Sunday, April 25, 2010

Butterfly Effect On Secutech, Taipei

Butterfly Effect: change one thing, change everything

I used to think that the “butterfly effect” based on Chaos Theory was exaggerated. How could one possibly imagine a butterfly flapping its wings in Southern Hemisphere, may eventually cause a tornado in Northern Hemisphere?

But a more plausible version of this theory is proven true when the far away Icelandic volcanic ash emission gave great impact to the Taipei’s SecuTech Show.

Icelandic volcanic ash eruption

Volcanic ash forced cancellation of thousands of flight around the Europe countries. The effect was obviously seen with the thinning of the crowds at the exhibition hall this year. Mickael from Denmark emailed Tamy a day before the Show to cancel a training we supposed to arrange for him in Taipei; name cards we received from Europe leads are almost none. The sales reps from the organizer, Messe Frankfurt were busied tendering their apologies to exhibitors.

Robert Z. Heymann, a visitor from Paris, when asked about how he managed to be in Taipei, told us that he flew to Taiwan before the Volcano eruption, stranded here for almost two weeks. Another visitor from Europe told me he was forced to extend his vacation from Thailand to Taipei.

It was unfortunate that many potential buyers were not able to meet us during this show. I however, had more time to wander around the Hall, studying some new products showcased by other exhibitors, and of course, had more time to concentrate on fascinating ‘promoters’ around the hall.

Preparing for the Show

Despite of the whole lukewarm turnout, FingerTec managed to get good contacts during the show, which I hope, would yield a long-lasting and fruitful relationship with us.

Mr Castro from the Philippine bought 3 sample readers

Taiwan has always been one of my favorite countries because of the richness of their publishing industry. During the trip, I took the opportunity to visit bookstores and bought some books. No doubt, Taiwan has culturally influenced me a lot. Want to see what I have bought? Feel free to visit my online bookshelf,

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meeting The Legendary Guy of Bangladesh

Last week I met a great guy. Mr. Abdul Khaleque Pathan looks like an ordinary person in his late forties or early fifties. The difference is, he is a self-made billionaire with a success story that’s legendary in Bangladesh.

Mr. Khaleque (middle), Mr. Saiful Kamal (right)

One of the largest garment factories in Bangladesh

It all started with a very humble beginning. Right after high school, he worked as a truck driver. Many years later he started his own business, and now he owns two listed companies, and one of the largest garment factories in the country that are hiring over 13,000 workers. His Khaleque Group of Industries is also producing detergents, soaps and a series of cosmetic products, named after his youngest daughter, Keya.

"I began the business with 20 dollars (1,380 taka) in my pocket," he told me. With no collateral, bank loan was out of the question. Having no willing relatives and friends to lend him a helping hand, hopelessly he turned to the lowest of the low, beggars on the street, and begging them for some startup money.

“Every dime I borrowed from them, I make sure to repay them with interest in the following month. And my beggar friends trusted me.” Who would have thought that the beggar's ‘financial system’ had helped the ambitious and visionary young man overcame his hardest time in life.

He built the business empire in this outskirt hometown of his, Gazipur, which is 40 kilometers away from the big Dhaka city, and still headquartered his whole operation in this small town till now, with the main purpose is to provide more job opportunities to his fellow poor villagers, a fact which I learned later. The welfare he provided to the workers is highly praised in this little township.

Mr. Khaleque’s management discipline was shown by the rows of FingerTec TA103R readers that are laid orderly along the production lines.

"A total of 170 units so far and we expect more to come," Mr. Saifulhaque Kamal, Managing Director of General Automation Ltd., our distributor in Bangladesh, said proudly while walking with me from one end of the production plant to another.

“The automation of time and attendance process has been proven worth the investment,” said Khaleque Group Asst. IT manager, Mr. Nasim "It prevents fraud and saves us a lot of time and money.”

Mr. Nasim(right), and FingerTec TA103R reader

Saiful wasted no time from taking advantage of the meeting rather than it just being a courtesy visit; he struck a deal with Khaleque Group this time for the maintenance contract. It is no surprise his sales of FingerTec improved by 30% each year.

Garments being Bangladesh largest products and exports, the factories are seen mushrooming over Dhaka in the last few years. “Khaleque Group is our biggest single installation so far. Besides, we have a few smaller installations in garment factories that are closed to a hundred units. And we are expecting more projects this year.” Although the traffic is always hectic in Dhaka, where the General Automation office is located, that news felt like the pleasant evening breeze, soothing me in our way back to Dhaka after the visit.

The welcoming was really warm from General Automation

Thanks to Saiful, and his two partners, Mohd. Reazuddin and Shamima, for all their hospitalities while I was in the country, making my two days stay in the land of the Bengalis fruitful and memorable.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Social Responsibility

Don't be evil

I have to admire and give a big salute to Google for their bold decision to withdraw from China while others come in flocks to grab the huge market potential. I think the Google’s decision is the highest social responsibility one has ever shown in the history of the business world.

“What’s the big fuss if a government wants to crack into some dissidents’ Gmail accounts?” Some might ask. “Let them have what they want, we are here to make money, not enemy, to uphold of a principle doesn’t make you look more saintly in the business world compared to others,” and they might say.

There is this famous China local search engine that has been making a lot of extraordinary money to help advertisers concealing search results containing bad publicities. The manipulation of media had delayed the exposure of China Poisonous Milk Scandal in 2008, which in turn had caused more infants to suffer from kidney stone disease.

Don’t be evil” is not just a framed motto that overhangs the wall of Google, they really believe in the motto and they put it into action. For a lot of corporate, social responsibilities are confined to those donations made to the old folk homes, orphanages, or some charity organizations, or boasted their products are environmental friendly with the objective to boost sales rather than to concern about the mother Earth. Some people even narrow the scope down to “as long that you abide by the law, have a decent job, you are no sinner and you have fulfilled your social responsibility.” Is it really that simple? How about those who work for a tobacco firm or a casino? And don't you polluting the air by driving to work everyday?

Go green to boost sales or to fulfill social responsibility?

Social responsibility is not just about paying your taxes, making some charity contributions to the needy, or claiming no emission of toxic during production, but it is also about your willingness to say no to any kind of bribery or kickbacks from any projects you handle.

With the FGW (Fire GreatWall) stands on guard, the access to Youtube, Blogspot, Facebook and Twitter is nearly impossible in China. But similar websites run by the local operators flourished due to lack of competition from the outsiders, but they have to succumb to the ‘agreement’ made between them and the authority. Removal of whatever articles or video clips deemed sensitive by the authority is a must. You could post articles online; and these pieces also could simply vanish into thin air in the next few hours.

“Even Microsoft takes no risk to enrage a government,” you might say. Of course not, from the retreat of a strong opponent, Microsoft benefitted by gaining more share for its Bing search engine in China.
No corporate would want to sacrifice their future prospective market to upset their shareholders. There is no financial analyst that would praise the move of Google’s withdrawal, that’s why I extend my respect to Google for their greater social responsibility and for their higher level of integrity.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ