The Humanities Building was full of applauses and laugh in the afternoon of April 8, 2017. Lei Jun Scholarship Awarding Ceremony and Entrepreneurship Forum was held in this rainy afternoon. Lei Jun, the scholarship donor and the outstanding alumnus of WHU, impressed the audience by his charisma, which runs through his unparalleled entrepreneurial experience.
Lei Jun is appointed as the entrepreneurial mentor
A legend in university
Lei’s dream came into birth on one night in 1987. Fire in the valley closed up, numerous thoughts flashed across his mind. The idea of embarking on an own business emerged in his head.
To take the first step, Lei came up with an immediate goal—earning all credits in two years and getting the highest score in every subject. It is not an easy task in WHU with so many competitive and talented students. “I only watched the latter one of the two films played in Mei playground every Friday, so that I can spend more time studying in the library,” Lei said. It was proved that he perfectly achieved the goal. He won various scholarships in WHU and published a paper on the first-grade periodicals when he was just a sophomore student. Out of passion for programming, Lei participated in various competitions and won considerable awards. “Thanks to the free environment in WHU, I realized my small targets through my efforts”, said Lei.
Lei on the stage, Mi fans under the stage
His unremitting efforts in university laid a solid foundation for his future entrepreneurial endeavor. Lei emphasized the importance of undergraduate education. “Although Jobs and Bill Gates succeeded after dropping out, I don’t recommend the idea,” Lei joked. He suggested that students should equip themselves well with skills and knowledge before starting a business.
A businessman pushing the Chinese industry
Lei’s career is not as smooth as it seems to be. At the early stage, he worked in the software industry. Struggling against pirate software and competing with strong foreign companies, the hardships of an entrepreneur were beyond description. Lei said, “Never underestimate the difficulty of starting a business, and you have to be fully aware of the asperity if you want to step onto the stage.” Luckily, he conquered all the difficulties and his company, the Kingsoft, turned out to be a huge success.
After the company listed, Lei resigned as the CEO of Kingsoft when he was 38. At the age of 40, Lei faced a choice—whether to establish a new company or maintain the status quo. He finally chose to start a brand-new chapter of his life. Lei confessed that he was afraid of failing, but the dedication to his original dream——to be an extraordinary person—— made him decide. “I wanted to do something that can be written on my epitaph. At least I tried, no matter I succeed or not,” Lei said.
After realizing the fact that Chinese market was almost occupied by foreign brands, Lei Jun and his team decided to start with mobile phones. Inspired by Costco’s strategies, Lei determined to revitalize domestic products by restricting gross margin to improve commercial efficiency. Lei said, “We are intended to lower the price and spend all the profit on improving products’ qualities, aiming to root deeply the concept that ‘Cheap is also excellent’.” This persistence in quality pushes MI forward and Lei believes it is also the engine to spur Chinese manufacturing industry forward. As a leader in this field, Lei feels it is his responsibility to enhance the competitiveness of the whole industry. “This is my original intention which I will never forget,” Lei said.
An alumnus repaying WHU
When receiving scholarships as an undergraduate in WHU, Lei Jun was very grateful, and he determined to pay back. “I told myself to return back hundreds of times what I got today”, Lei said. And he did what he resolved to do. 6 years after his graduation, he founded a scholarship to reward the excellent students. For now, Lei Jun Scholarship awarded 50 students a year with 20,000 yuan per student, becoming one of the largest-amount scholarships in WHU. “I appeal that those who get scholarships today also return to WHU in the future”, Lei Jun said. Conferred with the honor, students all glowed with joy. “I am very thankful for Mr. Lei. He encourages me to be better”, a prize-winner said.
Precious moment in the group photo
Besides the scholarship, Lei tries to help WHU students in other ways. He is appointed as the tutor of WHU Venture Forum, providing students with advice about starting a business. He is also a member of alumni business group, an association helping alumni with startup. To return the favors he received, Lei believes the best way is to help more people. In attempt to help new starters, Lei became an angel investor. Though the program is anything but profitable, Lei promised to continue supporting entrepreneurs. However, his kindness brought him huge fortune. “That is the so-called saying that ‘God rewards the diligent.’” Lei said.
Lei Jun’s influences to WHU’s students are gigantic. “Mr. Lei is my idol. I chose Computer Science as my major because of him”, a student said. Actually, the new president Dou Xiankang is also touched by Lei. “Alumni love WHU so much because WHU deserves their affection. I would like to work with all WHUers to make this university better”, Dou said.
“Having a dream, pursuing this dream, and then realizing his dream, this is Lei Jun”, vice president Wang Chuanzhong said, “Aiming high, keeping feet on the ground, and striving for excellence, and he succeeds.”
Edited by Li Minjia, SunJingyi & Hu Sijia
(Photo by Huo Chao & Shi Weimin)