J. Wong: Meizu's Hero or Enemy?

Flora F.T. Chiang, Chi Zhang, Thomas A. Birtch

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case presents the development trajectory of Meizu, a well-known smartphone brand in China, including its inception, rapid rise, and gradual decline, as well as how the leadership characteristics of J. Wong, its founder, precipitated both its success and failure. High school dropout Wong founded the company in 2002. As a result of the company's superb product quality, Meizu became the leading company in China's MP3 player market. In 2006, Wong realized that MP3 players would gradually give way to smartphones and decided to switch production to the latter. He had a perfectionist approach to product development. After three years of R&D and rejecting two versions he deemed unsatisfactory, he finally launched the M8, Meizu's first mobile phone. To craft a comfortable wooden back cover for the MX3, he even made 31 models using a woodworking plane. He was also one of the first people to ride the wave of the fan economy and internet marketing, and frequently discussed technological topics with users on the Meizu BBS forum. In the past, when copycat mobile phones inundated the market, Wong's geeky personality garnered attention and a vast fan base for Meizu. However, as the market gradually matured and competition intensified, Meizu slowly fell behind. It only launched one smartphone model per year, and its excessive perfectionism meant it could not keep up with the competition. What kind of person was Wong? How should we evaluate the successes and crises he has brought to the company? This case sheds light on how the personality traits of a company's leader could affect the development of both the leader himself and the company.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

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Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Leader’s traits
  • leader's traits
  • dark side
  • derailment
  • leadership

Case studies discipline

  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Behavior

Case studies industry

  • Information, Media & Telecommunications
  • Manufacturing


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