On November 18, Kingsoft Office, the Chinese software provider, officially listed on Shanghai’s STAR market, under the ticker symbol 688111. The ticker is an auspicious number in China, as “6” has a positive meaning, while “8” connotes good fortune. Lei Jun, Chairman of Kingsoft and CEO of Xiaomi rang the opening bell.
The executives of Kingsoft Office were all wearing red ties at the event, perfectly matching the red decor in background, as in China, red is the color denoting positive stock performance. The stock price reached 140 yuan ($19.96) on the opening day, a 205.3% increase compared to the issue price.
Ever since the company’s establishment in 1988, Kingsoft’s business has been based on technology. Its founder, 24 year-old Qiu Bojun created WPS 1.0 after completing 122,000 lines of codes in a remote office in Shenzhen. In 1994, WPS achieved a total market share of 90%, becoming the leading company among software providers in China. Currently, 80% of employees are coding engineers. As Ge Ke, CEO of Kingsoft who has been a coder for six years, mentioned in the interview, the research and development investment has largely surpassed the average level of all the companies listed on the STAR exchange. In the past 30 years, its strategy has evolved from just providing office tools, towards creating an internet-based office service platform that digs deep into the realm of cloud services and artificial intelligence.
In terms of its competition with office software giant Microsoft, Kingsoft has been taking on a clever strategy, focusing on mobile WPS apps. With the popularity and increasing market share of Chinese smartphones and the broader transition from PC to mobile, WPS mobile apps have seen explosive growth. The compatibility of the software creates a seamless user experience, as users can open a doc file using different devices. Just as Lei said previously, the success of WPS is attributable to the “trend of the times”. Apart from domestic users, its overseas users have just surpassed 100 million users. India and Indonesia are the two countries with the most users. Further overseas deployment has been ongoing in countries including Russia and Thailand. Meanwhile, its newly released WPS for Mac is targeted at developed markets including the US and UK. Up until now, WPS Office has covered a total of 220 countries and regions worldwide, with 80 million monthly active users in the overseas market.
Lei Jun, who worked here since 1992, has a special attachment towards the company. “From 1998 until today, WPS has existed for 31 years. Ever since 1999, we have envisioned a Kingsoft Office IPO, and we have waited for 20 years. What WPS and Kingsoft have gone through is a typical inspirational story, stick to your dream and victory will come.” He wrote on Weibo.