Koua Lee

Hmong TV Network

As a 12 year old boy in Laos, while many young grade school children focused only on school, Koua Lee would wake up every morning at 3 am to help his uncle run a family business processing pork and chicken to deliver to market. Koua would dedicate 3 am to 7 am to the family business and then attend school the rest of the day. This insight taught Koua to love business at a very young age and though he would become a teacher and later in life, earn an AA degree in photography, his heart was always in business.

After immigrating to the United States in 1978, Koua Lee found himself starting his life all over again at the age of 20. Though he landed in Providence, Rhode Island, he would move his family to Portland, Oregon before finding a home in Merced, California in 1982.

After several years of working odd jobs, Koua would risk everything and try his hand at business. In 1989, he opened C Oriental and following its success would later open the larger KL Market in Merced. He would also start KM Video Production and KL Trading Company in 1994.

“I believe my businesses were successful because I always treated every customer like they were a friend and I always viewed interacting with them as a way of releasing stress and connecting with my community. To me, business is always about relationships with my customers and understanding how to serve them better.”

One morning at 3 am, while listening to Hmong Radio in 2003, Koua Lee started to think about how many lives were touched by Radio. He started to dream about how many more lives could be impacted and changed by something even more powerful – Television that served the Hmong community. “We could educate by sharing knowledge, ideas, tell stories, entertain and grow our community by connecting in a way radio could never do.” Without any idea regarding cost or experience in TV broadcasting, Koua Lee found Hmong TV Network in 2007. “It’s been an expensive sacrifice, but necessary to advance our community in the right direction.” Today, Hmong TV Network is broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all over the world via set top box and Internet and free over-the-air locally in Fresno on digital channel 32.6.

Photography: Tudor Stanley

Hmong TV Network
4325 E. Tulare St.
Fresno, CA 93702
Phone (559) 475-0045