10 Things You Didn’t Know about Colin Huang
Colin Huang is a Chinese billionaire. Generally speaking, he is known for being the founder as well as the one-time CEO of an e-commerce platform called Pinduoduo. However, it should be mentioned that Huang has founded other companies as well.
1. His Chinese Name Is Huang Zheng
Huang is a Chinese citizen. As a result, Colin is the English name that he uses in English contexts, which isn’t an uncommon practice for Chinese citizens. His Chinese name would be Huang Zheng with the Huang being his family name and the Zheng being his personal name.
2. Studied at Zhejiang University
Education-wise, Huang went to Zhejiang University, which can be found in the capital of Zhejiang province. For those who are unfamiliar, said school is one of the nine institutions that make up China’s C9 League, an official group intended to further advance Chinese higher education. Due to this, C9 League schools receive plenty of funding on top of special resources, thus enabling them to make themselves even more elite.
3. Studied at the University of Wisconsin
Later, Huang went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. Generally speaking, the school is held in high regard, as shown by how it is considered to be one of the Public Ivies. For that matter, the University of Wisconsin-Madison can claim a number of very impressive scientific firsts, with examples ranging from the discovery of vitamins A and B to the first chemical synthesis of a gene. There, he studied computer science with the result that he went on to graduate with a master’s degree in the subject.
4. Founded Xinyoudi
As mentioned earlier, Pinduoduo isn’t the first company founded by Huang. Before that, there was Xinyoudi, which was a company that focused on making online games. In short, China is home to a huge market for games thanks to its large population as well as the extent of computer use in that large population. As a result, there is a lot of money that can be earned by those capable of tapping into the relevant segments of consumers, though the sheer number of competitors means that securing success in this regard is much easier said than done.
5. Founded Ouku.com
Speaking of which, Huang was also the one who founded Oukou, which is an online e-commerce platform as well. Due to this, he didn’t just have entrepreneurial experience when he founded Pinduoduo, he had entrepreneurial experience that was specific to the field when he founded Pinduoduo. Something that presumably helped him overcome the whole host of problems that start-ups can run into when they are trying to get themselves off of the ground.
6. Always Interested in the Sciences
Huang has been interested in the sciences ever since he was a child. For example, he competed in a math Olympiad where he managed to do quite well, as shown by the fact that he walked away with a prize for his efforts. Furthermore, this was this incident that convinced Huang’s teacher to take the admission test for the Hangzhou Foreign Language School, which was a very selective institution. He got in but he was reluctant to go to the school because he was concerned that it was focused on foreign languages rather than the math, physics, and chemistry that he was interested in. Fortunately, Huang’s principal convinced him to go to the Hangzhou Foreign Language School in spite of his misgivings, which he now believes to have been the right course of action for him.
7. Regrets Being Too Goal-Oriented
It is interesting to note that Huang came from very humble beginnings. As a result, he has come very far over the course of his career, which is why he has been known to call himself a phoenix who has managed to fly out of a chicken coop. However, Huang has some regrets about having been so goal-oriented as a youth, with the result that he has expressed his regret that he didn’t spend more time being naughty, being rebellious, and otherwise enjoying his youth.
8. Has Noted the Challenges of Foreign Companies Recruiting Top Chinese Talent
Thanks to his time at Google, Huang noticed that a lot of foreign companies have a hard time recruiting top Chinese talent. There doesn’t seem to be a single reason for this phenomenon. Instead, there seems to be a number of them. For example, a lot of foreign companies entrust their hiring to recruitment agencies, which results in a longer wait-time as well as a greater disconnect in other ways. Likewise, a lot of foreign companies seem to think that hiring local talent should be cheaper than hiring talent from elsewhere, thus alienating Chinese talent who are going to compare their compensation with that of ex-pats. Speaking of which, operating in foreign countries is always something of a mine field because of different cultures leading to different practices, meaning that it is also possible for foreign companies to give offense to potential hires without understanding what they did wrong.
9. Gamified Online Shopping
One of the interesting things about Pinduoduo is that it is gamified. For instance, users can get a virtual mango tree on the e-commerce platform. If they spend enough time tending to the mango tree, they can get a real box of mangoes shipped to them, thus incentivizing them to spend more time on Pinduoduo. This is useful because more time on the e-commerce platform means more opportunities for marketing, which isn’t even mentioning the creation of goodwill.l
10. Not a Buddhist But Interested in Buddhism
Huang has stated that he isn’t a Buddhist but he has nonetheless expressed an interest in Buddhism, which isn’t uncommon for Chinese people. Buddhism was introduced to China in historical times, but it has been integrated for such a long time that most Chinese people see nothing unusual with paying their respects to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas alongside Daoist immortals and other figures in Chinese folk religion. Of course, this wasn’t something that happened overnight. For instance, the Buddhist monastic tradition was seen as being contrary to the filial piety that was so important in the Confucian worldview, which is why interested individuals can find a lot of writing on why Buddhist monks weren’t being unfilial.