emlyon GDBA Fang Jing: Embrace Challenges with Collaboration

Source:Global DBA (Aisa Track)Date:2019-04-10

Recently, Ms. FANG Jing, founder of LETARON ELECTRONIC CO.,LTD and a Global DBA participant of emlyon business school, received an interview with Ms. BIAN Lingli, journalist of Shanghai Airlines magazine. Taking this female founder'sstartup and development stories, you can see not only the bold and wisdom of a good entrepreneur, but also her delicacy and warmth, and her power to embrace change and keep moving forward.

April 2019 issue,Shanghai Airlines

Mrs. FANG Jing


emlyon Global DBA 2018 Intake

In 2008, when many companies worried about the spread of the global financial crisis, Fang Jing was calm, even though she had just taken over a lighting factory. In the context of the accelerated iteration and transformation of the industry in the world, two Germans were eager to exit the lighting factory they had launched in Hengli and approached Fang Jing. Without previous experience in factories, fund or technology, she took over the factory. In October 2008, Letaron Electronic Co., Ltd. was officially incorporated.

In 2011, the external environment significantly changed. High-end manufacturing returned to Europe and the United States, whole low-end manufacturing flowed to Southeast Asia. The business model dominated by traditional OEM/ODM staggered and Fang Jing was at a loss. To this end, she took part in a study tour in the United States and tried to open an office in Germany to push the business to the market in proximity. However, she never found a definite answer. At that time, she intuitively knew that her company called for transformation. But to which direction? Or did it have the sufficient capability? She wasn’t ready to answer these questions yet.

To build up a complete ecosystem based on collaborative innovation

In 2013, when studying in an EMBA Program, Fang Jing was inspired to review the environment of the company from a broader perspective. She found that the entire ecosystem of the company was incomplete, which led to weak responsiveness to external changes. After realizing this, Fang Jing immediately took action by aligning the positioning of the company and seeking for collaboration in seven dimensions, with political, industrial, academic, research, financial and intermediary stakeholders.

At that time, Hengli Township Government in Dongguan City launched a collaborative innovation platform for the mold industry. Thus, Fang Jing connected Letaron with the platform and drilled down the industry in political, economic and cultural aspects. Thus, she founded the Institute of Intelligent Optoelectronics, which focuses on the industry. In such exploration, Letaron transformed from an OEM factory to a technology and innovation-driven platform with the function of industrial incubation, which strives to eliminate the worries of high-end talents in startups.

For example, a person had an idea of healthy lighting that called for expert guidance, which was inaccessible to him. Fang Jing made full use of Hengli Collaborative Innovation Center to approach the faculty of Tongji University within 24 hours and flew to Shanghai for discussion in 12 hours. Everything worked extremely efficiently.

Given these cases, Fang Jing realized that if a company wants to grow, it must change people first. Only when one opens itself can it link to more resources and eventually achieve multi-wins. This is the growth challenge that private SMEs need to pay most attention to.

The ultimate goal of technological innovation is to better serve people

Having witnessed the benefits of collaborative development, Fang Jing continued to open up and began to pay attention to the shared ecology of environment, humanity and other aspects beyond industry incubation.

In 2017, Letaron increased its capital and expanded its production when Fang Jing acquired an industrial lot. She wondered if it was necessary to build another traditional manufacturing factory. In the end she denied the idea. In her view, lighting products should be art works. If the environment of the factory was cold and indifferent, how could it motivate employees to create products with aesthetics? She expected to build up a people-oriented workspace, in which everyone could work happily.

As the lighting industry is easily reminiscent of carbon emissions, in today’s vast trend of “energy efficiency and emission reduction”, Fang Jing also wanted to play her role in ecology and environmental protection. Having visited a zero carbon community in UK, Letaron soon reached a cooperation agreement with the Zero Carbon Architects based in UK and planned to launch the first “zero-carbon park” in Dongguan in three year. In this park, all innovations must be environmentally friendly, which are also cost-effective and capable of commercialization. Renewable energy will be used as much as possible in the park. All energy-consuming components will be designed to minimize their energy consumption. The park will be integrated with shared information systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing.

Although such a park based on green manufacturing, intelligent manufacturing and service-oriented manufacturing seems to be somewhat idealized, it represents Fang Jing’s great belief. She hopes that after the completion of the park, through the development of a series of zero-carbon industrial clusters, a new way of life will be introduced to create first-hand experience in the zero-carbon lifestyle. In her opinion, technological innovation is ultimately to serve people and enable social harmony.

Design is the indispensable path for original industrial products to access the market

From centering on business operation, to returning to "I", thinking about what kind of role to play and what to be, it not only reflects Letaron’s journey of transformation, but also interprets Fang Jing's personal growth. The study at emlyon Global DBA Program has introduced Fang Jing from practices to methodologies, as if entering another world. After the anxiety in the initial stage of DBA study, Fang Jing gradually became more insightful. Looking back, she discovered what she had done wrong and why. Looking to the future, she understood her role and positioned herself as a "third party consultant” in the next 10 years.

For example, the zero-carbon park under development will focus on the industrial design elements when introducing industries in the future. In Fang Jing's view, industrial design injects emotions into cold products, which is the indispensable path for original products to access the market. Without industrial design, products lack their soul of culture, while the development of modern manufacturing requires culture. The ambition to serve the manufacturing industry is beyond the role of "third-party consultant".

Her DBA dissertation has also changed the research direction with the deepening of insights. From the initial focus on incubator to industrial upgrading through to the final topic "ecological incubation", it may seem an academic choice, which in essence highlights the alteration in Fang Jing’s mindset to embrace changes and collaborative innovation. The core value of a business is not only the turnover that it treats, but also the absorption and return of energy. Fang Jing absorbs energy from collaborative innovation and energizes many others with broader ambitions.

Reprinted with permission of Shanghai Airlines magazine, April 2019
The picture comes from the network