Shanghai is a city of entrepreneurship. In our new series, 'Shanghai Entrepreneurs,' we talk to entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and businesses about their motivations, experiences and what they have learned along the way.
Born and raised in Israel, Yael Farjun moved to Shanghai in 2010. She started her own business that year, first working as a tour guide and eventually growing it into a travel agency offering private, tailor-made China tours. Her brother Ofer later joined her in Shanghai, and together they started ChinaClickGo.com – a website for planning and booking tours in China. Since its launch in March, the website has quickly become an in-demand commodity for visitors. They now operate two separate divisions – one for private tours, and another for ChinaClickGo.com.
Elevator pitch: tell us what you do in less than 50 words.
ChinaClickGo.com is where you can find great trips and things to do in China, all in one website. We make traveling in China easy to plan and book. It is a collection of good tours and providers, pre-approved by our team and verified for quality.
Why did you choose Shanghai?
Shanghai kind of chose me. I came here expecting to stay for no more than a year, but there was (and still is) always something interesting waiting just around the corner, so I decided to stay. The people – both locals and foreigners – and the city itself are so vibrant; it’s never boring here and to me this is what matters.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
I read somewhere that an entrepreneur will first jump over the cliff and then start building the plane on the way down. That’s what happened to me. I wanted to be my own boss but it took me some time to understand what I wanted to do. In a way, I grew into it and found that there is a lot more to being an entrepreneur than just being ‘the boss,’ and I love the challenge of it.
“I read somewhere that an entrepreneur will first jump over the cliff and then start building the plane on the way down. That’s what happened to me”
What was you're ‘a-ha!’ moment?
My ‘a-ha’ moment was when I met three travelers on a train from Beijing to Pingyao. They were members of a hiking club in their hometown and their dream was to hike the Great Wall. But from what they found on the Internet, they thought they could only go on a one-day trip. They had no idea that there are many other options for hiking the wall that are much more adventurous, less touristy and definitely more memorable. I realized that people miss out on so much of what they can do; that’s where the idea of ChinaClickGo.com came from.
What is the one most important advice you would give to someone starting a new business here?
Be patient. China does things in a different way – and at a slower pace than you might expect – and there will be many bumps in the road. Patience is the number one trait you need to have if you want to build a business here. For all of you out there who want to be an entrepreneur but are a bit afraid to take the first step, stop over thinking it and just go for it.
What would you say your biggest success has been?
Launching ChinaClickGo.com was a major step for us. Starting as a small agency, it took a long time to build our network of travel partners, sort out the good ones and eventually build the website. So launching it was, on its own, a major success. The road is still long, but we know we are on the right track, and we are very excited about it.
Where do you see your company in five years?
Our goal is to change the way people travel in China – not just how they plan and book their tours, but also in what they choose to do and experience here. In five years, we plan to offer our travelers many more great tours and things to do in China and also expand to other countries.
Visit chinaclickgo.com to learn more about Traveling in China.
Photo by Betty Richardson.