Dun Xiao at his graduation ceremony

Dun Xiao – Digital entrepreneur and Olympic Games organiser

From: China
UK degrees: BA and MA in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cambridge

Dun is the founder of the online and app-based learning platform 17zuoye.com (‘Homework Together’), which helps more than 15 million school students in China with their schoolwork and achieve better grades.

Tell us about your work

In the first place, I’m an entrepreneur. I founded 17zuoye, the largest online homework platform for primary and secondary school students in China. Since I founded it with my business partner Andy Liu in 2011, it has attracted over $135m in investment.

I’m also co-founder of Dun & Huang Ltd, one of the earliest education app developers in iOS store.

As well as this, I was involved in organising the Beijing and London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and before that I was a derivatives trader and analyst at a number of international banks, including UBS and Bank of China.

I’m also on the board of several education-related organisations. Oh, and I love swimming, running and playing the trumpet as often as I can!

What was your experience of studying in the UK?

I first studied in the UK at boarding school at Millfield School. That started off the educational experience that was instrumental to what I have accomplished since returning to China.

From my A-Levels to my master’s course, I was able to explore my interests and eventually found my passion in education.

How did an engineering degree lead you to develop a business that helps children learn?

There was certainly something particular about the UK teaching system that encouraged me to take views and perspectives from diverse angles

Entrepreneurship is about solving problems – and my engineering education in the UK was all about problem solving and methodology.

My company tries to advance the way kids learn and there are new problems every day. I was able to apply the analytical skills I learned, set up hypotheses and work my way around these problems one by one.

My degree also helped me strengthen my leadership skills and develop my business judgement.

There was certainly something particular about the UK teaching system that encouraged me to take views and perspectives from diverse angles, and all of these are essential for success in business.

Dun Xiao was the winner of the British Council China Alumni Award for Entrepreneurship 2016. 

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