Bearing the Ambition of a Student, Gathering Gleams into Rays of Lights

Feb 03, 2023

Li Xinyi, gentle but determined, has grown with Sinocare for 20 years


In 2013, Li Xinyi drew up a blueprint in her last leadership class at the university: to make a Chinese blood glucose meter company step into the top five ranks in the world in the coming five years. To hand over this class assignment, she mentioned Sinocare Inc. (Sinocare for short), founded by her father, Li Shaobo, in 2002 and went public in 2012.


In 2016, as the assistant to the chairman, she engaged in and witnessed the merger of two U.S. companies, making Sinocare become the fifth-largest blood glucose meter company in the world. The armchair strategist in the student days has become a ranger to lead the way by shouldering responsibilities and having passion.


A seed of the dream


When Li Xinyi was young, she only knew Sinocare was her father's enterprise that involved his painstaking efforts and existed like her "brother or sister". When she was a junior school student, she always went to visit every corner of the corporate during her off-school time, being curious about everything in the laboratory and production workshops. In that small laboratory, she received her first salary in her life - 13.5 yuan for washing test tubes.


In 2009, Li Xinyi went to the United States alone to study international trade. When she returned to China during the holidays, she worked as an intern in the International Sales Department to make further "intimate contact" with the company. From a conversation with a college classmate, she began understanding her father's original intention of founding the company.


"I studied nutrition as an elective course in college. A U.S. student majoring in nursing once asked me why I chose it as it is far from international trade. I told her this was because my father is running a company committed to helping people with diabetes. To my surprise, she told me very unaffectedly that she has type 1 diabetes." Her knowledge and calm attitude towards diabetes reminded Li Xinyi of the opposite situation in China as high incidence, low awareness rate, low discovery rate, and low sugar control rate are seen among diabetics.


As a result, her father's "dream of diabetes management" gradually emerged from the pretty girl’s childhood memories, and she began to understand his father's dedication to realizing the "early prevention, early detection, and early intervention" of diabetes in China. After graduating from the university, she chose to work and study at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Founded in 1970, the nonprofit organization funds researches on type 1 diabetes, provides extensive community and rights activists services to people with type 1 diabetes, and advocates for regulations that favor medical research and the discovery of new treatments and the approval of drugs.


After Sinocare entered the global leading camp of blood glucose meters, Li Xinyi "encountered" Sinocare products in Times Square, New York


"My work experience in JDRF helps me understand that the awareness of diabetes in the United States is much higher than that in China. Since the United States improved its awareness rate through popularization and education, Sinocare can help popularize blood glucose meters and improve the effectiveness of self-blood glucose management of diabetics in China by "allowing every Chinese diabetic to have a blood glucose meter." Unknowingly, the same dream was rooted in Li Xinyi's heart.


A Journey of the Brave


Having set her goals, Li Xinyi resigned from JDRF and returned to China to join Sinocare. It was in December 2014 when Sinocare moved to the new location, an independent industrial park, on Guyuan Road in Changsha High-tech Zone as it saw 2-years of steady business growth after being listed.

The brand-new corporate greeted her with the first cross-border M&A negotiation. For six months, she had been in all-night meetings and maintained a state of mental tension all the time as intense negotiations went on every day. However, her wholehearted devotion did not bring the expected results, and the M&A failed. Instead of being upset, she reflected on the case: "We have learned the advantages of other companies in this process, and we also get to know it is more meaningful to give up than to persist blindly when we have to make some choices. As a blood glucose meter company rooted in China, Sinocare needs more planned and holistic growth if we want to go global.”


In 2018, Li Xinyi (the third from the left in the front row), Li Shaobo (the third from the right in the front row), and the Sinocare team went to the United States to negotiate the acquisition of Johnson & Johnson's diabetes business

Later, Li Xinyi started a half-year tour of the Chinese market. From south to north, she has set foot in 23 provinces, 4 autonomous regions, and 4 municipalities. Wherever she went, she assumed the user role of communicating with local salespersons and pharmacy clerks, collecting problems and facing actual user requirements. When the trip ended, she returned to the headquarters in Changsha with more than 300 problems and summarized them into 60 for communication and resolution at the business meeting one by one.


Bearing in mind “facing up to and solving a problem whenever it occurs", Li Xinyi, who humbly believes that she is "not courageous enough", showed her great courage in taking over the marketing in 2018: "I took up this challenge without hesitation, though I was not fully prepared. Later I began to think about how to start from our long-term interests instead of being confined to the present." She had taken the pressure of poor growth on data in the short run when she made the decision not to base on data growth and led Sinocare to a user-centered development path as guided by her expectations, which fits with the enterprise mission of "providing superior products and services for patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and helping them improve their quality of life".

From managing the design at the beginning to the brand and marketing later, Li Xinyi’s believes different jobs are of the same nature, although she leads a team with completely different duties: “Brand management and the design aim to establish a brand image and convey to users that Sinocare is a company committed to the health management of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Sinocare's marketing team is also positioned as a "health consultant" and "education advisor" to provide products and services for people with diabetes and other chronic diseases in an all-around way. "

Being a new helm of Sinocare is undoubtedly enviable for others, but there are not always flowers and cheers along the way as people imagine. For Li Xinyi, it has more significance in overcoming all obstacles and moving forward.


Becoming the shining beam of light


" I grew up with Sinocare, and Sinocare grows with me." When Sinocare develops and grows, Li Xinyi has been sparing no effort but preoccupied with something else: hope to establish a public welfare foundation for diabetes.


Li Xinyi is a volunteer with long-time service history. As the Hunan Honghui Education Development Foundation (“Honghui Foundation”) focusing on rural education was launched in 2008, Li Shaobo, co-founder and vice chairman, presented in some charity activities, and his practice drove his family to join. Li Xinyi was deeply moved during face-to-face contact with rural children: "These children can't choose their birthplace and family, but they are not burdened by it and still strive to pursue their dreams with hope."


After studying in the United States, the "confession" of a classmate with type 1 diabetes and the work experience at JDRF reminded Li Xinyi of the rural children he had been in contact with: "Type 1 diabetes mostly occurs among teenagers, and those children cannot choose to have it or not. I hope that diabetes education will be popularized in society and people will correctly understand diabetes. Besides, they can live a happy and healthy life like those rural children who are chasing their dreams and freely talk about diabetes they have like my classmate without worrying."


In January 2019, with the mission of "helping people with diabetes live a happy and healthy life through education and innovation", Li Xinyi united Li Shaobo, Cai Xiaohua, and Sinocare had registered and established the first foundation for diabetic groups in mainland China- Sinocare Diabetes Foundation (“Sinocare Foundation”), who advocates "caring for diabetics together".


Over the past three years, Sinocare Foundation has provided psychological services, diabetes knowledge training and peer support for newly diagnosed patients with type 1 diabetes, and basic economic support for families of patients with type 1 diabetes who are in financial difficulties; It worked with many Chinese hospitals and volunteers from all over the world and hold a variety of summer camps and patient education activities; It also called on well-known news media to jointly popularize diabetes knowledge and published a comic book about type 1 diabetes "Who Took my Insulin", etc.

Volunteers from Sinocare Foundation painted a picture scroll with children with type 1 diabetes


On Children's Day in 2021, Sinocare Foundation and the Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University co-produced and released the first science animation about type 1 diabetes Sweet Diary. This cartoon explains "what is type 1 diabetes?", "How to use insulin?", "how to better control blood glucose in school?" and other common questions for people with type 1 diabetes to face in life. A smart, cute and eccentric AI elf "Tang Xiaochao (Little Glueclose Superman)" was created and sprang out to give prompt help and answers whenever the type 1 diabetic protagonist encounters a problem in the cartoon.


"It is difficult for children to understand popular science content, so we just explain type 1 diabetes through simple and interesting animations, helping them understand and learn about diabetes entertainingly." Giving charity with empathy, Li Xinyi hopes she can cover everything.


Leonard Cohen wrote in "the Ode": "There are cracks in everything, and they are where the light comes in." Only with cracks can there be light entering, and only then can we look forward to the existence of light. The gleam of Sinocare Foundation is illuminating the health dreams of more children with type 1 diabetes.


"A Young person" who keeps walking


The Little Mermaid is her favorite Disney animation character. "She knows what she wants to become and what she wants to achieve in the end. She is a character with a strong sense of goals. Of course, she is also beautiful." Li Xin said with a smile.


Li Xinyi was overwhelmed as she had been shouldering the weight of the dreams of two generations early on. Whenever it occurs, she puts aside her work for the moment and stays with her beloved Disney and Lego. If what she gained from Disney is childlike innocence and happiness, then what she gained from Lego is calmness and persistence, as well as a slight sense of accomplishment in constantly completing Lego works, all of which gave her the courage to move forward and the joy of looking back at ease.


After a proper "blank" period, Li Xinyi, who returned to work, set off again with ease and energy, and she hopes that Sinocare will always maintain a "young" status: "Enterprises must have ambitions and realize their social value in addition to corporate value. Sinocare has never been a company that is content with the status quo and sticks to the established rules. Because of the thousands of employees joining and kept motivated, Sinocare has been able to maintain its vitality."


Li Xinyi, who recalled the past, was very touched at the Sinocare 20th Anniversary Ceremony

In 2022, Sinocare will be 20 years old, and Li Xinyi will also "Unlocked" her new role as a mother. She named her daughter Li Nuona, who was born on Sinocare’s 20th anniversary, hoping the little girl would "maintain the enthusiasm of shouting and become the person she wanted to be" just like what she received from her parents.


The business planning blueprint of her student days has been realized ahead of schedule. Li Xinyi and the "young" Sinocare are still on the road to pursuing their dreams: "I hope that Sinocare will develop into a company that brings benefits to mankind. Just like our vision changes from "being a driver in popularizing blood glucose meter in China” at the beginning to "becoming a leading diabetes management specialist in the world” today, we hope that people with diabetes can live a happy and healthy life. I will work toward this goal together with Sinocare! "

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