In the west few have heard of Cheetah Mobile, it has several Android utility products that are consistently among the top downloads in the Google Play store. They are unglamorous but useful titles like Clean Master, Battery Doctor and Photo Grid.
Sheng Fu who took four years to build his company for an IPO, and 18 months to expand globally, is being seen as a Chinese Steve Jobs – at least in China.
Despite its products being free, Fu says Cheetah’s business is strong, with sales increasing 150 percent per year for the past two years, with third-quarter sales of more than $77.7 million.
Part of Cheetah’s success is that the intense competition of the Chinese market leads to products that can compete globally. There are so many recent university graduates working in tech, all with their startups looking to find their place in the market, he said.
Also, Chinese companies saw the impact that piracy played in the PC software era, and China’s mobile companies grew up knowing they would need to make money without getting consumers to open their wallets.
“Chinese companies are so good at making free but high-quality products,” he said.