Huang Zheng, or Colin Huang (黄峥) is a Chinese billionaire businessman, and the founder and CEO of e-commerce company Pinduoduo.
Colin Huang earned a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin.
Huang joined Google as an engineer in 2004.
Following the July 2018 initial public offering of Pinduoduo on NASDAQ, Huang’s 47% stake was valued at $14 billion, making him the 13th richest person in China.
The Shanghai-based company Pinduoduo（拼多多）, also known as PDD, was founded in 2015 and reported revenue of 1.4 billion yuan ($280 million) in 2017. It became publicly traded following an initial public offering in the United States in July 2018.
Pinduoduo is Huang’s fourth startup. He launched his first company, e-commerce site Ouku.com, in 2007, but his penchant for startups manifested even earlier.
Huang studied computer science at Zhejiang University in his native Hangzhou, and later at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Upon graduation in 2004, Huang turned down a job offer from Microsoft. “I could see what I would become at Microsoft ten years later,” he wrote in a 2016 blog post.
He chose instead to join Google as a software engineer. At the time, Microsoft’s market capitalization exceeded $200 billion. Google didn’t go public until a few months later.
In 2006, Huang moved back to China as part of Google China’s inaugural team alongside Kai-Fu Lee, who now runs venture capital group Sinovation Ventures. A year later, however, Huang made another counter-intuitive decision – he quit his job at Google, not even waiting until his options vested in full. That was when his serial entrepreneurship began.
He sold his first startup, Ouku.com, in 2010. His second and thirdcompanies are an e-commerce backend services firm (which is still operating) and an online game developer.
Huang has connections to some of China’s most powerful people in tech. While he was still in college, he was approached online by William Ding, founder of online game firm NetEase, who sought his help for a technical problem. Ding then introduced him to Duan Yongping, an investor and entrepreneur behind smartphone firms Oppo and Vivo, who won a bid to have lunch with Warren Buffett in 2006, and took Huang with him, according to a report from Chinese business magazine Caijing.
A Former Google Employee Just Became One of China’s Richest People
Colin (Zheng) Huang, 38, started working for Google as an engineer in 2004.
He stayed with the search giant for three years, and has described his time there as “incredibly valuable.”
“Google gave me far more than I contributed,” Huang has written on his personal blog.
Fast forward to present day, and the one-time Silicon Valley newbie is now one of China’s richest people, amassing a fortune worth $13.8 billion with the U.S. trading debut of his e-commerce company, Pinduoduo, on Thursday.
That sum makes him China’s 12th wealthiest individual, according to Bloomberg. Forbes, meanwhile, ranks him the nation’s 13th richest person. Worldwide, he’s one of the 100 richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Shanghai-based PDD, as the company is known, listed on Nasdaq with the stock closing at $26.70 and rising as much as 44% on its first day of trading on New York’s second biggest stock exchange. The IPO, which raised $1.6 billion, is the fourth-largest in the U.S. so far this year.
Huang owns a 46.8% stake in his company, which is now valued at $29.6 billion. A Chinese e-commerce newcomer that has given the likes of Alibaba and JD.com a run for their money, Huang founded PDD in 2015.
The PDD model is one of group-buying, with a focus on lower-income customers and discounts for groups of people who buy in bulk. Toilet paper and bed sheets sell for under $5. Huang likes to use the analogy of Costco (value for money) shaking hands with Disneyland (fun), to describe his brainchild. American publications have often dubbed PDD “the Groupon of China.”
Over the past 12 months, the rate of U.S. listings by Chinese firms has tripled, according to Bloomberg. PDD itself is one of a trio of nascent Chinese tech firms, together with Cango and Aurora Mobile that began their IPO book builds last week. With concern increasingly mounting over a trade war between the U.S. and China, however, investors are watching on tenterhooks.
Huang holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin. He plans to donate some of his PDD shares to charities he will create himself. On his blog he writes, “Pinduoduo will always dedicate itself to doing the right things, creating value for our society and making this world a better and happier place.”
By ALICE TOZER