Discover the Rising Stars №002｜Interview with LeBoXinRui (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. Founder Jack Zhang
Alibaba Cloud Innovation Center has introduced a new column, Discover the Rising Stars, to shed light on the backgrounds of entrepreneurs and company innovations. Through interviews, live streams, and other media approaches, we will deliver valuable news stories from multiple perspectives and dimensions, to offer you the real voices of entrepreneurs and to witness the power of technological innovations.
From a senior executive in the media industry to a fledgling entrepreneur, our protagonist saw the value in the audio application sector. After working on a closed-loop commercial model for five years, he has created intelligent audio applications to be used offline on-site. He said, “For me, the most meaningful thing about entrepreneurship is using innovations to create values.”
In our second issue of Discover the Rising Stars, we interviewed the first prize winner of the CACSC Shandong or W-Valley Innovative Entrepreneurship Contest, LeBoXinRui’s founder Jack Zhang. Together, we discussed the charm and value of audios.
1. Opportunities and bottleneck, the golden ten years of the audio industry
Born in Beijing, Jack Zhang described himself as someone always “unable to sit still” since he was a child. He started to seek work in the media industry since he was a teenager and joined News Agency for Secondary School Students in Beijing in the early 90s. He was involved in creating the earliest newspaper for secondary school students. Perhaps this inability to “sit still” later became the soul of his entrepreneurship.
A newly graduated Jack Zhang went into civil service and stayed for 20 years. However, his entrepreneurial spirit never dampened; moreover, it has been half-realized since 2002. How, you ask? Jack Zhang transitioned from post to post and tried his hands in management, advertising, technical, and administration. His well-founded knowledge in the working of different departments became a stable foundation to build his own LeBoXinRui on. As the audio application industry saw rapid growth, Jack Wang also saw himself receiving the dividend of a fast-growing era.
Yet, in 2013, the media industry reached a bottleneck in its development. Jack Zhang said candidly, “I felt the creativity back then was in decline. The surge of growth we saw at the beginning of the millennium was losing momentum.” He also realized traditional media needed to innovate to transition successfully into the future.
With decades of industry experience behind him, Jack Zhang identified commercial audio solutions as an unexplored blue ocean market that could worth tens of billions. In public transports, in offline enclosed sites such as retail shops and supermarkets, tremendous foot traffic existed. Use traditional audios to empower new sale strategies seemed to be a good starting point for innovation. In 2016, Jack Zhang started to incubate LeBoXinRui and focused on creating an audio platform on the Cloud. The aim was to effectively connect “good voices” with “real settings” and maximize the value of audio to create boundless opportunities for the clients.
2. Refine a closed loop commercial model, open up the audio solution market
Back then, the commercial audio solution market was almost a blank slate, and no competitor existed for Jack Zhang. His team became the pioneers who explored ways to segment the market.
As pioneers, Jack Zhang and his team had to fight through every step of the way. There was no one to learn from; they had to be the trendsetters. From content creation to plug-in applications, from research to product development, LeBoXinRui emerged five years later with a successful closed-loop commercial model that has effectively integrated online and offline channels. They have found solutions to the pain points in ToB and ToG sales.
Currently, LeBoXinRui offers two main products: LeBo Lark and LeBo Parrots. LeBo Larks broadcast long audios for shopping malls, service stations, and other large spaces. Head office can manage software and hardware together and customize what audio they wish to play in a particular setting. LeBo Larks offer the client the ability to tailor and differentiate every shop they own by playing different audios. More than 50 large chain retailers, such as Sinopec, Wumart, Carrefour, and Jingkelong, are currently using LeBo Larks.
LeBo Parrots broadcast short audios for specific settings, such as retail marketing and advertising. Therefore, LeBo Lark and LeBo Parrots comprehensively cover the micro and macro level demands in the commercial audio market. LeBo Parrots can assist or replace salespeople in retail with clear data indications of their effectiveness. “Every LeBo Parrot costs less than 1 RMB to run every day, which amounts to significant savings when compared to the increasing human labor costs. Let’s use an offline endpoint sale solution as an example: LeBo Parrot can reduce labor cost and increase sales per unit area, saving between 95 to 99% of the cost that would have gone to paying for human labor, and increasing 35 to 5800% product sales.” Jack Zhang explained.
3. Hold on to hope, explore more potentially applicable commercial settings
LeBoXinRui took home the first prize at the CACSC Shandong or W-Valley Innovative Entrepreneurship Contest, which was hosted by Alibaba Innovation Center and W-Valley, organized by Ctoutiao. Some investors are starting to take notice of the innovations happening in the commercial audio solution sector. Jack Zhang said, “Winning the first prize of CACSCA made me feel that everything I have been doing as an entrepreneur is acknowledged and approved. It motivates me.”
At the moment, LeBoXinRui’s entire structure is based on Alibaba Cloud. They have been working with Alibaba Damo Academy Speech Lab since 2018. Damo Academy’s research and development of base technology combine with LeBoXinRui’s continued expansion of applicable settings to make a great partnership.
LeBoXinRui has explored and built a commercial model. They plan to kick start a growth surge from this year and build a solid foundation for the new retail network to implement data transfer service and create value. When asked about his plans for the future, Jack Zhang envisioned that LeBoXinRui would be focused on integrating online and offline retail settings in the second half of the internet age. LeBoXinRui hopes to expand their partnership with Alibaba Cloud and build a unique one-stop experience for commercial audio solutions.