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My Very First English Speech: When a Chinese Dream Meets the American Dream

December 9, 2014|CEO Talks

By Sheng Fu, CEO of Cheetah Mobile

Just a few days ago, I fulfilled a short-term goal I had set about two months ago. I gave my very first English speech without a script on stage at GMIC Silicon Valley 2014. It was an honor to speak there.

I told the story of a Chinese dream meeting the American dream. Since it was my first time presenting in English in front of so many people, I got a little bit nervous, but we received very positive and supportive feedback. I want to sincerely thank every one of you here.

When I first visited the US five years ago, I was almost a nobody – I hadn’t graduated from a famous school, I wasn’t born into a rich family. At that time, I had just founded a startup with six people.

I was deeply impressed by the innovations taking place in Silicon Valley. When I walked on the Stanford campus, I thought, “Chinese people like me work so hard, but why can’t we achieve the same success as the American people, who I saw running along the beach or often taking vacations?”

Later, I took my young daughter to Disneyland in California. As we watched fireworks blooming in the sky, I heard a voice over the loudspeaker, “Princes and princesses, this is the moment when dreams come true.”

It was then that I realized it’s the American dream that plays an important role in US culture. Dreams, especially crazy dreams, turn the impossible into the possible. I was deeply moved and excited.

So what was my crazy dream?

Two years ago, my team and I visited the US again. We stayed in a cheap hotel near SFO for $80 a day. One night, we opened a $10 dollar bottle of red wine to drink. I got a little bit drunk after a few glasses.

The wild dream came to me – even though my team and I are not good at English, even though we have no experience in global business, and even though no Chinese company has ever done it, how about I build a global company in this mobile Internet era?

The crazy dream drove us to action. Two years later, we successfully went public on the New York Stock Exchange on May 8th, 2014, just four years after Cheetah Mobile launched. Now, the market cap of Cheetah Mobile is roughly $2.5 billion.

On that day, I became a CEO of a US-traded public company. That was the moment Cheetah Mobile’s dream, and my own, came true. Or you could say, this is a story about a Chinese dream meeting the American dream.

It only took us four years to build a public company, and it only took us 18 months to expand globally. I know it sounds very crazy. Now I’ll talk about how well we did over the past four years.

· We set up our R&D centers around the world over the past two years – six cities in China, Tokyo, Japan, and a San Francisco office.

· As of September 2014, according to App Annie, Cheetah Mobile grew into the third biggest publisher on Google Play by monthly downloads, behind only Google and Facebook. In the past, it was hard to imagine a Chinese company could achieve this, but we did it!

· In the third quarter of 2014, we generated 800 million downloads worldwide, with 65% coming from outside China. Europe and the US accounted for most of our overseas users, roughly 20% of our total user base.

· Our mobile monthly active users (MAU) have reached 340 million. This user base is bigger than some well-known companies like Twitter or LINE.

· Our user base grew quickly to reach these numbers. At the beginning of last year, we had only 46 million monthly active users. We increased by seven times as much in just 18 months.

· For the past two years, our total revenue has grown 150% year over year. Our Free-to-Use model is the reason behind such a rapid speed.

In regards to our mission critical products, Clean Master is the super star.

It’s a security utility app that cleans junk files and viruses from your phone. In Google Play, it is the No. 1 utility app across more than 50 countries. It has received more than 17 million user reviews, and its average rating of 4.7 stars is higher than the Facebook app. Our users love our apps.

One year ago, Clean Master only had 1 million monthly active users, but now it has more than 200 million.

Another app on the rise is CM Security, a free mobile security app we published at the beginning of this year. It reached 100 million downloads in 9 months, and now has 50 million monthly active users.

We also publish CM Browser, Battery Doctor, Photo Grid, and some others. They have become our app matrix.

You may be wondering, “How did Cheetah Mobile make all this happen?”

I believe the emergence of the mobile Internet has started a new Age of Discovery. It connected global intelligence at scale. In this connected age, globalization is a great opportunity, like a tsunami that sweeps up every company along the way.

Meanwhile, free has become a common need among worldwide users. Whether from China or other countries, users all want free apps, and Chinese companies are good at making free, high-quality products.

Thanks to this opportunity, Chinese companies, such as Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, are on the rise. They have all grown into global-level Internet companies.

What advantages do Chinese companies have then?

· China has a great amount of talent. It’s not hard for us to recruit top-notch Chinese engineers.

· Secondly, Chinese companies have accumulated rich user experience. China’s massive user base has different needs and is very picky. We already have tons of experience dealing with users.

· Chinese companies have established a unique free model, with a verified method for generating revenue.

For both software and hardware, I think China and the US will serve as the two poles of the global mobile Internet in the future. And we are here to help.

I hope Cheetah Mobile will be a partner for global mobile Internet companies. We are the bridge that helps Chinese Internet companies enter the global market, to achieve a big, global dream.

I believe that in this era, anyone can gain success with big dreams and big efforts.

Thanks to this era, and thank you all!


Categories: CEO Talks