When should startups think global?
Updated: 2013-11-21 10:11
By YU WEI in San Francisco (China Daily USA)
When Zhong Yingwu founded his social gaming startup FunPlus Game three years ago in Beijing, he was determined from day one to make his company a global competitor.
"When you start a company, you want to build an international company," said Zhong. "An international company means that it not only has markets outside the home country, but also international operations."
The reason Zhong started in Beijing was to compete for talent.
"At the time we started, companies in Silicon Valley like Zynga were really hot. The company had recruited tons of people and it was really hard to compete for talent at the beginning and early stages of a start up," Zhong said. "But my principle is: I don't want to lower the bar. I felt China had enough talent that was really great in technology engineering. So I convinced them to do the startup with me."
Zhong said as they grew their Beijing headquarters, they didn't notice many other Chinese startups with the vision to go international. "We felt if we could create a company with a unique culture, then we could leverage the benefits from the both sides to build a successful company," Zhong said.
Now, FunPlus Game has headquarters in both Silicon Valley and Beijing, and is setting up offices in Asia, North America, and Europe, with employees from more than 30 countries all over the world. Its signature Facebook game, Family Farm, is rated number one amongst Asian gaming companies, and is played by more than 4 million people every day.
Its current market focus is the US, Europe and the Mideast. "We've done really well in those markets for social games," he said.
"We want to build a sustainable company, and position ourselves as a company originally from Asia, Beijing, but a global leader in the mobile game industry," he said.
With China's rising economic power, it is also becoming a hub for cutting edge technology and entrepreneurship. More and more Chinese startups are exploring resources in multiple countries and implementing a global vision from the start.
TrustGo, a mobile security company rated No 1 in its product category by German-based independent testing firm AV Test, is another Chinese startup that committed to being a global company from the beginning.
"My company does not aim for, but started with a global vision and strategy," said Li Xuyang, founder and president of TrustGo.
Founded in Beijing in 2011, the company developed its security app in China. However, its marketing promotion, headquartered in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley, was conducted in the US.
"We want to be a global company not a Chinese company. What we did is similar to most companies in Silicon Valley in that they go straight to global," Li said. "This is very different from companies in China."
Li said big Chinese companies like Tencent and Alibaba are starting to go global, however, they confined themselves to being Chinese companies at first. "I have been in Silicon Valley for many years and I knew I would draw on the Silicon Valley model once I started," he said.
TrustGo now has 10 million active users, 40 percent of whom are from the US. The company was acquired by China's largest search engine Baidu earlier this year.
"Our R&D is still in China, and that is because China has the best technical developers. Our engineers can make anything as well as Americans do," Li said. "The only thing we lack is the initial creative innovation."
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