Derek Shen

Name: Derek Shen
Chinese Name: 沈博阳
Title: VP, LinkedIn and President, China
Company: LinkedIn Corporation
Years in China: 10
I consider myself to be a digital native because:
In my eyes, the online and offline world is seamlessly integrated – everything in the online world has implications in the offline world, and vice versa. Maybe that’s because I’ve spent my entire career in the internet/digital space across geographies such as China and the USA (Silicon Valley). I also spend almost all my waking hours on multiple digital platforms, from Weibo and WeiXin to LinkedIn.
My career highlights:
I joined LinkedIn in 2014 as a Vice President and lead the company’s growth initiatives as President in China. Prior to LinkedIn, I founded in early 2010 and grew it to become a leading group-buying site in China, before Baidu acquired a majority stake in 2013. It now has more than 2,500 employees. Before founding, I also had the privilege of working in various capacities at Google, and was most recently its Head of Business Development in China. Before returning to China, I also led technical teams at Yahoo and Vizional Technologies in Silicon Valley.
Professional mission:
My goal is to enable LinkedIn as a platform that globalises Chinese professionals, by connecting them with our (300+ million) members around the world, and help them to better achieve their career aspirations. Ultimately, this will create economic opportunities not just for Chinese professionals, but for all professionals globally.
The best thing about my job is:
I’ve got a great boss, Jeff Weiner, who topped the list of Glassdoor’s Top 50 CEOs in 2014. Jeff is also a great mentor and is 100 per cent supportive of our China mission.
Personal mantra:
Always be humble, and recognize that there is always something you can learn from everyone.
My proudest achievement is:
I founded in early 2010, and grew it to become a leading Chinese group-buying site with more than 2,000 employees at the end of 2013. Beyond the business aspects, I was also very proud to see many on my team realising their potential as professionals.
The secret to my success is:
To keep trying to innovate and try new things, no matter how big or small - never allow yourself to stagnate, not even for a day. Of course, my family is a big support system for me.
The trends I'm watching in China are:
There are a million trends to watch in this vast market. In the online professional networking space, it’s important to watch the juxtaposition of key trends such as urbanization, aggregation of job and business opportunities, digital consumption habits, emerging in-demand skills, mobile technologies, etc.
The most significant development in China's digital scene is:
To me, the consumers come first. They are the ones who will make or break the digital scene. There are currently more than 600 million consumers on the internet, and this is set to grow. Their increasing sophistication, coupled with their evolving aspirations and lifestyles should be closely watched, so that companies and marketers can reach them effectively.
What technology do you consider most important and why?
Mobile technology of any kind, particularly those that can change the game in terms of the way consumers live, work and play, is my best bet. While more than 80 per cent of internet users in China are currently on mobile, that’s just the beginning as their use cases are limited – there’s always room for mobile to become an indispensable part of their personal and professional lives.
Challenges I'm seeking to overcome this year:
I am very excited about the massive opportunity LinkedIn has in China, to build a platform that globalises Chinese professionals and helps them to better achieve their career aspirations. We just launched a beta version of LinkedIn in Simplified Chinese in February 2014, and while we’ve already introduced various localized features (such as integration with Sina and Tencent Weibo and WeChat), we are just getting started on our journey to connect 140 million Chinese professionals.