iFLYTEK celebrated its 23rd anniversary on June 9 with a speech delivered by the company’s Chairman and founder Liu Qingfeng, an award ceremony for the Huaxia Innovation Prize launched in 2018 and other events including mountaineering.
Mr. Wang Renhua, a professor with the University of Science and Technology of China and the first chairman and chief scientist of iFLYTEK, also virtually attended the celebration.
“Innovation is the lifeline of an enterprise. Our original intention of launching the Huaxia Innovation Award in 2018 was to encourage all of you to innovate and contribute,” Wang said.
Reflecting on iFLYTEK’s journey, Wang said becoming an industry leader and following a doctrine of systematic innovation to achieve continuous progress has always been a priority for the company. It’s an intrinsic value of iFLYTEK to never stop innovating and always pursue its ambitions, he noted.
Thirty years ago, Liu Qingfeng, still a senior at the University of Science and Technology of China, was selected to carry out scientific research within the Human-Computer Voice Communication Laboratory. It is from that auspicious start that iFLYTEK built its strong foundation. “Opportunities are always there for those who are ready, and iFLYTEK continues to find opportunities to take off,” Liu Qingfeng said.
“Thank you, Professor Wang, for selflessly giving all your wisdom and contributions to the next generations,” Liu said.
He pointed out that to achieve sustained growth, two elements are indispensable—unalterable ambition and conscious gratitude.
The full text of Liu Qingfeng’s speech is as follows:
How time flies! We are now celebrating the 23rd birthday of iFLYTEK.
After 23 years, we are still young and vigorous, and still at an initial stage of our company. We have never for a single moment changed our goals and our love and passion for the industry.
Statistics show that iFLYTEK is the only A-share listed company in China that has been growing by 25% annually on average for 10 consecutive years.
It is my most sincere belief that while we continue to find new ways to adapt to changing times, we have succeeded in continuing on our path toward our greatest aspirations. There are three important elements leading our process—innovation and perseverance, coordinated business to government, business and individual customers to meet societal needs, and systematic innovation. The fundamental impetus for our path is our innate love and passion for the industry.
The iFLYTEK anniversary falls on June 9, following the national college entrance exam. As we are celebrating the birthday of iFLYTEK, we also wish the best of luck to all the exam participants.
Just like these students, we are facing challenges brought by the global and domestic economic situation. However, each test also brings enterprises and individuals opportunities that can act as a watershed moment in their development. The topic of my speech today is to “Make sustained progress and become a leader in our time”.
Since iFLYTEK was founded 23 years ago, it has been a source of pride that the company has developed the resiliency to maintain its course despite detours.
While there may be fluctuations in the short term, we must maintain our strategic composure and focus on our long-term trend.
Strategic composure means that we must continue to look at long-term development. Of the more than 4,000 listed A-share companies in China, iFLYTEK is the only one that has grown by 25% annually on average in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, the Shenzhen Component Index fell by 9%, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange market decreased by 10%.
Such development is attributable to the common efforts of our employees and our strategic development plans. Over the years, we have taken coordinated measures and conducted systematic innovation to develop our business to government, business, and consumer interactions, always exhibiting resilience in the process.
When the economy is performing well, we expand at a fast pace but maintain the ability to withdraw at any time. In undesirable economic environment, we act prudently but still strengthen our core strategies as they will help us stand firm when the economy begins to pick up again.
Each change and each challenge should become a valuable window of opportunity for us to further stand out, and further strengthen our edges.
Overall, we have been moving upwards and taking hard-won steps forward despite having to make detours and confront obstacles.
How can we connect each of the steps and challenges into a straight line that leads our development in the correct direction? We must keep our sights on future development, maintain our determination to develop as individuals alongside an insightful company, and integrate individual development with the company’s development—these are the key.
There are three key elements of sticking to a straight path despite detours:
• Firstly, innovation and perseverance, as highlighted in the company values;
• Secondly, coordinated development and systematic innovation to serve the needs of our government, business and individual customers. Previously, we worked to promote our business to business and consumer at the same time;
• Thirdly, iFLYTEK’s core motivation is our passion and inspiration to create a better world with artificial intelligence.
Thirty years ago, back in 1992, Mr. Wang Renhua chose me and others to work under him in his laboratory. In the 1970s, Mr. Wang had returned to China after studying in America and Japan to establish the Human-Computer Voice Communication Laboratory. Thanks to the continuous efforts and collaboration over decades, we have developed into the company we are today.
So, the true core element of iFLYTEK is our passion for artificial intelligence. We believe that AI will change the world for the better and so we have unalterably continued our course, full of pride, imagination, and passion.
In the beginning, we conducted research on Chinese speech synthesis and then moved to include speech recognition capabilities, semantic understanding technologies, and more languages. We also expanded into photo recognition, multi-modal perception, and multidimensional expression. To enable machines to perceive and recognize, to understand and consider—this is the iFLYTEK goal.
And what is the core element of expanding our business? To enable machines to listen and speak, understand, and think, and to eventually create a better world with artificial intelligence—this is our fundamental logic.
iFLYTEK Strategy: Stay strategically composed to make stable progress.
Facing the economic pressure caused by the pandemic, iFLYTEK made a strategic plan to make stable progress by prioritizing the main business and meeting rigid social demands through systematic innovation.
To remain “stable”, we need to steadily promote our main businesses and cut unnecessary spending to ensure cost-efficiency and healthy cash flows. We should focus on the core issues that will generate value in the long-term.
To make “progress”, we must take robust measures to promote key strategies and conduct systematic innovation to meet major social needs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, iFLYTEK demonstrated a great sense of social responsibility. We quickly responded to the government’s public service needs and made investments without considering the returns. This approach was taken out of our believe that only when society is stable and the pandemic is under control can we enjoy growth. Therefore, we must make our contributions first.
Wherever our technologies and products could help, we rushed to send them across the country as needed. For example, we developed the All-in-Wan App and health codes for Anhui residents, serving more than 80 million people on 5.2 billion occasions. The outbound call system we developed helped communities around the country prevent and control the pandemic by conducting massive automatic screening calls to more than 23 million individuals. In Shushan District of Hefei, for example, our outbound call system made outbound calls to 220,000 people within 3 hours, far outpacing manual performance.
We have also actively worked to provide services that ensure continued learning despite suspended classes for students in Jilin, Shanghai, and other schools around the country impacted by the pandemic. As of now, we have served 6,370 teachers and 230,000 students across 1,313 schools around the country and helped assign more than 217 million homework tasks through our systems and products.
The pandemic is the touchstone of enterprises’ missions and values. During the pandemic, many iFLYTEK employees relocated closer to customers to solve their local problems. That’s of great pride to us.
However, we should not feel complacent about making contributions during social crisis. We must also rationally and scientifically improve the services and functions of our systems and products so that they can serve not only public purposes but be promoted on a large scale.
We have worked to achieve scientific pandemic prevention and control at the lowest costs possible. We launched a precise prevention and control system based on our Smart Medical Assistant and intelligent outbound call systems. By combining the general practitioner capacity of the Smart Medical Assistant and our speech technologies into a tool for family doctors and community workers, we could quickly understand the health status of patients in a community and identify the key groups requiring follow-up attention. For example, the system can quickly identify expecting women and patients requiring dialysis, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, then notify community workers to provide adequate medical services. For the elderly and disabled living alone, the system enables proactive preventive care to reduce the risk of accidents. Patients with chronic diseases and other members of the public can gain online medical consultancy.
Beginning this April, our AI pandemic prevention and control solutions for crisis handling and routine use have been highly recognized in multiple Chinese cities, creating new and unique business opportunities for the company.
Without speech technologies, we wouldn’t have been able to replace human workers in making massive automatic survey calls; without the general practitioner capacity of the Smart Medical Assistant, our system wouldn’t have been able to carry out in-depth conversions with people; and without the back-end system, the existing systems couldn’t be connected.
The Smart Medical Assistant has become an ever more important tool for doctors and medical practitioners. It is now regularly used in grassroots medical organizations in 340 counties around China and has successfully updated 170 million medical records while assisting with 450 million treatments, correcting 520,000 misdiagnoses, and recognizing 34.93 million incorrect prescriptions.
The Smart Medical Assistant went through a major upgrade this year from helping doctors make diagnoses to also recognizing unscientific prescriptions. There will continue to be a growing need for such a function.
Only when enterprises shoulder social responsibility and meet complex social needs can they become a mainstay of the times.
To improve quality and efficiency, and long-term development,
the most fundamental thing is our team.
To improve quality, efficiency, and long-term development, the most fundamental thing is our team. Facing all the opportunities and challenges, iFLYTEK pursues a human resources strategy of “staying strategically composed to make stable progress.” To remain “stable”, iFLYTEK supports the growth of our employees; to gain “progress”, it sustains investment in core businesses and those of strategic importance. Development is the last word, and to forge ahead is our company’s mainstream. Meanwhile, as high-caliber talents bring about high-quality development, we have been bringing in high-end talent and outstanding college graduates while strengthening internal talent training to optimize our staff structure and enhance the core competence of the company. While working to achieve maintain healthier growth, we are also preparing for greater opportunities in the future.
The iFLYTEK dream will come true on a new base.
Now, another piece of good news – the first phase of the iFLYTEK artificial intelligence R&D and production base has begun.
The lot area is over 800 mu (53.3 hectares) and the floor area will be about 300 mu (20 hectares). The complex will house a subway, a business zone, residential buildings, and schools.
We want to build a new headquarter located in a park-like base and open the first floor of the buildings to the public, creating another park in the city. The main building resembles a Ruyi scepter, or a ship, symbolizing that we will travel steadily and far, forging through all the winds and waves.
The office buildings will have well-arranged workspaces with green plants and abundant sunlight, while also having tracks on the rooftops for our employees to jog on. The facilities will be effectively used, creating a sound working environment that enhances the internal communication efficiency by 13% to 14%.
We will also set up some theme zones. For example, in the section called “Hear the Flowers Blooming”, there will be flowers and bells that make unique sounds in winds and rains. There will also be an exercise zone with machines that generate electricity when used. On the AI music square, you can act like a conductor and guide it to play the music you like.
The HQ will combine industry and city functions and enable our employees to strike a balance between work and life. It will become our home and will be full of innovation, inspiration, and imagination; a headquarter close to nature and a landmark in the future.
We hope to enable all iFLYTEK employees to lead productive and satisfying careers by creating a sound working and living environment for them, and by promoting both the industrial and individual development. We hope that they will march toward the future with ambition and imagination to gain even greater growth and progress.
Looking into the future: iFLYTEK Launches the 2030 Super Brain Plan with 7 programs.
At our year-end celebrations of the lunar year 2021, we launched the iFLYTEK Super Brain 2030 Plan for future development. The plan aims to further our research on perceptual intelligence, enable machines to gain the capacity of comprehensively using human language and knowledge in terms of cognitive intelligence, and move toward artificial intelligence software and hardware development in motion intelligence research.
We officially launched the iFLYTEK Super Brain 2030 Plan on May 4 of this year, and started the first batch of 7 projects around the short-term goals. The 7 projects focus on basic future-oriented algorithms, multimodal perception and multi-dimensional expression technology, cognitive intelligence 2.0 and interactive brain algorithms, motion intelligence algorithms and key robotics software and hardware, virtual figures systems and applications, robotics research and application, and the construction of the adolescent depression screening platform. All the projects have backbone technicians and R&D teams as well as investment of key resources, ready to progress steadily.
We must maintain our strategic determination on the 2030 Super Brain Plan. We shall not cease investment in the plan amid short-term economic fluctuations and are encouraged by our results from knowledge reasoning and motor intelligence research, among other fields.
Facing a rapidly aging population in China, we must rely on family companion robotics to help seniors to maintain and expand their quality of life. AI applications are also indispensable for achieving balanced education and better medical services, given rising human resource costs.
Today, while we are celebrating the 23rd anniversary of iFLYTEK, I think we are still in an initial stage of our cause. I believe the iFLYTEK Super Brain 2030 Plan and artificial intelligence will profoundly change the world, and that the next 5 years will be important in our development.
We must make practical efforts and achieve breakthroughs through systematic innovation to meet rigid customer demands and gain generation-gap advantages over our competitors.
We must be the mainstay to drive the development of the whole industry, which means that we need to progress with greater strategic determination to move steady and far.
Today, I feel very happy and blessed to stand on such a stage where we persevere together. iFLYTEK hopes to become a mainstay of the industry together with all of you!