Making It profiles the innovative Chinese company capturing the green technology market
“One aspect of doing business is meeting the interests of shareholders. Another is using technology to provide better things for the society, the world and the future generation. This is BYD’s original dream.” For Wang Chuanfu, founder and CEO of the innovative Chinese company, BYD Co Ltd, a combination of making profit and shouldering social responsibilities is the secret to success. Headquartered in Shenzhen, BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, is poised to capture the fast-growing markets of green technologies. Founded almost two decades ago, the company principally manufactures rechargeable batteries for mobile devices. It also produces LEDs, handsets and computer components. In recent years, it has been actively engaged in the automobile business, in particular in the production of electric and hybrid vehicles. BYD currently employs almost 180,000 people, and has 22 industrial parks around the globe. The company estimates that it made over 2.7 billion yuan (or US$41m) in net profit in 2015, obtaining an approximate 550% growth compared to 2014, thanks to the explosive demand for new energy vehicles in China in late 2015. According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2015, Wang’s personal fortune amounts to US$4.1bn. In 2008, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought a 10% stake in BYD. Buffett’s right-hand man described Wang as a combination of Thomas Edison and former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, – “a perfect blend of technical prowess and business acumen”.
A self-built battery empire The BYD dream took shape in 1995 when Wang Chuanfu was nearly 30 years old. He borrowed RMB2.5 million (approximately US$300,000) from a cousin, and founded his own company to make batteries for cellphones. The company started with some 20 workers in a used workshop in a small town in Shenzhen, China’s first special economic zone, set up in 1980. Wang’s fascination with batteries harks back to his college days in the mid-1980s, when he studied metallurgical physics and chemistry. After receiving a