Moya Li 李曾
BEIJING IS NEVER BORING – WORD OF A LOCATION MATCH-MAKER. 北京从不乏味——“秘境”为您探索那些隐藏在不为人知之处的胜景美地。
Moya Li is the founder of China-based Location Hunter. Beijinger by adoption, Moya knows the city by heart, especially when it comes to secret and special locations. Together with her team, she is able to recommend different exciting venues to their customers, who take it from there and organise events.
Their motto is ‘grow value and grow users’. As a startup tech company, Location Hunter is aware that in order to keep a steady growth they need to develop a platform people can access from all over the world to find information about locations not only in China, but in Singapore, America, Taiwan and more. This is what Moya and her team are focusing on at the moment – exciting of course, but also challenging and with no clear path to follow.
Moya and I met and had a lovely chat. Supposed to be all business and figures, it turned out to be about what keeps Moya going – the inspiration from her father and the love from her boyfriend – and what scares her the most – not being able to guarantee a stable & successful future to her employees.
How was ‘Location Hunter’ born?
I hate when people say that Beijing is boring. They are so wrong! You just need to look at this amazing city with a couple of new eyes if you want to see the real sparkle. Location Hunter is basically an answer to those who are looking for exciting venues but have no deep knowledge of this city. This was completely missing when I launched the company almost two years ago – I was looking for a venue for my own wedding – which at the end never happened – and couldn’t find anything special for my special day. I wanted something different but found nothing. And it was frustrating – I was sure there were beautiful spaces around, but I couldn’t find them, I was not aware of the right channels. Now with Location Hunter I help people and companies who are in the same situation I was before.
What’s your best find in terms of hidden & special locations?
I always focus on special places. You see, luxury can be bought – you only need money and nowadays this is no longer a problem for many people. But special places requires a sharp eye to be discovered – this is the way we work. At the moment, the coolest place I’ve seen is a container house in Beijing. Four artists bought some land with hills and a river, moved there their container and transformed it in their house. They have a Jacuzzi on the roof, an amazing glass-walled bedroom and a garden with fruit trees, beautiful flowers and dogs running around. It’s a paradise. And it’s so secluded.
What’s the most interesting client you worked with?
I worked with so many amazing customers: Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Alibaba. Working with them is incredible – there is so much to learn from their professionalism! But I think the most interesting client was one Chinese person who wanted help to find a venue for a pool puppy party! 100 dogs taking a bath and enjoying a day at the pool. You can imagine how cute the pictures taken during the party would be! As you can see, every day brings new challenges, and new fun!
Who’s in your team right now?
We are growing so fast – I’m continuously recruiting new people. The founder team is composed by a tech person, a fundraiser, an investor and me. In such a small company right people make such a big difference! So far we focus on balance – ladies and men, Chinese and foreigners. It’s important for us to offer our customers the right cultural mix.
What are the challenges connected to your job?
Ahah! When people come to me because they want to open a new business I always tell them not to do it! It’s so demanding – you have to be ready to sacrifice your free time and to enjoy loneliness. You are by yourself and you need to prove people your idea is worth something. Even when you have a team behind you, it’s not easy to tell them: ‘quit your job and come work with me’. Human resources, marketing, operations – everything is hard. My old friends don’t understand my drive and my motivation. I feel they are strangers, I am definitely more lonely now then I was before – when I used to have a stable job and go to parties. But it’s a price I’m willing to pay.
What’s your wildest dream?
Ahah! Let’s dream big then! I would love for you to be able to see me as the cover face of Fortune magazine as one of the most influential women in China. My mission is about sharing the image of a new China – beautiful, interesting, secret. And I also want to make people’s lives better – by helping them finding exactly what they need. It’s a hard job and the road is long but… these boots are made for walking!
The business idea is innovative – no frills answer to a more and more demanding search for VIP and exclusive venues for events. I have no doubts it will turn out to be extremely successful.
And Moya Li is such a great woman – confident and sure about her own capabilities, she is working day and night to grow her company and herself. At the same time, she is not afraid to show her vulnerability and to ask for support when she needs it. I believe the balance between this two aspects is what makes girls power so powerful.
Moya Li si e’ inventata un lavoro che le permette di condividere il suo amore per Pechino e di farne un business. Meno di due ani fa ha fondato Location Hunter, start up di tecnologia che si occupa di fornire informazioni su location esclusive a clienti che devono organizzare eventi. Moya si occupa della gestione dei clienti da sola, come solo una donna cosmopolita, sicura di se ed intraprendente e’ in grado di fare.
For all the pictures, special thanks to Location Hunter.
Translation by Jasmine Wang.