Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How did I start ChinaSprout?

You might be surprised at how little I learned about traditional Chinese culture while growing up in Beijing. I grew up during the Cultural Revolution in a not-tradition-focused family in Beijing. We didn’t celebrate many traditional festivals except for Chinese New Year and Moon Festival. I was not forced to memorize Tang poems or the time line of Chinese ancient history. I never used Nin (您) (you) to talk to my parents as most Beijing residents do. But after leaving China more than 20 years ago, I became fascinated with Chinese culture and love to share it with Westerners.

I founded ChinaSprout in June 1999. The idea for my company came from experiences I had during outings with my son, Simon, around Park Slope in Brooklyn, where I met many American families who have adopted children from China. I often found myself approached by these families wishing to know more about Chinese culture. I was impressed and moved by their enthusiasm and really wanted to help. I realized that most of these families had one thing in common: an incredibly strong desire to carry on their children’s cultural heritage. Although many of them didn’t have access to authentic Chinese or educational products, most of them spent time online looking for these things During that time, I became very interested in the Internet and e-commerce while studying for my MBA at Baruch College. I realized that I had found a niche market that had not been penetrated online. The logical next step was to create an online store to reach these families and to help them learn the Chinese language and culture. Thus, ChinaSprout was born.

While I am proud of what I’ve achieved, I also appreciate all the support and feedback from our customers, the hard work of my colleagues, and understanding and support of my family! So please let me know how we can improve our product line and services to make ChinaSprout an even better destination for you to learn about China, Chinese culture and Chinese language.