From the richest Chinese man to bankruptcy in 6 years, this may be the worst succession case in history

Release your eyes, put on headphones, and listen~!

In 1945, Wang An, who first came to the United States and studied at Harvard University, went to IBM for an interview for his livelihood.Looking at the yellow-skinned face in front of him, the interviewer said: "IBM is the best company in the United States. This is not for you. You should try to find an auto repair shop."

This discriminatory remark angered Wang An, who was 24 years old at the time.

Author/Chinese Business Strategies

Source / Chinese Business Strategies (ID: hstl8888)

"If he can complete the strategic turning point, there may not be Microsoft in the world."

In the eyes of American technologists, Wang An who came across the ocean is incredible.
He is an inventor, an entrepreneur, and the richest man in China.He was a man who led the direction of the American technology industry for a long time, until he rejected all the arguments and put everything about the company into the hands of his son.


Change the computer industry

In 1945, Wang An, who first came to the United States and studied at Harvard University, went to IBM for an interview for his livelihood.Looking at the yellow-skinned face in front of me,The interviewer said: "IBM is the best company in the United States, this is not for you, you should try to find an auto repair shop."
This discriminatory remark angered Wang An, who was 24 years old at the time.
Born in Shanghai, he is a genius for peeing. He graduated from high school at the age of 16 and was admitted to Jiaotong University (Today's Shanghai Jiaotong University);20岁带着团队藏身桂林的山地,研究无线电通讯设备,为抗战争做后援。
After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, Wang An was sent by the public to study technology in the United States, and was subsequently admitted to Harvard University for a master's degree.In the first semester, his course grades are all A+.
He was surrounded by praise, until he was "insulted" by the IBM interviewer.
He won a high scholarship, and obtained two degrees in applied physics, a master's degree and a doctoral degree, in only three years. He was recruited by Howard Aiken, the inventor of the world's first large-scale computer Mark I and the "father of computers". Harvard Computer Laboratory.
Aiken was plagued by computer storage problems.Storage is the core of the computer.The bloated Mark I was placed in Harvard's laboratory and could not be moved. Aiken hoped that it could become a lightweight and portable machine, and storage equipment became the key.
He and the team tried many methods, but they never solved it.To everyone's surprise, Wang An solved the problem theoretically in the third week after entering the laboratory.
Wang An discovered that the principle of magnetic field vibration can be applied to computer storage systems and invented magnetic core memory accordingly.
When the magnetic core memory was invented, Wang An was still a non-staff and had not yet passed the trial period.Aiken immediately helped him get a regular job and raise his salary, hoping to retain this genius.
But Wang An refused.


IBM's grudge


In 1951, Wang An left Harvard and embarked on his own entrepreneurial road.
He rented a car garage on Columbus Avenue, bought a table, installed a telephone, and set up Wang'an Laboratory to produce and sell magnetic core memory developed by himself at a unit price of US$4.
US$4 was a high price at the time, and there were few companies that were optimistic about the commercialization of computers, and Wang An’s business was not good.
But soon, the keen IBM heard the wind.
IBM handed Wang An a contract and invited him to become a corporate consultant.According to the contract, IBM can freely purchase Wang An's storage devices within 3 years without being restricted by patents. In addition to the purchase price, the other party also promised to pay Wang An an additional $1000 per month as a consultant fee.
In view of IBM's sincerity and there is no better choice, Wang An accepted this condition.From being ruthlessly ridiculed by the interviewer to becoming a consultant, Wang An was ashamed.
But the good relationship did not last long, and the two sides soon broke out even greater differences.
With the help of Wang An's magnetic core memory, IBM began to promote the commercial application of computers on a large scale and determined it as its core business in the future.They are no longer satisfied with just cooperation, but hope to buy Wang An's patent.
At first, Wang An did not intend to sell, but at that time, apart from IBM, no other company was interested in this ultra-era products, and his laboratory was in urgent need of funds to operate.After a hard struggle with ideas, he still agreed.
I thought things should have ended in this way, butBecause of IBM's backlash, Wang An was completely angered.The core conflict between the two parties was that IBM initially offered to buy Wang An’s patent fees for US$250 million, but soon after receiving Wang An’s affirmative reply, they quickly changed their minds and requested a price reduction.
While using Wang An's magnetic core memory to expand his computer industry territory, he also used force to suppress Wang An. Wang An was helpless and went to court with IBM.
The business is completed, but the "benevolence and justice" are not there.After getting the money, Wang An decided to invent more products and fought back at IBM on the frontal battlefield.
In 1955, he founded Wang An Computer Company (Wangan Computer Company).随后的30年里,这两个拗口的汉字,成了美国计算机人尽皆知的名词。


Get rich overnight


Founding a company and acting on his own, Wang An's long-planned innovative ideas flourish.
Within 10 years, his laboratory produced one invention after another, including paper-hole recorders, automatic typewriters, wireless typewriters, tape recognition machines, etc.The most influential one is undoubtedly the "Losai" desktop computer that came out in 1964.
"Losai" is a modern PC (personal computerThe prototype of ), it can quickly calculate complex mathematical formulas, and users can also program on it.More importantly, compared with similar products, it has a compact size, simple operation and more powerful functions.
For Wang An, the biggest significance of "Losai" is to make his invention enter the mainstream.Before that, the new things he created were just adjustments in that era, not essential.But "Losai" has become a rigid demand for small computer companies.
In that era, this was a prominent figure, but it was just a drop in the bucket on Wang An.
In order to compete with IBM, he did not consider the cost of R&D investment, but many of his inventions did not turn into expected profits. Coupled with the continuous expansion of the product line, the company was unable to make ends meet.
In 1967, under pressure from creditor banks, Wang An decided to issue 250 million US dollars of stock to repay debts.
This last resort has unexpectedly become the starting point for the company to take off.
Wang An Computer went public, and the issue price of the stock was US$12.5. By the end of the day, it had risen to a staggering US$40.5. Within a few hours, 40 shares were sold out.Overnight, Wang An's net worth soared by US$5000 million, becoming a super rich man.
The skyrocketing value did not make Wang An feel good.A colleague of the company recalled that after the listing, Dr. Wang was more "struggling" than before and often stayed in the laboratory all night.
For this extremely confident and proud person, dignity is far more important than money.Before that, "Down with IBM" was just a delusion of self-motivation. Now, with more capital, he has to fight for the day and work harder.


WPS that makes the head of IBM dizzy


On the day Wang An announced that he was going to fight IBM, the company's stock fell, commenting that he was a little overwhelmed.
He regarded IBM as an opponent, but IBM only regarded him as a joke.
At that time, the combined share of all computer manufacturers in the world was less than a quarter of IBM's.Their computer system helped Apollo 1 land on the moon, allowing banks to transact across banks and consumers to buy plane tickets online.
The market value of "Blue Giant" is more than 300 times that of Wang An Computer.
Not everyone laughed at Wang An's bold words.For example, Thomas Watson, the head of IBM at the time, was wary of this former consultant. He told his subordinates to always pay attention to the development of Wang An Computer.
But Wang An's decision was not reckless, because in addition to the improvement of his own strength, the external environment was also helping him.
In the 70s, competition in the computer market was fierce, and the profits of IBM and Wang'an both fell sharply.Under the crisis, Wang An decided to open up another battlefield to launch a raid on IBM in addition to the minicomputer.
After in-depth research on the market, he found that with the support of various automated machines, the labor productivity of American workers has increased by 90%, but the efficiency of office white-collar workers has not improved significantly.At that time, the equipment in the office was all electric typewriters costing about $400, but the blue-collar factory used equipment worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
However, the U.S. economy is accelerating its transformation. The number of office white-collar workers has increased significantly, and the existing office equipment has been unable to keep up.
Wang An therefore believes that the next wave of computers will be software systems instead of hardware.Without good software support, computers are just a bunch of seemingly modern machines.As a result, he concentrated his research and funds to develop the office system that was badly needed at that time.
In November 1971, Wang An Computer launched the 11 computer, which is essentially an automatic typewriter with editing functions. It has a search function and is much easier to use than the original electric typewriter.
This product has achieved great success in the market and has also attracted great attention from the press and IBM.According to the report, Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM, who was hospitalized with myocardial infarction, became furious after seeing the news, berating his assistant for failing to notify the relevant information in advance, and fainted after swearing.
Watson panicked because he, like Wang An, foresaw the broad prospects of the office system.
In 1976, on the basis of the 1200 model, Wang An introduced the revolutionary product WPS.When the staff demonstrated this word processor and how to operate it at the New York City exhibition, the participants were stunned.
Before this, they had never seen the magic of computers.
At the end of the exhibition, the office in the United States began a major refurbishment.From the Office of the President of the White House to the enterprise, the WPS processor became the most popular technology product at the time. That year, the turnover of Wang'an Company exceeded the $1 million mark.
Everyone in the office uses WPS, most people think that WPS is Wong Processing System (Wangan Processing System), but Wang An’s original meaning is Word Processing System (Word processing system).


The world's richest Chinese


With WPS, Wang Security Line attacked.
In addition to setting up an extensive manufacturing and distribution network in the United States, he has also extended his reach to the world, setting up branches in more than 100 countries and regions, including China, and has become a large multinational group.
Relying on WPS, Wang An directly declared war on IBM.He advertised in the newspaper:
"Try our products and forget about IBM."
Under the storm, Wang An Computer began to take over the territory that originally belonged to IBM.
It was also the most glorious year in Wang An's life.
Three months later, he was received by Deng Xiaoping in the Great Hall of the People. The chief designer took his hand and praised him: "You are very famous in the United States, and now you have a big business. This is your own struggle!"
That year, Wang An’s annual revenue was US$30 billion, and Wang An’s personal net worth was US$20 billion, ranking fifth in the richest Americans and the richest Chinese in the world.
But at that time, a huge crisis also spread in Wang An Computer's body.


Critical error


王安推出WPS的1976年,另一件计算机的大事件也在同步发生:乔布斯和他的伙伴们创办了一家专攻PC(personal computer), and gave the company a special name: Apple.
In only 4 years, Apple went public and Jobs became a billionaire.
王安电脑的同事感觉到PC即将在小型机之外成为新的潮流,因此建议王安进入该.But Wang An was unmoved. He thought it was ridiculous to engage in personal computers.
IBM once held the same view as Wang An and dismissed Jobs.But after Apple's continued strength, IBM took the lead in waking up, and started to increase PC investment in 1981, opening the era of PC popularization together with Apple.
Since then, PC functions have become stronger and stronger, Wang An's minicomputers and word processors no longer have advantages, and market share has been repeatedly squeezed.The situation became more and more critical. It was in 1983 that Wang An believed that the PC was the future, and then began to fight back.
But this time, Wang An's power is gone.
At that time, competition in the personal computer market was already fierce. IBM had established the industry standard for personal computers through cooperation with Microsoft and Intel. Other computer manufacturers in the market also followed suit and chose to be compatible with IBM computers.
But Wang An, suffocating resentment in his heart, insisted on taking his own technical route and fighting against the IBM standard.
This makes Wang An equivalent to opposing the entire industry,Because of the lack of market-compatible software, its own software has limitations. Even if its computer has better performance and is three times faster than an IBM computer, it is still embarrassed.
Wang An also tried to break the deadlock. It was reported that he had met with Bill Gates of Microsoft and Andy Grove of Intel, hoping to cooperate with them.Unfortunately, Wang An’s request for cooperation is not to allow Intel and Microsoft to cooperate with Wang An Computer, but to prevent Intel and Microsoft from allying with IBM.
Bill Gates later recalled that when he was found by Wang An, he was a little flattered, and then surprised.Because at that time, Microsoft was still very weak and relied on IBM for food, and his mother was an executive of IBM. Therefore, he really did not expect that Wang An would make such a request to him.
Grove's reasons for rejecting Wang An were simpler and rude.It is circulated that in the early years, Grove visited Wang An, hoping that he would provide advice on a memory of Intel, but Wang An was quite arrogant, "If you asked me this question earlier, you would not come up with this. (Poor)”, which made Grove feel humiliated.
Because, while being encircled by external competition, Wang An Computer also encountered a major internal crisis.


Fall apart


Although Wang An lived and became famous in the United States, his acting style is very Chinese.
He dislikes the American corporate system. He has stated many times, “As a founder, I have complete control over the company, and my children also have the opportunity to prove their ability to manage the company.”
In November 1986, Wang An decided to retire due to medical reasons.
At that time, three people in the company were considered potential successors: Harold Coplow, who is good at technology research and development, John Chunningham, who is good at market, and Wang An’s eldest son, who was born in mathematics, lacked technical accumulation. Wang Lie, who also lacks market experience.
Among the three people, Wang Lie has the lowest internal influence and expectations, but Wang An, who is deeply influenced by the traditional thinking of his father’s inheritance, ignores the many opposition voices from the internal seniors, and arbitrarily appointed his 36-year-old son Wang Lie as the company’s president. .
But the IT industry is completely different. The industry is changing rapidly and competition is fierce. The failure of a new technology and new product may wipe out the accumulation of the past few decades.
Wang An is a recognized genius, and his scientific research ability and management level are also ahead of the industry.
Over the past 30 years, Wang An has made outstanding achievements in the construction of the company's team.He recruited a group of talented young talents with superior treatment.For example, John Chambers, who later joined Cisco and brought Cisco's market value from $6 million to 4440 billion, was only a regional leader when he was at Wang An Computer.
In the year when the revenue exceeded 20 billion, Wang An invested 7 million US dollars in scientific research expenses. Salaries and bonuses were important expenditures.
This group of people was very convinced by Wang An, but dissatisfied with his son.Soon after Wang Lie took office, the other two potential successors left one after another, and the company's internal management fell into unprecedented chaos.
In fact, Wang Lie, who was appointed as the company's president, was not as embarrassed as he thought.Wang An had prepared enough for Wang Lie to take over. When Wang Lie graduated from the University of Sao Paulo and Brown University, he was assigned to work in various departments of the company.As early as the late 70s, Wang Lie suggested to his father to switch to PC, which is evident in his sharpness and foresight.
But Wang Lie does not possess fatherly leadership.He neither made the WPS bigger and stronger, which Wang An Computer had taken the lead at the time, nor allowed the PC to stand out. He also made the company's superior products gradually fall into mediocrity or even backward.
As early as 1983 when he took over the company's research and development, Wang Lie had announced that he would launch more than 10 new products, but none of them were fulfilled in the end.
Less than two years after Wang Lie took over, Wang An Computer’s fate in the computer industry has been changed: its financial situation has deteriorated drastically, with a loss of US$1988 million in 4.24.The company's stock price also plummeted.
To make matters worse, in the face of losses, Wang Lie made another faint trick of "killing chickens and getting eggs to make up for the deficit".
In order to improve his financial situation, he adjusted the software fee that customers need to pay when buying his mainframe computer from US$1000 to US$5000, and he also tried his best to make money from old customers.For example, many companies have customized their own computer systems from Wang'an Computer. Since 1988, these companies have to pay US$175 each time they consult Wang'an for technical issues.
Chambers, who later became famous for Cisco, left Wang An Computer during this period.At that time, he was asked to lay off 4000 employees, which made him very painful, because he knew that the layoffs were the best employees in the American industry.
1989 years 9 months,Wang An reluctantly gave up his love in a serious illness, personally persuaded Wang Lie to leave, and invited the former president of GE, Richard Miller, who has successful experience in saving endangered companies.OutServed as president of the company.
June 1990, 3,70岁的王安在对公司的重重忧虑中因癌症去世。两年后,已不能继续正常经营的王安电脑宣布破产,公司市值也从巅峰时的56亿美元跌至不足1亿美元。
Bill Gates once said:If Wang An can complete the second strategic turning point(Focus on software system),There may not be Microsoft in the world, and he will not become a technology icon, but will be a teacher or a lawyer somewhere.
But there is no if, a generation of legends, this will come to an end.
▲In 1986, Wang An published his autobiography "Lessons"
Before Wang An wrote the book "Lessons", and emphasized in the book: "The reason why people fail is mostly because they'lifted a rock and hit one's own foot'."

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