Chris Chan 陳展俊BA(ArchStud) 2009
Derek Chan 陳兆欣BBA(IS) 2007; BEng 2008
Image source: Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016 website
Chris (right) and Derek (left) are among the 300 honorees of Forbes Asia's inaugural 30 under 30 list - a list of the top promising young leaders, daring entrepreneurs and game changers in 10 different sectors. They were categorised under Media, Marketing and Advertising sector.
Chris, Derek, Ray Chan 陳展程 (LLB 2006) together with another two partners founded 9GAG, a leading social media platform to share jokes with almost 30 million followers on Facebook and 29 million on Instagram.
Revisit the entrepreneurial story of 9GAG published in the Convocation Newsletter FALL 2014:
Hungry for some quality jokes, funny pictures and videos? Here is your remedy!
9gag.com, one of the world’s most popular websites for audiences seeking laughter and entertaining tidbits, is the brainchild of Ray Chan.
“We are trying to solve a problem here,” said Chan, who left HKU with a Law degree in 2006. “In this Internet age, content is everywhere but not everything is good. We help our users find the best content through curation, algorithm and the participation of 9gag community.”
The idea popped up as a side project in 2008. Chan was then working for an online book-sharing platform. His career took off in 2011 to focus on 9gag.
Six years after its inception, the site is receiving 90 million views each month for an average 10 minutes’ surfing time. Yet, these numbers do not include app traffic.
With 21 million followers on Facebook, 6.8 million on Instagram and 3.3 million on Twitter, 9gag has emerged as a leading social media player. Though young, the company is in the lead in comparison to some big retail brands such as Forever 21 and Tommy Hilfiger, especially when it comes to the number of “likes” on its Facebook page.
So just how did Chan do it? `“We have one guy managing all our social media accounts,” said Chan. “1.5 people to be exact because another person comes in when the social media guy goes on holiday.”
With a team of only 30 hires, Chan said creativity and diligence are the key. “We definitely don’t have as many people as big companies,” said Chan. “So we constantly have think of new and more flexible ways to get things done.”
But that’s not all. “If you think of a smart option, it’s possible that others can do it too,” said Chan. “That’s why you have to work extra hard in order to stay on top of the game.”
Though often seen as a light-hearted and sometimes goofy company, the founder said his staff aren’t necessarily people who crack jokes. They are serious when it comes to work.
“Hustle is the word,” said Chan. “It’s not about doing what you love, but loving what you do.”
We're here for the long term...it's like when Jack Ma said he wanted to build a company that would last 100 years.