This morning three female entrepreneurs – Tao Ning, Partner and COO of Innovation Works; Wang Hongyu, CEO of pangsuo.com; and Gong Haiyan, CEO of jiayuan.com – take the stage at GMIC 2012. It is definitely a rare treat to have the chance to listen to a unique female perspective and their take on the future of the mobile Internet. These women hail from the top caliber, starting their own businesses in China and building empires from them; however, they see little connection between their careers and their gender. They hope to see more women start their own businesses in the future.
“Why don’t we have a lot of female entrepreneurs?” is one of the biggest mysteries in the mobile industry, and they attempted to answer it in what followed.
Right off the bat, they said that it is difficult to recruit top-notch female entrepreneurs if the base number for recruitment is so small. If we look at Silicon Valley or universities, there are very few women in the computing and engineering departments.
They identified that most women are users instead of developers. 70% of e-commerce and leisure game apps are used by women, and since they remain much more active than men, the figure is even higher in social networking apps. The lady entrepreneurs all came to the consensus that this trend is attributed to women’s natural tendency to share. They are more likely to notify their good friends about a good purchase, they said. They are also confident that large numbers of women have already set-up stores on online retail websites, such as taobao.com.
Gong Haiyan, CEO of jiayuan.com, China’s largest online dating website, started the website because she identified the lack of quality dating websites a few years back. She said some websites’ “information” was “very poor” and that there was even fraudulent information. She saw a lack of quality dating sites, so by accident she decided to develop her website. After identifying this opportunity, and being a second generation entrepreneur, she was able to rely on a team of technical talent to make her dreams come true.
All three members felt that it is a pity that so few women work as developers and user experience directors, because they tend to have some strengths that can bring unique features to user interfaces. They say women would design simpler yet more detailed interfaces that would attract more users. After all, it’s the small things that count. For example, you can add horoscopes to your user profile and monitor what you like and where you pay. As a male user-experience designer, you may not want to know the horoscope, but only the location a consumer is paying from.
It is these small things that are overlooked by men that could bring a personal touch that users look for. They argue that, yes men can design UIs that are very technical with a lot of utilities, but women can design the same UI with more emotions and with a simpler look.
They are strong advocates for companies that give women more responsibilities, and they hope to see more women in the mobile Internet industry.
Will is an undergraduate exchange student in Beijing at Tsinghua and a guest writer for mobisights.com