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    Auto Show Traffic Wars: Lei Jun vs. Zhou Hongyi & Industry Leaders Learn Marketing Lessons

    Apr 28, 2024

    On April 25, the Beijing International Auto Show, which has been away for four years, officially opened. Many car company chairmen actively interacted with their counterparts, becoming the biggest highlight of this auto show. Xiaomi Group Chairman Lei Jun, 360 Chairman Zhou Hongyi, Great Wall Motors Chairman Wei Jianjun, and Chery Group Chairman Yin Tongyue took the stage. NIO, Ideal Auto, and XPeng Auto chairmen took photos together. BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu and CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun also interacted with entrepreneurs.

    Auto Show Traffic Wars: Lei Jun vs. Zhou Hongyi & Industry Leaders Learn Marketing Lessons

    Amid traffic anxiety, auto industry leaders are learning from Lei Jun to personally engage in marketing. Multiple auto executives told Red Star Capital that they see the huge role of traffic in marketing. In the short term, they need to cater to this market change, utilize entrepreneurs’ personal IPs, actively communicate with users, but ultimately, cars still need to speak for themselves. Chairmen of car companies are competing for traffic. Lei Jun is the “top stream” of this car show, with Xiaomi’s car booth even restricting audience flow. On April 25, Lei Jun visited booths of FAW, Mercedes-Benz, NIO, Ideal, BAIC, and GAC. On the morning of April 26, he met with Wang Chuanfu at the Xiaomi booth, and in the afternoon, he interacted with Wei Jianjun at the Great Wall booth. Wherever he went, he was surrounded by media and audience.

    Auto Show Traffic Wars: Lei Jun vs. Zhou Hongyi & Industry Leaders Learn Marketing Lessons

    NIO Chairman Li Bin is a busy man. He was interrupted by Zhou Hongyi’s visit during a media interview. Later, he welcomed Lei Jun, Li Xiang, and He Xiaopeng to experience the new ET7. Li Bin also invited singer Wang Feng to sing “Beijing Beijing” together in the NIO cockpit.

    Auto Show Traffic Wars: Lei Jun vs. Zhou Hongyi & Industry Leaders Learn Marketing Lessons

    Self-proclaimed “60-year-old man rolled out by car companies to sell cute live broadcasts” Yin Tongyue played a new trick at this car show. On April 25, Yin Tongyue received Zhou Hongyi at the Chery booth; the next day, he appeared live with Lei Jun and Sohu founder Zhang Chaoyang’s physics class. When the live broadcast started, Wei Jianjun seemed to have a breakthrough. On April 25, he visited BMW Group Chairman Zipse; on the 26th, he experienced the Ideal L6 and various models of Great Wall with Li Xiang, and also toured the Great Wall booth with Lei Jun. Wei Jianjun’s personal Weibo also continuously updated videos of the above interactions. Li Xiang, who has been silent for a while, became more active at this car show. He visited the Jike booth, where Jike CEO An Conghui introduced him to the Jike MIX, Jike 009 Glorious Edition, and other new cars. As the chairman of the largest power battery supplier, Zeng Yuqun had a great time chatting with executives from many car companies at the car show. In addition to hosting Lei Jun, he also visited the Guangzhou Automobile booth with Guangzhou Automobile Chairman Zeng Qinghong, speaking out for Jiyue Auto: “Jiyue 07 is very good, the first one is for me.” Outsiders from the automotive industry stealing the spotlight and traffic Zhou Hongyi, who cannot drive, is the only internet celebrity at the Beijing Auto Show who can compete with Lei Jun. He recently announced that he would sell his long-time companion Maybach and switch to domestically produced new energy vehicles. Many car companies took action and sent their mainstream models to the 360 company downstairs for Zhou Hongyi to experience, turning it into a small auto show. As the core investor of Nezha Auto, Zhou Hongyi first visited the Nezha Auto booth as the “experience team leader”; he then embarked on a tour of the exhibition, interacting with top executives from various car companies. It is worth mentioning that when visiting the Dongfeng Motor exhibition area, Zhou Hongyi climbed onto an off-road vehicle, which quickly spread on the internet, with netizens jokingly calling him the “oldest car model at this year’s auto show.” “Zhou Hongyi climbs on the roof of the car” also sparked controversy. Some netizens commented, “I thought he was there to protest at the auto show,” believing that this had changed the serious atmosphere of the auto show.

    Auto Show Traffic Wars: Lei Jun vs. Zhou Hongyi & Industry Leaders Learn Marketing Lessons

    Zhou Hongyi responded on his personal Weibo, admitting to social anxiety and camera shyness. To prove he is real, he climbed onto the roof of a car at the auto show. Many car companies are using celebrities to attract attention. Executives in the auto industry are accepting the trend of marketing with celebrities but believe in the importance of product competitiveness. Li Bin believes in the importance of product competitiveness over celebrity endorsements. Lan Tu Automotive CEO Lu Fang is one of the few executives active on Weibo in the Dongfeng Group. He feels pressure to be active on social media to increase brand awareness. He understands the need for short-term adaptive marketing strategies but emphasizes the importance of long-term brand building. Lei Jun and Zhou Hongyi’s popularity at the auto show made Lu Fang see the huge role of traffic in marketing, and also triggered his thinking on how state-owned enterprises should respond to this change. “Traffic can indeed bring sales, but the quality of products and services is not necessarily guaranteed.” He believes that the effects brought by traffic are not normal, and the sustainability still needs to be tested. What can truly withstand the test of time is the power of the brand, including attitude, values, product strength, service, user experience, and reputation. “Traffic should not be manipulated by capital, but the real recognition of products, good or bad, should be evaluated by users and society.” Zhu Huarong, chairman of Changan Automobile, said that the Internet brings new logic and tactics, existence is reasonable. “In the era of fierce competition, innovation in communication is necessary. It used to be said that good wine needs no bush, but now in the era of intense competition, even good wine needs to be promoted.” Recently, the chairman and president of Changan Automobile and Shenlan Automobile have started live streaming and short videos, and joined Weibo. “Enterprise leaders themselves are a traffic code. Traffic is the productivity of future leaders, and this productivity must be liberated. In addition, we really need to learn to use advanced communication technologies to increase product promotion.” He pointed out, “This is the progress of the times. Under the promotion of technological progress, the entire society, industry, and consumer demands are undergoing major changes. The biggest change is that traditional marketing methods and new marketing methods in the cloud are ten times, a hundred times different. Traditional cars really will be eliminated if they do not change.” However, he also emphasized that short-term traffic can be obtained through personal IP or some very exciting releases, which is beneficial for product and brand promotion. But true long-term traffic is centered around users, creating product value, service value, or other new values. Red Star News reporter Wu Danruo Beijing photography report Editor Yu Dongmei