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Making economics fun: How a start-up CEO explains business in layman's terms

Du Junzhi

Making economics fun: How a start-up CEO explains business in layman's terms

As a content creator, Zou Luqin is undoubtedly successful. Across multiple video-sharing platforms, Zou has over 10 million followers who are eager to find clues in understanding the complicated world of business.

"I hope my videos can help people know more about the basic concepts and logic of economics, finance and business," said Zou, who is also known as Lindsay. "It would be great if my videos can be helpful when people make some decisions in their lives."

"For most people, knowing what the world is and why it is this way, is probably more beneficial than expecting what the world should be," she added.

From various regional economies of different countries to the latest big business news, Zou's videos cover business topics with in-depth analysis. Nearly all of her videos gets impressive viewership despite the fact that they are over 20 minutes long.

On Chinese video website Bilibili, for instance, her 100 plus videos have been viewed over 200 million times. The one on short-selling, her current most-watched video, has been viewed more than 6.6 million times. Zou was recognized as one of the platform's top 100 content creators in both 2022 and 2023, contributing her bit in the website's knowledge section.

"Her eyes glitter when she talks in the video. She must like economic topics very much. Every time I see a person explaining things this way, I am attracted," a viewer commented on the website.


When asked why her videos are so popular online, Zou said comments below her videos usually highlight the feature of making obscure business knowledge easy to understand. For Zou, good videos are required to be both informative and interesting.

"First, you need to have an extensive and systemic understanding of how an economy works, which helps to clarify the logic behind knowledge, information and events," said Zou. "Then, you need to explain the hardcore knowledge in a way that grasps the audience's attention."

Story-telling has been one way of getting the audience hooked, but the hardcore knowledge that her viewers value most comes from many years of professional training.

Born in 1990, Zou grew up in the coastal city of Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province. Having majored in finance and math in college, Zou has acquired degrees from Peking University and Columbia University, both leading universities in the world. After graduation, she kick-started her career at JP Morgan as an analyst. The young woman has got a shining resume that many of her peers envy.

Three years later, she started her own company in the United States, aiming to build a platform that could assist overseas students in finding jobs. However, after the platform was launched, its market feedback was not as encouraging as Zou and her team expected.

"The biggest challenge of entrepreneurship is that no one tells you how to do it. You have to get out of your comfort zone, explore and try and make mistakes," said Zou. "I can ask advice from industry leaders, but I cannot copy their routes."

Zou Luqin at a forum on education organized by Tencent News in Beijing, China, November 30, 2023. /courtesy of Zou Luqin
Zou Luqin at a forum on education organized by Tencent News in Beijing, China, November 30, 2023. /courtesy of Zou Luqin

Zou Luqin at a forum on education organized by Tencent News in Beijing, China, November 30, 2023. /courtesy of Zou Luqin

Stepping out her comfort zone, the young CEO redesigned the business model, shifting her platform's focus to providing career consulting services and courses. She also moved her office from New York to Beijing in 2021.

In order to attract potential clients, Zou created videos that provide practical know-how for young people who are just starting out in the workplace. To her surprise, these videos have been well-received.

The successful trial coincided with the boom of knowledge-sharing content on China's video platforms around 2020. At that time, Chinese netizens were gaining the habit of online learning using smart devices. Driven by the desire to acquire more skills and get more information, netizens welcomed videos that could offer fresh and professional perspectives of the world full of uncertainties.

Zou rarely mentions her own start-up in her videos. But her viewers all know Lindsay's Milk Tea Shop, a fictional company she uses to help the audience understand how a company works. So rather than a start-up CEO, more viewers know Zou as the energetic video creator who excels at explaining economic puzzles.

"The strong support from my team members and friends was also key in the process of climbing out of the bottom," Zou recalled.

At present, she is quite satisfied with her state of life, fulfilling her multiple roles as entrepreneur, content creator, wife and mother.

"Although I don't have much time to rest, both content creation and running a company are things that I like to do," said Zou. "Finding creative topics could be a headache, but my solution is to learn more and communicate more."

Zou observes that women working in the business or financial sector often take the initiative to challenge themselves and express themselves, and they usually have strong communication skills and are constantly inspired to improve themselves.

She also noted that knowing the boundaries of her own ability is key in keeping her positive and energetic.

"I will try my best to do things well within the scope of my ability. If it is completely beyond my power or does not conform to my values, I will not force myself," said Zou.

(Cover designed by Li Jingjie and video made by CGTN's Frontline)

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