The gradual and painful demise of traditional media has seen more and more talented journalists seek new opportunities. Among the options, starting a business of their own is becoming a favorable alternative.

Obviously, journalists would make good entrepreneurs for their expertise in detecting and addressing the latest trends. Moreover, they surely enjoy abundant contact resources to draw back upon. But more importantly “[j]ournalists tend to possess the right mix of idealism, skepticism, and determination to bring useful ideas to life,” according to the former editor of the Chicago Tribune, Jason Goodrich.

In that vein, TechNode presents 3 journalists-turned-tech entrepreneurs.

Hu Weiwei — Mobike

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In a little bit more than one year, dockless bike rental firm Mobike has brought amazing changes to China’s intercity transportations. Hu Weiwei, the 34-year-old founder of Mobike, once worked as a journalist at the Daily Economics Newspaper, mainly covering automobile news, which later helped her to form Mobike’s founding team.

After leaving the company, she went to The Beijing News and Business Value to report about technology news. In December 2015, she formed a team from her automobile industry networks and established Mobike in 2016. Obviously, Hu’s reporting experience in transportation and technology sector has contributed greatly to her project.

As one of the top players in the vertical, the Chinese bike rental startup has closed its 215 million USD series D in Jan. this year. The company is also planning to expand beyond China to the global market.

Tang Yan — Momo


Like many Beijing drifters, Momo’s co-founder and CEO Tang Yan, originally from Hunan Province, came to Beijing more than ten years ago in the pursuit of his dreams. Before founding the social networking app with his colleagues, he worked at the internet firm NetEase from 2003 to 2011, when he left his post of editor-in-chief at NetEase’s news service.

As one of the country’s leading dating apps, Momo went public in the US in 2014. The hook-up app, which now claims 81.1 million monthly active users by the end of 2016, is one of the Chinese companies that have capitalized on the booming live streaming services in the country. The firm’s revenue recorded a significant 524% YOY jump to US$ 246.1 million USD in Q4 last year, mainly contributed from the growth of their live streaming business.

Li Xueling — YY

Li Xueling

Li Xueling, the 44-year-old CEO of YY, was a reputable tech reporter before founding the gaming portal for China’s gamers. He joined the China Youth Daily after getting a BA at Renmin University. Li worked for NetEase between 2003 to 2005, when he left the company as editor-in-chief for the news portal.

YY went public on the NASDAQ in late 2012. The firm started as a voice chat service for game players and has since transformed into an interactive video platform. The sectors the platform now covers include music, gaming, education, and dating. The majority of its revenue come from virtual item sales.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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