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Why did I start an English blog and Twitter account?

October 5, 2014|CEO Talks

By Sheng Fu, CEO of Cheetah Mobile

On Sept. 22, I was driving along SR 280 in the Bay Area with a group of Chinese tech company executives, heading to the Facebook campus. Myself, along with Vaughan Smith, VP of Facebook Corporate Development, and Sonny Vu, CEO of Misfit Wearables, explored differences and similarities of the technology industries in China and U.S. that day in a panel discussion.

Moderated by Jessica Lessin, founder of The Information, the panel discussion came at an important time. Three days earlier, Alibaba made headlines announcing the world’s largest IPO to date. Much attention is being drawn to Chinese businesses at the moment as they are breaking into the U.S. market.

Lessin asked me why Cheetah Mobile, as a Chinese-based company, shifted focus to the U.S. market, even opening an office in San Francisco.

First, let me briefly introduce who we are and what we do. Cheetah Mobile is a leading mobile tool provider. We went public here in the U.S. in May 2014 (NYSE: CMCM). Long before that, our global market expansion started. We put great efforts into the Google Play-centered mobile app market, and we’re named as one of Google’s Top Developers. In just one-year time, monthly active users increased to nearly 300 million from 40 million on our global products

Back to Lessin’s question, why is U.S. a core market in our business strategy?

We have seen how U.S. consumers are open to using products from foreign markets. Samsung phones, Honda cars – both very popular here – all come from overseas. We saw a great opportunity to grow in the U.S., knowing that consumers would welcome us.

Additionally, we have an exceptional talent pool in Beijing. Our developers and designers are sought after from around the world. Even tech giants in Silicon Valley headhunt engineers from China. Their outstanding skills, diligence and experience in the industry set them apart. A large number of users and rich user experience data, along with hardworking talents, enable us to quickly improve products to meet the needs of consumers across the globe.

While there are the many cool apps in the Google Play store, it is less competitive in the utility/tool app category, especially in comparison to China’s domestic app market. In the U.S., people pay for some utility apps in the Google Play store, yet in China all these apps are free. This is China’s ‘Free to Use’ model. Thanks to the Internet, the world is flat, and we believe there is still a margin for us – we want to bring China’s ‘Free to Use’ model to the U.S., offering high quality products to the global market.

This is what brought us here to the U.S., and to better understand and engage with our global partners and users, an English blog and Twitter account, I believe, are a good place to start from.

I’ve been following various entrepreneurs and start-ups and have a vision for our U.S. team to develop an entrepreneurial mindset: every team member to take ownership in their work, to be driven by results, not only the process, to be a part of the great community here.

As the one who manages the team, I know I need to be a leader on this – to actively engage in my company and in the community. I, also, am willing to do that.

For people who are interested in learning more about me and Cheetah Mobile, who seek opportunities and insights on the China market, who look for experience sharing about expansion into the U.S., I hope this blog and my Twitter account are places where we can come together and connect.

I read a comment on TechCrunch recently that said Chinese tech companies cannot afford trial-and-error because the country’s mindset, economic condition and public belief of “Once you make mistakes, you are done.” No longer is this true in the Internet era. I strongly believe that the Internet allows the tolerance of errors and mistakes, and allows the people who embrace it to test ideas and make changes until they get it right. This blog and my Twitter is a place where we all can come together to try until get it right.

Categories: CEO Talks