May 13, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
His name is Forrest. He is a runner of marathons. He grew up in a poor town with uneducated parents. He is introverted and kind. Fate presented him with the opportunity to learn, made possible through a generous mentor. He took that opportunity, learned as much as he could, and built a very successful business. He is still kind and humble and, despite his wealth, always willing to serve. His last name is not Gump, but Liu.
His real name is Wei Liu. He does go by Forrest, a nickname given to him by his mentor Sue Van (honorary Ph.D.), president and CEO of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. Forrest got his master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) from Georgia Tech in 2012. He studied in our then dual master’s degree program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) thanks to a Coulter Fellowship. Upon completion of his degree, he pursued his passion and built miHoYo, which is now the best-known anime-style mobile game developer in China. Its game platform Honkai can be found in the app stores. His company has offices in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei and has more than 1,000 employees.
I saw Liu last month as I traveled to speak at Georgia Tech’s Entrepreneurship Forum in Shanghai (we have also held such meetings in London and Paris). Liu, along with other alumni, was participating as part of an entrepreneurship panel. Also taking part in the panel was Hao Wu. Like Forrest, Hao also attended Georgia Tech’s ECE dual master’s degree program at SJTU, was a Coulter Fellow, and earned the Georgia Tech M.S. ECE degree in 2012. Hao created a popular app called WutaCam, which uses smartphones’ “selfie” capability and image-processing technology to retouch images of the user’s face. The app has garnered millions of active users and significant investments.
Alumni such as Forrest and Hao, hailing from China, and others from Europe, the United States, and everywhere in between, are creating value all over the world, residing all over the world — from Alpharetta to London. These individuals make us proud. Not only are they extremely well-educated entrepreneurs who create wealth for many, but they are great human beings and loyal Georgia Tech alumni who are also providing outstanding services to their alma mater.
-Rafael L. Bras