Eric Yuan

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Eric S. Yuan
Born (1970-02-20) 20 February 1970 (age 52)[1]
CitizenshipUnited States[2]
Alma materShandong University of Science and Technology (BS)
China University of Mining and Technology
TitleFounder and CEO, Zoom Video Communications
SpouseSherry (m. 1991 or 1992)[3]
Children3[citation needed]
Eric Yuan

Eric S. Yuan[4] (Chinese: 袁征; pinyin: Yuán Zhēng; born 20 February 1970) is a Chinese-American billionaire businessman, engineer, and the chief executive officer and founder of Zoom Video Communications, of which he owns 22%.[5][6]

Early life[edit]

Yuan is the son of geology engineers.[7] He was born and raised in Tai'an, Shandong Province, China.[8][9] In 4th grade, Yuan collected construction scraps to recycle copper for cash.[8]

As a first-year university student in 1987, he was inspired to develop videotelephony software while he took 10-hour train rides to visit his girlfriend and was looking for an easier way to "visit" her.[10][9] He earned a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics with a minor in computer application from Shandong University of Science and Technology,[11] and a master's degree in geology engineering from China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing.[12][13] Yuan completed a Stanford University executive program in 2006.[8][14][15]


After earning his master's degree, Yuan lived in Beijing,[16] and attended a training program in Japan for four months.[13] Inspired by Bill Gates, who spoke in Japan in 1995, he moved to Silicon Valley in 1997 to join the tech boom.[10][17] At the time, Yuan spoke very little English, and applied nine times before being granted a visa to the United States.[9][18]

Upon arriving in the US, Yuan joined WebEx, a web conferencing startup, where he was one of the first 20 hires.[8][7] The company was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2007, at which time he became vice president of engineering.[9] In 2011, Yuan pitched a new smartphone-friendly video conferencing system to Cisco management.[19] When the idea was rejected, Yuan left Cisco to establish his own company, Zoom Video Communications.[9]

In 2019, Zoom became a public company via an initial public offering,[20] at which time Yuan became a billionaire.[8][2] His wealth has increased during COVID-19 pandemic, as Zoom has benefited from the shift to online work and teaching.[21] On September 1, 2020, Yuan's net worth was estimated to be US$16.4 billion, a figure 360% higher than his net worth at the beginning of the year.[22] In March 2021, Yuan transferred $6 billion worth of Zoom shares to a grantor retained annuity trust, for which Yuan is a trustee.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Yuan married his girlfriend Sherry at the age of 22, while he was a master's student at China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing.[8] They have three children. Yuan and his family live in Santa Clara, California.[2] In 2007, Yuan became a naturalized US citizen.[24]

Yuan chose the middle name "S." after Subrah Iyar, cofounder of WebEx.[4]


Yuan was named the 2020 Time Businessperson of the Year,[25] and was included in the Time 100 Most Influential People of 2020.[26]


  1. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Eric Yuan". Bloomberg. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Forbes profile: Eric Yuan & family". Forbes. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  3. ^ Konrad, Alex. "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! The Exclusive Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Behind Tech's Hottest IPO". Forbes. Retrieved 23 March 2022. At Shandong University of Science & Technology, Yuan studied applied mathematics and computer science and then, at age 22, got married while pursuing his Master’s degree.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b FE Bureau (8 August 2020). "India is Zoom's second-largest market after US: CEO Eric Yuan".
  5. ^ Pendleton, Devon (21 March 2020). "The rise of social distancing during coronavirus pandemic pushes Zoom founder's net worth up by $2 billion in 2020".
  6. ^ Francis, Theo (2021-03-08). "Zoom CEO Eric Yuan Transfers $6 Billion Worth of His Shares". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  7. ^ a b Sarlin, Jon (22 May 2020). "Everyone you know uses Zoom. That wasn't the plan". CNN. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Konrad, Alex (May 31, 2019). "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! The Exclusive Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Behind Tech's Hottest IPO". Forbes.
  9. ^ a b c d e Weiner, Yitzi (October 2, 2017). "The Inspiring Backstory of Eric S. Yuan, Founder and CEO of Zoom". Medium.
  10. ^ a b Huddleston Jr., Tom (April 18, 2019). "A Bill Gates speech inspired Zoom founder to start an internet business—now he's a billionaire". CNBC.
  11. ^ Rogers, Bruce (24 April 2017). "Eric Yuan Builds Cloud Conferencing Company Zoom To Create Satisfied Customers". Forbes. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  12. ^ Waters, Richard (5 June 2020). "Eric Yuan, a tech boss riding a geopolitical storm". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  13. ^ a b "2020 Great Immigrants Recipient: Eric Yuan". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  14. ^ Stone, Brett (2020-03-29). "A Biography of Eric Yuan, Founder and CEO of Zoom". Medium. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  15. ^ "Lunar New Year Social Mixer with Eric Yuan, CEO/Zoom". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  16. ^ High, Peter (6 March 2017). "Zoom CEO's Promise To His Wife Helped Inspire A $1B Company". Forbes. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Zoom's Blank Check: What To Do When You Have An Expensive Stock And No Moats". Seeking Alpha. 14 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  18. ^ Levy, Ari (April 19, 2020). "Zoom's CEO emigrated from China 22 years ago and spoke little English — now he's worth almost $3 billion". CNBC.
  19. ^ Rogers, Taylor Nicole (April 1, 2020). "Meet Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of Zoom, who has made nearly $4 billion in 3 months as usage of his video conferencing software skyrockets amid the coronavirus pandemic". Business Insider.
  20. ^ Griffith, Erin (18 April 2019). "I.P.O. Day for Pinterest and Zoom Ends With Shares Sharply Higher". New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  21. ^ Grant, Nico (31 August 2020). "Zoom CEO's Wealth Jumps $5.2 Billion After Sales Crush Estimates".
  22. ^ Rogers, Taylor Nicole (2020-09-02). "Zoom billionaire Eric Yuan made $5 billion in one day as the videoconference company reports record earnings". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  23. ^ “Zoom Founder Eric Yuan Transfers $6 Billion Worth of Shares”
  24. ^ Yuan, Eric. "Navigating a New Chapter for Zoom". Zoom Blog. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  25. ^ Chow, Andrew. "Businessperson of the Year: Eric Yuan". Time. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  26. ^ "Eric Yuan: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved 2020-09-23.