NetDragon Websoft - World's First Company to Appoint an AI-Powered Robot as Its CEO

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand
Sep 13, 2022 11 min read
NetDragon Websoft - World's First Company to Appoint an AI-Powered Robot as Its CEO

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by NetDragon Websoft.

The technological world keeps setting new records. Recently, the Chinese mobile game developer NetDragon Websoft selected "Tang Yu" as its Rotating CEO. Tang Yu is a virtual human backed by artificial intelligence. A massively multiplayer online game (MMOG, sometimes known as an MMO), is an online video game that has a lot of people on the same server, usually hundreds or thousands. MMOs often include a sizable, ongoing immersive experience, while there are some games that don't. These games are available on the majority of network-capable platforms, such as mobile phones, gaming consoles, personal computers, etc.

Players can participate and compete with one another on a global scale in MMOs, as well as occasionally engage in important global interactions. They reflect several different video game categories and offer a diversity of gaming styles.

NetDragon Websoft, a China-based organization, creates mobile applications as well as massively multiplayer online games. In 2002, the business unveiled its first product.

Here's the success story of NetDragon Websoft that covers all about the company, its startup story, founders, competitors, revenue model, acquisitions, and more, you can check ahead!

NetDragon - Company Highlights

Startup Name NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited
Headquarters Fuzhou, China
Industry Online gaming, mobile internet, online education
Founded 1999
Founder Dr. Liu Dejian
Revenue $1.01 billion (2021)
Website netdragon.com

NetDragon - About and How It Works?
NetDragon - Industry
NetDragon - Headquarters
NetDragon - Founder
NetDragon - Virtual CEO
NetDragon - Startup Story
NetDragon - Mission and Vision
NetDragon - Business and Revenue Model
NetDragon - Education
NetDragon - Employees
NetDragon - Funding and Investors
NetDragon - Investments
NetDragon - Acquisitions
NetDragon - Competitors
NetDragon - Future Plans

NetDragon - About and How It Works?

Operating as an investment holding business, NetDragon Websoft, Inc. creates and manages online games. Online game development, comprising game design, graphics, and programming, as well as online game operation, are the company's and its subsidiaries main business operations.

Since 2004, NetDragon has also operated its games directly in foreign markets, doing so in Spanish, English, Spanish, and other languages. Way of the Five, Zero Online, Conquer Online, Eudemons Online, and Heroes of Might & Magic Online are some of the current titles available in the Group's game portfolio. Other games in the portfolio cater to different player types and gameplay interests.

The Group is also working on a new version of Ultima Online in addition to Tian Yuan, CJ7 Online, Disney Fantasy Online, Dungeon Keeper Online, and other games. The company was established in 1999 and has its headquarters in Fuzhou, China.

In recent years, NetDragon has started to develop its online education business with the management's objective to create the biggest international online learning network and provide genuine comprehensive blended learning services to every school around the globe.

NetDragon - Industry

The market for game creation software is expanding rapidly and is predicted to continue doing so over the coming several years. Game development software aids in the creation, monetization, and distribution of video games for the web, desktop and mobile platforms by gaming studios, independent developers, and educational institutions. These software programmes provide extra features including social features, statistics of user activity, and marketing.

Along with level editing and script compilation, the software tools enable the conversion of 3D textures and models into a game format. It is frequently offered as a pre-packaged software/solution suite that facilitates the creation of 3D, 2D, or both types of games. To help game creators produce material rapidly and effectively, businesses provide platforms or software with a procedural content production feature.

The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant effect on a number of businesses. People are spending a lot of time on social media, utilising internet-based calling applications, watching material, and playing games as a result of lockdowns in many different nations. The use of better applications and services may become more popular in the long run as a result of this transformation.

The pandemic has had a beneficial effect on the game development software sector since online gaming is becoming more and more popular all over the world. Companies that create mobile games are encouraging consumers to remain inside. During this season, game developers spend a lot of effort creating new games and updating their already current games.


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NetDragon - Headquarters

NetDragon Websoft Headquarters Inspired by Star Trek
NetDragon Websoft Headquarters Inspired by Star Trek 

There are some crazed "Star Trek" fans throughout the world, but the NetDragon Websoft office in China takes fanaticism to a whole different extreme. Since Dejian, the creator of NetDragon, is reportedly a major "Star Trek" fan, the company's headquarters is designed to resemble an Enterprise of the same. Dejian graduated from the University of Kansas and is on the board of directors for the Chinese online giant Baidu.

NetDragon - Founder

In 1999, Dr. Liu Dejian founded NetDragon Websoft.

Dr. Liu Dejian, the founder and chairman of NetDragon, committed $500,000 to build the centre and fund preliminary operations. The money came from one of the numerous businesses he controls, Digital Train Limited.

Liu Dejian

Dr. Liu Dejian - Founder and Chairman of NetDragon
Dr. Liu Dejian - Founder and Chairman of NetDragon

The invention of Disciplined Design Methodology is credited to Dr. Liu. One of China's top online gaming businesses, NetDragon Websoft Holding Ltd., is founded by him. In 2007, NetDragon Websoft debuted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Liu received the Special Allowance Expert title from the Chinese State Council in 2015. With more than 65 million registered overseas users, NetDragon has expanded its product line to more than 180 countries and 10 languages under his direction. The largest M&A deal in Chinese internet history at the moment occurred in 2013 when NetDragon announced the sale of its 91 Wireless to Baidu for 1.9 billion USD.

Liu established Huayu Education in 2010, a NetDragon wholly-owned subsidiary. Huayu combines cutting-edge mobile internet technologies with resources for education from across the world. Huayu focuses on K–12 and ongoing education for students worldwide. Huayu Education just won a Smart Media Award from Academics' Choice for creating 101 Education, a high-calibre product that makes it easier for instructors to plan courses. Liu has received the highest degree of certification available from the China Association of Science and Technology: senior engineer.

At Beijing Normal University, he serves as co-dean and chair of the Council for the Smart Learning Institute. He has also been invited to serve as an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he co-teaches a course on Next Generation Design: Methods and Heuristics with Professor Chris Dede.


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NetDragon - Virtual CEO

On September 1, 2022, NetDragon Websoft announced its CEO named "Ms Tang Yu", an artificial intelligence-powered virtual humanoid robot as the Rotating CEO of the firm.

NetDragon stated that it hopes to "pioneer the use of Artificial Intelligence to alter management teams and catapult production performance to a new level" by placing a virtual humanoid at the top of its C-suite. The virtual robot CEO is a symbol of NetDragon's "AI + management" methodology and is seen as a significant step toward the organisation's strategy of becoming a "Metaverse company."

Dr. Liu, the founder of NetDragon, claims that the new virtual robot CEO is no joke. She is a component of his company's current acceptance of the potential tomorrow.

β€œWe believe AI is the future of corporate management, and our appointment of Ms. Tang Yu represents our commitment to truly embrace the use of AI to transform the way we operate our business, and ultimately drive our future strategic growth,” Dr. Liu said in a statement.

Ms. Tang Yu has certain tasks, which NetDragon has outlined.

β€œShe will streamline process flow, enhance quality of work tasks, and improve speed of execution,” the company said. She’ll also serve as a β€œreal-time data hub and analytical tool to support rational decision-making in daily operations,” while enabling a more effective risk management system. She’s also expected to play a critical role in the β€œdevelopment of talents and ensuring a fair and efficient workplace for all employees.”

The company hasn't yet unveiled a physical representation of Ms. Tang Yu. In accordance with a statement from the firm, Tang Yu will enhance decision-making during regular business operations and offer a better approach to risk management. She will serve the board as genuine analytics software and the database server as well. Other responsibilities of Tang Yu include ensuring that the staff work in a fair atmosphere.

Ms. Tang Yu β€œwill enable us to attract a much broader base of talents worldwide and put us in a position to achieve bigger goals,” Dr. Liu said.

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NetDragon - Startup Story

In China's internet gaming and internet sectors, NetDragon is a key pioneer and guiding genius. It was founded in 1999 and is a leader in cutting-edge Research and innovation as well as a vertically integrated MMORPG developer and operator. In 2002, the firm released "Monster & Me," their first independently developed online game. Other releases included "Eudemons Online," "Conquer Online," and "Zero Online."

Meanwhile, the firm has consecutively released a range of mobile games, including "War of Gods," "Warring States," and "Crazy Horde," drawing on their years of expertise in R&D and game operation. They were also China's first company to directly operate titles in foreign markets, doing so in English, Arabic, Spanish, and other languages starting in 2003.

Over the years, NetDragon has established a track record of success, incubating online gaming and mobile internet ventures, including the largest and most prominent smartphone service platform in China, 91 Wireless, and the No. 1 Chinese online game portal, 17173.com.

NetDragon - Mission and Vision

NetDragon's mission statement says, " to promote education development and innovation in the internet and mobile education industry."


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NetDragon - Business and Revenue Model

NetDragon Websoft Revenue Growth (FY20-FY21)
NetDragon Websoft Revenue Growth (FY20-FY21)

NetDragon's business and revenue model is divided into four segments: -

  • Gaming - In House Game & Engine Development, Oversea Marketing, and Game License
  • Mobile - 91 Open Mobile Platform, Application Development
  • Innovation - 91kt.com (with Cartoon Network), Digital Publishing, Outsource Platform
  • Education - Education sites, Education e-books and apps, Mobile School

In 2021, the company's revenue increased by 14.6% YoY, reaching $1.01 billion (RMB7.0 billion) as both gaming and education businesses continued to grow strongly. The company's revenue from the games business stood at $525 million (RMB3.6 billion) and revenue from the education business was recorded to be $466 million (RMB3.2 billion).

NetDragon - Education

In an effort to create "the greatest learning community internationally," NetDragon Websoft began becoming involved in education in 2010. Among the purchases the company has made in this area are:

  • The establishment of the UNT-NetDragon Digital Research Centre through a collaboration with the University of North Texas.
  • On April 8, 2018, NetDragon purchased Edmodo.
  • On July 3, 2017, NetDragon made the announcement that it has purchased JumpStart Games, an American publisher of educational software.
  • Additionally, in 2015, NetDragon purchased a 100% share in the UK-listed Promethean Limited.

The company's education revenue in 2021 increased by 32.2% YoY. This was the highest growth that the company had seen in the past four years.


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NetDragon - Employees

  • Ben Yam - Chief Financial Officer
  • Hongmin Zhang - Brand Director
  • Maggie Zhou - Senior Director of Investor Relations
  • Tammy Fu - Director of Strategy and Business Development
  • Christina Jin - Sale Manager
  • Chuck Huang - UE Section Manager
  • Edmodo Classroom - Production Manager
  • Justin Chen - Senior Design Manager
  • Romeo Hong - Senior Manager of Strategy and Business Development
  • Susan Jiang - Senior Manager

NetDragon - Funding and Investors

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
Feb 8, 2015 Post-IPO-Equity $52.2M IDG Capital
Jan 1, 2007 Series B - -
Oct 1, 2004 Series A $2M IDG Capital

NetDragon - Investments

Date Organization Name Round Amount
Sep 1, 2022 Rokid Venture Round $40M
Nov 15, 2018 Anhui Xueyun Education Technology Corporate Round -

NetDragon - Acquisitions

Acquiree Name About Acquiree Date Amount
Edmodo Edmodo is a global education network that connects all learners with the people and resources they need to reach their full potential. Apr 8, 2018 $137.5M
JumpStart JumpStart creates a virtual environment that fosters education for children and families. Jun 3, 2017 -
cherrypicks alpha cherrypicks alpha is a Hong Kong-based mobile developer specialising in disruptive online-to-offline mobile marketing platforms. Apr 25, 2016 $6M
Promethean Promethean delivers interactive learning technology, creating innovative education solutions, and virtual classroom solutions. Nov 3, 2015 $130M
ChiVox Co., Ltd. ChiVox Co., Ltd. is an intelligent voice and speech technology provider in China. Jun 4, 2015 -
Fujian TianDi Fujian TianDi is a 3D Technology company. May 7, 2010 -

NetDragon - Competitors

NetEase, Sohu, Jagex, Voodoo, and the Dyrt are potential competitors for NetDragon Websoft.


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NetDragon - Future Plans

To imagine modern technologies without artificial intelligence would not make much sense. Therefore, Dr. Liu, the company's originator, highlights the significance of this upswing in the business.

According to Dr. Liu, the firm thinks artificial intelligence is the future of corporate leadership. The firm's hiring of Ms. Tang Yu demonstrates its resolve to really adopt the application of AI to modify the way we run our organisation and eventually drive our appropriate development and growth.

As they gradually transition to a metaverse-based working community, he said that he is looking ahead and the firm will continue to expand on its algorithms behind Tang Yu to build a fully accessible, engaging, and highly transparent management system, which will enable everyone to attract a much broader base of skills and abilities globally and set the team up to accomplish higher ambitions.

FAQs

What is NetDragon?

NetDragon is a publicly traded company based in China that develops and operates online and mobile games as well as educational platforms. Its games include web-based games, mobile games, PC games, and e-sports games.

Where is NetDragon located?

NetDragon Websoft has its headquarters in Fuzhou, China.

Who is the CEO of NetDragon?

On September 1, 2022, NetDragon Websoft named "Ms Tang Yu", an artificial intelligence-powered virtual humanoid robot as the Rotating CEO of the firm. NetDragon Websoft is the first company in the world to have appointed an AI-powered female bot as its CEO.

Who owns net dragon?

Dr. Liu Dejian is the founder and chairman of NetDragon. He provided $500,000 to build the centre and fund the preliminary operations of the company. The money came from one of the numerous businesses he controls, Digital Train Limited.

Which games are offered by NetDragon?

NetDragon's games portfolio consists of a wide range of games that interest various kinds of players. These include Way of the Five, Zero Online, Conquer Online, Eudemons Online, and Heroes of Might & Magic Online.

How much did Edmodo sell for?

NetDragon Websoft, a Chinese holding company bought Edmodo, one of the largest online communities for students and teachers in the world for $137.5 million in April 2018.

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