Although only 30 years old, serial entrepreneur Andy Zhong’s portfolio is filled with impressive accomplishments. As the spearhead of China’s biggest funding and gaming company, FunPlus, he guided the company to double its annual revenue and establish a presence in the US. Eventually, in 2014, FunPlus sold its gaming subsidiary, DianDian Interactive, for around $960 million. Here today, Zhong shares some valuable insight into his success.
Andy Zhong describes his company’s philosophy as the sole differentiator from its competitors. “We maintain that customer experience is paramount,” he states. “Every minor detail should cater towards the best user experience.” One example he gives is in the FunPlus’ Facebook game, Family Farm, where players harvest crops and feed animals to collect “experience points”. One of the features of the game includes the acquisition of cheese. Yes, you read it right: acquisition of cheese. The game’s primary competitor, FarmVille, provides only one block of cheese, whereas Family Farm offers multiple variants. Might seem a small thing but exactly this level of detail as the guiding mindset makes the final difference.
The resulted, extraordinary user experience has spurred massive fandom for the company’s games. Zhong acknowledges it, and advocates the embracement: “Catering to avid fans shows that you really care,” he says. “Listen to their demands and accept their input, that’s how you gain their loyalty.” And that’s how he has gained success globally.
Zhong recognises that his expansions into the US market meant adapting to a different kind of thinking: “Global companies require global mentalities. That’s why we’ve strived to keep our team international by hiring a large number of foreigners,” he tells us. “Our team is possibly the most diverse team there is in China at the moment.”
Apart from the team, it also comes down to numbers at some point. However, whilst appreciating the drive to garner revenue, Zhong warns against producing a tedious atmosphere: “You need to engage in areas that you’re passionate about, and try new things. Profit is, of course, crucial but you need to find the right balance between it and excitement,” he states.
Having moved on from DianDian Interactive, Zhong showed exactly that excitement. He established a new company, Next Entertainment, a Taiwan-based live broadcasting platform company in December 2016. His leadership has already put the company on the path of success – they have already raised $25 million in funding. “Our number one rule is remembering our company values. Here at Next Entertainment, we’re continuing our ‘customer-first’ attitude and work ethic,” he concludes.
Andy Zhong will be sharing more of his insights when he takes the Main Stage on March 29 at Slush Tokyo. Make sure to catch his talk, “What I Learnt From Serial Entrepreneuring and Exiting”, at 5:30PM.
Cover photo: Jussi Hellsten