Jeff Cao: from intern to Vivo CEO
A dynamic leader for an innovative mobile tech brand
Six months ago the vision for Vivo in SA was just beginning to roll out. Launched in December 2019, the innovative mobile technology brand entered the market with two easy-to-handle, high-spec, well-priced phones — the Y11 and Y91C.
The decision to enter, however, has been a long time coming. It made sense for Vivo, the world’s fourth-largest cellphone brand with more than 300-million users globally, to enter the local market, where it’s estimated half the population use smartphones.
“Vivo plans to provide SA consumers with a user experience beyond expectations through technology and innovative, trendsetting products,” says Jeff Cao, Vivo SA CEO. “Within three years, the company plans to sit in the top-tier segment of cellphone brands in SA.”
Cao, a young, dynamic business leader is deeply invested in the Vivo brand, having joined the company as an intern when it launched in 2011.
“My career started with Vivo,” he says. “I witnessed the changes in the industry and the growth of Vivo as a brand.”
Launching in SA brings a whole new set of challenges. “Learning the culture and the consumer demand of the SA market from scratch was the biggest challenge for me. I believe that as long as we adhere to the concept of ‘more local and more global’, all challenges are only a matter of time,” says Cao.
“I believe in changing what is changeable, accepting what is mutable and using wisdom to tell the difference.”
In his time at Vivo, Cao managed the Thailand launch and ran that office for more than five years, ensuring he gained knowledge to ensure the brand became more localised and in line with the preferences of the SA consumer, while maintaining the core values of technology and innovation.
Globally, Vivo has nine research & development (R&D) centres around the world, five production bases and a total 80% of staff engaged in R&D work. “This level of commitment to innovation ensures the Vivo experience keeps evolving,” says Cao.
Cao believes in immersing the brand into SA society by fulfilling corporate social responsibilities through the #VivoCares initiative, proving that Vivo is not just a smartphone brand but also a brand that invests in its community: “Vivo came with the dream of building an international first-class brand for South Africans — and we will pursue that dream.”
An insatiable demand for 5G on a global scale has seen Vivo emerge as the leader in this area, being one of the only companies with a mid-range 5G smartphone on offer. This product is set to launch in SA in the second half of 2020.
“We envisage that by 2023 when young people in SA think of mobile phones they think of Vivo.”
This article was paid for by Vivo.