iAsk Junqing Lu: How are unicorns incubated?
Story No. 1:
“From today, there is a type of entrepreneurs called ‘Entrepreneurial Investors’.” In 2017, Xiaobo Wu officially proposed the concept of Entrepreneurial Investors on the "Wu Xiaobo Channel". In his view, China's commercial civilization is rapidly evolving from the era of industry commercialism to the era of industry and financing commercial civilization. The role of entrepreneurs will also change accordingly.
Entrepreneurship and investment should both be valued and enhanced. It is a shared feature for them to apply the wisdom of business entity management to venture capital investment, and it is also the key to increasing their wealth exponentially.
The guests for our show “iAsk Entrepreneurial Investors” have all been dedicated to both entrepreneurship and investment. In this issue, Junqing Lu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ToJoy Holding Group, described entrepreneurial investors as follows: “Investors and entrepreneurs, in a vivid metaphor, are like bulls and cows. Entrepreneurs are like cows, while investors are like bulls. Cows and bulls can reproduce babies, but it is the entrepreneur’s duty to raise the children. It is hard yet necessary. It can’t be done without investors either. Without investors, there will not be children."
Nowadays, Chinese enterprises have developed to a phase where no entrepreneur can ignore the power of capital. Real entrepreneurs should be entrepreneurial, and at the same time know how to leverage the power of capital, which is an unavoidable path for entrepreneurs to take on.
iAsk Junqing Lu: What is your impression of entrepreneurial investment?
Junqing Lu: I think that entrepreneurial investment is a product of a new era. In the past, for example, in the 1980s when everything was in short supply, you could make profits from any sector. In the 1990s, it was not bad. After 2000, you had to be innovative to make money. Now that we have reached the era of capital economy, it is difficult for companies to develop without the support of capital, so the concept of entrepreneurial investors was born with the times.
Gloria Ai: Many people still think that capital is like a barbarian at the door of a company, craving for blood selfishly. Why do you think such highly of capital and investment behaviors?
Junqing Lu: Investors and entrepreneurs, in a vivid metaphor, are like bulls and cows. Entrepreneurs are like cows, while investors are like bulls. Cows and bulls can reproduce babies, but it is the entrepreneur’s duty to raise the children. It is hard yet necessary. It can’t be done without investors either. Without investors, there will not be children.
From the perspective of investment, I really admire Buffett, who persists in making value investments instead of following the same-day speculation. Investors like him can make business grow. People who make stock speculations are called speculators, not investors.
Story No. 2:
Based on the "China Entrepreneurship Incubation Development Report" published by the Torch High Technology Industry Development Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology, in 2017, the total number of national technology enterprise incubators has reached 4,069, a year-on-year increase of 24.8%; small and medium-sized technology enterprises under incubation, 175,000; cultivated high-tech companies, 11,000. They have created 2.565 million employment opportunities.
Incubation, in the midst of the surge, gradually set off a boom. But as early as 19 years ago, ToJoy Holding Group created an entrepreneurial incubator, a platform economy and a shared economy. Junqing Lu said that the inspiration came from the business legend at that time, Qizhong Mou, who proposed a concept of “steady tillering” and greatly inspired him.
Based on the incubation strategy, Junqing Lu led the development of ToJoy Holding Group to skyrocket:
In 2015, the platform enterprise incubator was industrialized;
Since 2017, ToJoy Holding Group has started mapping out its global network, and has established headquarters offices in international major cities such as Vienna, New York and Hong Kong.
Since 2018, ToJoy has been committed to exporting joint venture incubation projects, and has promoted a large number of projects to go global;
On November 20, 2018, ToJoy USA LLC was officially launched, integrating and connecting global resources to achieve the goal of "global resources, globally sharing", based on the big picture of global business;
Up to now, ToJoy Holding Group has developed into a global business platform for O2O, with more than 100 wholly-owned companies and holding companies in 38 cities around the world. It has the capacity to incubate 300 unicorn companies every year and is the largest unicorn incubator in China.
For this innovative concept of incubation, Junqing Lu said frankly, "both traditional entrepreneurs and new economy entrepreneurs are fond of our business pattern; For new economy enterprises, as long as they meet the incubation requirements, ToJoy can accelerate their growth; for traditional enterprises, they can grow jointly with peers on the platform and upgrade from a traditional industry to a new economy one."
iAsk Junqing Lu: What is the nature of incubation?
Junqing Lu: I often tell entrepreneurs that it is the ice age of the market and the cold winter of capital. I agree with this consensus. But from my point of view, the coldest place in the world is not the Arctic nor the South Pole, but where you’re alone. As long as everyone can grow in joint force, the cold winter can be lit up with warmth.
Gloria Ai: When you traveled around and spoke about how the Chinese market should stay united and create a win-win situation, have you received any objection or negativity?
Junqing Lu: I haven’t received any negative feedback about staying united, because ToJoy has profound insights on it. We are now in the 3.0 era of unity. At 1.0, we relied on friends and family. In 2.0, we relied on some social organizations. In 3.0, we rely on big data to stay united.
However, not all forms of unity can succeed. It has been reported that a whole class of 32 company presidents at Tsinghua University jointly opened a restaurant and suffered tremendous loss. There are right ways to unite and collaborate. ToJoy invented the pattern of the unicorn incubator. To be qualified for incubation, enterprises should meet two prerequisites: firstly, your business model is successful, and the company has survived the failing period; secondly, you need to have a good team that can support this undertaking to continue to develop. With such conditions equipped, we would unite everyone to grow together.
Story No. 3:
Based on the statistics from the Baidu Search Index, the keyword “layoff” reached the highest peak of the search index – 1725, on December 16, 2018, in the eight years from 2011. Based on the Baidu Information Index, the keyword information index of “layoff” reached 2 million words in 30 days on January 2 this year. The average daily number of search for the keyword “layoff” in the past month was 149,000 times, a year-on-year increase of 1338 times and a new record high.
In Junqing Lu's view, it is the ice age of the market and the cold winter of capital. He agrees with this consensus. “But from my point of view, the coldest place in the world is not the Arctic nor the South Pole, but where you’re alone. As long as everyone can grow in joint force, the cold winter can be lit up with warmth.”
"Staying united to survive the winter and create a win-win situation" is the concept put forward by Junqing Lu. In the face of the economic downturn, companies are all struggling. Backed by a powerful incubation platform, ToJoy provides capital, resources and assistance to the enterprise, turning each small-sized yet beautiful entity into a large-scaled industry. It’s a true realization of ants becoming elephants.
iAsk Junqing Lu: Does the nature of the enterprise lie in creating value?
Junqing Lu: Creating value for customers is the essence of the enterprise in my opinion. In the end, those that cannot make profits are not qualified as enterprises.
Gloria Ai: Can you share a few examples of enterprises from the platform of ToJoy, which stick to the essence of doing business, serve customers respectfully, and at the same time don’t “splurge” capital?
Junqing Lu: For example, Hanbond, incubated by us, was a project initiated by several ex-IBM executives in Beijing. Within four years, they opened four stores. Eventually, after 20 months of incubation on our platform, it expanded into more than one hundred stores, and each store was able to make money. why? ToJoy did two things for them. Firstly, I gave the suits designed by Hanbond to more than 30 Presidents and Prime Ministers as gifts. Hanbond thus became the “Presidents’ favorite men’s clothing”, which is a commercial slogan inspired by me.
Secondly, we reached out to more than 100 entrepreneurs in the country to open stores in more than 100 cities. These entrepreneurs relied on their existing teams, network, and even their own venues to operate over 100 stores in more than 100 cities. Hanbond hence grew by more than 100 times. Based on the collaboration of Hanbond and these entrepreneurs, everyone was able to share the value. In this way, value was truly created for everyone. Hanbond developed at the same time.
Gloria Ai: Do you impose strict standards on the targets you want to incubate?
Junqing Lu: We have three core standards: firstly, it must be a successful business model; secondly, they must have a good team to support the development pattern of ants turning into elephants; thirdly, the company must be able to go public in around three years, with more than 1 billion US dollars market value.