William Li is the founder of Nio, a Shanghai-based electric car manufacturer. He is often referred to as “China’s Elon Musk” and has made a name for himself in the industry for his cutting-edge technology and innovative designs.
Had it not been for his great qualities as an entrepreneur, the last two years would have brought him to his knees. Instead, he relaunched and made it known that his company will invest to produce Nio in the West as well.
Word of a guy who in recent years has managed to bring this car company from a small startup to one of the main players in the electric car sector in the East.
Li was born in 1974 and grew up in a small fishing village on the coast of the Chinese province of Shandong, where he worked part-time in his grandfather’s shop to raise the money to help the family and pay for the move to Beijing, where he graduated in computer science, sociology, and law.
He founded his first company, Bitauto Holdings, in 2000 to provide web content and marketing services for the automotive industry at the age of 21.
In ten years, Bitauto went public and earned $1 billion. Li, who was both president and CEO, held his post until 2013 when he decided to sell his business and give his life another twist.
In fact, in 2014 there was a twist for the Chinese entrepreneur, when he founded Nio. Immediately launched as a high-end electric car manufacturer.
The goal (albeit somewhat bold) is to compete with Elon Musk, as he reported to CNBC in 2017: “Tesla is our rival,” William said.
Investors have been fascinated by Li’s courage and audacity, which has been tempting Tencent, Temasek, Lenovo and TPG, among others.
The debut for the public and in motor shows took place with EP9, in 2016, after a development period of 18 months.
Two years later Nio went public on Wall Street.
Li, who has since been honored by GQ China as Entrepreneur of the Year and entered the top ten of Chinese entrepreneurial personalities, still has a thirst for success and to create companies of the future and technology and so at the same time invested and co-founded 40 companies that focus on web and automotive services.
William’s extraordinary achievement is also due to the tenacity of an Italian manager: Danilo Teobaldi.
He is vice president for vehicle engineering, and joined Nio in 2015 after a long experience in Italdesign-Giugiaro, in Qoros and the Chinese of Cherry Automobiles.
In practice, Danilo joined the following year after the company was established as employee no. 44, and today he has a prominent position in a company whose goal is to get on the podium of electric cars not only in the Chinese market but – as I said – in Europe as a first step.
In fact, the Oxford offices and the Munich Research and Development center already exist. They are just the first step.
Nio achieved great growth when the oil company BP Pic became part of the shareholder structure in 2018.
It entered without reticence, with a loan of 10 million dollars, despite the heavy negative result achieved that year.
William’s expectations go hand in hand with the assumptions that, by 2025, the Chinese electric vehicle market will reach the target of 7 million vehicles sold. With half a million public charging stations.
Beijing has set a goal of representing 25% of the auto market by that date.
The global economic situation of the last 2 years, which also caused the semiconductor crisis, have had a significant impact on business for William and those of his company.
However, the tycoon, who has a net worth of $2.6 billion (the Bloomberg Billionaires Index had estimated a figure of $7.11 billion), recently raised his goals publicly.
At the end of 2021, Nio’s balance sheet was not that great. The company’s turnover increased by 122%, but the net loss increased tenfold.
Gross margin was 18.9%, compared to 11.5% the previous year. However, William Li told investors that he plans to release three new products and expand in Europe in 2022. The goal of a balanced budget is 2024.
The moral of the story is that William Li is an entrepreneur who knows when to keep investing and believe in his vision, even in difficult times.
Despite the challenges he faced, he continues to pursue his projects for Nio and is committed to his success.
We can all learn from his example and continue to pursue our dreams, even in difficult times. Believing never to have to go through periods of crisis and missed collections is delusional.
I want to give you an example in romantic relationships: Do you have a boyfriend / girlfriend? Or did you happen to have one? If the answer is no, before continuing to read get out of the house and go get yourself a girlfriend 🙂
I’m kidding of course.
However, there are moments of difficulty in a love relationship.
Some attitudes of the other begin change.
The desire to make love decreases. We have less time to be with friends.
I have given some random examples. The fact is that after a while, problems will arise.
But if you understand that the girl is for you, but there are a lot of other things you like about her and you think she might be the perfect girl for you, you need to keep investing in that relationship.
Even if it means letting go of other occasions or other girls that you see and you like.
Because when you invest there is always the risk of missing something on the way or missing what you had and what could have been the best choice.
But you know that the risk must be taken and you continue to fight for that relationship.
In this moment William knows that he has all the credentials to continue and overcome the obstacles that prevent Nio from making super sales and closing balances in the positive.
He knows it’s an achievable goal. And at least he knows he has to try and he does.
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