How Wengie’s 16 million followers led to a $100 million business


Chinese-Australian YouTube sensation Wengie is proof that dreams really do come true.

Key Takeaways
  • Wendy Jie Huang, better known as Wengie, is a Chinese-Australian YouTuber, popstar and entrepreneur
  • She boasts nearly 16 million followers across YouTube and Instagram, and is at the helm of a Web 3 gaming company that is worth US$100 million
  • A daughter of immigrant parents, Wengie wants others to know that you can do anything you set your mind to.
  • Creatornomics: How the creator economy is changing the advertising landscape
Wendy Huang is pictured sitting down. She is wearing a blue jacket and black boots. She has her arm on her knee,
Wendy Huang, better known as Wengie | Image source: Supplied

Wendy Jie Huang – better known by her stage name Wengie – left an accounting job in her early twenties to pursue … well, she wasn’t quite sure what. Little did she know just how life-changing that decision would be.  

“I kind of had a quarter-life crisis,” she says.

A friend helped her get a job at a digital marketing agency at a time when social media was just entering the internet scene. To help her to understand the job, Wengie started her own blog. Initially, she’d just talk about fashion and her thoughts on trends, but she hit the sweet spot when she began posting Asian makeup tutorials.

“I remember my first viral video was comparing Asian makeup on half my face and western makeup on the other half. That hit a million views.”

“Never take anything for granted because the next day you may not have it anymore.”

– Wendy Huang

She wasn’t an overnight success, though. Cracking the code to what would go viral and what wouldn’t was difficult. Instead, Wengie recalls her channel grew at a steady pace.

When she finally hit 500,000 subscribers, Wengie got her first manager. At a million, she quit her full-time job.

“It was a big deal for me,” she says. “I had a six-figure income from digital marketing, and I was the highest earner out of my peer group.” After quitting her full-time job, Wengie recalls she was barely making $2,000 a month – and struggled to pay rent. “I had to pick up a part-time job as well to make ends meet,” she says.

She pivoted from makeup tutorials into life hacks, ditched her trusty tripod for a videographer and her channel eventually took off.

“My channel was growing at around a million subscribers a month. I was one of the fastest-growing channels in the world, up against Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.”

But Wengie realised she had other dreams too: to be an entrepreneur and to be a pop star. So she became both.

“I had immigrant parents, so we couldn’t afford piano lessons or music lessons growing up. I was very uncoordinated, but I think anyone can learn anything. I got a singing coach, and learning something … It felt amazing.”

She released her first, self-funded Chinese album in 2017, with her first single Baby Believe Me peaking at No.6 on the Chinese music charts. She then launched a new YouTube channel, Wengie Music Asia, and continued to post music showcasing different Asian languages.

“I really wanted to fly the flag of diversity, and show Asian culture to the western audience,” she says.

She went on to release a product line in Target, voice act the eldest Powerpuff Girl sister, Bliss, and, most recently, pivoted into Web 3 with a blockchain-based game called Nyan Heroes.

Wengie says Nyan Heroes raised US$4 million last year after an NFT sale, and conducted a further three capital raisings. Now, she says the company is valued at US$100 million.  

“It was a completely different journey for me,” Wengie says. “Now, ironically, creating content is my hobby. It’s my side job, and my main job is running this company [Nyan Heroes].”

She may live in La La Land (literally, she now resides in LA), but Wengie has her feet firmly planted on the ground. “The echoing voice of my parents helps,” she says. “They always remind me, this isn’t forever. Never take anything for granted because the next day you may not have it anymore.”