Friday, May 21, 2010

Leap and Bounce Beijing

This month, I went to Beijing twice for business meetings.

I first stepped onto Chinese soil in 1992. Beijing at that time had much lesser automobiles. Bicycles simply took charge of the roads by a majority-win game. The word of fashion had yet to be introduced, total colors appeared on men and women’s clothing were limited to two and a half; black, white and gray. I recalled my color T-shirt as a gift for an engineer was returned just because there would be no appropriate occasion to put it on. The PCs they were using were a generation behind. Taxi drivers were more talkative; once you confirmed you could understand Chinese, they would switch from stuttering English to a staccato Beijing accent bombarding you along the journey. There was no product packaging concept, I received an IT interface card that cost me USD10,000 but wrapped in a piece of old newspaper. Any meals hosted by Chinese if for only two persons, would serve with dishes that could only be finished by ten. Sales strategies? They argued, “How could you upgrade a color TV with a black and white?” Trade-in concept never crossed their minds.

A famous Chinese writer, Yu Hua in one of his best-selling novels, “Brothers”, stretched a storyline for a period of 30 years from the beginning of Cultural Revolution in 1966, across the Economic Reform in the mid eighties, till the modernization of China in the nineties. It begun with a “butt-peeping” boy and his non-blood tie brother story staged on conservative sixties with a string of absurdity events that led China to a modern world in the nineties. In an interview Yu Hua told reporter, “To accommodate such a huge change, other countries might take 300 years, however in China, I saw it happened in a blink of just 30 years.”

The appropriate word to describe the changes of China is Leap and Bounce development, while most of other countries took it in a progressive manner. That’s why China stunned the world by growing into the second largest economy powerhouse, overtaking Japan this year within such a short period. When comedian Joe Wong entertained his American audience by saying “I grew up in China. Who didn’t?” It stirred laughter but in unanimous “agreement”.

Nowadays, the flamboyant colors crawled out from the Chinese peoples’ clothing reaching their heads; the latest gadgets can be acquired easily; the taxi drivers keep silence unless you start a chatter, or perhaps an inquest; bicycles become the underdog on the roads; all kinds of inventive marketing strategies barking out from the billboards; hosting feasts are no longer extravaganzas; the contemporary art in 798 Cultural Park in Beijing full with talented Avant-garde art pieces.

But, are there any downside caused by the fast growing of China economy? YES, I saw plenty. No doubt, Chinese has advanced technologies that landed the astronauts on the moon impeccably, but the same act shouldn’t be replayed too many times. That’s quality control issue, a general perception that haunts Chinese products for their inconsistencies in quality. And the Political Reform still staggering to keep pace with Economic Reform in China, if the politic echelon refuses to relax its grip, it may invite havoc in the future. Increasing polarization between the rich and the poor also threatens social stability.

In today's business world, we have no choice but to compete with the ubiquitous low-price Chinese products, the same applies to biometrics industry. No sweat, to know their strength, to spot their weaknesses, despite fierce competition, you still might stand tall.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Writing Skills Exceed All

A lot of people misunderstand the meaning of IT Age and call for learning of computer to equip for the future. In fact, the keyword of IT is “Information”, “Technology” is just a tool or a medium to carry the explosion of Information that flooded our daily lives.

My opinion about learning computers has always been very clear. Parents need not have to worry about their offspring’s skills in computer. For nowadays kids, computer skills are natural. If you don’t believe me, let them play online games and they turn into a master in a few sessions even without guides from anybody.

Improve Your Language, that’s my call. Only with high proficiency in language, ones can easily and quickly comprehend information, and turn the information that cocooned them into the wings of knowledge and wisdom, to fly them to the gardens of wealth and opportunities.

Given this scenario: two persons, one piece of article, and one solution. One person reads but struggling to comprehend due to lack of language proficiency and the other one finishes the article in no time and solves the puzzle. Who wins?

When the Internet Age comes, people need to upgrade the proficiency of language from reading to include writing too. For example, as a technician, answering calls solve one problem at a time, one to one. But when you write the solution and publish it online, that piece of the solution serves many. Considering the cost of phone calls and the efforts it would take to explain, wouldn’t this be a better choice?

People write more than ever before.

In the past, social life involved much talking than writing. Now, we are using Facebook, we Tweet, we blog, we MSN, my conclusion is, we write more than we talk in the Internet Age and in the Internet World. If ones can polish their writing skills, who knows there might be another J.K. Rowling in the making.

Since 1995, when we started our unique way of global marketing strategy, our criteria of employment was not how good my sales people can talk, but I emphasized on how good they could write. And I even want this requirement extended to the technical team as well.
I read a book and discovered that theorists make a summation on our strategies and our Practical Branding efforts as “Inbound Marketing”. No matter what terminology they’re using, theorists and marketing gurus collectively agree that “writing skill” within an organization is one of the important criteria for “Inbound Marketing”.

Thanks to my staff who can write, with their contribution over the years, we have built a knowledge-based garden that prosper our business and benefited our customers all over the world.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ