Chee­tah races ahead in over­seas mar­kets

Chi­nese In­ter­net se­cu­rity com­pany listed on NYSE en­joys surge in mo­bile rev­enues, Fan Feifei and Hu Yuanyuan re­port.

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Fu Sheng, CEO of Chee­tah Mo­bile, a NYSE-listed In­ter­net com­pany, said the com­pany’s suc­cess in ex­plor­ing the over­seas mar­ket could be em­u­lated in short or­der by emerg­ing Chi­nese en­ter­prises.

“The era for China to en­ter the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket has al­ready ar­rived,” Fu told China Daily. “It is pos­si­ble for Chi­nese en­ter­prises to be­come global com­pa­nies be­cause mo­bile In­ter­net has al­lowed the split re­gional mar­ket to com­bine into a global mar­ket.”

Fu said the Chi­nese In­ter­net model has its own ad­van­tages in the world, and the stage has been set for Chi­nese-made mo­bile apps.

Born in 1978, Fu worked for five years at Qi­hoo 360 Tech­nol­ogy as gen­eral man­ager of the soft­ware group, lead­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the 360 safe­guard prod­ucts that be­came the corner­stone of Qi­hoo 360. In ad­di­tion, he served as vi­cepres­i­dent of Ma­trix Part­ners China, join­ing the com­pany in 2008, and founded Conew Im­age, where he served as the chair­man and CEO, in 2009.

Fu founded Chee­tah, the largest mo­bile tool devel­oper and sec­ond­largest In­ter­net se­cu­rity provider in China, in Novem­ber 2010, as a merger be­tween two com­pa­nies — King­soft Se­cu­rity and Conew Im­age. Fu led the suc­cess­ful list­ing of the com­pany on the New York Stock Ex­change in May last year.

The com­pany’s first quar­ter fi­nan­cial state­ment showed that its mo­bile and over­seas rev­enue surged. The mo­bile in­come has reached 370 mil­lion yuan ($60.2 mil­lion), soar­ing 584 per­cent yearon-year and tak­ing up 55 per­cent of the to­tal rev­enue, which was also the first time that the com­pany’s mo­bile busi­ness, driven by mo­bile advertising ser­vices, con­trib­uted more in­come com­pared with that from desk­tops.

The over­seas in­come to­taled 260 mil­lion yuan, ac­count­ing for 38 per­cent of its to­tal rev­enue and 70 per­cent of the mo­bile in­come.

“Our mo­bile monetization, es­pe­cially in over­seas mar­kets, has al­ready be­come our main source of rev­enue and a key growth en­gine for us,” said Fu, ex­plain­ing that over­seas in­come had grown rapidly con­sid­er­ing it was zero in May last year.

Fu es­ti­mated the over­seas in­come will soon ac­count for more than half of the to­tal rev­enue.

Chee­tah said its mo­bile prod­ucts have been down­loaded more than 1.34 bil­lion times world­wide, with about 443 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users. Seventy-one per­cent of monthly ac­tive users are from Europe, the United States and other over­seas mar­kets, ac­cord­ing to its first quar­ter fi­nan­cial state­ment.

Its mis­sion crit­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Clean Master, CM Se­cu­rity, Bat­tery Doc­tor and Duba An­tivirus, make the In­ter­net and mo­bile ex­pe­ri­ence speed­ier, sim­pler, and safer for users, the com­pany said.

“One of our big­gest ad­van­tages com­pared with Amer­i­can en­ter­prises is that we could hire about 1,000 engi­neers within a year, but it is very dif­fi­cult to do that in Sil­i­con Val­ley, only Google and Face­book have that kind of charisma. More­over, our free-of-charge mode is re­ally at­tract­ing users.”

Fu pointed out the

com­pe­ti­tion of the do­mes­tic IT in­dus­try is much fiercer than over­seas, which also pro­vides a good op­por­tu­nity for Chi­nese en­ter­prises’ over­seas ex­pan­sion.

“When we set out to go over­seas, we saw each app on the cat­e­gory of Google Play tools. In­ter­est­ingly, I found the No 1 app on the im­ager­ank­ing list is de­vel­oped by sev­eral pro­gram­mers in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang province. This means you don’t need to pos­sess a strong over­seas back­ground, as long as users feel your prod­uct is good, then you can still ac­quire large amount of users,” Fu said.

How­ever, Chi­nese In­ter­net giants such as Baidu, Alibaba and Ten­cent heav­ily de­pend on the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

The suc­cess of Chee­tah Mo­bile in over­seas mar­kets lies in its as­set­light firm, re­quir­ing no of­fices over­seas. It is not a sep­a­rate case and its mode can be copied by other com­pa­nies, Fu said, sug­gest­ing the suc­ces­sors should view the glob­al­iza­tion with a dif­fer­en­ti­ated thought, look­ing for a point which is of­ten ne­glected by oth­ers.

Xue Yongfeng, a se­nior an­a­lyst at Analysys In­ter­na­tional, told China Daily that the suc­cess of Chee­tah Mo­bile comes from be­ing in the right place at the right time. “When the com­pany plans to ex­plore the over­seas mar­ket, its ma­jor com­peti­tors fo­cus on the do­mes­tic mar­ket, so the com­pe­ti­tion at the over­seas mar­ket is not in­tense. More­over, the tools ap­pli­ca­tion is pop­u­lar among over­seas users.”

How­ever, when the new In­ter­net star­tups plan to go over­seas, they might come across more dif­fi­cul­ties, as their com­peti­tors have al­ready gained most of the mar­ket share, Xue said, adding: “A new field the In­ter­net star­tups may be in­volved in is the mo­bile game, which could at­tract huge amounts of game play­ers over­seas.”

“We aim to be a big data com­pany from the pre­vi­ous tool provider, mak­ing use of big data and pre­ci­sion mar­ket­ing to re­al­ize the re­dis­tri­bu­tion of global data traf­fic,” Fu said.

In March, the com­pany ac­quired the en­tire eq­uity in­ter­est in Mob­Part­ner, a global mo­bile advertising com­pany, to build one of the world’s lead­ing mo­bile advertising plat­forms. It also signed a com­mer­cial agree­ment with Nani­gans, a provider of so­cial and mo­bile advertising soft­ware and pi­o­neer in advertising au­to­ma­tion soft­ware.

How­ever, pi­o­neer­ing in an en­ter­prise is nat­u­rally never plain sail­ing. The big­gest chal­lenge Fu has come across is the merger be­tween the two com­pa­nies, King­soft Se­cu­rity and Conew Im­age, in 2010.

“I have never man­aged a com­pany with more than 100 staff mem­bers be­fore, but the new com­pany has 400 to 500 em­ploy­ees. More­over, at that time King­soft an­tivirus soft­ware just claimed it would be free of charge for­ever, so the com­peti­tors mas­sively at­tacked us.”

Fu also re­mem­bered one day be­fore the com­pany was to be listed on NYSE, stocks of Chi­nese com­pa­nies listed in the US dropped by 7 per­cent, while he al­most couldn’t en­ter into the US as his visa had ex­pired.

“The en­tre­pre­neur should face ob­sta­cles in­stead of avoid­ing them. You should think you still have the abil­ity to make things bet­ter and make ef­forts to solve prob­lems by your­self, never shuf­fling re­spon­si­bil­ity onto oth­ers.”

Fu in­di­cated the fu­ture lay­out of the com­pany’s over­seas mar­ket would con­cen­trate on de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, such as the BRICS — Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa. “The Euro­pean and Amer­i­can mar­kets are ma­ture, so the rapid growth is not easy to re­al­ize. But the de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial in these de­vel­op­ing coun­tries is huge.”

Although Chee­tah’s core ad­van­tage is over­seas, it con­tin­ues to ex­plore the do­mes­tic mar­ket. Fu in­tro­duced that their free apps could be pre-loaded into the smart­phones of Xiaomi, Huawei, HTC and Asus, and the big­gest ad­van­tages at the do­mes­tic mar­ket is that they par­tic­i­pate in the in­dus­trial chain and re­main com­mit­ted to work with in­dus­try part­ners, in­stead of treat­ing their com­peti­tors as en­e­mies.

Apart from its util­ity apps, Fu un­veiled last year a smart air fil­ter, known as Baomi, for home use, mark­ing the com­pany’s first foray into hard­ware.

Fu said the com­pany will not fully en­ter the hard­ware do­main. “Smart home de­vices mark the first step in our ef­fort to unite hard­ware and soft­ware. What we could do is to make the hard­ware smarter.”

Fu has a num­ber of hob­bies, such as climb­ing, div­ing, skiing and run­ning. Although he is busy with entrepreneurship, he still spares time to be with his 7-yearold daugh­ter.

“I have taken my daugh­ter to Dis­ney­land five times. We have trav­eled to Hong Kong, Ja­pan, Mal­dives, and many cities in China. We even skied in France and the US,” he said, adding he had a con­fer­ence in Hawaii this month and took his daugh­ter along.

But dur­ing Fu’s first years of startup, he also had a hard time achiev­ing the bal­ance be­tween his work and the fam­ily.

“My daugh­ter re­fused to let me hug her when she was one year old as it was the first time I had seen her since her birth,” said Fu.

For Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, China’s hottest smart­phone com­pany, who once worked with Fu at King­soft, Fu is a de­ter­mined, per­sis­tent and com­pe­tent per­son.

Ac­cord­ing to Lei, he has met many com­pe­tent peo­ple, but Fu is the only one who has real de­ter­mi­na­tion, per­se­ver­ance and real entrepreneurship. Con­tact the writ­ers through fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chee­tah Mo­bile,

Fu Sheng,

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