Anker’s products can be found primarily on Amazon. The company sells various technical goods – from cables and power adapters to powerbanks, headphones and webcams. But who is actually behind Anker?
Why an American-Chinese company should be christened with this name may not be obvious at first glance. Perhaps it simply has to do with the fact that an anchor stands for safety, since it keeps a ship in place. In a figurative sense, this would mean that an anchor product guarantees the customer reliable quality. Much more likely, however, the name refers to electrical engineering, where the rotor of an electric motor is called an anchor.
A billion-dollar company by chance
But the story of Anker is definitely astonishing and reads a bit like that of the dishwasher who became a millionaire. Steven Young, founder of Anker Innovations Ltd., was never a dishwasher, but worked as a software developer for Google in the noughties. The millionaire thing shouldn’t be taken quite literally, either. After all, Anker’s turnover last year was not millions, but a billion dollars.
So it’s a success story, and yet Anker is actually the result of a coincidence. To support his girlfriend, who was running an online store at the time, with the logistics, Young developed a corresponding software. After a short time, however, several hundred orders a day had to be processed. For Young, this was virtually an awakening experience. So on July 1, 2001, he quit Google, borrowed money from his family and founded Anker with his girlfriend, who is now his wife.
Anker now has 30 million customers
The business idea back then was simple. Anker initially only sold replacement batteries for laptops that could keep up with the originals from the manufacturers in terms of quality. While the company initially relabeled purchased parts, it soon began producing them itself, encouraged by its success. Today, around ten years later, the company claims to have more than 30 million customers in more than 100 countries.
Until the end of 2016, Anker sold exclusively through Amazon, so its success was closely aligned with that of the online retailer. In the meantime, however, Anker has also opened up other sales channels – and the portfolio has also changed. The manufacturer no longer only sells batteries for mobile computers. The advent of the smartphone came at the right time, because mobile phones also need a battery. And if the battery can no longer be replaced by a layman, the idea is that an Anker power bank will save the day for the customer. In general, Anker now offers just about everything in terms of accessories that can be connected to anything via USB, from chargers to hubs to webcams.
However, Anker’s biggest success so far is not hardware at all, but a smart charging technology. It’s called PowerIQ, communicates with both iOS and Android-based devices and detects the fastest possible charging speed.
Customer satisfaction and success with the trade press
And customer satisfaction also seems to be high, at least if the reviews on Amazon are to be believed. The fact that, for Anker, even dissatisfied customers are still customers and not troublemakers is demonstrated by the “Happy Card” that is enclosed with every product. The front of the folding card shows “Happy?” and a sun emoji, while the back shows “Unhappy?” and a dark cloud. Inside the card then follows the advice on what to do in each case. Young’s maxim shows that Anker takes the concerns of even its dissatisfied customers very seriously. “Quality comes before sales,” the self-made man repeats almost mantra-like in interviews. And indeed, Anker products repeatedly perform well in tests by trade journals.
Today, Anker has more than 500 employees and is now based in Hong Kong because they initially lost too much time transporting the goods produced in China.
In the meantime, Anker also has a number of subsidiaries and “key brands. The company sells a wide variety of products through them – from speaker boxes, headphones, and smart home products such as robotic vacuum cleaners to intelligent lighting and even accessories that increase connectivity and comfort in the car. eufy specializes in smart homes, soundcore, as you might have guessed, bundles audio devices, and Nebula offers mobile projectors that make it possible to enjoy a cinema experience while camping, for example.