Web celeb Wang Sicong’s 6 luxurious electronic purchases

Wang Sicong is one of China’s most popular web celebs, famous for his frank words and luxurious lifestyle on SNS. He is the son of Wang Jianlin, a real estate tycoon and China’s richest man. Wang is an avid eSports player and has a collection of top-notch electronics. Here are six gadgets which reflects his taste.

1. Sony super TV KD-100Z9D

The Sony KD-100Z9D television is worth USD 72,477. Its 100-inch screen is the largest television from the Sony brand. In March, Wang posted on Weibo that his long awaited television just arrived and emphasized that this was the first of this television model purchased worldwide.

Screenshot from Wang Sicong’s Weibo
Screenshot from Wang Sicong’s Weibo account

2. Customised ASUS computer with high-end components.

His ASUS computer was customised and assembled with high-end ASUS ROG mainboard and cherry keyboard worth USD 43,492 in total. Cherry mechanical keyboards are originally from Germany and are very popular among gamers.

ASUS ROG mainboard. Photo from Baidu Images.
ASUS ROG mainboard. Photo from Baidu images.
Cherry keyboard. Photo from Baidu Images.
Cherry keyboard. Photo from Baidu images.

3. Sennheiser’s Orpheus headphones

Setting the price as high as USD 71,037 per set, Sennheiser only allocated three headphone sets to be sold in Asia, and Wang bought two sets for himself. The company only produces 250 sets of Orpheus headphones annually, and it is the most expensive headphones in the world.

Photo from Baidu Image
Photo from Baidu images

4. Kingston HyperX Predator USB flash drive

Kingston HyperX Predator, a 1TB USB flash drive, is worth USD 1,450. Its file transfer speed is outstanding. Now, the USB capability is upgraded to 2TB. Guess Wang may have already bought that one.

Photo from Baidu Image
Photo from Baidu images

5. Limited edition Leica M9-P camera

This camera is worth USD 26,825. The limited edition Leica is already hard to purchase. However, the camera which Wang purchased – a product of Leica’s collaboration with Hermes – is even rarer. Well, Wang got it anyway – earlier than Leica’s brick-and-mortar stores.

wangsicong's weibo 1
Photo from Wang Sicong’s Weibo account
wangsicong's weibo 2
Photo from Wang Sicong’s Weibo account

6. Gift for his dog – 8 iPhone 7s handsets

It is not surprising that Wang buys the newest iPhones, but he did not buy these for himself – it was for his dog Coco. Wang’s infamous purchase made international headlines last year when he bought eight iPhone 7s handsets at the phone’s earlier launch and presented it to his dog. (Yes, even his pet has her own Weibo account)

Photo from Wang Sicong’s pet’s weibo account
Photo from Wang Sicong’s pet Coco’s Weibo account
Photo from Wang Sicong’s pet’s weibo account
Photo from Wang Sicong’s pet Coco’s Weibo account

(Top photo from Wang Sicong’s Weibo account)

Why are Chinese millennials crazy about Rainbow Chamber Singers?

The song “Zhang Zhichao, where did you hide my key” is a story about a college boy who mocked his roommate for his busy dating life by locking him out of the dormitory. It went viral online because the song touched on an experience to which many people can relate, of being betrayed by a friend for his or her interests. It is about growing up. The song’s composer, Rainbow Chamber Singers, and its conductor Jin Chengzhi have become web celebrities in China for a reason.

A new style of choral music

Two other popular songs from Rainbow Chamber Singers – “Feeling empty” and “Self-protection guide for Chinese New Year” – are a hit with Chinese netizens as well. The lyrics of “Feeling empty” lament the vicious cycle of working overtime, while the latter makes jokes of relatives’ incessant questioning during family reunions over the Spring Festival holidays.

A sore spot in Chinese culture is that relatives or neighbors tend to ask very personal questions such as “How much did you earn this year?”, “Why are you still single, not married?” and so on. Both songs were shared on China’s largest social platform, WeChat Moments, and gained more than 100,000 hits respectively within a few days.

Again, these songs touched the hearts of the young generation – working alone in a big city, and the desire for love while being unable to find companionship.

The fine line between funny and serious

Conductor Jin, aged 30, once was a “serious” music composer. However, his favorite song “Seacoast” only generated 6,000 hits on bilibili. But he was right about one thing: trying to combine his immediate feelings and emotions into his songs. Jin insists on composing and making lyrics himself. All songs by Rainbow Chamber Singers are also conducted by him.

“Rhythm and lyrics are indeed one piece. They should not be separated,” said Jin. “I hate to accommodate others. Even under some circumstances that we have to do some adjustment, it should still follow my own main frame in that case.”

Jin Chengzhi. Photo from the Rainbow Chamber Singers' official WeChat account.
Jin Chengzhi. Photo from the Rainbow Chamber Singers’ official WeChat account.

Will the choral fever last?

Besides Jin, the other members of Rainbow Chamber Singers are amateur choral music lovers from different professions. The group’s popularity brought more opportunities to showcase Rainbow’s music to the public, and they broke even with income from its show tickets and advertising. But Jin said that they are in their comfort zone and are also open to investment.

The Internet has reshaped communication with the influx of fragmented information, and people are getting lost in its impetuosity and uneasiness. A humorous song to relax one’s mood and emotions is welcomed. Hence, the opportunity came for Rainbow Chamber Singers’ light-hearted performances.

However, two questions need to be considered: how long will their popularity last? And how much love can they receive from the public with this kind of music performances?

Photo from the Rainbow Chamber Singers official WeChat account.
Photo from the Rainbow Chamber Singers official WeChat account.

Life as a web celebrity

Jin is happy to gain recognition from the public. “More and more people get to know you first. Then, you have a chance to make them love you.” He admitted that there is a chemical change in popularity.

Results from Baidu word search of “Rainbow Chamber Singers” and “Zhang Shichao” show that:

  • Each popular piece generated hot hits and then its popularity fades.
  • Rainbow Chamber Singers are gradually raising awareness.

However, classical music belongs to a niche market, and Rainbow Chamber Singers tagged with these humorous songs may last for a while. Jin thinks conducting is his main work which must be done well. Composing and lyrics, things which he loves, are secondary.

“A lot of friends used to think I am a dancer on the stage,” said Jin. Finally, his friends understand that he is not dancing at all – thanks to the fame of Rainbow Chamber Singers.

(Top photo from the official WeChat account of Rainbow Chamber Singers)

What made a unicorn hunter invest in ofo?

Last September, Zhu Xiaohu (Allen Zhu), one of ofo’s investors and GSR Ventures’ Partner and Managing Director, shared a moment on his WeChat that he estimated the battle between ofo and Mobike would end within nine months. Now, as the battle continues, Zhu still has strong confidence in ofo with his understanding of business – it is the same secret to all kinds of businesses.

Zhu Xiaohu was called a unicorn hunter in an online article back in 2015 because of his outstanding investment moves in the hottest startups in China including Didi Chuxing, ele.me and ofo. Recently, he shared some interesting investment opinions on an online course app called Hundun.

Data shapes your profit

The key to traditional retail business is only one word: location, location, location. Location helps players to gain users. This is the same business truth to the internet model as well. A simple business formula, Profit = Revenue – Cost, runs well for all business models regardless of it being traditional enterprises or internet companies.

With the exception of very few user-generated driven business models such as WeChat, most business models now spend a lot on buying users which is why venture funds invest in them, according to Zhu. It is easy to buy users, but it is difficult to keep them.

“Another essential factor is how to generate gross profits while those users are visiting your website or app. All data is very important. Cost figures such as customer generated cost, operation cost, and so on. In other words, it is essential how long you will take to cover the user costs from customer contributions, and then make real money,” said Zhu.

Clear business logic

Zhu think ofo’s business model is quite clear since the first day he invested it. Investors prefer a business model which allows a startup to break even within one year, though breaking even after six months is better. However, ofo’s business model looks like it can even make money only after three months.

Campus markets for ofo may not be big. However, if we can have 2 or 3 million rentals per day in a campus, it may make it as a listed company. This means the risk is under control, while markets outside campuses and downtown markets are totally underestimated which could possibly bring in extra benefits. There is a chance to become a unicorn company soon if all markets are included.

Allen Zhu
Zhu Xiaohu, an ofo investor. Photo from InvestorsCN

Founder must be a founder

There are no standard rules in choosing a right founder. However, Zhu thinks that a founder should fulfill some of the following criteria – confident, experienced and modest.

A good CEO must be able to persuade his investor, partner and employees. In addition, the CEO is supposed to face all challenges and provide solutions with strong confidence.

Expertise is normally ignored by those founders who have just graduated from college. They may tend to look over most webpages and apps which may look very simple and that have already been tested and run well with deep logic. Fresh graduate CEOs were once a hit after Chinese Prime Minister Li Keiqiang’s endorsement of them in 2014.

Zhu believes that it is better if fresh graduates work in BAT(Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) companies for five or six years first before setting up their own startups with the acquired experience. Zhu has only invested in two startups by fresh graduates in the past ten years – one is Zhang Xuhao, the founder and CEO of ele.me, and the other is ofo which was founded by Dai Wei. He thinks that both of them are truly born with business sense.

Zhu dislikes those people who are too defensive. He thinks those people are normally overly self-protective by deflecting all the challenging questions. If a modest person who accepts different opinions and is always asking for challenges to improve, then he is a true wise man, said Zhu.

In 2012, Zhu made a quick decision to invest USD 2 million on Didi Chuxing after a half-hour talk with Cheng Wei, the founder of Didi Chuxing. Now, Cheng Wei is still asking his investors questions such as “I met a problem, what do you think about it and how do you do it? ” This is what the unicorn hunter is happy to see, because he is honest.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

Will Chinese bike sharing apps’ overseas expansions succeed?

Chinese bike sharing startups are getting involved in a heated battle seeking market growth outside China. Two leading startups announced overseas strategies this month with Mobike having just completed a USD 215 million investment choosing Singapore as its first overseas expansion project, and ofo which is backed by Didi Chuxing, is planning to enter Silicon Valley and London, according to Tencent Tech. Their bold moves to target those comparatively developed markets as their new battlefields – is it a smart move or not?

Starting from Silicon Valley

One demand of bike sharing which is the same in both domestic and overseas markets is the inconvenience caused by limited public transportation within closed or semi-closed areas like parks or campuses.

Bike sharing is nothing new for Silicon Valley. Google launched Google bikes in 2007.  Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies also provide cycling service to their staff as well. Ofo will have to face challenges if these areas become their targeted markets. One strong function that the ofo app provides is GPS location for bikes. A key to success for ofo’s overseas expansion may be to provide better functions than its competitors.  

ofo bikes. Photo from ofo's Weibo
ofo bikes. Photo from ofo’s Weibo

There is also a chance for Chinese bike sharing companies to break into the campus market. Zipbike, a college campus car and bike share program by Zipcar and Zagster, has launched the program in 15 schools by end 2016. Therefore, there could be some market opportunities for Chinese companies as the Zipbike program will only officially launch in January 2017.

Meanwhile, Chinese companies need to reach consensus on cooperation with universities in advance. As of yet, no Chinese company has disclosed any information on campus business plans.

Commuting diversity

Another demand of bike sharing comes from commuting. Big cities in China have large-scale public transportation systems because of their highly densed populations and traffic congestion problems. Meanwhile, people in large American or European cities mostly commute by car. Cycling plays a less essential role in other developed countries than China.

A survey by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) states that 65 percent of interviewees use bus and subway, 11 per cent use bike sharing, and 12 per cent use car-sharing. Meanwhile in Singapore, which Mobike is venturing to, daily commute by cycling only stands at 1.5 percent.

Nevertheless, expansion opportunities for bike sharing still exist. New York City’s bike sharing system Citi Bike continues to grow for the third consecutive year with a ridership record of close to 14 million trips in 2016, breaking 2015’s record by more than 4 million trips.

Lower cost strategy

“Made in China” is often associated with lower costs in manufacturing. Thus, ofo and Mobike have different strategies in manufacturing bicycles to their advantage. Mobike mostly does its own research and development to make their own bicycles, whereas ofo chose domestic bike maker Phoenix Bicycles for overseas development.

There is money to be made, ofo claims. One bicycle will cost USD300 if it is made in the United States, but it will only cost USD100 if it is made in China and delivered to the United States, according to ofo.

Ofo can also use the card of ”employment rate” while they are lobbying local governments like the United Kingdom. They plan to hire one person to operate 1,000 bicycles. This proposition could attract local governments.  

(Top photo from Pexels.com)