Learn From Leaders With Katherine Lui

Katherine Lui
Founder and CEO, CanCan 看看

Katherine started her professional life with KPMG in Canada, Hong Kong and Shanghai. During her 12-year tenure with KPMG, she travelled to many cities in China and helped with the IPOs of China Mobile and Sinopec.

In 2005 Katherine co-founded Centerstone Partners, a cross-border private equity firm with offices in the U.S. and China. Later she got her hands dirty via carrying out financial due diligence on over 100 up and coming technology companies. From 2014 to 2016, she was also the acting CFO of Yongche, China’s 3rd largest rental car sharing platform helped grow the company 300 times in size. Inspired by the success of these fast-growing technology companies, Katherine cracked the mystery of being a tech entrepreneur herself and put her many years of financial consulting work’s secrets into her proprietary software – CanCan 看看, which provides automated CFO services to tech/internet companies competing in the Chinese and global landscape.

Five Questions With Katherine

Q1: One habit that helps you keep focused and productive

Taking short but frequent breaks in the middle of difficult (or boring) tasks usually helps me keep focused and productive on these tasks. This “taking breaks” trick is also applicable to how I handle the overall balance of work and life in the past 25 years. I normally travel a lot amongst my offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. Therefore, I am used to dispatching myself from one city to another. Being busy traveling keeps me highly productive in my entrepreneurial journey.

Q2: One piece of advice for entrepreneurs in your industry

I am an accountant turned fintech business founder and have always been in “to B” servicing businesses. To earn the sale from a potential client, I always need to first win their trust. And quality service provided in a consistent manner is the winning formula but this is so hard because we will have to rely on the whole team’s performance. To overcome this, we will need to hand-pick everyone in your team and get the right people from day one.  I have to be the Chief HR Officer myself and get my hands dirty on the recruitment process, the motivation scheme and the performance appraisal system.

Q3: Something You’ve Changed Your Mind About in Your Career

In early days of my career, I thought being an audit partner in a huge public accounting firm would be my ultimate career goal because that means I am one of the owners and could put my ideas to actions. After 12 years at a firm, I found out that either my ideas are too innovative or a big firm is too slow in turning their directions – I really need to re-think my career. Later I learnt how to be an entrepreneur and business owner. Walking out of the conservative professional accountant’s comfort zone is the biggest challenge and rewards that I have experienced in my career.

Q4: One Trait That You Would Like to See in People You Work With

People I work with should be people who love their jobs. When they are enjoying at work, they will produce good work and things get implemented well naturally.

Q5: How Will COVID19 Disrupt Your Industry

Covid19 made me stuck in Hong Kong for the past 4 months and that has not happened to me during the past 20 years. The governments are providing all kinds of subsidies in order to encourage businesses to work remotely and that helps the selling of our online fintech automation process. The booming of cross border e-commerce has also led our products to focus on building something tailor made for this industry.

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