Young entrepreneur forges path to fulfillment in SZ

Writer: Song Yingwen  |  Editor: Zhang Zeling  |  From: Original  |  Updated: 2024-03-12

Jenxi Seow hosts the "Belt and Road Initiative" International Innovation Night at the iMakerbase Xuelang Innovation Center in Wuxion on Oct. 22, 2021. Photos courtesy of the interviewee

Malaysia-born and Singapore-educated Jenxi Seow's quarter-life crisis came during his fifth year of working as a pharmacist in Singapore.

Jenxi Seow introduces a design by his company. 

Life was stable and pleasant then, with a satisfying income and flexible work hours, according to 37-year-old Seow, a graduate of the National University of Singapore who is now the CEO and co-founder of CheeseFlow, a Bao’an-based creative studio.

In his 20s, Seow worked four days per week as a pharmacist and had plenty of free time for travel and leisure. However, feelings of being trapped by reality and a commitment to live a fulfilled life prompted him to take time to reflect.

“Life is short. I can't live a life without leaving a legacy,” Seow recalled saying when he was still a young pharmacist.

That reflection led to his career shift from a registered pharmacist to a startup entrepreneur in 2015, first as a coffee shop owner in Shenzhen and then as the co-founder of a Shenzhen-based creative studio.

Jenxi Seow (L)has an intense discussion with his colleague on set during a video production in November 2022 in Shenzhen. 

Growing up with an artistic father who is a professional oil painter, Seow has always had a passion for art and creativity. He has always been a tech-savvy person too. Seow started building webpages in junior high, ran his own website during his senior high school days, and managed to earn income from self-taught photography skills while at university. For someone like him, it was only natural for him to steer his entrepreneurial endeavors towards the creative industry.

Jenxi Seow hosts Shenzhen Foreign Affairs Office's Forum on Shenzhen Hardware Supply Chain and Global Collaborative Innovation and Entrepreneurship on Dec. 9, 2021. 

Today, CheeseFlow provides branding strategies and marketing services for Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises entering overseas markets. The company also facilitates collaborations between international companies seeking entry into the Chinese market and iMakerbase in Shenzhen, a State-level innovation and project incubation hub.

“I was fascinated by the open and welcoming vibe in Shenzhen,” said Seow, recalling his first visit to the city in 2014. The entrepreneurial ethos he observed in friends and customers he met in Shenzhen — openly embracing opportunities and challenges, tolerance of failure, and the desire and perseverance to succeed — echoed his inner values and convinced him to stay in Shenzhen after his coffee-shop partner left in 2015.

The open-minded young adult was captivated by the city's dynamic atmosphere and rapid technological evolution, which he described as fascinating. “I remember most people were still using cash in 2015. But almost half a year later, mobile payments dominated the market and online commerce experienced explosive growth,” Seow recalled.

He seized upon the burgeoning demand for creative branding and commercial photography within the digital sphere, fortifying his foothold in the industry. By 2016, he set his sights on rendering branding services to Chinese enterprises venturing into overseas markets. By 2020, he expanded his efforts to facilitate the realization of foreign creative designs in collaboration with iMakerbase.

In addition to his ventures, Seow actively engages in international innovation and entrepreneurship exchanges where he shares insights and experiences relevant to establishing a business in Shenzhen.

Jenxi Seow gives a keynote during the Bao'an International Talent Innovation Conference on April 24, 2021.

“Shenzhen really enjoys a favorable entrepreneurial landscape characterized by robust production capabilities, a complete supply chain in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the city’s established ecosystem that includes a rich reservoir of talent, efficient infrastructure, and supportive legal frameworks for intellectual property rights,” Seow said.

Jenxi Seow shares views on Shenzhen on Bao'an News during the 2020 Shenzhen International Professionals Bilateral Innovative Entrepreneurship Forum on Nov. 19, 2020.

According to Seow, friends have consistently played a pivotal role in his life, especially during major life changes. Grateful for the support he has received, Seow is eager to extend kindness and assistance to newcomers to the city. As a budding CEO, he also serves as the host of the HeyShenzhen WeChat group, which unites hundreds of expats in town and individuals who are considering relocating to or visiting Shenzhen.

The group's active members pool resources and provide valuable insights on navigating life in Shenzhen, lend a hand to those in need, and orchestrate meetups and activities to discover hidden gems in the city.

“I have learned through personal experience that the act of sharing and the encouragement of friends are essential in life's journey,” Seow said.

​Malaysia-born and Singapore-educated Jenxi Seow's quarter-life crisis came during his fifth year of working as a pharmacist in Singapore.