The Story of William Li Bin, Founder of NIO

William Li was born on August 9th, 1974, in a modest village in China’s Anhui province. His early life was marked by hard work, as his parents toiled in a coal mine and a garment factory. Raised primarily by his grandparents and uncle, William experienced a childhood in a village so impoverished that it didn’t have electricity until he was ten years old.

Despite modest expectations from his parents, who hoped he would attend a technical school, William had grander ambitions. At 17, he achieved the highest score in the national university entrance exams in his province, earning admission to Peking University, the nation’s top university. During his time there, he pursued three undergraduate degrees, including sociology, computer science, and law, with a strong focus on computer science.

It became clear to him that his future lay in information technology and computer programming. Throughout his university years, he juggled an intense academic workload with an astonishing 50 part-time jobs, ranging from tutoring to sales to computer programming.

In the 1990s, during a period of rapid economic development in China, William seized the opportunity and founded his first company, Beijing Antarctic Technology Development Company. It was one of China’s earliest internet companies. However, his real breakthrough came with BitAuto, an online car review website founded in 2000, which eventually evolved into China’s top marketing platform for buying and selling used cars. Despite early financial challenges, William persevered and bought out his co-founders’ shares, ultimately taking BitAuto public in 2010.

In 2014, just four years later, he embarked on his next venture, Yixin, a company specializing in auto financing for consumers. By this time, William had already achieved billionaire status with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes.

However, his most ambitious venture was yet to come. Drawing on decades of experience in the automotive and technology industries, William set out to create a revolutionary electric car company, #NIO. Backed by some of China’s most prominent entrepreneurs, NIO rapidly gained recognition, winning a Formula E championship in 2015, building the world’s fastest autonomous supercar ( #EP9 ) , and introducing flagship smart vehicles : ES8, ES6, EC6, ET7, ET5, ET5T, ES7, EC7

NIO’s commitment to customer service and innovation set it apart. The company’s AI assistant, #Nomi, received widespread acclaim for its responsiveness to in-car voice commands. NIO also pioneered battery swap stations, allowing EV owners to recharge more quickly than traditional charging methods.

Despite comparisons to Elon Musk and Tesla, William Lee emphasized that NIO’s approach differed in many aspects, focusing on areas where Tesla faced challenges. He credited exceptional customer service and attention to detail as keys to NIO’s success.

While William dedicated much of his time to NIO, he maintained a humble and frugal lifestyle, choosing not to own real estate and preferring high-speed trains for travel. His wife, a news anchor, supported his dedication to the company and viewed his role as a valuable example for their children.

In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, William Lee was also recognized for successful investments.

William Lee’s journey exemplifies determination, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of his vision, making him a unique figure in the world of entrepreneurship and electric vehicles. Despite the challenges, he remains focused on NIO’s mission, anticipating another decade of hard work before it fully materializes.

EV Evangelist, Passionate About Electric Vehicles/Mobility. Tune in on X : @HDEONEV