Eric Yuan: Chinese American Innovator

In the time of a pandemic where gatherings, meetings and conferences are severely affected, technology came to the rescue. Chinese American Eric Yuan’s application has been one of the most used applications today where people can meet virtually without leaving the comfort of their homes. Know more about this inspiring Asian American who founded Zoom and how he came to be in the present.

Born in February 1970 in China, Eric’s parents have worked as geology engineers. As a 4th grader, he has collected scrapes of construction as well as wastes and he turned it into cash through recycling. Eric first thought of Silicon Valley when he read articles in newspapers his father brought home every night.

Photo Courtesy of Entrepreneur

After his secondary years of schooling, he graduated with a degree majoring in applied mathematics with a minor in computer application from Shandong University of Science and Technology. His long hour train rides to see his girlfriend made Eric think of an alternative way to be with her. This is the inspiration for him to create a teleconferencing software. Following his time in college, he attended China University where he attained his masters in geology engineering.

Shandong University of Science and Technology

Photo Courtesy of Smapse

In 1995, he was sent to Japan for a four-month training program by the company where he was working for. Bill Gates was the keynote speaker at the said program. Eric felt inspired as he listened to Bill Gates’ speech and thought of the Internet being the future. This led him to decide on taking the chance to go to Silicon Valley. He got there in August 1997 aspiring to have a startup.

Eric became part of WebEx at a point where it had around a dozen employees. WebEx was a real-time collaboration company at that time. By 2007, Cisco bought WebEx and Eric became Cisco’s Corporate VP of engineering after working hard. Eric offered the idea of making a smartphone friendly video conferencing system but it was rejected.

It was June of 2011 when Eric made the decision that it was time to bring to life his idea of a video communications solution he thought of as a college student in his train trips. He hired an initial team of 40 engineers and it took about 18 months developing the basic framework for a native application. Eventually, Zoom was launched as a platform in 2012.

Photo Courtesy of Be Yourself

Zoom progressed beyond its beta testing by January 2013 and garnered 1 million users. It successfully became a platform for numerous purposes such as video conferencing, audio conferencing and web conferencing. More importantly, it gave people an easy to use application for virtual meetings that can accommodate up to 500 people. Zoom gained a lot of users as the pandemic struck, giving people and businesses the opportunity to meet virtually. The company is now worth up to $35 billion.

Photo Courtesy of Business Insider

Eric Yuan’s idea as a college student came to life as the years went by. Times Magazine named him as the Businessperson of the Year in 2020 and included him in the Times 100 Most Influential People of 2020.


Failure Before Success

Written by Jan Marbella

Jan Marbella is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of De La Salle University DasmariƱas.


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item Eric Yuan: Chinese American Innovator
Eric Yuan: Chinese American Innovator
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