Zhou Yahui (born February 1977) is a Chinese billionaire s the chairman and CEO of Opera Software, the mother company of OPay. In 2008, he founded Kunlun Tech Co Ltd., one of the largest web game developers in China, where he was the chairman and CEO until 2020. Yahui currently has an estimated net worth of US$2.2 billion.
His story is not complete without a brief history of the company, Opara. Opera Software was founded as an independent company in Norway in 1995 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy. They had initially begun the development of the Opera web browser while both working at Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor. In 2016, the company changed ownership when a group of Chinese investors purchased the web browser, consumer business, and brand of Opera Software ASA for US$1.2 billion. On 4 November 2016, Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I L.P. (A consortium jointly owned by Zoh Yahusi’s Kunlun Tech Co) completed the acquisition of the brand.
OPay (Operapay) was founded in 2018 as a provider of mobile payment services. It develops a one-stop mobile-based platform for payment, transportation, food and grocery delivery, and other important services in everyday life. Despite the combined challenges of the ban of OPay’s instant bike e-hailing services and the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, OPay’s core payments business has continued to grow. In April 2020 the company was responsible for over 60% of mobile money transactions in Nigeria with over 5 million active monthly users.
On April 13, Zhou officially resigned as Chairman of Beijing Kunlun to become full-time CEO of OPay. The pandemic had brought unexpected promises and hopes back to the app. When asked about this move, he had said, the “new crown epidemic in Africa has brought huge challenges and opportunities.”
The company, which had had a successive streak of fundings over the past years has secured $400 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, the venture capital arm of Japanese conglomerate, SoftBank.