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Netease home | Looking for New Growth Drivers, Shuncheng Group Liang Deyun: The Exploration and Breakthrough of The Second Generation
Honored Speaker of Dialogue: Liang Deyun, born in the 1980s, came back to China from Toronto after graduating from university in 2008, and joined Shuncheng Group from the workshop. In 2018, he officially took over Shuncheng Group and became the youngest ever President of Shuncheng Group.
The Dialogue Host: Zheng Zhe, Chief Editor of Netease Home News Center
On October 18, 2018, the low-key Shuncheng enterprise ushered in its own "spotlight" moment. Chinese a-list actress Li Bingbing visited the Shunhui Ceramic Tile exhibition hall. A large number of security guards and onlookers surrounded the scene, which was the first large-scale event since Shuncheng Group President Liang Deyun took over.
As a creative second generation who starts from the workshop, how does Liang Deyun view his industry? Faced with the current severe market situation, how does Shuncheng lead its core dealer team to break through the difficulties? In the series of interviews with new drivers of growth, we went into Shuncheng Group and met with Liang Deyun, President of "second-generation" CEO Shuncheng Group, to analyze how Shuncheng is responding to market changes.
Being "Fooled" Into the Ceramic Industry
"Second-Generation" CEO Start from The Grassroots
In 2008, after graduating from a university in Toronto and receiving an offer from a large company in Canada, his father in China told him, "I'm not in good health. I'm going to retire, so you'd better come back." At this time, Liang Deyun did not promise his father immediately. After that, Liang Deyun's mother started trying hard to convince Liang. He thought about it for a long time, thinking about his father's years of hard work, and finally decided to return to China.
Recalling the process 10 years later, Liang Deyun said with a smile that he was "tricked" back by his father because he was in good health, but as the eldest son, he was willing to shoulder the responsibility.
Although I once had the opportunity to be a white-collar worker in a large foreign company, but when Liang Deyun really returned to China, what was waiting for him was a grass-roots workshop job. Liang Deyun's father is one of the founders of Shuncheng Enterprise, but he had to start from the grassroots, workshop, sales, like an ordinary salesman to run the market.
Although a little reluctant at the beginning, in the process of work, Liang Deyun slowly realized the unique charm of the ceramic industry and gradually fell in love with the industry. Ten years on, Liang Deyun is now taking over Shuncheng Group, becoming a young and promising President of ""second-generation" CEO.
The tile background wall on the electrical competition
Makes Shunhui brand known to more people
In the eyes of most people, ceramics is a very traditional industry. Mr Liang really felt this when he took an MBA course. In the class, a professor from Tsinghua University said that many products are used by consumers every day, and they will be noticed by consumers as long as they advertise.
The first time to hear such evaluation of ceramic tile industry, Liang Deyun is very unconvinced. "Why shouldn't we be recognized?" But rather than refuting his professors' views, he began to rethink his profession.
Liang Deyun discovers, ceramic tile is the product with a lower attention really, a family perhaps just renovate one house once at a lifetime, some perhaps two or three houses. Only when during renovation, we will pay attention to relevant materials, if not responsible for the procurement of materials, or even pay attention to the ceramic tile this product. For this, Liang Deyun also runs to ask a friend specially if they had known any ceramic tile brand, the friend couldn’t think of any brands. Liang Deyun produced an idea at that time, whether can use some high attention topic, to let more consumers also pay attention to ceramic tile, thus drive the brand awareness of the enterprise?
In 2018, Shunhui Ceramic Tile tried to cooperate with WESG in Guangdong Finals, and the scene of the finals adopted the background wall of Shunhui Ceramic Tile customization. Liang Deyun said that this was an initial attempt. Before that, the whole Shuncheng Group had tried stars' endorsement and sponsored sports events to let more people know and understand the brand of Shuncheng enterprise.
Keep developing and launching new products,
"Keep the imitator watching my taillights."
Ceramic tile is itself a product with serious homogeneity in the market, Shuncheng over the years has been sticking to independent development of new products, Liang Deyun said that Shuncheng Group applies first-hand design pattern for all products- basic it is directly applied to purchase marble tile, even after using scanning pattern, then the original pattern based on the secondary design and creation.
In Liang Deyun point of view, since it was founded in 1998, Shuncheng enterprise has a history of 20 years to do ceramic tile, never afraid of being imitated and stagnation, in the present circumstances, every industry can be copied, but as long as adhere to the new product, can lead the market small half a year at least, others from imitation to the product at least also want small half a year, so that suitable achievements have plenty of time to occupy the market, as well as developing new products. Liang Deyun believes that there should be no need to worry about being imitated. He is also confident in Shuncheng's r&d and manufacturing capabilities.
Through celebrity endorsements,
Drive and enhance brand influence
On October 18, 2018, during Ceramic Fair, Shuncheng Group's brand Shunhui invited domestic a-list star Li Bingbing to the scene, to witness the new product launch of Shunhui Ceramic Tile -- Danqing Series. The event attracted many dealers and spectators to come to the scene and became the topic of discussion in the whole industry.
Speaking of star endorsement, Liang Deyun said that the company has been discussing for a long time, whether the investment and income can be in direct proportion? While other Shuncheng brands tried celebrity endorsements a few years ago, it wasn't any first-tier or international stars at the time. Therefore, at the annual meeting, we voted on the spot. Dealers said cooperation with first-tier or international star might help improve the influence of the brand.
Then, the Shunhui Ceramic Tile of Shuncheng Group invited Li Bingbing as spokesperson while Baite invited Huang Xiaoming. It drives the influence of the brand through the high attention of the star. Next, Liang Deyun said there will be many specific plans to implement step by step in order to combine stars with brands and products.
Liang Deyun said that Shunhui Ceramics invited Li Bingbing endorsement, the first is took a fancy to the identity of the ambassador Li Bingbing international environmental protection, with the suitable factory certification just fit into ceramic green, green environmental protection in recent years, countries and the whole industry in advocacy, guangdong Shuncheng production base, production base in hunan province is in conformity with the environmental protection standard, in this regard, Liang Deyun confidence.
The New Exhibition Hall Adopts Italian Original Design,
Closer to The Mainstream Consumer Aesthetic aqinnd Needs
During Ceramic Fair in October 2018, besides the appearance of Li Bingbing at the scene of product launch, Shunhui Ceramics also reopened the brand new second-floor showroom. The Italian-designed showroom is a balanced combination of the west and new oriental style.
Some asked why Shunhui agreed to have the Italian designer to lead the renovation project as Shunhui is known for its oriental style. Liang Deyun thinks, to domestic ceramic tile industry, Italian product design application stands for the industry trending. For instance, the black and white gray style that is very popular in home now, had been popular in Italy actually 10 years; the use of black, white and gray could be a little depressive. Then Shunhui made a bold attempt, adding some new elements in the product. Through constant ideas exchange with the Italian designer, Shunhui finally realizes the Italian design application in the oriental decorating style. Now new Chinese style is more natural, aesthetic and demand closer to the mainstream consumer groups. Liang Deyun expresses, next, the national stores of Shunhui Ceramic Tile could also try similar styles.
In view of the current situation that some domestic brands are introducing imported tile brands, Liang Deyun said that he had considered this issue at the beginning of 2018, but he has not completely denied whether to introduce an imported tile brand. He stressed that more weight is given to the Italian design, if merely considering the quality of the products; in fact, many domestic enterprises in the product quality is better than foreign brands. However, we must admit the fact that many foreign brands are way more ahead than us in design and branding. Many domestic ceramic enterprises wish to heighten the capability in product and space design through introducing Italian brands themselves. Moreover, we should take the route of differentiation and solve the bottleneck of our own development through differentiation so as to drive our own development.
Provide solutions to brand dealers
In sales, service and products
2018 was the 20th anniversary of Shuncheng Group. As the closest partner of the enterprise, the dealer group is undoubtedly one of the core resources of Shuncheng Group.
Liang Deyun thinks it’s a big issue to support all dealers including core dealers to become stronger and bigger together. Some dealers said that they might try opening of a branch office in the form of partnership of both parties which is likely to solve two great pain points in the business; one is the monetary problem while the other relates to the inventory. Especially in the current market environment, dealers become more stressed with inventory.
In a further perspective, Liang Deyun believes that the urgent task is to solve the pain points of dealers in sharing risks and maintaining their confidence in an increasingly tough market. In recent months, he has discussed with hundreds of dealers the problems, including how to make the brand better and how to make the product better. The dealers have consistently given feedback that sales is the biggest problem. "Sales shall refer to selling products and providing services to consumers rather than an increase of inventory in dealers’ storage." In order to help the dealers in sales, Liang Deyun said the an establishement of professional crew would be directly assigned to the stores to help solve the problems of inventory, dealer, including a variety of media advertising, and invited representative platform, etc. The starting point of all is to help dealers sell the products better.
Through product and design,
Shuncheng Group make a difference
Including Shunhui and Baite, Shuncheng Group has 7 brands. How to make each brand have its own unique identification and differentiation through reasonable allocation of resources? Mr. Liang said it was a problem that had plagued Shuncheng for years. Especially in recent years, with the industry's oligopoly brand size is growing, the pressure to everyone is growing. Another trend is that many brands in the industry basically operate independently. As a group, Shuncheng has been trying to differentiate itself in recent years.
The initial idea now is to start from the core of the product. For example, the Danqing Series is 750cm×1.5m in size. Firstly, it is launched by Shunhui brand. The second comes the design that each brand style and cultural connotation should take a big step forward delivering product and cultural concept to consumer. Each brand shall differentiate themselves from one another with its own culture.
Liang Deyun admits that it is a difficult process to differentiate each brand, but only when "the first step is taken, there will be a better one hundred steps". He entered the ceramic industry at the age of 24 and started from the grass-roots workshop, Liang Deyun is full of confidence for the future.
After the last ten years of development, ceramic enterprise's rivals have not limited in the industry, some resources that belong to the ceramics industry has been taken by industry and enterprises, especially the home design and renovation companies. Shuncheng has started cooperation with such companies across China, including Gold Mantis. In terms of interior designers and architects, Shuncheng is working with Guangzhou Design Week to build further relationships and seek further opportunities.
A solid foundation of services and product
Will help find new driving force of growth
In the second half of 2018, the industry insiders said that the ceramic industry has entered in the "dark moment". Under such a new situation, how to find new drivers for enterprise growth? Liang Deyun said that the long-term strategy of an enterprise, in his view, could form in the rock bottom of the market situation. But if the next few years continued to be at the "bottom" in the industry, as the enterprise, it is important to prepare himself for any situations, even the worst market conditions, by managing all sales channels and establishing consummative services system. By setting the basis of diverse channel and offering service to good dealers, Shuncheng Group headquarter believe this would benefit both dealers in product sales and consumers in brand recognition. Further enhancement on brand awareness and diversity on cooperated channels will be Shungcheng Group ‘s priority task.
Liang Deyun recalled, a decade ago it was seller’s market when dealers took initiative in becoming the brand agent. But now it has been reversed where the Group headquarter takes the initiative to visit the dealers to help solve problems. As the leader of the enterprise, Liang Deyun recognized a change in mentality, in addition to developing good products, but also to provide outstanding service.
Big slabs make the brand known,
And widely used in commercial projects
As a hot product in the industry in the past two years, big slabs have received great attention from many enterprises. Liang Deyun said his home decoration also used big slabs. Shuncheng Group also has two production lines to manufacture big slabs products, which are basically full production.
However, specific to the consumption of the terminal market, the current retail volume of the big slabs is as well-received as expected mainly because of logistics and paving problems. Some developed regions can solve these problems, but in some less developed cities, do not have the corresponding paving technology, currently, the big board products are mainly engineering.
Ceramic tile industry is far from achieving customization.
We shall all wait and see
In regard of the extension of ceramic tile to the field of customized home, Liang Deyun thinks that Chinese consumption concept changes too fast. Although ceramic tile is a low attention before the product, the preference and demand in the last two years has changed increasingly fast in style, specifications, products, in design. "We can only say we notice the change and follow trend." Shuncheng Group is also carrying out relevant attempts. It still remains a question whether the ceramic tile can completely replace other products in the coming future, as part of the custom home? It is because not many enterprises are capable to achieve product and design customization. When customized production is achieved and widely, a portion of enterprises are expected to be eliminated. As a large-scale production of industrial products, there’s a certain degree of difficulty to completely overall product customization.
As a low-profile enterprise, Shuncheng Group has been insisting on good products for years. Liang Deyun commented on his father's entrepreneurial experience, which is "conservative industry meets conservative boss". Under the background of today's market, "good wine is also afraid of deep alley." As a “second generation” CEO, it was in 2018 when Liang Deyun really took over the enterprise and began to connect with different resources to avoid being “closed-minded". In the process of enterprise's decision-making, due to different level of experiences, especially when different opinions occur, Liang Deyun values his father's advice. But now his father would take Liang’s opinion into much further consideration and help Liang to achieve. Liang Deyun said his goal is to achieve for Shuncheng Group.