Red Star

“Shall we paint the town red, Ms Pan?”

Lisa Pan


Born in Chongqing, Lisa Pan became a child star after hosting a popular children’s TV show. After graduating from university in 2003, she became a TV anchor and producer.

Why is she famous?

In 2006 Pan began producing and hosting reality shows about commercial start-ups (think of an imitation of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice). This helped Pan network with young entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. She also won the attention of Wales Zhang, a young partner at 21VC Capital China, and Pan subsequently joined the company.

One of 21VC’s more successful investments is Rekoo, an online gaming firm founded in 2008 and now with 50 million monthly active users. Pan serves as vice president of Rekoo.

Why is she in the news?

During David Cameron’s China visit last week, the British prime minister posted several photos of his Shanghai tour on his official weibo. Eagle-eyed netizens soon noted that Pan was Cameron’s guide to the Bund area of the city.

In fact, Pan has already met Cameron on several occasions. The last time was in October at 10 Downing Street, at a meet-and-greet set up to coincide with Rekoo becoming the first Chinese internet firm to open an office in London’s Tech City.

According to Rekoo’s weibo, Cameron was amazed when Pan told him how successful the company’s “Find Your Sister” game had become (it has 8 million daily players). Cameron said he wanted Pan to send him Rekoo’s next mobile phone game (evidently the PM is looking for a new means of ‘chillaxing’).

Not everyone seemed to know who Pan was – or Cameron either. On Cameron’s weibo account one netizen even asked whether it was Wendi Deng and Tony Blair in the photo. Then again, perhaps the netizen was just making a cheeky reference after speculation about the friendship between the former Labour leader and Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife.

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