Frustrated from Workplace Culture, This Mother Turned Childhood Hobby into a Venture

LiveMe's Yuki He talks about going against the norm and carving her unique path in China's livestreaming space

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Yuki He worked in the tech industry for years but the work culture frustrated her. After much thinking, she decided to utilize her experience in both the Chinese and overseas mobile Internet markets and become an entrepreneur. "I had a passion for singing when I was in college but I was studying computer science, so it was just a hobby," says He.

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"Years later I thought about myself and other people who could sing, dance, or had other talents but didn't know how or where to showcase those skills. I thought, "What if I can create a platform for people to showcase their talents live and in front of a global audience?'" That's what led to the creation of LiveMe, a popular Chinese live broadcasting app that lets anyone start broadcasting live and includes features like virtual gifting, and beam-in video, in 2016. The platform encourages users and broadcasters to share their talents, whether it's singing, dancing, comedy, or even if it's just spreading positivity.

The Choices We Make

Yuki, 37, has made many "unpopular" choices to carve out her own path, including attending a technology university and choosing to work at Tencent, then a small Internet company, instead of an established corporation. She later left to help grow a fledgling startup, Cheetah Mobile into a prominent company that would eventually be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and finally, she launched LiveMe. "I have no regrets and I would like to encourage women to believe in themselves and follow their own path," says the mother of one. "Trust your abilities, build a product that adds value."

Although LiveMe became a household name within few months of its inception, Yuki wanted to ensure that it goes well with Western audience as well. And her timing was right. She explains, "The content industry was going through a dramatic shift. More social platforms were adopting live video, so audiences were becoming more aware. Also, creators were looking for new ways to monetize their content, since many platforms like YouTube were shifting their revenue models to accommodate advertisers. LiveMe checked the boxes for a lot of those creators, so we experienced incredible growth very early on in the process." Yuki believes LiveMe has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of her life. "I hear stories from our broadcasters about how LiveMe has changed their lives for the better. One broadcaster was suffering from depression after the loss of a loved one. She said LiveMe helped her find a community where she could get support," she says.

Standing Apart

The world of live streaming platforms is a crowded one. What makes LiveMe different from others? "Our focus is to help independent creators thrive both financially and creatively. It is one of our biggest differentiators. Our broadcasters are financially rewarded based on the quality of the content they provide their fans, not the brand sponsorships they attract or the number of views they receive. We also invest in our community through our Broadcaster Development Program, which provides resources, talent managers, and more to help independent creators hone their skills and grow their followings," Yuki explains. Her company has also launched a Safety Advocate program, a community-driven effort to flag and remove harmful content. "We employ human moderators and advanced AI software to monitor all content on the platform 24/7," she says.

(This article was first published in the March 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)