"Small" Business Finds a Big Outlet

Steel has a wide range of categories and uses. It is the earliest and most used basic material in modern industry. It is widely used in various industries such as construction, machinery, and automobiles. It is an important material for national infrastructure construction. With the rapid development of modern industry, the demand for steel products in various fields has grown strongly, which has also heated up the steel trade.

According to the statistics of the China Iron and Steel Industry Association, in 2022, the country will accumulatively produce 1.013 billion tons of crude steel and 1.340 billion tons of steel. It is only 1.5% to 2%. Steel trade is generally a large-scale transaction, with large batches and high prices as the basic characteristics of the industry, while the needs of small enterprises are scattered and small batches, so they face many procurement difficulties and pain points.” Huang Qian and his partners founded Shanghai Moshu Accessories Industrial Technology Co., Ltd., "MOOPEC", which paid attention to the "small" needs in the industry, and then found a big way out for development.

Figure 1: Moopec

Focus on Long Tail Customers

There is a theory in economics called the long tail effect, that is, the future of business is not in popular products or the head of the traditional demand curve, but in the infinitely long tail of the demand curve. "People generally pay attention to the needs of the top, but often forget the long tail. In fact, long-tail customers have many individualized and scattered needs, and they will form a larger market segment." The so-called small profit big market, Huang Qian According to the introduction, "Mopeike" is committed to providing B2B products in small batches of steel, as well as integrated services of product consultation, sales, processing, logistics and after-sales, to help customers solve the difficulties in purchasing scattered and small batches of steel.

"The accumulation of small markets will bring obvious long-tail effects. The small-volume metal material supplier for customers in the industrial field is our positioning for ourselves." Huang Qian said that since its establishment in 2018, due to its clear positioning and touch Quasi-industry pain points, by the end of 2021, the turnover of "MOOPEC" has exceeded 600 million yuan. At present, after 5 years of accumulation and practice, the company's customers include the world's top 500 companies, more than 150 domestic end customers and more than 500 industry customers.

There are many difficulties in the small batch procurement of steel, so how does "Mopeike" do it? Huang Qian introduced that thanks to the partners' more than 10 years of entrepreneurial experience in the steel field, they have their own downstream processing The factory can realize independent inventory, matching and cutting, and then increase the wholesale business of large quantities by improving the supply service system. "In layman's terms, 'Mopac' is like a fruit wholesaler. Retail investors can come to us to buy fruit without having to communicate directly with the fruit growers, which in turn helps them save a lot of time and cost." Said Huang.

At the beginning of his business, Huang Qian planned to solve the long-tail problem by building an e-commerce information platform, but he soon found that this road was difficult to go through. "Because of the particularity of steel, companies are not very good at or unwilling to purchase online. Only when a strong trust relationship is established between the two parties can the purchase and delivery of steel be possible, and it is difficult to accumulate such trust and resources.” “So Huang Qian immediately changed his thinking and led the team to start from offline business.

"In our line of business, there are not many people who can really conduct business negotiations with foreign companies, and my experience in foreign companies gives the company an advantage in this regard." Therefore, while striving to develop the domestic market, Huang Qian began to lead a team to look for orders overseas. In November 2019, Huang Qian spent hundreds of thousands of yuan to lead a team to Germany to participate in the Stuttgart International Sheet Metal Exhibition, and occupied the special booth, and won a large order in one fell swoop. In 2022, they went to the Hannover International Sheet Metal Processing Technology Exhibition in Germany, and while receiving orders, they also greatly enhanced their brand influence.

Try to Change Roles

Steel prices fluctuate greatly, often in a state of strong shocks, and there are various factors that affect steel prices. In addition to the relationship between supply and demand, it is also restricted by various conditions such as economy, cost, and technology. In addition, the prices of relevant domestic steel products are also inextricably linked with the international market. "In order to grasp the price trend, we need to always pay attention to the price changes in the international steel product spot market and the real-time market conditions of steel product futures." Said Huang, "At the same time , but also to be aware of current events at home and abroad, because geopolitical conflicts will also exacerbate the impact on the steel market.''

Huang Qian said with a smile that since he started his business, his role has changed a lot. At first, he only wanted to start making steel from the technical level. Later, he found that it was not feasible, so he turned to trade. Now, with the gradual financial development of the steel industry chain He became "financial again, but steel is a carrier".

''I didn't know anything before, and the road was all made out. Huang Qian said that they began to participate in the domestic futures market for risk hedging because they faced the test of business adjustment ability and risk management ability.

At the beginning, the company invited a professional team to conduct futures trading operations, but he soon discovered, "No one can help you make a decision. As an entrepreneur, you need to have super decisive power, even if this decision is wrong.''

After learning from the painful experience, Huang Qian decided to participate and make decisions by himself. "I started to learn continuously, and this learning also includes mentality. When the futures skyrocket, you need to remain rational; when facing a sharp drop, you need to overcome your fear and show your courage." Said Huang, "I want to have Strong comprehensive judgment ability, which is a great challenge to personal thinking and vision."

Before starting his business, Huang Qian worked for Accenture, a well-known consulting company. As a global architect, although the work was very busy at that time, "but you are in a state of certainty every day, unlike now that you need to face too much uncertainty all the time, the pressure is really great." But it is precisely In the midst of many uncertainties, Huang Qian saw more possibilities for himself, and in the process of constantly seeing himself clearly, he also constantly improved himself.

Since its establishment, "MOPAK" has continuously iterated and entered a new stage of high-quality development-at the beginning of 2021, it completed a joint venture with the steel and silver e-commerce company listed on the New Third Board, and established Shanghai Jiuzhongjin Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd.; the same year , set up an offshore company in Singapore, and established branches in Wuhan and Shijiazhuang; in 2022, began to participate in business incubation· …

Experience is Wealth

Huang Qian is a native of Shenyang, Liaoning. He entered Shenyang University in 1997 and majored in physics. ''I once wanted to apply for a major in computer science, because I loved playing games in high school, I liked computers very much, I liked to read professional newspapers and magazines, and I could tinker with some technologies by myself. "But because his mother thought that it would be easier to continue his studies as a major in physics, Huang Qian finally followed his mother's advice.


After entering university, Huang Qian did not give up his hobbies. In the era when the Internet still needed a telephone line, he obtained Microsoft certification certificates (MCSE, MCDBA) through self-study. "At that time, this certificate was very popular, and there were very few people who had passed the exam." Therefore, Huang Qian was invited to give lectures by a training institution in his junior year. "Passing the exam does not mean that he can teach. Expand your knowledge. In order to catch up with the schedule, you often prepare your lessons at night and go to class the next morning." Although it is a bit rushed, such high-intensity teaching also exercises Huang Qian's learning and communication skills.

After graduating in 2001, because his mother was working in Shanghai, Huang Qian came to Shanghai to apply for a job, and successively joined an information service company and a consulting company. "Although I have been working in the computer field after graduation, although I have forgotten a lot of professional knowledge, I have to say that the physics major is very helpful to exercise my logical thinking ability." Said Huang.

The two working experiences in Shanghai have greatly cultivated Huang Qian's information-based thinking ability and English conversation ability. Especially the working experience in a consulting company has honed Huang Qian's decision-making and communication skills.

After working for more than ten years, in order to broaden his horizons and improve his standing, in September 2012, Sai Huang chose to study for a master's degree in business administration at Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It was during his study at Jiaotong University that Huang Qian met his current partner. "At the beginning, we went to the United States to study together as visiting scholars at the Eisenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. During the past six months, we also established a deep friendship while rushing to catch up on papers and courses. After returning from the study tour, we came up with the idea of starting a business together .” Huang Qian recalled.

In the five years since he started his business, Huang Qian summed up his entrepreneurial experience of "three hearts and two hearts". Try to start with market segments, which often contain new opportunities." At the same time, entrepreneurship is not a one-person job. It needs to consider the will of entrepreneurial partners, employees, and customers. Only by combining their ideas can the business grow bigger and bigger. . "For the future, Huang Qian is full of confidence.

Expert Reviews

Steel trade is a traditional and huge industry. Based on the vigorous development of China's steel industry and the huge market demand, there are unlimited business opportunities for steel trade, and the steel trade market in Shanghai is also very prosperous. In recent years, the rise of the industrial Internet and the application of financial tools have brought new opportunities and challenges to the steel trading industry. It is such a traditional and challenging industry that Huang Zai and his "Mopac" cut into.

Huang Qian's team uses the long-tail theory to start from long-tail customers, pays attention to the pain points of long-tail customers and strives to meet their needs, so it has a larger market opportunity. Several years of entrepreneurial practice shows that, as a steel trader focusing on long-tail customers, "Mopac" helps small and medium-sized enterprises to solve purchases with large specifications and small batches through integrated services of product consultation, sales, processing, logistics and after-sales Pain point, using steel cutting processing and distribution production lines to meet the last mile needs of customers, has gained a firm foothold in the fiercely competitive steel trade market, and has blazed its own path; actively researching and using futures financial instruments to hedge against market fluctuations Taking risks, giving full play to the advantages of international talents, and vigorously expanding foreign markets to seek greater profit margins are the two distinctive features of this team that are different from ordinary domestic steel traders.

Since the second half of 2022, the iron and steel industry has changed from the good development trend of the previous few years, and the price has been falling all the way. The situation is very severe, and it is still in a downturn. This has brought greater challenges to the steel trade. Therefore, I hope that Huang Qian and his "MOOPEC" can face the challenge, seize the opportunity in the crisis, work hard, and break out their own path. I have a few suggestions for reference:

  1. Pay attention to the construction of agile supply chain and improve the service ability of small and medium-sized enterprises. Cutting processing and logistics distribution are one of the core competitiveness of steel trading enterprises. It is necessary to learn the business model of excellent steel trading enterprises, continuously strengthen the construction of agile supply chain, provide personalized and convenient services for small and medium-sized enterprises, and differentiate themselves from big traders. Minimize competition and expand market space.
  2. Pay attention to the development and sales of high value-added products, and look for blue oceans in the red ocean market. Conventional products have fierce competition and small profit margins, while products with special needs from customers, although small in batches, have high added value, stable channels, and large profit margins, which are worth developing and expanding.
  3. Pay attention to both domestic and foreign markets, and actively expand the international market by giving full play to its advantages. This team with an international background already has certain experience in international trade, which is a very good foundation for development. Therefore, it is necessary to give full play to the international experience and capabilities of the team, respond to the national "Belt and Road" initiative, and increase the expansion of overseas markets.
  4. Pay attention to the application of online and offline platforms, and use the respective advantages of online and offline to expand the market. Due to the particularity of the steel trade market, the offline market space is still huge at the moment when the industrial Internet is popular, but the role of online platforms cannot be ignored. With the construction and development of online platforms and the continuous improvement of supply chains and capital chains, online platforms will inevitably become more and more important. We must actively use new platforms and new technologies to promote the transformation and upgrading of traditional trade.
  5. Pay attention to the application of futures financial instruments and do a good job in preventing market risks. Futures financial instruments are double-edged swords. If used well, they can hedge market risks, but if used poorly, they may expand market risks. It is necessary to learn the painful lessons of the bulk trade market in this regard, and make steady and long-term progress to achieve great success.

(Hu Yi, the general manager of Shanghai Wusongkou Pioneering Park, an incubator under China Baowu, an outstanding mentor of the Central Enterprise Star Innovation and Creativity Competition, and an outstanding innovation and entrepreneurial talent in the Zhangjiang National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone, won the "Hurun Report" 2020 Technology Transfer Industry Outstanding Contribution Award)

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