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Female billionaires fear over-reliance on Apple.

Female billionaires fear over-reliance on Apple.

Female billionaires fear over-reliance on Apple.

Zhou Kunfei once worked for Apple Screen, a wealthy Chinese billionaire, but her business is said to have collapsed after the company changed its mind.

Zhou Kunfei, born in 1970 into a poor family in Hunan Province, is the founder of Lens Technology, a world famous manufacturer of phone screens. Her journey of starting a business from scratch has earned her the status of a famous Chinese billionaire.

In 2003, after many years of research and glass production, Ms. Chu decided to set up a company specializing in glass phone screens. The breakthrough came when Motorola reached out and ordered a scratch-resistant screen for the Razr V3.

After the launch of the product, the lens technology immediately received an echo in the industry, following orders from Samsung, Nokia, HTC. In 2007, Apple also ordered the first iPhone models.

From here, Ms. Chu’s life began to change.

In 2015, China's richest self-made billionaire Ms. Zhou Kunfei.  Photo: lens technology

In 2015, China’s richest woman, Ms. Zhou Kunfei, became a self-made billionaire. Photo: lens technology

follow up SinaiLens technology drove orders from Apple. As the American tech company ushered in the era of large-screen smartphones, the company’s capabilities increased.

Lens Technology went public in March 2015. In that year, the company had 32 factories in 7 locations and employed more than 90,000 people. Zhou Kunfei became China’s richest woman at the age of 45. Magazine 2016 chance Ms. Chun has been hailed as one of the most powerful women in Asia Pacific. She also entered in 2017. She topped the list of the richest self-employed billionaires in the world. forbes With a net worth of $7.4 billion.

From a watch crystal manufacturer, Ms. Chu pioneered lens technology and grew into a pioneering star in the mobile industry at the behest of Apple.

“However, Mr. Chu and his company have suffered many setbacks because they rely too much on the iPhone maker.” The company is threatened with withdrawal from Apple’s supply chain. Sinai Let me know.

According to the statistics forbes, In 2021, Mr. Zhu’s fortune is estimated at US$15.4 billion but has now more than halved to US$7.1 billion. Lens Technology has published its annual report for the first half of 2022, which shows that the company has not only experienced a double-digit drop in sales, but has also filed for bankruptcy. Specifically, Lens Technology’s revenue for the first half was $2.7 billion. US dollars, that’s 10.32 percent.

According to Lens Technology’s financials to date, Apple has been the company’s largest customer since 2012. By 2021, Apple will account for 80.56 percent of Lens Technology sales. So the survival of the company depends on the iPhone maker.

Analysts say the risk will arise after Apple removes companies from the supply chain. The most obvious confirmation comes from Ofilm, Apple’s optical lens maker, in the first half of 2020. It generated $72 million in net income for the first half, 23 times the same period last year. However, when news broke that Apple had terminated its contract with OFilm, the company’s profits and share price plummeted. In the first half of 2022, the company lost 125.5 million.

follow up SCMPOfilm’s fate underscores the pain Chinese companies can suffer if they are cut off from their supply chains. Many technology companies are small cogs in a large supply chain, but now they are often at the bottom rather than the top and can be squeezed out by companies in other regions.

There are many rumors that Apple has removed lens technology from the supply chain. According to Chinese media, Lens Technology will not mention Apple in its 2021 annual report. However, similar to the rumors about Ofilm, Mr. Zhou’s company denied the rumors. However, according to recent financial reports, the wealth of the two companies shares many similarities.

New bet

When the danger arose, Mr. Chu quickly looked for new markets. A billionaire is betting on the future of electric cars. In its 2021 annual report, Lens Technology said the company is making screens for new electric vehicles from Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen…

The company’s sales in this segment increased by 50 percent compared to the same period last year. However, the profit is still too small to cover the deficit of the traditional business.

Ms. Chu has built a new center with increased investment to gain a foothold in the industry. According to the financial report for the first half of 2022, Lens Technology has spent 653 million yuan to build a factory in Hunan Province.

In addition to cars, lens technology has also expanded significantly to smart wearables such as AR/VR glasses, photovoltaic systems and more. However, everything is just beginning. The market is still very new and highly competitive, and economic and political uncertainties will also severely affect Ms. Chu Quan Fei’s new business.

In less than two years, the market value of lens technology has evaporated by more than $21.6 billion. The US dollar, which is the fortune of China’s richest woman, has plummeted. It remains a mystery whether this woman can continue to write a glorious new chapter with the idea of ​​replacing phone glass with touchscreens for cars.

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