As we welcomed the Year of the Goat on the 19th February, we want to take a moment to admire all the successful Chinese innovations in business over the past few years. From mobile gaming in Shenzen to Bluetooth headphones in California’s Bay Area, we’ve compiled a list of our five favourite notable entrepreneurs and startups.
The entertainment guru
iDreamsky, the third-party publisher of beloved games Fruit Ninja, Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2, can hardly be considered a small business any more. Jeff Lyndon, President and Co-founder, found a way to successfully tap into the huge Chinese mobile gaming market. In an article for an online gaming magazine, he talks about how different the Chinese market is from its western counterpart: instead of letting the user ‘fall in love with your game first, [then charging] them…you charge them almost before they try your game.’
The company has since grown into the largest independent mobile game publishing platform in the country with 98.3 million monthly active users and 25.8 million daily active users.
When Lei Jun (featured image) co-founded Xiaomi in 2010, he modelled the aesthetic of his smart phone company off Apple, down to Steve Job’s trademark uniform of black shirt and jeans. But there is one key difference: Xiaomi sells Android-based phones for half the price of an iPhone.
This concept has been a massive success: Xiaomi outsells Apple in China, the world’s largest market. The company – whose name rather ironically translates to ‘small rice’ in Mandarin – is now worth 11.7 billion AUD, with over 60 million smart phones sold in 2014. Jun was named Forbes Asia’s 2014 Businessman of the Year, and is the eighth-richest man in China.
The rising star
At just 20 years old, Nelson Zhang is the youngest genius on our list. He – along with Richie Zeng – were in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at UC Berkeley in California when they made the risky move to drop out of university and work full-time on their startup Wearhaus.
Their concept? A social music experience: wireless headphones that allow you to sync music with multiple people around you using Bluetooth technology. Their Kickstarter campaign in November 2014 raised over $247,379 ($197,379 over their $50,000 goal), and Zhang made Forbes’ 2014 ‘30 Under 30’ list. The headset, Wearhaus Arc, is set to ship in March 2015.
The home success
At the 2014 China Electronic Commerce Association’s annual awards event, the ‘Most Influential Overseas Property Portal Award’ – a highly-coveted honour within China’s e-commerce industry – went to Juwai.com. And you might be surprised to read that it was founded by two Australians – a rarity in China’s startup scene.
Co-founders and co-CEOs Simon Henry and Andrew Taylor started Juwai in 2011, taking advantage of the billions pouring into overseas property market in recent years from middle- and upper-class Chinese. Since then, Juwai has become China’s number one international property portal with over 1.6 million property listings over 54 countries.
Chinese-born Jing Zhou has been revolutionising the wearable industry. Her New York startup Elemoon blends fashion and technology into a chic, customisable notification bracelet. The bracelet features a touch interface, activity sensor and provides notifications using an array of coloured LED lights. The project has raised $122,725 on Kickstarter, and is available for pre-order now.
Gemma is a Senior Campaign Specialist for Citrix and GoToMeeting. She has been part of the Demand Generation team for the past five years, looking after anything from webinars to content creation.