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An idea that he got while day-dreaming in class has made him one of the most promising young entrepreneurs in the country.
“It all started with my lovefor gaming. I enjoy sharing the interest with the world,” said the 26-year-old Huang Kai.
Observing that Chinese people usually play foreign card games like poker, he decided to promote China’s traditional games.
Huang designed and developed the popular strategic board game Sangguosha (Legends of the Three Kingdoms) in 2006.
The game, based on histirical characters, has become big business.
And for that reason, Huang recently made into Forbes China’s list of top”30 entrepreneurs under 30” in China in 2011.
The list, realsted at the end of last month, honors brilliant young Chinese who are changing our lives with their bright business ideas. Guo Jingming, 28-year-old writer–turned businessman, and 19—year-old Mammoth Internet browser developer Ji Yichao are also on the list.
The list is similar to Forbes’ 30 under-30 list in the US, which includes Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, 27, and Dropbox’s CEO, Drew Huston, 28.
The company founded by Huang, Beijing Yoka Board Game Culture Development CO Ltd, is reported to have sold millions of packs of card games. And it claims 80 percent of the market share of the 30 million Chinese board games players.
Huang was thrilled to find that he was on Forbes’ list. ”It means that I‘ve created something with social value,” he said.
“I think I started at the same plave as Steven Jobs and Bill Gates- with something I really love, but the difference is how we changed the world.”
Huang has tried to improve people’s lives with his card games. ”What I did with Sanguosha was to pull lonely gamers away from cold seats in front of the computers to play face-to-face in an interactice group,” he explained.
Huang got the idea for the game with characters in the Three Kingdoms era, as a sophomore majoring in interactive art at the Communication University of China. Then he worked days and nights to draw images on cards, and gave each character a distinct set of skills, weapons and personalities as described in interature.
Although the gaming idea may seem simple, there is a mathematical model with strong logic behind the desigh of characters and their skills.
“Whenever I develop a new role, I test it thousands of times to ensure it didn’t break the balance of the game,” said Huang.
Perhaps that’s why when Sanguosha becanme successful and sold 1 million packs of cards in 2008, many copycat versions appeared but failed to catch on.
However, although creating a gaming model gives Huang fun, creating a business was more of a battle. In 2008, Huang and his two partners, Du Bin and Li You, founded their company, with a starting fund of only 50000 yuan.
With no experience of running a business, they groped in the dark.（在黑暗中摸索）” The most difficult part is to achieve smething you have not tried before,” he said.
But Huang has learnt to pool the wisdom from for his team of young talents to desigh the best products and services. Their collective talents worked well.
Currently Sanguosha may be the most popular Chinese board game. Some universities even launched optional course to teach the game.
But Huang saw a divide between himself and his US peers like Zukerberg in the Forbes list in taking business to a global level.
“I can see what they’ve achieved so far and I’ll aim to pursue it in the long run.” he said.