iFLYTEK Sails Towards a Bright Future with Scientific Spirit

iFLYTEK Sails Towards a Bright Future with Scientific Spirit

Dear iFLYTEK Friends,

Together, on this special day, we celebrate iFLYTEK’s 22nd birthday – I would like to extend my most heartfelt thanks for your companionship and support. 

China’s annual college entrance examination has come to a close: this year, one province received an especially large amount of attention. Just days before this important examination, the Guangdong Province experienced a small resurgence of COVID-19. However, thanks to our joint efforts with others, not a single student missed this life-changing test. As one of the companies that had supported this endeavor, iFLYTEK spared no effort in providing exam services to students in need: last year alone, the Testing Service Center of iFLYTEK’s Southern China headquarters in Guangzhou provided more than 50 million students with this service. Additionally, iFLYTEK’s smart assistant telephone chat-robot was also able to help improve public health by communicating with, and checking the health conditions of, millions of people in Shenzhen City, Guangzhou City, and Qingyuan City in the province, winning valuable time in the race against the virus.

This pandemic is an indicator for humanity, as it highlights the advantages present in our system and management and serves as a test that will show the future of A.I.’s practicality. 

In the beginning of this year, iFLYTEK set its goal to reach “One billion users, a hundred billion in revenue, and an ecosystem valued at one trillion.” To achieve this, we made the Systematic Innovation and Strategic Center part of our growth path to achieve high speed growth. 

Looking at the past two years, many product lines have seen large growth.

iFLYTEK’s education business works to “Teach students according to their aptitudes,”, and has “kept receiving triumphant news.” We launched programs in Zhengzhou City in the Henan Province and Wuhan City in the Hubei Province with a business growth of 70%; our i-study learning tablet was well-received among students and parents with 200% growth; and we’re expecting a new product in July. Our to-C hardware got out on the right foot showed quick success at the June 18th Online Shopping Festival with an increase of 108% from the previous year. The Smart Assistant Program was started in the Anhui Province and was rolled out across China, providing medical services and assistance to over 100 million citizens and more than 380,000 basic-unit doctors. Meanwhile, the Digital Jianghuai, a program aiming to build smart cities, will lead us in creating a provincial center city development model. From the perspective of enterprise digitalization, we also saw a breakthrough with our Turing Platform, leading the industry in forging a digitalization platform through serving small and medium sized enterprises. 

At a time like this, many wonder how we can achieve our goals with systematic innovation and strategic centers. I can confidently announce that we will meet our goals and sail towards our bright future with a scientific spirit, characteristic of iFLYTEK’s values and principles. 

So, what exactly is a scientific spirit?

It’s seeing through appearances in order to perceive its underlying essence: to be pragmatic and rational, to seek the truth, to analyze and to argue, and to boldly innovate to pioneer a new path. 

In this rapidly changing era, we stress the need to see through mere appearances and to perceive the essence with scientific spirit – reducing unnecessary anxiety and sticking to our long-term strategic goals. More specifically, we need to: 

Stay true to value creation with scientific spirit.

See things in a dialectical and scientific way in order to avoid short-term anxiety.  

Leave our comfort zone and embrace a larger stage with scientific spirit. 

Stay true to value creation with scientific spirit

Twenty-two years ago, when we started this company, we made clear that our core value is to “Realize dreams of employees, create value for society.” This value refers to a positive and healthy approach to innovation where we seek to add to society across a number of sectors, particularly education and health care.. 

In education, the creation of value is mostly dependent on easing the burden for teachers and students in schools through teaching students according to their aptitudes. As specified by Chinese education authorities, one of the most outstanding problems in compulsory education is that the out-of-order development of after-school training institutions, led by short-sightedness and utilitarianism, is putting too much of a burden on primary and high school students. Additionally, many of these over-expanded and anxiety-inflamed capital-backed after-school training institutions, which encroach on and adversely impact students’ childhood learning capabilities, have experienced the maximum penalties and have been laying off their employees. On the contrary, iFLYTEK’s share prices keep rising and have broken its own share price record.

The reason behind our impressive record is our method of “Teaching students according to their aptitudes,”, which is consistent with the idea of remaking schools as a students’ main place of study, effectively reducing the burden placed on students. Through replacing a crammed teaching environment with individualized learning, alongside the support of smart learning machines, we aim to make full use of the limited school time available and provide children more carefree time to foster creative thinking. We have increasingly witnessed that students’ grades have improved while shortening study periods: for example, a student can save 48% more time and practice on 32% less exercises in order to comprehend one subject. With iFLYTEK’s study aid, students now have more time to play, explore, and satisfy their curiosity. 

Education is the very foundation of both a country’s and society’s development. Without well-educated children, a country’s future will be at stake. As we stay true to creating and contributing more values for society, we can sail towards a brighter future where A.I. empowers education. 

Complementing our drive to improve the efficiency of education through A.I. innovation, we strive to create value in healthcare by providing improved and quicker responses to medical emergencies. During the COVID-19 resurgence in Hefei city, our pandemic control and prevention system played an important role in controlling the outbreak. In the pandemic resurgence in Guangzhou, iFLYTEK’s Pandemic Smart Prevention and control system promptly helped the city in the battle against the coronavirus. After the Nansha district of Guangzhou announced that they would reinforce efforts in pandemic control, the smart telephone chat robot in our system immediately started to make phone calls to 5,464 high-risk citizens to check their health conditions and provide contact-tracing services to reduce the spread of infection. It only took an hour to conclude that 853 people had been to middle and high-risk regions, and that 110 people had not conducted nucleic acid testing. 

See things in a dialectical and scientific way to avoid short-term anxiety

Some of our employees at our company are becoming anxious as pessimistic voices from the outside grow, telling us that the threshold of speech technology is decreasing. It has been a habit for iFLYTEK to persist in one single technology like speech technology and conduct in-depth research in that direction. This is how we developed transitioned from speech synthesis to speech recognition, and from machine translation to natural language understanding. However, if one stops at a single technology and does not explore new avenues of innovation, the market will be hindered by an abundance of competition. That is why we at iFLYTEK keep pioneering new paths in transformative technologies and exploring realms of thought that have yet to be ventured. In addition, we try to form our own core competence using systematic innovation in our strategic regional centers, all while building a unique and reputable brand.  

Many parents worry about their children’s grades early in their academic schooling, but they forget that education is also important in cultivating children’s study interest and curiosity, while forming good study habits and building physical health. iFLYTEK can help in this area: with our “Teaching according to students’ aptitudes” program, students obtain a better command of knowledge and have time saved for more innovative activities. Parents possess a better understanding on which subjects best suits their kids’ talents and, by empowering students to pursue their areas of strength, society gets gains generations better equipped in virtue, intelligence, physical condition, aesthetics, and work. These are some of iFLYTEK’s key contributions towards a more diverse talent selection and measurement system (aside from elevating school enrollment rates). As we continue to work to ease the burden of students and parents through scientific spirit and methods, we will stay true to creating values in an era where many people are anxious about what is to come.  

Leave your comfort zone and embrace a larger stage with scientific spirit 

Most people tend to stay in their comfort zones, but looking back at iFLYTEK’s past, we have constantly chosen to leave our comfort zone in order to keep pushing back the boundaries. 

In terms of technology, we progressed from speech synthesis to speech recognition, and then advanced to semantic understanding; applicable language developed from Chinese to English allowed for multiple languages being introduced into our system; innovations in speech technology then continued towards advances in imagery; from perception to cognition; from making machines capable of listening and speaking, to machines that can understand and think. It is through these consecutive breakthroughs that we grew stronger, and it is because of our forward-moving mentality that we a pioneer in A.I. and building the only State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Intelligence and one of the first four Open A.I. Platforms.  

From the perspective of business development, iFLYTEK was not complacent about language learning and smart test assessment, as we continued to develop the Teaching according to Aptitudes Program to provide students with a high-quality and balanced education. iFLYTEK did not stop at e-medical records or at a smart medical assistant and came up with the Smart Pandemic Prevention and Control System which significantly contributed to the battle against COVID-19. The company also wanted to develop separate from its excellent market share in the car-borne speech systems and close cooperation with many automakers, which led to our exploration of autonomous self-driving technology.

If we want to enter a larger stage, we need to do things that continue to increase our capabilities and to keep preparing ourselves to create more innovative technologies. Leaving our comfort zone is our method of risk prevention, and it is what we must do to achieve our dream of creating a better world through A.I.

iFLYTEK is leading the country in artificial intelligence with its own systematic innovation and government support.

There is no better way to predict your future development than creating it yourself. 

If we want to make more contributions to all of humanity, we will need to develop and attract more talented individuals and give those already within our team a bigger platform to put their ability to use. Currently, “muddle around” is a buzzword. There are many people who believe that competition right now is too fierce and that their pursuits cannot be realized by their efforts: however, the rising amount and popularity of knowledge-sharing videos online indicates just the opposite. Today’s youth are very self-driven and ambitious; they have their own dreams and distinctive characters. 

Our youth has enormous potential. Yet they lack the necessary platform to grow and to unleash that potential. In iFLYTEK, we are trying to prevent young people from losing their ambition and are encouraging their yearning to fight for a better life. We strive to create an enabling environment to ensure that every young person in our company displays their best performance and carries out our shared ideals. 

Here at iFLYTEK, we stand firmly against unnecessary competition. And by unnecessary competition, we mean useless formalism on trivial things, over-attention on building networks inside the organization, and the life-consuming word crafting work. To avoid the problem of unnecessary competition, we focus on the outside world and on long-term development. 

So, leaders in iFLYTEK need to understand that aspiring employees are better when they stand firm in their pursuits and choose to seek clarity in understanding. Young workers are faced with mounting pressures of earning for themselves and being a part of ever-increasing growth. We cannot see things in a “let-them-eat-cake” perspective and keep raising requirements for them. This would be unfair, of course, as young people need to have high ambitions to pursue. Exertion, however, needs to go alongside relaxation and because of that, iFLYTEK will continue to introduce more vigor into the organization by giving them more tangible rewards and a larger space to grow. 

With an aging population and a decreasing birth rate, we are losing young workers that could fill many work positions. We need A.I. to build a strong society and to make people’s lives happier. 

People age, but those who keep striving for a better life stay young. 

May you always have your grand dreams and aspirations with you.  

And let’s build a bright future together. 

  

Liu Qingfeng

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