Guojia, A Giant Head of Smart Lock
COVID-19 and China
Smart Lock of Guojia. Photo: Credit to Guojia.

The smart lock market is increasingly interest because of so many players exist in the track. We discussed Yunding Technology before, as one of the most successful smart lock manufacturers in China. However, Guojia, which is another great manufacturer in the industry, plays an important role in the market. EqualOcean talked with the CTO of Guojia, QIAN Jun(钱俊), to gain more info of Guojia.

The analyst WANG Zekun (王泽坤), who’s in charge of the high-technology related industries of EqualOcean, have a wonderful talk with QIAN Jun, the CTO of Guojia on Mar 7th, 2019. We discussed a lot about the smart lock market and the future-expectations, and the road which Guojia chose.

According to QIAN Jun, the CTO of Guojia, it’s a very coincident chance to choose the smart lock as its main business. QIAN puts that there are so many manufacturers who make locks for hotels and consumer-side houses, so the apartment may be a great break point. Furthermore, QIAN has a strong confidence of Guojia due to the potential of the market size of the smart lock.

QIAN says that there are around 15 million new houses to trade in China, and 7 million used houses which require to renew. In terms of the new houses, almost all of them require a smart lock because of the requirement of the renovation. On the other hand, there are more than 12 million of new couples who would get married every year, which generates a lot of requirements of apartments. For one apartment, there are at least 5 locks are required, including the lock of the doors, kitchen, restroom. QIAN Jun give me the final data that the market size of the traditional locks would be about CNY 500-600 million. In terms of the smart lock, the market size would be CNY 35-45 billion in the future. In this way, what Guojia does is meaningful.

QIAN puts that there are more than 7 million apartments in Beijing to be rented while more than 5 million people have the requirement to rent a house. In this way, the market size of the smart lock would be 15 million units in Beijing. For other tire 1 cities, things are familiar.

On the other hand, in terms of the long-term rental apartment, there are more than 3 million houses in Beijing while Ziru(自如) occupies less than 20% and Danke(蛋壳), as well as other brands occupies more than 20 thousand apartments in Beijing.

What Guojia focus is the hotels for the short-term rental hotels like the Tujia and Xiaozhu, where Guojia occupied more than 80% market share. In addition, in terms of the public rental apartments, it belongs to the government projects while Guojia makes agreements with more than 100 thousand apartments in Beijing and 80 thousand apartments in Guangzhou, 30 apartments in Sanya.

QIAN Jun puts that there are more than 16 million units of smart lock sold last year which 40% of them are sold to the developers like Wanke which purchased more than 200 thousand smart locks. On the other hand, the retail side sells many units of smart locks which occupies 20% of the total market size. Qian tells us that more than 1.2 million units of smart locks are sold in Tmall, and 0.3 million units of smart locks are sold in Jingdong, 0.2 million units of smart locks are sold from Xiaomi.

We are very interest that why the traditional lock manufactures cannot be successful in the smart lock. QIAN puts that they are not willing to spend such an amount of money to encourage the developing team. During the past days, the salary of the engineer of a traditional lock is CNY 9,000 while its normal for an engineer in a smart lock company to earn a salary about CNY 15,000. In this way, the traditional lock manufacturers cannot build its own technological team and do R&D related things about the smart locks. QIAN has a strong confidence of the smart lock. In his prediction, the traditional lock manufacturers would have an extreme hard time in 2019 and 2020. If they refuse to develop the smart locks, they may close in 2020. In addition, QIAN believes that in the next 3 years, the total production volume of the industry would be 30 million units every year, and there would be 3-5 giant players with a shipments more than 1 million units. On the other hand, some enterprises which shipments are less than 100 thousand would make money by making customized locks.  

So, what’s about the cost of the smart lock? QIAN told that there would be 50 Yuan for the worker who helps with the install of the smart lock. If the company has no branch in the cities, especially in the rural cities, they have to cooperate with a third-party institution which charges the company over CNY 200 to install a lock. Currently, Guojia has branches in 32 cities, all of them are located in the capital cities. For rural areas where Guojia has no branch, QIAN says that Guojia may give up the market due to the expensive installing fees for a lock.

According to QIAN, it was quite difficult for Guojia to finance. Almost all of the investors ask them what would Guojia do if the Xiaomi do the same things, and this is a quite hard question to answer. However, Guojia has successfully financed over CNY 150 million for the C round and has strong resources in the hotel side. Tojia and Xiecheng, the giant heads of the hotels in China has invested Guojia,

QIAN puts that there are about 180 people who are in charge of the research and development in Guojia, while the total employees are about 300. Guojia prefers people who are less than 33 years old and recognize the value of the company. Guojia believes that the company should keep innovating and always focus on the customers while pay attention to the efficiency. According to QIAN, Guojia has a strict management to its factories because Guojia believes that he quality of its products are most important. QIAN talked about Japanese factories which employees could 100% obey the regulations and the production from these factories are perfect.

In the next 3 years, according to QIAN Jun, Guojia would cooperate closely with big customers such as Ziroom, Vanke and Longhu. Once Guojia understood the requirements of the customer, it could better its products. On the other hand, Guojia prepares to establish a foundry and take care of supply chain. Guojia aims to achieve the automation of the production and installing of the smart locks. Guojia develops very fast with an increasing rate over 200%. QIAN says that the developing rate of Guojia would be slower in 2021, and the company would enter into a period during which the company grows stably.

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