Asia-Pacific News

Chinese tycoon reveals plan behind 'Star Trek HQ'

This Chinese firm models HQ after Star Trek's Enterprise
This Chinese firm models HQ after Star Trek's Enterprise

China is no stranger to skyscrapers of unusual architectural design and while some of the country's ambitious architectures have drawn flak from locals and authorities, this building is making headlines for a different reason.

Costing a staggering $100 million to construct, the massive replica of The Enterprise – the ship in which characters from cult sci-fi series Star Trek explored new worlds - is the brainchild of Liu Dejian, founder of mainland online gaming firm NetDragon Websoft.

But the flashy structure, located in the Chinese province of Fujian, is more than just a tribute to the tycoon's favorite entertainment.

In an interview with CNBC, Liu revealed that he hoped the design of the company's new headquarters would encourage employees to live up to Star Trek's adventure-seeking spirit as his Hong Kong-listed company ventured into uncharted territories such as online education and robots.

This photo shows the NetDragon Websoft headquarters building with the iconic circular contours and tubular features of the USS Enterprise, from U.S. television and film series "Star Trek", in Fuzhou, China.
STR | AFP | Getty Images

A self-confessed "uber-Trekkie", Liu became a fan of the show during his days as a student at the University of Kansas. Since then, the sci-fi series has evolved for him from an interest into a "way of understanding life," Liu told CNBC.

"I love the idea that space is the final frontier and people want to go there and do something new. It has sort of become my way of understanding life… Star Trek was a very important teacher to me," the entrepreneur said, adding that he draws inspiration from his favorite character Captain Picard in becoming someone who "figures out the right thing [to do] and stick to it ". Captain Jean-Luc Picard takes the helm at the USS Enterprise-D and the Enterprise-E in the fictional series and is one of Star Trek's most well-known characters.

NetDragon Websoft, founded in 1999, was ranked third in Forbes Asia's "Best under a Billion" - a ranking of Asia Pacific's top 200 high-performing companies with revenue under $1 billion - this year.

"In my line of business, sometimes you have to make crazy decisions, unlike other businesses where you can adopt the normal plan approach," Liu said. "The most important thing is to think ahead, figure what is the right thing to do and try to accomplish things [that are] seemingly impossible."

The ambitious headquarters took four years to complete and features automatic sliding gates between each working space, space pod-style bathrooms, as well as a life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton replica. According to the company, the structure is the only officially-licensed Star Trek replica in the world after Liu bought the copyright for the USS Enterprise from U.S. broadcaster CBS.

Inside NetDragon Websoft's headquarters located in Fujian, China.
Eunice Yoon | CNBC
A life-size replica of a Star Wars X-wing fighter jet stands outside the headquarters of NetDragon Websoft in Fuzhou, China.
Eunice Yoon | CNBC

Additional reporting by Eunice Yoon