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Looking back – and forward

2006 was a great year, once again a year full of changes and opportunities, but also lots of hard work. I set up Spill Group Asia in January and did not expect that at the end of the year it would be a 35 person company, active in running game portals and in game development. The take-over of Zlong Games in September was successful as well, and we managed to get some big multinationals as clients over the past months.

Gary ensured that Tudou also kept on growing extremely fast, the average Alexa ranking over the past week was 258 (meaning that it is almost in the top 250 of websites worldwide, based on size). A lot of competitors started this year, some very well funded, but is and will be the number one video site in China. It is bigger than all its Chinese competitors according to Alexa, both in terms of ranking and total page views. Of course the 8.5 million USD investment helped a lot as well. My wife quit her job at Roland Berger this year and is now also active at Tudou, as VP and CFO.

China Bay
moved to a new office again this year because our former office (the first floor of a villa on Weihai Lu) would be destroyed. The company is now located in an old renovated villa on Zhaojiabang Lu. I am not very active anymore in China Bay, because Spill Group takes almost all of my time, but I still work with some European clients on their China strategy. Very different from my day-to-day operational work in the internet business, but very interesting to work directly with clients as a consultant and help them to grow their companies here.

Privately Qi and I had our first wedding anniversary, which we celebrated in Guilin. Other travels (some partly for work) included short trips to Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, Monaco, Holland, Dubai, and a one day skiing trip outside Beijing. Also we tried to work a bit less on weekends, and spent some weekends outside Shanghai, among others in Nanjing, Hangzhou and Moganshan.

The plan was to ride a mountain bike from Lhasa in Tibet to Katmandu in Nepal, but this plan was postponed due to Nepali rebel action. Hopefully we will be able to do this 20-day trip in 2007. Other sportive highlights were scarce, although I did run another marathon, this time in Macau. Next year my dad and I plan to run the New York marathon in November.

And what will 2007 bring? I will certainly still be in Shanghai in one year’s time, and very likely still as CEO of Spill Group Asia. I expect the company to keep on growing, and would not be surprised if we will double in size over the next 12 months. We have some interesting ideas for as well, that I will write about once we launch them in about 3 months. Tudou will also keep on growing fast, I think 2007 will be the year that online video really becomes mainstream.

Privately, my sister will get married in May, so that means a trip to Holland for the wedding. As mentioned I hope to ride through the Himalaya this year, and I also plan to run in New York. My work load won’t reduce, but that’s something I don’t mind. I try to live a bit more healthy though, with more sports and more sleep. Of course combined with nice food and wine, no compromises there.

For all readers a successful, happy and healthy 2007. Xin nian kuai le!

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