Zheng, Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Larry Liu is the embodiment of
the flourishing China-Kenya friendship, having lived
in the East African Nation for four years and
pioneered initiatives that have transformed the
The 27-year-old is now the CEO of
It is a one-year-old start-up that has introduced
high-end entertainment gadgets in the east African
He is on a mission to make an enduring impact in
his new-found home.
Together with Jibril Blessing, Liu and six other
Kenyan colleagues have secured a working space at
iHub, an incubation space for innovators located in
the upscale district of the capital of Nairobi,
where they meet daily to execute their ideas to
hasten growth and impact of their enterprise.
During a recent interview with Xinhua at the
trendy open space for innovators and technology
entrepreneurs, Liu said the company, which he
co-founded with a renowned Kenyan Video director
commonly known as J Blessing, is reshaping
entertainment in the country.
"Ours is a start-up that is growing pretty fast
since its establishment in April 2017.
"We deal with quality audio products like
earphones and headphones.
"They are cool, trendy and meant for the youth,"
His seven Kenyan colleagues including the
co-founder J Blessing, comprises of a sales
representative, two digital marketer, brand manager,
an administrator and a customer care representative.
Located in an upscale suburb north of Nairobi,
iHub is a prized destination for local and foreign
technology wizards who have pioneered thriving
start-ups across key economic sectors.
The upper floor of Senteu Plaza where iHub is
housed has elegant interior decor, comfy seats and
wide corridors that ease movement of resident
innovators and visitors.
Its roofing is environmental friendly while its
floor tiles which are brown in color bring out an
authentic feel to technology enthusiasts who flock
the place every day.
Liu and his team clearly enjoyed the ambience at
the iHub as they exchanged views on how to grow an
enterprise that is slowly reshaping how African
music lovers enjoy their favorite songs.
He told Xinhua that his vision is to design niche
entertainment gadgets for the African market whose
potential is profound thanks to a bulging youthful
"We are a local company with an international
"Our products are designed here and sold through
online platforms," said Liu adding that KeepPace.Net
has set up a foundation to support upcoming
The bubbly aerospace engineering major disclosed
that his start-up will in the near future venture
into sports, digital shoes, smart watches and
artificial intelligence (AI) speakers.
"It is within our near-term goals to promote
healthy lifestyles through technology," Liu told
He revealed that PACE headphones are already a
hit in the local market thanks to savvy marketing
and endorsement by top celebrities in the local
"In March this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta
endorsed our headphones and bought dozens.
"Our products have also been endorsed by top
artists, celebrities and business executives," said
He clarified that Pace Africa was founded out of
a strong belief in the continent’s potential to
produce quality entertainment gadgets that can
generate global appeal.
Kenya’s growing army of innovators, artists and
budding entrepreneurs have forged enduring
friendships with their Chinese counterparts to
establish thriving enterprises.
J Blessing, a famous Video director and producer,
said his encounter with Liu marked a new beginning
in his quest to transform the entertainment industry
"The idea behind PACE was to avail quality music
listenership to the ordinary person at a reasonable
cost and our brand has grown tremendously.
"We are young in the market and perception from
Kenyans is positive," Blessing told Xinhua.
He noted that his random encounter with Liu at
the innovation hub was not in vain since they later
bonded and shared a similar vision of transforming
the way Kenyans accessed their favorite music.
"My meeting with Larry was per chance and after a
brief exchange I realized we shared a similar
"It was a coincidence that both of us wanted to
actualize the vision of establishing an indigenous
company with the potential to spread globally," said
He had a positive gut feeling of how a talented
and entrepreneurial Kenyan youth could join forces
with his Chinese counterpart to establish an
indigenous start-up in entertainment industry, that
had potential to spread tentacles globally.
"What makes us different is having a combination
of Chinese and Kenyan talents to grow a brand.
"My 14 years of experience in the music industry
and Larry’s background in aerospace engineering
makes us a great combination," Blessing told Xinhua.
He clarified that his relationship with Larry is
rock solid while differences in culture and working
norms have not affected their shared dream of
establishing a thriving entertainment start-up.
Kenyan music lovers have embraced PACE headphones
and earphones to listen to their favorite musicians
at the home, workplace and during long distance
One of the sales representative at Pace Africa,
Linet Riguru said the market for high quality
devices to stream music has potential for growth in
Kenya thanks to rising incomes in urban and
"I have always used our headphones to listen to
different genres of music and I can confirm they
have a crisp sound and their portability is ideal
while traveling," she said.
Ruguru gave a glowing tribute about the working
relationship between Chinese and young Kenyan
technological entrepreneurs to help reshape the
Nekesa Were, the acting managing director of iHub,
said the relationship between Chinese innovators
like Larry and their Kenyan counterparts is mutually
"Larry is not the first Chinese to come through
the iHub but may be one of the more prolific and by
that I mean he has gone out of his way to build
interaction between him, his team and iHub so that
it is a win-win relationship," said Were.
"We have a lot of Chinese business people that
walk in through the doors, we see lots of potential
and opportunities for us as iHub and community," she
Khaligraph Jones, a renowned Kenyan musician who
has developed a strong attachment to PACE head
phones because of their sleekness said that a
partnership between Chinese and local innovators has
injected vitality in the entertainment industry.
"The sound, quality and everything about PACE is
"As an artist I would say that and also because
of the fact that it is easily accessible in terms of
pricing," said Khaligraph.
"When we have people from China and Kenya
collaborating, it shows unity and growth.
"We want to see this collaboration create more
opportunities for people here in Kenya and China as
well," he added.