Ding Lei’s future ready ideas have made NetEase one of the fastest growing internet companies in the world. A story that inspires and peps up the internet businesses across, for NetEase, it had been quite a journey.
Founded in 1997 with just 3 employees, NetEase has grown into one of the largest Internet companies in China. When Kathy Xu from Baring Private Equity Partners, a venture capital firm, invested 5 million dollars into NetEase, the results could have gone either way. By 2000, the company was listed on NASDAQ and raised about 70 million dollars. For any young entrepreneur, this kind of a journey would be a dream come true. It was at the end of the dot-com bubble that the investors became cautious. NetEase’s accounting scandal broke in 2001. The stock was suspended from NASDAQ and faced threats of delisting. Ding Lei went around looking for new investors but found no takers. Just when it looked like the doors would shut on NetEase, Lei had a plan.
He wanted to venture into the online gaming business, a plan that was swiftly rejected by the board. Being a majority shareholder, Lei went ahead with his plan. This was the jackpot for NetEase. By 2003, he had become China’s richest man.