Read The Rags To Riches Story Of Billionaire Zhou Qunfei!
Zhou Qunfei holds the title of China’s richest woman after her company debuted on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange last month!
The 45-year-old is president of a company that makes touch-sensitive glass cases for phones, tablets and computers — and she’s currently worth US $7.6 billion!
Before her success, Zhou was born into extreme poverty. But her unfortunate circumstances only made her work harder. She found work making glass for watches in a processing factory. Within two years, she became the director of the entire manufacturing operation!
Zhou launched 11 failed companies before she decided to go into making screen glass for mobile phones in 2003, attributing her success to her hard work ethic and persistence. The chairman said in an interview after her company was listed:
“Twice I even had to sell my house in order to pay my employees salary. Much like climbing a mountain, it’s not your physical strength that will get you to the top, but your tenacity and persistence.”
Zhou’s company Lens Technology is a supplier to firms like Apple and Samsung. The glass covers they produce are said to be used in every one out of five smartphone worldwide! Zhou credits her old teacher for part of her success:4
“If it wasn’t for my primary school teacher reminding me to be observant, I may not have had the inspiration to think of my invention.”
In the rural village Zhou grew up in, rain would fall onto lotus leaves roll off without a trace. This led to the invention of the scratch proof screens that made her company billions!!
Wow! What an inspirational story!
We hope this shows others out there that hard work and persistence leads to great success!
The youngest of three children, Ms. Zhou was born in a tiny village in the Hunan Province of central China, a farming community about two hours south of Changsha, the provincial capital. Her mother died when she was 5. Her father, a skilled craftsman, later lost a finger and most of his eyesight in an industrial accident.
At home, she helped her family raise pigs and ducks for food and additional money. At school, she excelled.
“She was a hard-working and talented student,” Zhong Xiaobai, her former middle-school teacher, says. “I once read her essay, ‘My Mother,’ aloud in class. It was so moving it brought everyone to tears.”
Despite her academic focus, Ms. Zhou dropped out of school at 16 and traveled south to Guangdong province to live with her uncle’s family and search for better work. While she dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, she eventually landed a job on a factory floor in the city of Shenzhen, making watch lenses for about $1 a day.
The conditions, she said, were harsh. “I worked from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., and sometimes until 2 a.m.,” Ms. Zhou recalled. “There were no shifts, just a few dozen people, and we all polished glass. I didn’t enjoy it.”
After three months, she decided to quit and wrote a letter of resignation to her boss. In it, she complained about the hours and boredom. Even so, she expressed her gratitude for the job, saying she wanted to learn more.
The letter impressed the factory chief, who told her the plant was about to adopt new processes. He asked her to stay, offering her a promotion. It was the first of several over the next three years.
As a child, she helped her family raise pigs and ducks for food and additional money. In 1993, Ms. Zhou, then 22, decided to set out on her own. With $3,000 in savings, she and several relatives started their own workshop next door. They lured customers with the promise of even higher-quality watch lenses.
At the new company, Ms. Zhou did it all. She repaired and designed factory machinery. She taught herself complex screen-printing processes and difficult techniques that allowed her to improve prints for curved glass.
“In the Hunan language, we call women like her ‘ba de man,’ which means a person who dares to do what others are afraid to do,” said her cousin Zhou Xinyi, who helped her open the workshop and now serves on the Lens board.
Along the way, Zhou Qunfei married her former factory boss, had a child and divorced. She later married a longtime factory colleague, who serves on the Lens board, and had a second child.
Her work habits lean toward the obsessive. Her company’s headquarters is at one of her manufacturing plants in Changsha. In her spacious office, a door behind her desk opens into a small apartment, ensuring she can roam the factory floor day or night.
It was the mobile phone that made Ms. Zhou a billionaire.
In 2003, she was still making glass for watches when she received an unexpected phone call from executives at Motorola. They asked if she was willing to help them develop a glass screen for their new device, the Razr V3.
At the time, the display screens on most mobile phones were made of plastic. Motorola wanted a glass display that would be more resistant to scratches and provide sharper images for text messages, photos and multimedia.
“I got this call, and they said, ‘Just answer yes or no, and if the answer’s yes, we’ll help you set up the process,’ ” Ms. Zhou recalled. “I said yes.”
Soon after, orders started rolling in from other mobile-phone makers like HTC, Nokia and Samsung. Then, in 2007, Apple entered the market with the iPhone, which had a keyboard-enabled glass touch screen that rewrote the rules of the game for mobile devices. Apple picked Lens as its supplier, propelling Ms. Zhou’s company into a dominant position in China.
After that, Ms. Zhou invested heavily in new facilities and hired skilled technicians. More than once, colleagues say, she put up her apartment as a guarantee for a new bank loan. Within five years, she had manufacturing plants under construction in three cities.
“She’s a passionate entrepreneur, and she’s very hands-on,” says James Hollis, an executive at Corning, which has a partnership with Lens Technology. “I’ve watched her company grow, and her develop a strong team. Now there are over 100 competitors in this space, but Lens is a Tier 1 player.”
Lens operates round the clock, with 75,000 workers spread across three main manufacturing facilities that occupy about 800 acres in the Changsha region. Each day, the company receives bulk shipments of glass from global manufacturers like Corning in the United States and Asahi Glass in Japan.
The glass is cut, ground down to size, bored and polished to give each plate a transparent finish. Then the plates are strengthened in a potassium ion bath, painted and cured. Finally, they are cleaned and coated with anti-smudge and anti-reflection films.
Ms. Zhou designs and choreographs nearly every step of the process, a detailed-oriented approach she traces to her childhood. “My father had lost his eyesight, so if we placed something somewhere, it had to be in the right spot, exactly, or something could go wrong,” she said. “That’s the attention to detail I demand at the workplace.”
Lens has not experienced the kinds of labor troubles that have clouded other contract manufacturers like Foxconn. But current and former workers say the job is challenging. Much of the work is done by young women who inspect glass at different angles, trying to detect flaws.
“As a quality inspector, I had to stare at those products all day long, so this is a tiring job,” said Gao Zhimei, who recently left Lens Technology. “But I should say that working in manufacturing is always tiring and working at Lens is not more tiring than working in other factories.”
Expanding a Customer Base
Lens Technology went public in March, as the Chinese stock market was booming. With the recent market collapse, the company has lost 45 percent in value, but it is still worth about $8 billion.
Last year, the company notched revenue of about $2.4 billion. Profit rose 40 percent in the first quarter. But Lens gets nearly 75 percent of its revenue from Apple and Samsung, making the company reliant on just two customers. In May, at the first shareholders’ meeting since the company went public, an investor pressed Lens about how it planned to maintain an edge in a hypercompetitive market that thrives on innovation.
Several executives tried to answer the question. Then Ms. Zhou spoke up, saying she was prepared to diversify the company’s business with production facilities geared toward higher-end glass, as well as sapphire and ceramic.
After the meeting adjourned, investors piled into a bus and rode with Ms. Zhou to the Lens campus, less than a mile away. Ms. Zhou had sat quietly through much of the shareholders’ meeting, but on the tour of the factory, she came alive. The shareholders hung on every word.
Originally posted 2016-06-15 06:24:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter