Ting’s Blog: What is the story of Crayfish?

What is the story of Crayfish?

Ting Zhang, Founder and CEO, explains…


A lot of people ask me – why did you call your company Crayfish?

Well, it actually stands for Chinese-speaking Resources At Your Fingertips- ISH!  And since we could not get .com we went for a techy URL – .io, which reflects the fact that we operate an online platform.


There is a story to tell:

In my previous consultancy over the past 18 years, I worked with businesses in the UK, Europe and the US, liaising with government agencies and financial institutions to help them achieve their goals for China.


Many times, I found that smaller organisations were keen to do business with China but lacked affordable resources to do it properly.


For example, an Italian dentist had some inventions which he wanted to commercialise. He needed someone who understood the Chinese market, and spoke the language, but he couldn’t afford an experienced consultant. So, we reached out to our network in China and found someone to help him on a freelancing basis. To cut a long story short, he eventually made a successful manufacturing arrangement with a Chinese partner and after that, landed a long-term licensing deal with one of Italy’s major healthcare brands.


Another client was a start-up which was developing AI-based keyword search software and wanted input from a Chinese linguist.  It was a sophisticated skill so finding someone available to work on demand was a challenge.  Again, we managed to find a perfect candidate. The start-up grew rapidly and last year sold to a large US firm for hundreds of millions.


But large companies need to access to flexible resources too. A client which is a major high street optician needed someone to visit factories in China at short notice. We quickly found someone returning to China from UK study who was available to do just that.  The client managed to transfer all their display furniture sourcing to China – and I’m so proud to see them whenever I visit their stores across the country!


More and more Chinese talent is available for ad hoc and contract work, especially the millennials who do not aspire to do a 9-to-5 job.  They love to do things in their own time and be their own boss.


Knowing this led me, towards the end of 2016, to decide that it was time to find a way to match many smaller businesses across the globe with Chinese speaking resources.  The Crayfish.io online platform provides real time access to Chinese speaking expertise, at the click of a button! It means that SMEs can get projects done efficiently and cost effectively, gaining access in the process to the Chinese market.


As well as connecting businesses with independent individual service providers, our business has evolved, such that we have subsequently included niche agencies and suppliers for work that requires more manpower and team expertise. We also now offer tailored solutions where we manage the work on behalf of clients.  But our original mission remains: to enable Western businesses to achieve better engagement with China.