geely had many bases in addition to Ningbo base, such as Huapu in Shanghai, Xiangtan in Hunan Province, Jilin in Jilin Province and Jinan in Shandong Province. And each base has a dramatic origin. Li Shutong, Li Shufu’s younger brother, set up a Jester (the predecessor of Huapu) in Shanghai. Jester also couldn’t get the production catalogue and encountered exactly the same problems as Geely. To this end, there was a conflict between the two brothers. Li Shutong thought that his brother would not help him, so he went to Shanghai leaders every day. Later, the matter was reported to the State Economic and Trade Commission, and the then director of the Economic and Trade Commission had a headache, saying that Shanghai already had Volkswagen and GM, and it was more difficult to approve another Jester. Because at that time, many parts of the country wanted to go to the car project, once the "cut" was opened, it would be out of control. Ou Xinqian, then deputy director of the Economic and Trade Commission, told Li Shufu: "Tell your brother, forget it, forget it, merge it with you, and go to Geely, and I will approve it for you."

Xiangtan base in Hunan province and Huapu in Shanghai have similar points, but this time the protagonist is replaced by Li Shufu’s brother Li Shubing. Unwilling to be lonely, Li Shubing ran to Hunan and set up a car factory, but he couldn’t do it in the middle. The leaders of Hunan Province are anxious to call Li Shufu all day long: "Li Shufu, look at your brother. He is very nice and hard, but what about him?" He may not do well in this factory, so you have to help. " At first, Li Shufu didn’t care, and thought that this matter had nothing to do with himself. But later, when I thought about it, after all, it was a call from a brother and a leader, my heart softened. Finally, Li Shubing’s Hunan factory was also included in Geely.

Li Shufu said this when talking about his experience in the automobile industry for decades: First, it depends on luck. Although Geely has a grand strategy and general direction, its specific aspects are still blessed by great luck. Whenever there is no way to go, the wall opens the door-the problem is solved. Li Shufu once summed up himself and his early Geely with a poem, "There are many kinds of sadness and difficulties, and hope lies in people and success lies in heaven." There are many kinds of sadness, that is to say, the whole business environment in China; Difficulties, that is to say, it is very difficult to start a business in China, not only Geely, but also other enterprises, especially private enterprises; Hope lies in people, that is to say, we must always be full of passion and hope, constantly strive to solve problems, overcome difficulties and move forward, so we must have hope, not despair, and everything depends on people; Success lies in the sky, that is to say, as a private enterprise in China, is it possible to succeed? Li Shufu believes that oranges in the south and oranges in the north. It is also an orange seedling, and its results are different in different soils. Li Ka-shing can become today’s Li Ka-shing in Hong Kong, but if he is in Beijing or Hangzhou, he may not be today’s Li Ka-shing. The soil in Hong Kong is different. Bill Gates can be the richest man in the world in the United States, and everyone respects him, but if he is in China, I believe he can’t be Bill Gates now.

2022 is the 36th year of the establishment of Geely Group. What needs to be made clear is that these 36 years are not the 36 years of Geely Automobile. Geely did not build cars at first, but gained primitive accumulation by decoration, refrigerators, especially motorcycles; But it doesn’t include Li Shufu’s inspirational story of taking photos and those things about recycling scrap metal.

Geely’s acquisition of Volvo is regarded by many as "China’s poor boy marries Swedish princess", and there are always two views on Geely’s success or failure after its acquisition of Volvo. It won’t be surprising if the acquisition of Volvo is put into Geely’s whole strategy. Geely has made it clear on different occasions that by 2020, Geely will produce and sell 2 million vehicles. The development of Geely itself in the past 36 years is the epitome of its own automobile brand, and it is also a mirror of its own automobile brand.

From August 8, 1998, when Haoqing was the first car of Geely, by 2020, Geely Automobile had a history of 22 years. In the past 22 years, Geely Automobile has gone through four stages: the first stage is the "old three" stage from 1998 to 2007, which is dominated by three products: lofty sentiments, the United States, Japan and Uniou; The second stage is the "new three" stage represented by King Kong, Freedom Ship and Vision from 2007 to 2010. The third stage is the stage of forming three brands represented by Emgrand, Global Hawk and Shanghai Yinglun. The fourth stage is the globalization stage represented by the acquisition of British manganese copper, Australian transmission company and Volvo, as well as the acquisition of Daimler and smart.

Liu Jinliang, vice president of Geely Holding, is one of the "Four donkey kong" of Geely Automobile. Before taking charge of the new mobile travel business "Cao Cao Travel", he was the general manager of Geely Automobile Sales Company, and witnessed the change of Geely’s annual sales volume from 30,000 to 300,000. The change and promotion of annual sales volume made him deeply feel the changes of Geely and the entire China automobile industry. Without the 300,000 vehicles at that time, there would not be today’s 2 million vehicles and global layout.

Since the first car with lofty sentiments was manufactured on August 1, 1998, Geely has formed an "old three-sample" pattern with lofty sentiments, the United States, Japan and Uniou as its main products. But by the beginning of 2008, Geely’s own "old three kinds" had basically stopped production, and the "new three kinds" models represented by Freedom Ship, King Kong and Vision became the dominant ones. The proportion of Geely’s cars with less than 40,000 yuan decreased from 32% in 2007 to 13% in 2008, while Chery’s cars with less than 40,000 yuan in 2007 and 2008 accounted for about 40%, and Xiali’s cars with more than 60% were less than 40,000 yuan. This price change is a portrayal of Geely’s transformation from "building a good car that ordinary people can afford" to "Geely building a safe, energy-saving and environmentally-friendly car".

The "new three kinds" represented by Freedom Ship achieved ideal results in 2008: Freedom Ship became the champion of 1.3-liter market segment; King Kong’s market performance is not inferior to some joint venture brands; Vision’s market share is not large, because Geely was selling 1.8 liters at that time, and the power combination was relatively simple. As can be seen from the figures, Geely is increasingly recognized by consumers, and its power performance and fuel economy are excellent, and there is still a lot of room for growth. At that time, Geely put the Freedom Ship in the same market segment as Xiali sedan, and the Freedom Ship and Xiali sedan with a price of 40,000 yuan accounted for 20% of the market share.

Liu Jinliang said that since 2008, Geely has done a lot of work to upgrade its brand. For example, in the process of "New Three Samples" eliminating "Old Three Samples", measures were taken to replace the "Old Three Samples" car users, so that more consumers could know the status of Geely’s "New Three Samples" as much as possible. Geely launched Jiwa’s service image in 2008, trying to "build a service brand". In 2008, there was a great event affecting the marketing of Geely Automobile, that is, re-planning the brand strategy and offering a reward of 3.6 million yuan to collect the LOGO globally. Now the logo of Geely six-pack ABS is one of the results collected at that time.

From 1995, when Geely manufactured motorcycles to selling hundreds of thousands of motorcycles a year, it adopted a multi-brand strategy. Basically, there were four or five dealers in important cities, but they were divided into brands. After Geely made the car, it adopted the method of selling by products in different networks. Although it was sold by products in different networks, Geely people found that it was not suitable for this market gradually, so at the beginning of 2008, when collecting a new logo for 3.6 million yuan, it was brewing to gradually transition from selling by products to selling by brands.

With the overall strategic transformation of Geely, marketing has also been transformed. Geely, who has been building cars for 10 years, endowed itself with the historical mission of "building a good car that ordinary people can afford and letting Geely travel all over the world". This concept guided Geely to build cars for 10 years and basically achieved its initial strategic goal. It was not until Geely acquired Volvo that Li Shufu proposed the transformation in 2007, which was actually the first conceptual transformation. "Make the safest, most environmentally friendly and most energy-saving car, and let Geely Automobile travel all over the world". In the past, "building a good car that ordinary people can afford" contained the concept of cost and was a low-cost strategy.

"To build the safest, most environmentally friendly and most energy-saving car" should replace the previous concept, and start from quality and technology to build a better car and let Geely Automobile travel all over the world. This change is the core of strategic transformation.

Liu Jinliang recalled that the sales target in 2015 was five technical cores, 15 product platforms and more than 40 cars, covering A00, A0, A, B and C cars, as well as MPV. For the domestic market, this has to bear the sales of 600,000 to 700,000 vehicles.

Brand-new technology platform, brand-new car, brand-new logo. Five technical platforms, 15 product platforms and more than 40 cars are cultivated in three directions in terms of brand personality, brand characteristics and brand personality, from modeling design to configuration: they are fashionable, passionate and full of dreams, and develop in the direction of Global Hawk brand. For example, Panda adopts the brand logo of Global Hawk; A new product representing luxury, stability and strength, with Emgrand brand logo; Classic, noble products, with the British logo. During that time, under the parent brand of Geely Automobile, there were three brands, namely Global Hawk, Emgrand and British, in parallel, and there were three different dealers’ network channel images.

After Liu Jinliang, Sun Xiaodong and Lin Jie successively took over as the general manager of the sales company. Nan Shengliang, who became the general manager of Geely International in 2017, Song Jun, then the deputy general manager of Geely’s sales, and Yang Xueliang, who was promoted from the public relations director and the deputy general manager of Geely’s sales to the vice president of Geely, formed a stable senior management team of Geely’s sales system.

An Conghui, president of Geely, has become the leader of Geely’s re-transformation. Volvo’s feedback to Geely has achieved remarkable results, and Geely’s image has also changed from an ugly duckling to a white swan, especially with the gradual introduction of a large number of models such as Borui, Bo Yue, Emgrand and Lectra. With the product strength, Geely’s models have exploded, and in 2017 and 2018, it has continuously achieved sales of more than 1 million vehicles per year. Geely Automobile has also become the first enterprise with an annual scale of one million vehicles among its own brands in China. In 2019, Geely Holding Group achieved a total sales volume of 2.178 million vehicles, and the goal of "2 million vehicles in 2020", which was called a joke by many people that year, became a reality.

What kind of person is Li Shufu, what kind of autobot? I asked An Conghui and Yuan Xiaolin. An Conghui said that Li Shufu’s pattern and commercial sensitivity are unparalleled. In Yuan Xiaolin’s view, Li Shufu has three admirable points. First of all, Li Shufu is very strategic and far-sighted. He will see the possibility and find the direction before everyone can see it clearly or vaguely. This is a very big feature. Whether he was born or gradually learned, Yuan Xiaolin prefers the latter. Second, Li Shufu has a very broad mind. Li Shufu is very inclusive, which is why different talents will join the Geely family in different forms. Third, Li Shufu has a strong learning ability. He studies all kinds of knowledge tirelessly and is always curious about the world. Everything is willing to discuss with you, and at the same time he provides different information to broaden your horizons. This is a learning process.

Yuan Xiaolin said that Li Shufu’s vision, mind and learning ability are true entrepreneurial demeanor, which is a kind of cultivation. The advantage of working with such a great entrepreneur is that he will also be brought into a process of continuous cultivation.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group was founded in 1986 and entered the automobile industry in 1997. It has been focusing on industry, technological innovation and personnel training, constantly laying a foundation and practicing internal strength, and unswervingly promoting the healthy and sustainable development of enterprises. At present, the total assets exceed 330 billion yuan, and the total number of employees exceeds 120,000. It has entered the world’s top 500 for nine consecutive years.

Geely Holding Group has now developed into a global innovative technology enterprise group integrating the design, research and development, production, sales and service of complete vehicles, powertrains and key components, and covering travel services, digital technology, financial services and education. Headquartered in Hangzhou, the Group owns brands such as Geely, Link, Geometry, Volvo, Polar Star, Proton, Lotus, London Electric Vehicle, Long-range New Energy Commercial Vehicle, Taili Flying Vehicle, Caocao Travel, Qianjiang Motorcycle, saxo, Mingtai, etc., and has continuously improved its capabilities in cutting-edge technology fields such as new energy technology, shared travel, car networking, driverless, vehicle chip, low-orbit satellite and laser communication. Geely Holding Group is also the largest shareholder of Volvo Group and Daimler AG.

Geely Holding Group has established modeling design and engineering R&D centers in China, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Ningbo, as well as Gothenburg, Sweden, Coventry, Barcelona, California, Frankfurt, Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur, with more than 20,000 R&D and design personnel and a large number of invention and innovation patents. In China, the United States, Britain, Sweden, Belgium, Belarus and Malaysia, there are world-class modern vehicle and powertrain manufacturing plants, with more than 4,000 sales outlets and product sales and service networks all over the world.