HOUSTON / ATLANTA / MONROVIA

The Liu Zizheng Interview

Two Decades of Internet Evolution, Current Trends, and Global Expansion Plans

Q1: It has been 20 years since you started working. How do you evaluate these two decades? 

A: If I were to evaluate the past 20 years, I would consider myself fortunate. Of course, when I say “fortunate,” it’s not just about luck falling from the sky. In fact, this fortune is built upon my technical skills and work capabilities, and I also benefited from the good timing of internet development.

My work history is not overly complex. After graduating, I joined Baidu, where I let my team in building the bidding ranking system. The name “bidding ranking system” may not be familiar to most people, but it is closely related to every search term that users encounter when using Baidu’s information search service.

Later, I joined Weibo (Sina Weibo). If the time at Baidu marked the beginning of China’s internet development, then my time at Weibo can be considered the high-speed development period. Weibo is a widely used social media platform, primarily among young people. However, our work was not limited to just operating this community. We also had to explore various internet technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. Several years ago, I became involved with various computer technologies, including big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and more. Therefore, we started researching these technologies very early on and even organized various activities to accelerate the practical application of these technologies. While many users may feel that their experience using Weibo has not significantly changed, we have introduced more advanced digital technologies into many details to provide users with a better experience. In addition to my work at Weibo, I also founded two companies: YOUKA (UKA) and YOUXIN (YX). The products developed by these two companies also incorporate very advanced technological concepts. For example, one of the functions of UKA, called “Virtual Live Streaming,” has high technological requirements. We have made significant breakthroughs in aspects like our self-developed expression-driven algorithm, native 3D engine technology, and standardization of 3D models.

Q2: What are your thoughts on the future development of Weibo, as well as UKA and YX? 

A: For social media software platforms like Weibo, the overall functionality is already relatively complete, but this is just one stage of Weibo’s development. What we need to do now is refine every aspect. As for how to refine it, there are many avenues to explore. For example, we can delve into artificial intelligence, big data, and other technologies to apply them to various functional modules within Weibo. This will enhance users’ experience.

UKA, YX, and Weibo are all social media software platforms. In comparison to Weibo, UKA and YX have a smaller user base, primarily focused on the 2D and general 2D communities. The overall user volume is smaller. However, in terms of technological application, UKA and YX are not inferior to Weibo. For instance, one of UKA’s functions, “Virtual Live Streaming,” has high technological requirements. We have made significant breakthroughs in areas such as our self-developed expression-driven algorithm, native 3D engine technology, and standardization of 3D models. But there are still many aspects we need to research.

Our goal is not limited to the Chinese market. We also hope to expand internationally, making our platform accessible to more users. This poses significant technological challenges.

Looking at our current development, I believe we need to strive to grasp digital technologies as much as possible. The potential of these technologies has not been fully exploited. If we can fully apply them to these software platforms, not only will our company’s products make a qualitative leap, but the entire industry will also undergo a transformative change.

Q3: How do you view the current internet environment and development? 

A: First, we must acknowledge that the current internet industry is indeed prospering. Various emerging technologies and concepts continue to emerge, such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and more. They are changing our way of life and work. Data shows that China’s internet users have exceeded one billion, which is enough to demonstrate the high penetration of the internet in China. Most people in the country can enjoy the convenience and fun brought by the internet.

However, everything has two sides. The rapid development of the internet has also brought about some issues, with the most prominent being network security and information overload. As the internet has become more widespread, problems like cyberattacks and data breaches have increased. Protecting personal privacy and information security has become an important topic in internet development. Moreover, while information overload allows us to quickly access a large amount of information, the spread of information overload and false information is also a very challenging problem. Users need to improve their ability to identify and filter information, especially elderly and child users who may have less discerning judgment. Therefore, our company attaches great importance to addressing false information and aims to reduce the risks associated with it as much as possible. In recent years, the government has strengthened regulation of network security and information security. Violations, such as stealing network information or spreading rumors on the internet, are now handled in accordance with the law. I believe this provides a good working environment for companies in the industry.

Of course, in addition to these risk challenges, I believe that the development of the internet has more advantages than disadvantages. Our lives today are so convenient mainly due to the support of internet technology. At the same time, I also believe that the future development of the internet industry will continue to move toward intelligence, security, and diversification.

Q4: Why do you plan to expand into the international market? What are your plans in the United States? 

A: The reason for planning to expand into the international market is quite simple: we want to seize the Chinese market and, at the same time, strive for the international market. I hope our products can appear more in international markets and be used by more people.

The reason for choosing the United States is also straightforward. The United States has a very clear technological advantage in the internet industry. In the United States, I can more easily find partners in fields like artificial intelligence, big data, and cooperate with them for deeper research and exploration. I hope to explore more possibilities in the top-tier internet environment and create more miracles.

Moreover, based on my knowledge, the virtual anchor industry abroad is also growing rapidly, and my products currently meet the market demand and social environment in foreign countries. Therefore, I plan to establish a subsidiary in the United States, adapt the company’s existing products to suit the habits of American users, and meet their social habits and entertainment needs. At the same time, I will organize a team to conduct market research and develop more social media software for Americans, providing them with more social possibilities and enriching their social activities.

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