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This CEO Spills His Secrets of Becoming the Most Followed Website on Instagram 9GAG has garnered over 39 million likes on Facebook

By Ritu Marya

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


9GAG, a website, which was started as a side project by five college friends, became an Internet phenomenon in a short span of time. Today, it has become users' all-time favorite destination to read and laugh. The Hong Kong-based company serves up memes, GIFs and videos to about 150 million users across the world. The site has garnered more than 42 million followers on Instagram, and over 39 million likes on Facebook.

How do they do it?

Entrepreneur Asia Pacific met with Founder and CEO of 9GaG, Ray Chan at RISE Conference in Hong Kong. In a candid interview, the techpreneur Chan spoke about what the term humor means to them and how the website keeps its readers glued to its website every moment.

'Making the World Happier'

Known as one of the largest media companies globally, 9Gag is the most followed media channel on Instagram today. Started in 2008, 9Gag was just a college project a decade ago. When Chan was asked about his goal with this website, he said, "My mission is to make people laugh and happier."

Talking about its strong engagement on social media, Chan said the team of 9Gag talks to their users a lot. He said, "Communication with users helps us in analyzing their consumption patterns online." He added that 9Gag doesn't create any content by them but their content comes from the audience itself.

"It can make people laugh. It's a simple recipe for us to pick the content. All what we do is focus a lot on the function of the content," he said.

Active Presence in US, Germany and Southeast Asia

The brand has its presence currently in countries like the US, Germany and Southeast Asia. Though the brand has not many users from Hong Kong and China but it's actively looking to understand the dynamics of the Chinese market. Chan revealed that around 10 percent of its users come from United States and Germany while Southeast Asia is a tight market as there are multiple players backed by Chinese companies.

"Audience of these three regions likes to comment and communicate their thoughts to us, which helps us in the better know-how of their choices," said Chang.

Idea of Global Humor

According to Chan, the topics for funny videos and memes come from the people itself. While talking about how do 9Gag assesses the most followed topics, he said that the company picks the most common and trending topics for its stories. Topics like World Cup, Game Shows, or anything on animals work best on our website.

He also added that the basic idea is to have the understanding of different cultures of varied regions. One thing that the company had assessed is that people understand jokes of each others' regions, which is why it gives us more leverage on social media.

On Collaborations with Influencers

Speaking about involvement of influencers in its audience, Chan said that the company does pay to some influencers to have LIVE conversations on its social media handles. However, it added that they don't pay every influencer on their social media.

Ritu Marya

Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur Media (APAC & India)


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