Glogou was Featured on Silicon Valley Business Journal: Santa Clara startup connects U.S. companies and Chinese markets


Glogou's WAVE tool - which stands for Web Accessibility & Visibility Evaluator - to help U.S. companies better understand how visible their sites are on Chinese sites like the country's major search engine Baidu.

For foreign companies, finding business success in China often hinges on building personal relationships.

With this in mind, the U.S.-educated China natives behind Santa Clara startup Glogou are using China’s own websites to connect the country’s massive – but often elusive – markets with American businesses, real estate markets and tourist attractions.

The company was officially incorporated in mid-2012, and now offers marketing services on Chinese websites like the search engine Baidu (China’s equivalent of Google) for companies without employees who speak Mandarin or have other ties to China.

“If you want to do business in China, you have to start with some sort of personal connection,” Glogou co-founder Iris Huang told me. “This is a way for them to really break into China.”

One half of Glogou’s operation is this push to help clients – ranging from the state of South Carolina’s tourism office to mid-size local tech companies – make a name for themselves in China. The Asian nation is also notorious for blocking web access to international websites, making Glogou’s services more valuable since the company has an office in China to monitor web blackouts and the visibility of foreign products on search results.

But in addition to facilitating sales for international companies in China, Glogou also connects China’s growing middle class with opportunities to put down roots in the U.S.

“In China, the growing middle class population makes a lot of money,” Huang said. “They are buying houses, they have greater spending power. One of their goals is for their kids to receive a quality education overseas.”

With this in mind, Glogou has represented clients like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and real estate developers in Southern California, catering to individuals in China looking not just to buy goods or services from the U.S. but also considering buying property or getting a degree here.

Huang said the company sees part of its mission as a responsibility to open opportunities for Chinese citizens in the U.S. – which is part of the reason the company is self-funded instead of seeking venture capital in the Valley.

“This may not be a good thing for us to keep our company values,” Huang said of the option to pursue outside funding. “They are so money-driven.”

Huang said Glogou’s strength lies in intricate knowledge of both the American and Chinese markets.

Many of the company’s roughly 30 employees, who are spread out between Santa Clara, Boston and China, are of Chinese origin but received advanced U.S. degrees, ranging from Huang’s own MBA from the University of Notre Dame to PhDs in electrical engineering from Stanford.

“Our technical knowledge really helps us a lot,” said Huang, who also holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering in addition to her MBA. “Marketing research is kind of like statistical research. You have to have the ability to identify good information.”

For now, Huang said Glogou is continuing to pursue new clients and is banking on their timing and work ethic to keep growing the company.

“We are one of the early players in this market,” she said. “We work around the clock.”

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