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Meizu's "post-Huangzhang era"

via:全天候科技     time:2019/5/6 2:03:13     readed:182

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Meizu 16th

This is not surprising, although the Meizu official has not officially recognized it, but many sources have confirmed that Bai Yongxiang and Yang Lan have left Meizu successively; Yang Yan, who is jointly known as “Meizu Three Musketeers” with Bai Yongxiang and Li Nan, has retired as Flyme since the end of last year. After the president of the business department, he did not show up again. Many Meizu employees revealed that Yang Yan had left the company.

Li Nan, the only incumbent, did not appear in the conference. His last Weibo was also the Meizu Note 9 promotion on March 5, and there was no content related to 16s. Many people have talked about Li Nan's stay and stay. Some people say that he has also left. Some people say that "Li Nan is in charge of a secret project." On May 2nd, this doubt was answered to some extent: Tianyanchao showed that Li Nan had been removed from the main personnel of Meizu Technology.

In addition to the main personnel, this time Meizu’s bigger change is equity.

On May 2, a number of third-party inquiries showed that Meizu’s shareholdings had changed. The shareholding ratio of founder Huang Zhang was reduced from 51.96% to 49.08%. At the same time, Zhuhai Honghua New Dynamic Energy Equity Investment Fund with Zhuhai State-owned Assets 50.92%, replacing Huang Zhang as a major shareholder.

However, Meizu subsequently denied this change, indicating that Huang Zhang is still the largest shareholder and actual controller of Meizu. On the afternoon of May 4, Huang Zhang responded to netizens in the forum and said, "If you can choose, I don't want to be a big shareholder, too tired." Another company's articles of association revealed by the media showed that Huang Zhang's shareholding was reduced to 49.08%. The information is true, but Zhuhai Honghua is not an absolute major shareholder, only holding 2.08%.

As of press time, Meizu has not disclosed the specific circumstances of the equity change. However, in any case, the above changes mean that Meizu is welcoming a new shareholder with a state-owned background, and Huang Zhang will no longer have an absolute controlling stake in Meizu.

After the past two years of repeated personnel turmoil, organizational changes, today's Meizu, can usher in a rebirth?


Year of transition

Two years ago, Huang Zhang announced his comeback. This is the second "return" of Huang Zhang.

The first time was in 2014, when Ma Lin, the former vice president of Meizu, led some of the backbones to change the company and led to the crisis of the company. Huang Zhang called the backbone of the company to announce the return, but this only lasted for a few months. After introducing Ali’s $590 million investment, Huang Zhang handed over the daily work to Bai Yongxiang and Li Nan and turned back to the scenes.

It is difficult to evaluate whether Meizu’s strategy is correct in the years when Huang Zhang’s “retiring”: In 2015, Li Nan established the sub-brand charm blue of the thousand yuan machine. Since then, Meizu quickly changed from “small and beautiful” to “big”. The factory "attacks, and won 20 million shipments in one fell swoop; in 2016, it released 14 new machines at a monthly rate, increasing the total shipments to 22 million units, reaching the peak of Meizu history. . At the same time, under the promotion of Li Nan, Meizu has successively added products such as smart hardware and smart home.

"There is an explosive growth. I think Meizu is also a rising period in 2016. At that time, the expectations of the company were relatively high." Li Yong, a former employee of Meizu, recalled. Li Qi, who is also a Meizu employee, holds different opinions. He called this year's behavior “a menstrual conference”. “The new machine is highly similar and easy to make users feel bored.” At the same time of rapid expansion, marketing, The cost of manpower and other aspects continued to increase, which also affected Meizu’s profitability. In the financial situation disclosed by shareholders Tianyin, Meizu’s losses amounted to 1.3 billion yuan in the first half of 2015 to the first half of 2016.

Looking back later, whether it is right or wrong, relying on low-end traffic and expanding the product line strategy is not the expectation of Huang Zhang. After announcing its return in 2017, Huang Zhang carried out two reforms on the company: reducing scale and improving positioning.

The first thing that was cut off wasMobile phoneUnrelated business, such as smart home. Smart home is a business run by Li Nan.MilletAnd Apple is doing the ecology, Li Nan feels that it is a future direction, and arranged some people to do it.” Xu Fang worked in the smart home department before leaving Meizu. He remembered that in 2016 Li Nan recruited a director. Formally established this department.

According to Xu Fang, Meizu's smart home business is broadly divided into two categories. One is the software department at the headquarters, which is responsible for creating a similar mill "Mijia" App and accessing other third-party home appliance brands; In order to design hardware such as bracelets and headphones, it was responsible for the Shenzhen branch established in 2014. "After the return of Huang Zhang, the software was completely cut off, and Shenzhen was sure to withdraw all of it."

This is the first layoff of Meizu. As of April 2017, the number of employees of Meizu has been reduced from nearly 4,500 to about 4,000, and the percentage of layoffs is about 10%. Xu Fang recalled that before being cut, smart homes had access to more than 20 brands and could control more than 100 products. He admitted that compared with the ecological chain that Xiaomi strongly promoted, Meizu’s smart home lacked a unified agreement. The industry has weak control. However, two years later, when the smart home-based IoT became the next trend in the development of smart phones, Xu Fang could not help but feel, "In many directions, Meizu started not too late, but always missed it."

Huang Zhang’s other reform of Meizu is to improve its positioning. It has changed Meizu’s past “literary art” style and the low-end image brought by Charm Blue, and directly positioned “Business High-end”.

In order to make positioning marketing closer to "business", in May 2017, Huang Zhang introduced CSO Yang Lan, who is known in the industry for his "business marketing" style. He served as Samsung's high-end business machine w series andHuaweiThe mate series of marketing work, and for Huawei to establish a slogan such as gentleman, orchid, jazz life.

The "business machine" entity, Meizu had hoped to be released on the Pro 7 in the middle of the year, this phone is dominated by Bai Yongxiang, the biggest highlight is the "double-sided screen design." According to reports, on the eve of the release of Pro 7, Yang Lan established a starting price of 2,880 yuan for this model, which is nearly 400 yuan higher than the previous generation Pro 6. He responded to the question of netizens' pricing, saying that the Pro 7 double-sided screen It is "innovation like Tesla." Meizu’s confidence in Pro 7 is not only reflected in the propaganda words. According to some suppliers at the time, Meizu had ordered 3 million orders from the factory before the release.

However, after being released, the Pro 7, which was highly anticipated, became the most tragic Waterloo in the history of Meizu. Many Meizu employees revealed that the final sales of this model were only hundreds of thousands. In the meantime, there were also reports from suppliers confirming this statement: After Meizu cut the order to 1 million units, there was still a large inventory backlog.

The MediaTek processor used in the Pro 7 is an important reason for the market's criticism. In addition, the double-sided screen, which is regarded as an important innovation, has not been accepted by the mainstream market. “Pro 7 was established at the end of 2015. It was not certain at the time. The future trend is double-sided or full-screen, but by 2017, the full-screen has begun to become mainstream," said a former Meizu employee. "The choice of double-sided screen is internally opposed, but Bai Yongxiang is very persistent."

“The actual use value of the double-sided screen cannot be found,” Fang Yu, who is working on the Flyme team of Meizu’s self-developed mobile operating system, recalled that there were some bad signs when conducting system testing. “At the time, please come to the industry with the most prestigious reputation. The design company frog, I want to discuss the role of the back side screen with the other side, but in the end did not get very practical conclusions."

After the release of 5 months, Meizu Pro 7 reduced its price to 1999 yuan twice, and in the third-party channel it was close to 1,500 yuan. “Pro 7 has too much material to prepare, which has a great impact on Meizu’s cash flow in the second half of 2017.” Many employees said this.

Under the fiasco, in September of the same year, Pan Yikuan, the vice president of the Meizu business department responsible for sales, resigned. In November, the vice president of sales of Meizu Business Division resigned. There are indications that Bai Yongxiang assumed the main responsibility for the failure of Pro 7 in the executives. Since then, the Meizu founder, former president and the head of the “Meizu Three Musketeers” have not made public appearances. He left Meizu’s specific Time is still unknown.


Team guilty, veteran discrete

The house leaks are raining.

Although within the Meizu, Yang Lan was not directly responsible for the failure of Pro 7, but this failure directly intensified the contradiction between Yang Lan and some of the original employees of Meizu.

Two months before the release of Pro 7, with the entry of Yang Lan, Huang Zhang reclassified Meizu into three divisions: Meizu, Charm Blue and Flyme. Meizu was handed over by Yang Lan and Li Nan was in charge of Charm Blue. Li Qi, who served in the public relations department at that time, said that this was a "hard split". "For example, glory and Huawei, they started their own operations at the beginning, and independence is also a matter of course, but we are all together, it is hard to open. In many of the departments that were split, according to the wishes of the employees, some people went to the Meizu on the fifth floor, while the other part stayed on the fourth floor of the charm blue.

This split has laid the foundation for future contradictions. Many Meizu employees recalled that Yang Lan’s preference for middle-aged and business styles was inconsistent with Meizu’s temperament, and brought the former company team when he joined the company. After the Meizu charm blue was split, the management styles on both sides were different, and they competed for resources. There have also been disputes. However, some employees still chose to follow because they hoped that Yang Lan could improve the status of Meizu.

This hope was shattered after the slow sales of Pro 7. "If the product is sold well, many things can be alleviated. If the sales volume is poor, the more people complain and conflict." Li Qi remembers that under the bleak sales, Yang Wei is Pro 7 The slogan “Double 瞳 like a small window, good view of the calendar” was also ridiculed by employees and charm friends as “middle-aged style”.

In April 2018, one week before the official launch of the new generation flagship Meizu 15, the contradiction between the Yang Lan team and the original Meizu employees further intensified. Zhang Jia, the director of Meizu Wenchuang, published a document in the early morning of the 15th, publicly criticizing Yang Lan, saying that he could not bring Meizu out of the woods. The next day, an anonymous user who claimed to be a Meizu resigned employee broke the news that Yang Hao’s multiple actions after he joined the company involved corruption, accompanied by a “project application form”. One day later, the suspected Meizu employee posted a photo of the injured hand on Weibo, and the confession alluded to the physical conflict between the two parties due to the corruption of the “Yang Hao” employee Li. Zhang Jia forwarded the Weibo and matched the topic “Yang Hao rolled out Meizu”, and the Meizu guilty incident immediately rushed to the hot search.

In the end, this game ended with Zhang Jia being expelled. On the surface, Huang Zhang has always maintained Yang Lan. Even in July of that year, Huang Zhang spoke for Yang Lan at the Meizu Forum. His question in April and May was only a matter of anger. "Old Yang is a cultural connotation and wisdom. people".

But this month, Yang Lan quietly left, Meizu did not publicly acknowledge this information, but a former Meizu employee who left at the end of 2018 confirmed that as of the end of last year, "Yang Hao" has completely left Meizu.

After entering 2018, while the disputes in the hardware product department continued, the always-smooth Flyme department began to experience turmoil.

Prior to this, Fang Yu had always believed that his Flyme was the simplest department of Meizu. The president of the business department, Yang Yan, was also a design person. "He attaches great importance to the design, even one or two pixels, and will check with the designer. Fang Yu described that under the leadership of Yang Yan, the Flyme department formed an internal environment that only focused on business capabilities and stayed away from the company's “personnel struggle”. The department’s “No. 2 Person” and visual design director Chen Xi also knew One of the reasons for choosing to work in Meizu is to have a lot of commonality with Yang Yan and appreciate the design taste of Meizu.

"But in the second half of 2017, it was obvious that the company had some difficulties in the economy, and began to pay in disguise and reduce the year-end award." Fang Yu recalled that the company's revenue pressure has also begun to shift to the Flyme department. “The advertising space that can be used is used, and even the calendar will be inserted with advertisements.” At the end of the year, Meizu will e-commerce andAccessoriesThe department was upgraded to the business unit level and placed under the jurisdiction of the president of the Flyme business unit, Yang Yan, and plans to embed the e-commerce into the Flyme system.

What makes the Flyme team feel more pressure is that as a mobile phone system software, Flyme's active ability is closely related to the existence of Meizu mobile phones. “The sales volume of mobile phones declined in the previous year. By 2018, Flyme’s monthly users began to show a significant decline. There were originally more than 40 million. In June and July, there were only about 30 million, and it is still falling.” Another Zhang Siming, an employee at Flyme, said with emotion, "The number of users of a mobile phone system is not even as good as an app."

Zhang Siming believes that, in contrast, mobile phone brand incubation services such as Xiaomi and Huawei, which have over 100 million monthly users, are relatively easy, but the Flyme user base is too small and there is no room for development.

According to many Meizu employees, in April 2018, Chen Xi has left the Meizu to OPPO as the user experience director, and some Flyme designers and Chen Xi left together. “Flyme has more than 1,000 people at the most,” recalls Zhang Siming. After three years of continuous layoffs and resignations, there are now less than 500 people. Some news on Weibo is also confirming the fact: Recently, a suspected Flyme engineer, Hong Hansheng, replied that OPPO, vivo and other companies "borrowed at least two-thirds of us with twice the annual salary."

On the last day of 2018, Yang Yan announced that she would step down as president of the Flyme business unit and will be replaced by the vice president. Although he did not express his or her own stay, many Meizu employees confirmed that Yang Yan has left the company. If it is true, he is the third executive who left Meizu in 2018 and is also the second survivor of the Meizu Three Musketeers.

In the past few years, several Meizu executives who repeatedly appeared in front of the media, except Li Nan, have all left. However, after Li Nan missed the 16s conference, on May 2, Tianyanchao revealed that Li Nan had been removed from the main personnel of Meizu Technology. As for whether he has quietly left, or as rumored to be "another secret project responsible for Meizu", it is not known.

“Meizu is still a family business.” Many employees feel this way. Although Bai Yongxiang, Li Nan, and even Yang Lan after 2017 appear more frequently in the public eye, in Meizu, the actual responsible persons in the procurement, supply chain, commercial department, logistics and other departments are all “Yellow Family”. They are Huang Zhang’s sister, brother, cousin and so on.


Huang Zhang: The upper and lower limits of Meizu

"Meizu problem is also good, uniqueness is worth mentioning, the core is Huang Zhang, he is the lower limit of Meizu, but also the upper limit." Zhang Siming and many colleagues exchanged this view.

Among all entrepreneurs, Huang Zhang has always been known for being wayward and unique. In the early days of Meizu, Huang Zhang’s uniqueness has brought “aura” to him and Meizu. Li Yong, a former Meizu employee, admitted that he once worshipped Huang Zhang and believed that Huang Zhang was an "idol-like person" and had a "naturally sensitive" product. According to some employees, within Meizu, a large number of employees have both. The dual identity of the charm friend "and" employees.

However, in the more realistic competition in the mobile phone industry, Huang Zhang’s “willfulness” to treat products is almost paranoid, and it has also brought many troubles to Meizu in the years of development. Li Yong revealed that the reason for not using Qualcomm chips for a long time is that it is widely circulated within Meizu. Huang Zhang does not like Qualcomm’s “hegemony” and is unwilling to compromise. He wants to cooperate with MediaTek to promote MediaTek to embark. The positioning of high-end chips, unfortunately, failed to do what it wanted, so that Meizu has "gradually drifted away" with other mobile phone brands for a long time.

"Huang Zhang has some very subjective judgments on the products," Zhang Siming said. When designing Meizu 15, because the CPU is in the middle, if the lens is also placed in the middle of the device, the fever of the mobile phone will be difficult to control, and the software department and the structural department are not recommended. This layout, but Huang Zhang finally insisted on this design. "As long as he likes the design method, he will not consider the actual situation. He thinks this is what the structural department should solve."

The arbitrariness of Huang Zhang is not only reflected in the treatment of products, but also more deadly, it is also reflected in the management of the company. In the development of Meizu for more than ten years, Huang Zhang’s “management” and “regardlessness” of the company often change.

In 2014, Huang Zhang had announced a comeback, saying that he would return from Mars. However, this has only lasted for a few months, because Huang Zhang believes that he has been meeting for a few days and nights. After he is tired and needs rest, he will return the company affairs to Li Nan. According to Li Yong and other employees, he is in Huangzhang. In 2017, he recently announced that he had "returned" and he did not return to work at the company.

Some even recalled that from 2014 to 2018, Huang Zhang actually announced the “return” frequency internally as “once a year”. "In the years of Meizu, I often heard that Huang Zhang was out of the mountain, but when I heard him return again soon, many of our employees didn't know when he was reclusive." Li Yong said with emotion.

"Huang Zhang lacks entrepreneurial spirit." In the eyes of some employees, Huang Zhang will never visit suppliers and host the conference in person like Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun. "Huang Zhang’s work schedule is very regular, even after returning to work, Will also work off at around 6 o'clock on time."

“The opinions of many employees are the same,” Zhang Siming said with a sigh. “As long as Huang Zhang is unchanged, Meizu will have no possibility of change”.

Until a business change news on May 2, Meizu seems to be undergoing major changes.

According to a number of third-party query tools, Meizu has changed its shareholding in recent days. Zhuhai Honghua, a state-owned subsidiary, has become a major shareholder. At the same time, Huangzhang’s shareholding has fallen to 49.08%.

This shareholding has long been a clue. At the end of December last year, there was a rumor that Zhuhai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission would invest in Meizu Technology. In the same month, Meizu established the committee of Zhuhai Meizu Technology Co., Ltd.

Meizu admitted that the news of Zhuhai Honghua's shareholding has been confirmed, and the shareholders will also arrange a director in Meizu. However, for the change of Zhuhai Honghua's shareholding ratio and major shareholder ectopic, Meizu denied it. "Huang Zhang is still the largest shareholder and actual controller of Meizu."

However, on the afternoon of May 4th, someone in the Meizu Forum forwarded the news of the major shareholder and asked: Is the boss really true? Huang Zhang then responded by saying: "If you can choose, I don't want to be a big shareholder, it's too tired." In a sense, this may also confirm Meizu's shareholder changes.

Personnel turbulence ended, funds accounted for, if you consider that the latest release of Meizu 16s in the configuration is close to the "mainstream", it can almost be determined that Meizu ushered in its "best time."

But back to the industry track, the Chinese mobile phone market in 2019 may not have a seat for the late Meizu.

According to GFK data, the total shipments of Chinese mobile phones in 2008 were 398 million units, of which, Huawei shipped more than 100 million units, 70 million units of “OV”, and the shipment of Meizu’s former competitor Xiaomi’s mobile phones reached 50 million units. . With the continued coldness of the Meizu 15 market reaction, Meizu’s mobile phone sales for the whole year was only about 10 million units, down 40.5% year-on-year.

To make matters worse, the mobile phone industry is experiencing a general decline. IDC data show that in 2017, global smartphone shipments were 1.463 billion units, making this industry's first shipment decline. At that time, IDC predicted that the number will pick up in 2018, but in fact, at the end of the year, shipments fell again by 4.1%, and as of the first quarter of 2019, this downward trend In continuation.

The industry is cold, in addition to Apple and "Hua Mi OV" five head brands, the niche mobile space in the Chinese market has been continuously compressed. In the past two years, niche mobile phones that have withdrawn from the market include: Cool, Gionee, Mito , hammers, and so on. In 2016, IDC's total mobile phone shipments accounted for nearly 40% of the total number of niche manufacturers. By the fourth quarter of 2018, the ratio had fallen to 17.9%.

Not only Meizu, but also the mode and survivability of each “niche mobile phone” are being questioned. Many years ago, Luo Yonghao, the founder of the hammer mobile phone, once determined that the "Internet mobile phone" model can be run. He told his companions that it is feasible to take advantage of excellent software and transition to hardware production. Five years later, the hammer failed in the overall collapse of the hardware supply chain.

As the industry enters a fierce competition, the “Matthew effect” between niche phones and head phones is becoming more apparent. A more dangerous trend for niche phones is that in the most recent year, “Hua Mi OV” is accelerating the layout in the IoT direction, which will be a more “scale” market.

However, "scale" for Meizu seems to have been unable to do anything. In the 16 years since its establishment, Meizu’s internal staff has been reduced from 4,500 in the peak period to less than 2,000. "My biggest hope now is that Meizu can return to the small and beautiful state before, which may be the best way for Meizu to go." Li Qi felt so.

However, in the increasingly grim market situation, the "small and beautiful" Meizu can still hold this side of the world?

(Li Zhong, Zhang Siming, Fang Yu, Xu Fang, Li Qi are all pseudonyms)

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