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Looking Back On 5 Years Of Cheetah Mobile

November 25, 2015|CEO Talks

Cheetah Mobile turned five this November.

November is Cheetah Mobile’s birthday month. We just turned 5 and it’s very exciting for us.

Recently, while working at Fosun Int’l Center Tower, some employees came in and wanted to take pictures with me. This reminded me of the really early stages of the company when it was just a dozen of workers in a smelly office. Back then people thought we were nonsense.

Once we grew to a bigger size, followed by a variety of changes, we were taken more seriously. I no longer get many chances to know and talk to every employee like I used to before Cheetah Mobile grew into a company with thousands of employees. I found that even as we grew, there were some things that we could not change, including these core values to building our culture:

Keep It Simple

We believe that simple solutions are the key to making great things happen. We have since made “keep it simple” an important aspiration to pass along and integrate within the company.

To build a global company we have to have the respect of our local teams and local culture. A fast growing team comes with rapid integration.

As Cheetah grows we are facing some challenges including internal communication and integrating people from different backgrounds and cultures, among other things.

A strong belief in the concept of “simple” is the key to overcoming these challenges.

Build A Big Mission

2011 was the year with the lowest new hires because that was a difficult time for the company—the year when Conew and KingSoft’s Duba department announced a merger. We stayed and sealed the deal in the hotel right across Jinshan Group Building in Zhuhai. Meanwhile we ran into many headhunters from Qihoo, Tencent, and Baidu staying in the same hotel to scoop talents who wanted to quit previous Duba team during the merger.

If you asked me to start the company from beginning once again, honestly I don’t know if I would be brave enough to say yes. Being young and reckless at that time, I didn’t think entrepreneurship was a hard road to travel. At that time, I set course on a simple mission to connect all the people by building a first-class product.

We ignored the bad news, noises, and comments and only thought about user interfaces, weekly apk updates, and product feedback. That’s how we grouped the team together, survived fierce industry competition, and seized the opportunity of going global.

Dream Big

Cheetah Mobile’s road to globalization started from my first trip to the United States. It was there I realized dreams, particularly big dreams, distinguish people and companies from others.

By that time, many Chinese companies were still struggling to catch up with big global brands, but we decided to turn the ship around and go global. We were lucky enough to catch the break of Google Play and Android in the global market by going all in with developing a small and simple application called Clean Master.

Funny and challenging enough, at the time, I could barely understand English. Passing U.S. Customs could be a big hurdle for me because I could not explain myself clearly. I still took trip after trip to the United States to learn what users there were thinking.

Building a global Chinese company as a big dream drove me and the team to execute a strategic plan and through each one of the campaigns, we were delivered from difficulty, completing one important mission after another for the company.


Today we have 567 million monthly active users worldwide, with more than 70% of MAUs and half of our revenue coming from outside China. We went public in May 2014, but don’t let that fool you, being publicly traded is not a sign of success. It’s only a temporary win against capitals.

As a public company, what is our mission now? How shall we move Cheetah Mobile to an even greater company through our global platform? Now, on our birthday week, let me ask this question another way: how would we face ourselves in 2020?

My wish is for Cheetah Mobile to be still a leader of Chinese companies going global in 2020. We’ll not only have expanded our massive global user base and top 3 ad platform, but we’ll also have helped communicate information around the globe and build connections to hundreds of millions of people.

We gather together in this company, striving forward, to go all out to initiate a new chapter for the next five years.

Happy 5th birthday to Cheetah Mobile and cheers to more success in the next 5 years!

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