It is often challenging for people of Chinese descent to connect with their roots. This, coupled with China’s urbanization threatening the survival of Chinese genealogical sources, makes us excited to work with My China Roots, a platform that helps people of Chinese heritage find records of their ancestors, connect with long-lost relatives, and organize roots trips to China.
The Nuts & Bolts
Problem: People of Chinese heritage turn to organizations or individuals that might lack experience, a servicing-mindset, or presence in both China and overseas, such as genealogy hobbyists, family, museums and government institutions. Or, they have to pay premium fees for professionals and custom services. There is a market gap for affordable, online DIY Chinese roots tracing services.
Solution: My China Roots is an online platform that empowers users to trace their ancestry and connect with their families. Its global team has already helped hundreds of families explore their Chinese heritage.
When 500 Met My China Roots
We met My China Roots through Brian Wong, VP of Alibaba, who introduced the team to 500 Startups’ Managing Partner, Khailee Ng.
Huihan Lie, Founder and CEO, worked at the leading global wind energy company Suzlon as Vice President of Government Affairs and External Relations. Huihan holds a Masters Degree in International Law from the University of Amsterdam and also worked as a business strategy and government relations consultant at Apco. The company’s tech and product leads have a combined 20 years of database experience in China.
The team’s diversity fits into our ESG criteria; team members include mainland Chinese nationals, Chinese-Americans, Chinese-British, Chinese-Dutch, French, and Ukrainian team members. In preserving cultural heritage and connecting people of Chinese heritage with distant relatives in China, the nature of the work lends itself to inclusion and engagement goals with underrepresented communities.
The past few years have seen strong momentum in cultural identity among people of Chinese origin, as shown by the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” and viral Facebook pages such as “Subtle Asian Traits.” Furthermore, ongoing urbanization and industrialization are threatening many villages in southern China and the ancestral traces that those villages hold. For example, the founder visited his mother’s ancestral village in southern Fujian a few years ago. Today, that village, the beautiful temple it held, and its villagers’ graves are all gone.
Socio-political and health-related anxieties are making people place a great deal of value and importance on family connections worldwide.
Much more than in the past, the Chinese government now recognizes the importance of its diaspora and cultural heritage preservation, making it an opportune time for My China Roots to acquire and collect family history books for overseas Chinese on a faster and larger scale.
Future of My China Roots
The My China Roots team will continue to collect data and launch additional features on the platform, allowing more people with Chinese roots to connect with family members worldwide.
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You can learn more about My China Roots at: https://www.mychinaroots.com.
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