Chen Qingzhou started his two-way radio business in Shenzhen with a few employees in 1992. Today, his company is one of the world’s leading suppliers of wireless communications equipment.
This is how Russell Flannery, Shanghai Bureau Chief of Forbes Magazine, opened his feature story published in the latest Forbes Magazine (Chinese Edition) under the special column of The Forbes World's Billionaires 2017 review after an interview with Chen Qingzhou, Chairman and President of Hytera.
Exactly a decade on since his first interview for Forbes Magazine back in 2007, Chen Qingzhou told Russell Flannery that ten years ago he was a dreamer, but that now as a successful businessman he thinks more about his responsibilities.
Across the last decade, Hytera has evolved from a private company with less than 2,000 staff to become a listed company, leading the Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications industry with a market capitalization of over RMB30 billion (USD$4.5 billion), now employing nearly 10,000 employees from more than 40 countries in over 50 subsidiaries and offices around the world. Chen Qingzhou has grown from an aspiring entrepreneur into a successful and responsible business leader, still projecting the same passion and charisma that led to him starting the company.
Innovation Helps Dreams Come True
Peter F. Drucker, the founder of modern management, said that innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service.
In 1993, Chen Qingzhou, dreamt about establishing a Chinese PMR brand, leading him to set up HYT (rebranded as Hytera in 2010) in Shenzhen. To date, Hytera is the world's fastest-growing PMR company and one of the largest PMR solution providers, offering products and solutions to global customers from more than 120 countries across industries including public security, transportation, utilities, commercial, and many others.
”The driving factors behind Hytera’s growth are continuous breakthroughs achieved through independent innovation across a group of core technologies,” Chen said, “We are changing this industry and hope that our research and development can deliver continuous progress. Convergence with public networks, internet connectivity and artificial intelligence across smart industries will create new opportunities for Hytera and provide the development direction for us.”
Since its inception, Hytera has continued to invest in innovation, achieving a number of industry firsts along the way – launching China’s first high-end TETRA digital handset in 2006; developing Police Digital Trunking, the first Chinese digital trunking standard with independent intellectual property in 2008; providing China’s first TETRA system with independent intellectual property to railway transportation customers in 2014; launching the PT790Ex, the world’s first digital radio to meet the highest standard for intrinsic safety in 2016; and unveiling the highly anticipated LTE-PMR Convergence Solution and Multi-mode Advanced Radio in May 2017.
The innovation timeline presents a story of Hytera’s expansion from a challenger position to become a global leader in the PMR communication industry. The investment, initiative and perseverance of Chen Qingzhou have been key to the success, promoting a courageous spirit to challenge the norm and redefine the industry.
Russell Flannery (on the right) from Forbes Shanghai interviews Chen Qingzhou (on the left), Chairman and President of Hytera
Propel an Industry Revolution
Joseph A. Schumpeter, a famous Austrian economist, stated that entrepreneurs are the agents of innovation and creative destruction, and only large enterprises can destruct creatively.
“Science and technology has radically changed the world we live in. However, the PMR industry has been stagnant for too long. There has been limited development in PMR technology over the past three decades. Customers complain every day and ask me why PMR communications aren’t advancing. A lot companies in the industry have seen a drop in sales revenue as the industry began to lose customers to alternative technologies whilst also becoming unattractive to younger talent. This was the dilemma we were facing and the opportunity that was spotted,” Chen once said.
To turn the tide, Chen Qingzhou initiated a series of technical, product, service, M&A and management revolutions in a unique global vision and development philosophy. By acquiring leading European and American communications enterprises like Rohde & Schwarz PMR, Sepura and Norsat, combined with the R&D and manufacturer excellence within Hytera, Chen Qingzhou drove a PMR revolution through product innovation and listening to advancing industry communication requirements.
Combining global expertise, Hytera has emerged as a forward thinking enterprise which most importantly owns its value chain. The master of its own destiny, the organization integrates research and development, product design, manufacturing management and supply chain as well as the global commercial functions and partner network to become the No.1 PMR communications solution provider in the public security sector.
With a clear mission to drive the PMR industry revolution, Chen Qingzhou bravely played the role of game-changer, revitalizing the professional communications market.
Building the Future
So what’s next? Leading one of the world’s biggest PMR communications equipment suppliers, Chen Qingzhou is now focused on establishing a new position for the global PMR industry.
Three years ago, Hytera started the independent development of broadband and narrowband convergent products and solutions to break the barriers between private and public networks and deliver new technologies, new products and new services to the market place, satisfying increasing data demand of critical communications.
The Hytera “Innovative Convergence” offering will meet the advancing customer needs around the globe and migrate PMR to the center ground between narrowband and broadband technology, putting an end to the industry innovation void and creating a hybrid solution that presents professional communications customers with a forward thinking platform to meet all their requirements.
Global Launch of Hytera LTE-PMR Convergence Solution in CCW2017
“We believe that our LTE-PMR Convergence Solution will revitalize the PMR industry and will enable it to converge with internet and cellular connectivity, embracing artificial intelligence and smart industries. The solutions will create opportunities worth hundreds of billions of US dollars for the industry, tenfold the value of the traditional narrowband business, changing the way our customers connect and interact. The convergent communication revolution will lead us to a brighter future,” Chen said.
Hytera across the World
As Hytera expands globally, the presence of Hytera’s products in high-profile international meetings and sporting events has continued to increase. Hytera has provided cutting-edge products and technologies for London Olympics 2012, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014, Rio Olympics 2016, APEC 2016, Hangzhou G20 Summit and Xiamen BRICS Summit, showcasing the outstanding quality now associated with “Made in China” manufacturing, and the R&D expertise proudly driving the “Created in China” culture.
In addition, Hytera earnestly fulfills its social responsibilities and played an active role in rescue and relief operations happened in recent years like the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, Japan tsunami in 2011, Philippines Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, Nepal earthquake in 2015, Italy earthquake in 2016, and Mexico earthquake in 2017.
"We never forget why we started and what we are striving towards, overcoming challenges with customer insight, expertise, pace and passion,” – this is Chen Qingzhou’s firm belief. He has grown to be an outstanding, responsible business leader, caring for the world.
Chen Qingzhou, the pioneer of the PMR industry reform, and his global leading LTE-PMR Convergence Solution, are poised to drive the development of the professional communication sector in the forthcoming broadband-and-narrowband convergence era.