He went to local junior and high schools, and was a talented mathematician at a young age. He gained a BS in management information systems from the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defense Science and Technology University, Hunan in 1984. In 1996, he received an honorary professorship from the university.
After graduation, Qiu was assigned to work in a state machinery plant in Hubei Province for two years. He resigned and joined a private software firm in Beijing, which transferred him to its Shenzhen branch after one year. He was then headhunted by Jin Shan, the CEO of the Hong Kong-based firm, who recruited him to work on Chinese word processing software. Qiu worked non-stop for about 17 months and even continued to write the program while he was hospitalized; the word processing program was a great success and had sold over 2 million copies by 1993. Though Jin Shan rewarded Qiu with a generous bonus and a property in Zhuhai, Qiu felt that it was the firm that had obtained most of the value from his personal innovation.
Qiu therefore founded Kingsoft in 1994 with his own savings. The five-person new venture developed the Pangu Office System, which performed a similar function to Microsoft’s Office System. Kingsoft, however, was in financial difficulty in 1995 after dismal sales of only 2000 copies of Pangu. Qiu sold his Zhuhai property and moved his family into the office premises to finance further product development – the upgrade of the office system as well as research and development in games software. Led by Qiu, the team of ten responsible for Kingsoft’s Office System worked 12 hours a day for two years and completed WPS 97. The office system was an instant hit and established Kingsoft’s position in the Chinese software market. Due to the high piracy rate of software products in China at the time, Kingsoft did not manage to appropriate all the value associated with the product.
Nevertheless, it was able to attract the personal computer manufacturer Lenovo’s equity investment to finance its expansion in 1998. Kingsoft launched an upgrade of its office system every one or two years. The latest version, Kingsoft Office 2007 is positioned as Microsoft compatible; it incorporates word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia and graphics and has established itself in some regional government departments. Kingsoft entered online games in 2003 with JX Online. The popular title, which was launched in September of that year, allowed players to create their own characters, strike cyber alliances, and fight virtual attackers. Another successful online game, The First Myth, an adaptation of a classic Chinese novel, was launched by Kingsoft at the end of 2004. The First Myth further confirmed Kingsoft’s position as a leading online game firm in China; in addition, this game was introduced into Taiwan in 2006. Kingsoft was listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in October 2007.