1. Our 24 LegsWhen China’s economic reform just began four decades ago, the entrepreneurial ambition awakened among the worried Chinese to revive the prosperity of all businesses and industries. On May 17, 1993, 12 people, including Mr. Lin Wanjiong, met at his residence and determined to break away from the shackle of an “iron rice bowl”, meaning an occupation with guaranteed job security, as well as steady income and benefits, with their spirit of being “confident, persistent, practical, and innovative” to start their unprecedented business venture. Since then, our branded name SELF emerged from the optoelectronics field. The Company started as a manufacturer of infrared lighting sensors and had the bitter taste of a “door-to-door marketing” experience in the overseas market amidst the strong taunts of foreigners vowing to never buy electronic products made in China. In the second half of 1994, the Company began to build its business presence in the electronic transformer sector. By 1996, our first electronic transformer CST60/105 had been certified by TÜV, a certification body based in Germany, becoming the first Chinese enterprise certified by TÜV for electronic transformer products. Our business venture began from 12 down-to-earth doers, and did not, does not, and will not end there…
2. Choked by a Destined ChallengeIn the first half of 1997, SELF encountered a TÜV incident involving our CST60/105 transformers in Germany. As “the best transformer of the Far East region”, our products suddenly fell drastically like a hot potato in the market. Challenged by mounting pressures from public questioning and ongoing customer complaints, Mr. Lin expressly commented, “To conduct a successful business, SELF employees must practice self-discipline. If issues indeed exist inside SELF, we will definitely assume all due liabilities and obligations”. On the brink of life or death, SELF employees did not collapse in chaos but instead united together with the resolve and courage to overcome the imminent challenge. Many backbone employees confidently said to Mr. Lin, “We will not fall, even if we lose our products, markets, or money. We can start over.” Driven by such an indomitable spirit, SELF employees strove for rapid improvement in technologies, while actively communicating with our customers to earn a second chance. Acting on behalf of the Company, Mr. Li Luyong flew to Germany for product rework and recall. It took more than 40 days to complete product recall in the market for rework and testing. In the end, all products were approved to meet industry standards and launched into the market. Upon urgent request, Mr. Rong Yumin flew to the headquarters of TÜV to resolve an incident through reasoning. Within five days, all processes involved in testing for reissuance of certificates were completed. With the good faith and cooperation of all SELF employees, the incident was successfully resolved by September. Throughout the entire year, our sales turned the tables on their previous performance, breaking through total sales of RMB 20 million for the first time. The crisis turned into a success.
3. Protection of Three Pine TreesAt our inception, three pine seedlings were planted nearby our production plant. In 1997, Ningbo was hit hard by a typhoon. To protect the young and small pine tree seedlings, SELF employees erected steel poles to provide such firm support that all seedlings remained intact during the rainstorm. After years of individual and business changes, SELF employees and those pine trees have developed an inseparable bond. Over the last 25 years, the pine trees and the SELF employees have supported each other, weathering through all difficulties. To date, they are still standing firm and tall to the west side of our production facilities, as if they were making a silent confession to passers-by, “Look, we are the most ordinary pine trees, yet we possess our own unique character. Through years of change, we remain firmly poised standing here. We, along with SELF, have witnessed our transformation with energy and force.” Neither winter, nor summer can topple those pine trees over the years, as this is their rigidity, which is also the character of SELF.
4. Care and Passion in WordsOur internal magazine Self mirrors the development of SELF, reflecting all matters inside the Company from small to big, as well as recording the individual development path of each employee. Traced back to 1996, Self started as our first bulletin on a blackboard. It was hung at the staircase between the workshop and our management office. Passing by, Mr. Lin always stopped there to appreciate the articles written by our employees. One day, upon being touched by an article expressing true feelings in plain language, Mr. Lin suddenly realized that a platform for employees to express their feelings would be conducive to building a strong corporate culture. In 2000, Literature Garden was established and changed to Self of 2005, which continues to be in use to date. Currently, Self has already become an important form of cultural media to promote corporate development, relay humanistic care, and shape the common values of our employees.
5. Birth of an Indigenous Brand
|Due to a demographic dividend and an economically affordable labor force, the development of
the domestic manufacturing industry has been in full swing. In line with such trend, SELF has been
growing stronger each day. In October 1999, the Company, for the first time, introduced the corporate
identity system (CIS) to consolidate its corporate image and completed its first CIS Manual, which
was an important initiative to demonstrate our business strength and market competiveness, as
well as the first step for SELF employees to achieve self-recognition, self-development, and self
-improvement. In August 2002,Mr. Lin established the strategic objectives of “four majors”, namely,
“major projects, major customers, major markets, and majorbrands”. Under such objectives, it is
the first time to propose the establishment of a highly recognizable and highly credible SELF
brand in the lighting markets at home and abroad. The awakened brand awareness results in a
tremendous transformation of thecorporate culture, business philosophy, and even future destiny
of SELF, which also puts SELF to an increasingly stringent test in the markets in the future.
At the Light + Building 2004, manufacturers launched their ingenious products, as always: energy-efficient high pressure sodium lights, the world’s smallest low-pressure tungsten halogen lights, metal halogen lights, and so on. Amid the dazzling light was a simply-shaped yet richly-colored, safe, reliable and green product that drew the attention of foreign purchasers. It dawned on Chairman Lin that it would become the star of the fourth generation light source—LED! Without hesitation, Chairman Lin led SELF upon a path of LED development and manufacturing! Inspired by the shape of chopsticks, Chairman Lin designed LED into strips. In early 2005, SELF’s super slim linear series, super thin round series LED Projects were successfully developed, marking the first step of the prototyping. After overcoming shortcomings in production, we took the spotlight in the LED sector, with strip, focused, touchable, dimmable, color changing, remote control LED lights. On March 25, 2008, the LED Lighting Business Division was established, signifying another growth period. Our domestically leading technology and cutting-edge design philosophy have allowed us to gradually develop LED lights into products as important as electronic transformers.
1.1.Inspiration from Chopsticks
2.Spiritual Home on the Banks of the Dadong RiverSELF’s fourth-generation factory, after three relocations, is filled with love and stories. Within a span of three years, in September 2008, the Factory was relocated to its current address on 1345 Juxian Road, High-tech Zone. It’s the most heavily invested and time-consuming project in the company’s history. Only with the unremitting efforts of each unsung hero has this massive project become possible. Such a great, upscale, and modern “New Home” embodies SELF’s expectation for each employee to continuously improve their professional competency in a good working environment and grow into an international corporation with strong “hard” and “soft” power. The factory is not only a simple physical building, therefore, but also the spiritual home of all SELF employees.
3.Expansion to the European and North American MarketsIn 2008, SELF decided to sell into the forefront of the market, and established subsidiaries in both Europe and North America. After one year of preparation, the American office was registered in Atlanta on February 26, 2009, and the European Office was founded in Cologne on March 11, 2009. Together with our coworkers in the two offices, we brought the SELF Logo across the ocean to the offices, and felt the same delight, happiness and pride that mankind felt upon puting the flag on the moon for the first time. Thanks to our European office, we received our first LED order. Since then, SELF employees have been active in international markets. Shouldering important responsibilities, over the past decade, they have been growing the wings of the international offices and building the global dream of SELF.
4.Two roads diverged in a wood
|In 2010, all departments were extremely busy with numerous orders. The rapid development of
LED grew our sales from RMB 200 million in 2005 to RMB 400 million currently. Everyone was
excited about the order growth. As we are in the high spirit to make an all-out effort, Chairman
Lin gave middle and senior management team a lecture entitled with “Where is SELF going to
be in 5 years after 17 years of tremendous internal and external changes?” This visionary put
forward the vision of shaking off dependency on OEM/ODM, building SELF’s own proprietary
brand, and transforming itself from a manufacturer into a company with modern management
system. “Grand Market” and “Grand Brand” strategies were upgraded to unprecedented
heights, guiding the corporate transformation path.
We are well aware that corporate transformation is a major reform, and the path we are going
to take, and are convinced that our every effort will be rewarded in the long run. Against ob-
jections and misunderstandings, we have resolutely chosen to move ahead. Just as Robert
Forest said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the less travelled by.”
Our world is so small that we have room only for one light in our eyes, yet so large that we
expand our business all over the globe. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. The light of
sparks of fire over the past 25 years has made us who we are today, and it will illuminate who
we are going to be!