The Internet can’t play electronic cigarettes

Players who have survived now have already understood this truth-the Internet’s ideas of creating gods, marketing, and painting cakes do not apply to e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes have set foot on the Internet and become even narrower.

In the past few months, regulatory policies have once again tried to separate e-cigarette sales from the Internet. Many e-cigarette sellers hiding on e-commerce platforms and micro-commerce platforms complained. The market contracted rapidly and profits plummeted.

In the eyes of many industry insiders, this means that the only channel attribute of the Internet to e-cigarettes has once again been severely weakened.

“Essentially, e-cigarettes are fast-moving consumer goods. It is a product that emphasizes channels in terms of sales. The Internet is one of his channels, as well as offline. The production and promotion of e-cigarettes requires particularly experienced people to build. This is the key.” An e-cigarette seller told AI Lanmeihui that all players who have survived now understand this truth-the Internet’s ideas of creating gods, marketing, and painting cakes do not apply to e-cigarettes. .

Such experience is not only the baptism of regulatory policies, but also comes from the once brilliant Internet e-cigarette entrepreneurs, foundry owners who are wary of online supervision, or technical experts who have not yet succeeded.

They are the e-cigarette entrepreneurs who entered the game in the early stage, and they have returned to the same place by different routes, presenting the situation of the Internet losing the e-cigarette circle.

Technology entrepreneurs who die without a disease

Entering the e-cigarette circle, Rong Yi can be regarded as a technical elite entrepreneur.

His other two partners, one is a technical expert from IBM, the other is an electronic engineer, and he himself graduated from a prestigious school. Prior to this, the trio partnered and founded a new materials company in Beijing.

In 2018, at a dinner, a friend said to Rong Yi: “The business of electronic cigarettes, as long as you go to Shenzhen, everything will be done by the foundry, and the money will come.” In June of this year, the money came. relx announced the completion of the first round of 38 million yuan financing-all news about e-cigarettes is good.

But after a year, Rong Yi returned to Beijing. Few people knew that he had ever been in the e-cigarette business.

At the beginning of the business, the three elite entrepreneurs were still full of confidence. They spent two months squeezing small parts such as atomizers, cigarette cartridges, control chips, and batteries into a square box, then typed out the drawings, and Rong Yi took them to Shenzhen’s foundry for production.

In Shenzhen, Rong Yi, who took his own design plan, was ridiculed by the foundry boss.

“You probably won’t be able to do it like this.” The foundry boss is categorical. “You pick one from our design, we are responsible for the production, and it saves a lot of money all at once.”

Seeing that Rong Yi didn’t respond, the boss said: “Are you all making quick money? Don’t be stubborn. After a few months, I don’t know the direction of the wind. Now I can make a little bit.

Looking at it now, Rong Yi extremely agrees with the foundry boss’s words. But at that time, a design plan made by a top student from a prestigious school, a technical man from IBM and an electronic engineer was rejected by the foundry boss in Shenzhen. Rong Yi felt that he was too stubborn to be humiliated at the time. .

However, the foundry owner still took the order. To this end, Rong Yiduo spent tens of thousands of mold opening costs. “If the finished product directly with foundries, at the time can be very poor quality cheap.”

Open the mold, deal with the design bug, reopen the mold, and produce the finished product. Rong Yi’s time point is October-he will take the finished product to participate in the 4th China International Electronic Cigarette Exhibition in Shenzhen.

In mid-September, the finished product was delivered to Rong Yi. After the materials were fully prepared, his e-cigarette brand found a booth in the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center.

The exhibition attracted more than 200 e-cigarette companies to participate in the exhibition. On the opening day, Rong Yi looked at each booth. Except for a handful of companies that independently designed e-cigarettes, the rest were from various foundries in Shenzhen. Style.

I thought it was “outstanding”, but Rong Yi soon discovered that the appearance and circuit design of e-cigarettes are almost the easiest to ignore.

“At that time, there were a lot of investors at the exhibition. People didn’t look at your design at all, but looked at the channel. Whether you have the ability to shop and sell, because no matter how exquisite you are, the core technology is not yours. Tell them that I’m this. People with IBM technical talents will find it very strange.” Rong Yi said.

The exhibition did not make Rongyi’s e-cigarette take a substantial step. The decoration of the booth of a friend beside him was unremarkable, but in the most conspicuous place, “Sales of over 10,000 per day in Sichuan Province” were hung, and countless people watched.

Back in Beijing, Rong Yi spread the exhibited samples and a large stack of other company promotional materials in front of the other two partners. “Don’t do it, go back to your old job.”

The situation in Shenzhen allowed Rong Yi to completely dispel the idea of ​​making e-cigarettes. He told the other two partners: “No one thinks about technology at all. They think about channels. This is where we are weakest.”

Nowadays, Rong Yi also pays attention to the e-cigarette circle occasionally. As the first intruder, he felt that he “played the wrong card at the time.”

“This line of business has always been sales first, and it is still today. The current research and development looks at the very advanced non-spill technology. We actually solved it back then. No one cared about this in 2018.”

But Rong Yi always emphasized that he has never regretted. “Looking at the current battle, we didn’t die at the beginning, and we will be driven to death by various problems later.”

The declining Internet e-cigarette star

When entrepreneur Rong Yi became an outsider, more Internet people were gearing up.

In Beijing’s fellow uncle, well-known people from the media, in 2018, he was to enter the field of electronic cigarette, established the brand “grapefruit”; 2019, Hammer Technology 001 employees Zhu Xiao wooden founded Fluke electronic cigarette; the same year, the Department also hammer out Ono…

Most of these e-cigarette brands have one thing in common. They were all overwhelmingly strong when they were founded-they have also passed through the 6 minutes that made all e-cigarette entrepreneurs sigh in 2019 on March 15th.

That night, these “foreigners” who were new to the e-cigarette industry either stared at the big screen or shouted in the WeChat Moments to soothe their emotions.

Zhu Xiaomu wrote in the circle of friends that day: “My friends, March 15 is exciting tonight, and I have never been so restless because of a party.” FLOW’s PR and the boss looked nervously at the party. .

After 3.15, FLOW set up a stall downstairs in Wangjing’s own company and gave free e-cigarettes. People who come register a mobile phone number, just forward it to Moments and take one away-Zhu Xiaomu, who is a product manager, is good at brand building. In the eyes of another group of people, this belongs to the “self-hey” of Internet people. .

The Internet can't play electronic cigarettes

“Later, Zhu Xiaomu and Lao Luo did a live broadcast of the goods, and did not mention’Ono’ and’FLOW’. Of course there are regulatory issues here, and the biggest problem is that it is not up to the point.” PR Chen, an e-cigarette company Ping said.

After March 15, 2019, Cai Yuedong, the founder of “Grapefruit”, requested that the new batch of products be marked, “Pregnant women and young people cannot smoke”. In media reports, Cai Yuedong said that the worst result that can be imagined is that the company shuts down due to policy reasons.

Chen Ping counted the e-cigarette entrepreneurs back then, saying: “The popular e-cigarettes were still smart, and they were also a group of elite entrepreneurs. The founders could be independent when they used them alone. Now there is almost no voice in the market. The louder the voice, the less likely it is to survive now.”

Chen Ping’s personal experience is that when she left Beijing for Shenzhen in October 2018, when she explained to her relatives and friends that she went to an e-cigarette business, most people’s attitude was, “Oh”, and after just two months, the WeChat account Someone started asking, “What do you do with e-cigarettes?”

In Shenzhen, the owner of the e-cigarette company she joined was a businessman in the wine industry. He was low-key, proficient in FMCG, and has a wide network of contacts. “

She said: “As early entrepreneurs in the e-cigarette circle, some people are too alternative. This business has no technical content, it is a fast-moving channel. It relies on the Internet, but sometimes the Internet people’s set of things is useless. Those who survived are all people who made a fortune with a muffled voice.”

It’s the traditional business owner who made the fortune

Then that kind of roaring internet business electronic cigarette blaze of glory tide , the real money, but also those that traditional enterprise bosses.

Not only did they get real money, they also escaped from the e-cigarette regulatory crisis.

“I can’t tell you the specific numbers, but I made tens of millions on e-cigarettes from 2017 to 2019.” Liu Chuanhai told AI Blue Media.

Liu Chuanhai is Shenzhen. The manufacturer that did OEM for Rongyi back then has now fully shifted his production line to other products, and the list of e-cigarettes is long gone.

Liu Chuanhai’s factory in Shenzhen was originally doing the extreme oxidation process. “You can understand it as spraying a very thin film on the material to show a different feel.”

At that time, many e-cigarette players found Liu Chuanhai’s factory, took the design drawings, and asked it to produce the cabin of the e-cigarette.

These orders were all very small, and Liu Chuanhai was reluctant to take them at first, but more people came to the door, and he began to notice that there seemed to be a huge market behind e-cigarettes.

“We were not originally a mechanical processing company, but in 2017 I realized that the e-cigarette market is huge, so I entered two small production lines and placed them in the corner of the factory. In fact, when the production line was removed in 2019, the two have changed. Into eight.”

Liu Chuanhai recalled the “golden money-making age” of e-cigarettes. Even when he closed the production line in 2019, the cost of an e-cigarette rod was still less than 5 yuan, but the ex-factory price could reach 8 yuan or more.

“Sometimes the profit is half and half,” he said.

In 2019, Si Moor, a major manufacturer of electronic cigarettes in Liu Chuanhaikou, went public. In the prospectus, the highest gross profit is electronic atomization components. In 2018, the gross profit rate reached 42.2%, the gross profit rate of its own brand was 34.2%, and the minimum gross profit rate of electronic atomization equipment provided to customers was 25.9%.

At the same time, based on years of experience in traditional enterprises, Liu Chuanhai is very sober. In Shenzhen’s numerous e-cigarette processing plants, he can only be regarded as an early entrant in this industry, but he has never been bigger. In fact, he I never thought about getting bigger.

“Our business has always been the basis of material handling, because we have the core technology. OEM electronic cigarette is quick money, I realized early on that country to intervene, if I was all put into this field, always with scale manufacturers can not compare , The ability to resist risks is at the end of the day. Once the supervision is up, I will be the first batch to die.”

And other small electronic cigarette OEM companies are forced to withdraw is not the same, 2019 315 evening will point the name of the electronic cigarette, Liu Zhuanhai selected “initiative dead.”

He was in Ningbo that day, discussing material processing business with others. In the evening, the owner of another foundry called and asked him to ” read the news “. Liu Chuanhai turned on the phone, and news came to his face.

Three days later, Liu Chuanhai returned to Shenzhen. The bosses of six friends gathered in the office to wait for him. They were all old players who entered the e-cigarette foundry in Shenzhen in the early days. Liu Chuanhai said: “I won’t play anymore. The production line can be transferred to you. I will continue to do material processing. You can continue to make a few months of money, but the supervision will definitely come within next year at the latest, and you will be out early.”

Of the six bosses on the scene, one of them eventually quit with Liu Chuanhai, and two of them stayed on hold to maintain the current production scale. The remaining two, one took Liu Chuanhai’s 8 production lines, and the other expanded the production scale accordingly.

“In the end, none of these people lost money. Probably they were all old people. Before the policy came in at the end of 2019, they all got away, and the equipment was transferred to a smaller factory to restore the original production. Do you think this is speculation?”

“We have seized the opportunity of the times.” Liu Chuanhai said.

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