9GAG’s Ray Chan Updates Us on What Hong Kong’s Most Famous Startup Has Been Up To

Photo of Ray Chan

In the last two months, we’ve been seeing a lot of Ray Chan of 9GAG. Not only was he a keynote at PingWest’s one-day conference at CoCoon a couple weeks ago, but he was also a speaker at the just past Echelon 2014 in Singapore.

As arguably one of Hong Kong’s biggest startup success stories, what has 9GAG been working on? We had a chat with Ray to find out.

After a reminiscing on past projects such as their photo sharing app, karaoke venture and StartupQuote, which helped them land a spot in 500Startups in the first place, Ray said that the 9GAG team is now working on new verticals for the site, such as the newly added ‘World Cup’ section. Ray stressed that any changes to the popular content-sharing platform, including 9GAG.tv, isn’t a product of Internet trends – but are based on data gleaned from user activity.


In terms of side projects, the 9GAG team has also been working on 8FACT, a bite-sized format for cool facts that range from the educational to entertaining. Again, this is another project motivated by user data and the 9GAG team’s dedication to its community and the power of human touch is palpable.

“As we launch more verticals, we need more humans to help with the system. We are believers of hybrid models, which is using machines and data to help human beings to work,” he said. “In our company, we always talk about how we aren’t a data-driven company, but we get informed by the data – after all, it takes a human to understand a human.”

Currently a team of 22, 9GAG is looking to add engineers (service and mobile), editors and curators to their team; but you won’t find any of these postings on the job boards. Ray said the reason his company’s stealthy recruitment tactics is because they want to attract people who are passionate about working for 9GAG, instead of someone who’s just looking for employment.

Follow this link if interested in a role with 9GAG

Despite the preconceptions that people might have of his company, being funny is not a prerequisite to join 9GAG. “It’s kind of like making a comedy: it’s not as funny as when you’re shooting it compared to when you’re watching it. When people interview with us, they always try to be funny, but that’s not what we want,” said Ray. “We don’t see 9GAG as a funny website – we see it as a media website that knows how to distribute good content.”

So now that the myth that the 9GAG team is comprised of a bunch of regular comedians is debunked, what’s next for the Reddit arch-nemesis that grabs over a billion page views a month? Will they ever go IPO and do they have an exit strategy? “At the very early stage, we had some offers from some bigger US companies – but we never thought about selling,” said Ray. “We started the company because we want to work on our own stuff, so why would I sell my company to work for others? As a founder you have to do whatever is needed to make your company better.”

So rest assured, 9GAG fans: Ray Chan and his growing team plan on remaining at the helm of your favorite user-focused humor website and if you want to work for them – fill out the ‘Careers @ 9GAG’ form.


Simon Squibb of Nest (L), Casey Lau of StartupsHK (C) and Ray Chan of 9Gag (R) share some non-meme laughs at Echelon 2014 in Singapore earlier this month.

Ray Chan on Startbase.HK: Ray Chan

9GAG on Startbase.HK: 9GAG

© StartupsHK. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit AND link of actual article is given to StartupsHK with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.