Sunday, June 27, 2010

back to Blogger

Please check where I am the co-founder. If you are interested in this space, please drop me a line.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Government money, accept or deny?

I attended an interesting forum in Beijing on Thursday. There are three famous VC sitting in the panel, Hugo Shong, Partner of IDG AP, Yan Yan, Partner of Softbank SAIF, and Nanpeng Li, Partner of Sequotia China. They were debating with government officials on whether a start-up in the creative industry should accept government investment. Someone did a survey among the audience. Turned out that only one tenth raised up their hand to accept the money, while another one tenth raised hands to deny the money. The argument from venture capitalist is that accepting government money means a lot of time cost,so better not.

I totally agree. I was in the same situation these days after coming back to Beijing to work on a start-up. Government said they will subsidize the overseas graduates for being an entrepreneur, but the process is very long, and there are lot of forms to be filled. I have to spend half of time dealing with those processes, instead of focusing on the main business. I would rather have the government help with reducing the bureaucracy of starting a company. Looking back, Silicon Valley is really a nice place to start a company. Hopefully government offcials can learn to be more friendly to entrepreneur and understand their concern from deep heart.

Monday, November 09, 2009

electronic commerce in China

I was going to buy a new PC. After asking around, friends suggested me going to Jingdong mall in Chinese name). The first time I heard about it is its financing story. It raised tens of millions of dollars in the last round of financing, which hits the headline of every business newspaper.

I went to the site, and selected a type branded by Acer as cheap as below 2500 RMB. Then I order a plug base, and chose to pay both after delivery. In five minutes after I clicked the "submit" button, a sales representative from 360buy called me and said he will take care of my order. wow, that's very fast service, I was thinking.

However, the next day, he called again saying the PC is not available. It may take longer than the schedule one or two days to arrive. I was pretty upset since no one told me so before I submit the order. Then I waited for a few more days before I found out that my order was blocked. I called the sales guy again, and he said there is something wrong happening on my order, and he will call to confirm with the logistic dept.

A few days later, I called again, and they said it already arrived and will be delivered in two days. However, the plug base I ordered is not available(though it is said to be available when I ordered it). How can I use the PC without those plug base? The salesman asked me to buy it in a store if I want it urgently. I argued that they should deliver a plug base to be for free. But he said he can't make that decision, and if I want to buy another type in a different order, I have to pay for the delivery fee.

It's not a pleasant experience for me. All in all, I made ten calls totally and haven't received all they need. They learned the hardware from, but they didn't get the software inside, which is how to make the customer satisfied. Customers should be updated frequently on how the order proceeds, which 360buy doesn't do; They also let customers pay for the mistake they made, such as a out-of-date status update. I would rather have a smooth online order experience, instead of dealing with a nice sales representative. I wasted more time in talking to them online. Customers will pay for convenience; if they find out that online experience is not pleasant enough, they will go to offline. No matter how much money you have, 360 buy, you should pay attention to it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

China Internet Conference 2009

It's probably the biggest conference in China's IT industry. That's for sure, since this is a conference serving over 360 million web users and 192 million mobile internet users. I estimate there are over 5000 people attending the conference held in Beijing's International Conventional Center, most of them are young people under the age of 30.

Speakers are trying hard to promote their companies. Big posters such as Google or Sina can be seen anywhere. Internet guys are talking about the big monopoly such as Baidu, Sina, Netease and Tencent, while mobile guys are complaining about mobile operators. The keyword is the market, instead of technology, which for me, is a pity for a lot of technical talents.

Can China have a big Internet company as innovative as Google? I have no answer. Since I arrive here for only two months, I definitely see the struggling start-ups who are trying to survive first. The first question on a start-up is business model, though most of the investors know Google never make money when they get funded, or Craigslist just don't want to make a lot of money. For a lot of Internet companies, making money is always the first priority, which make them start charging users soon, instead of focusing on improving user experience. may be one of the few who has done well without thinking too much about the revenue. But beyond that, I see CEOs are busy thinking about how to charge users, instead of delivering a better service.

I hope the conference will have more innovative speakers and topics next year, at least something exciting, something that can give people a good dream.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's been a long journey

It's been a long journey from California to Beijing. But here I am. There are so many opportunities and so many obstacles. I keep wondering how some of the overseas company can succeed in this market since the rules are quite difficult, even for a local business person like me. However, I am learning fast on lots of relationships and the difference in China's IT market. I am glad I came back immediately after graduation since I can learn quickly because of my young age. One day when I look back, I would be proud of my decision.

Some of the lessons I have learned and will keep sharing:

(1) The market is huge but out of order. you have to be quick enough, you have to have street smart. Especially for Internet, people learn quickly, and they are all smart people.

(2) Have a local partner or adviser. I have a lot of local friends who helped me going through the burcraticracy of the government, the toughness of local businessmen. etc. Without them, I can't imagine my business will go on smoothly.

(3) Everyone can help you. It's amazing that even a random introduction can help with a million-dollar business, which I've never experienced in U.S. A big network of contacts is essential for a businessman. You know who you can call when you are in trouble, or eager to expand your business.

Those are not typical lessons in a business school. Have to be in real practice to know this. You lucky readers:)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Being in China

It is a right decision to come back to China. Beijing almost become a strange city to me even in less than a year. People work hard, and it's never difficult to get banker working on Sunday, and to order food in the night. I even ordered water online, and got a phone call in one minute.

A lot of people are starting companies, especially Stanford Alumni. I already met a few who are doing well, and a few who are still working hard. They are impressive people. The Chinese government also tried to support people who studied overseas to come back to start company. I went to a few government-sponsored zone to visit companies and government officials. However, it's sad to see no one is really into helping build start-up. Some of them only care about charging start-up rental, and some of them only care about the number of start-up they attract.

So I totally understand why Kai-fu Lee, the former CEO of Google China, now left to start an incubator. China needs an incubator more than just an office for start-up. It's good that he realize that young entrepreneurs need more support in human resources, strategy, technology.etc. I am sure there will be more and more people doing the same thing.

Walking on the street, I feel overwhelmed by the crowds, but I sense their eager to succeed. The country is on the way to grow quickly.

P.S. if anyone can tell me how I can access blogger efficiently, that will be appreciated.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to work on thumb and dinner

Back to China, two things I have started to do most, first working on my thumb, I started to sms a lot. It is like a replacement for my blackberry email, and now I type sms crazily. The second thing is dinner. Talking business has to happen during dinner, and even not a big dinner person like me has to adapt to it.

Good thing is I feel achievement every day. There are new opportunity and partners coming up every day, and I feel refreshed. Beijing is packed with people and opportunity. It's a trade off, but more like a trigger of a powerful bullet. Way to go!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My privacy concern with facebook mobile

I just found out that Facebook Mobile occupied the address book on my blackberry. It automatically matched the name of my Facebook friends with the name in my address book, and then insert the facebook info of those matches to the address book. I never agreed to let this happen, at least no one asked me to agree with this option. Further, I don't know whether this info exchange is just one-way or two-way. If it is two-way, then it means facebook knows all the information on my address book, including my friends' phone number. I feel my privacy protection is violated by facebook.

Be careful when you download the facebook mobile.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Real-time search, is this the future?

One thing I like about Twitter is you get real-time news from real-time people. Google news can't do this since it depends so much on newspaper. For me, twitter is more like what is happening to the world now, while Google news is what happened yesterday. A question I've always been thinking is if twitter can replace Google since a lot of people definitely stopped blogging and started twittering.

Today I ran into this website, which is a real-time search engine. It is still in early stage, but it is interesting that it searches comments across the web and tweets too. I can see this is a very good news tool for me to get updated information(though have to be specific, all you will get random comments all over). Newspapers is running out of fashion, and the next one is news wires.

A break from Google for one second. Just for some fresh news.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Paypal opened its platform

This is the thing I loved about Internet. Open, open, open, even for payment. Seems a lot of opportunities.

oday PayPal announced plans to open its payment platform to third-party developers with the release of new APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow developers to embed PayPal’s secure global payment system into their applications and platforms.

In opening up the PayPal platform, developers can now create new ways to send and receive payments for services beyond traditional e-commerce. According to a recent McKinsey report, the global payments market represents a $30 trillion opportunity.

PayPal has spent over a decade creating a secure, global payments network for e–commerce and person-to-person transactions, which seamlessly integrates 27 financial networks, 15,000 local banks, 190 global markets and supports 19 currencies.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What Facebook should learn from Twitter, and in reverse?

I have been using the app from twitter and facebook on my blackberry for a while. It's very interesting to see their difference, and in fact, they can learn from each other to improve the service.

What Facebook Can Learn from Twitter:

(1) shorter summary on the highlights of friends status, so that users can see more updates from friends just by scanning
(2) Remove the add friends button since people will rarely use phone to add friends.
(3) Also reduce the refreshing time. Twitter is much better on this.

What Twitter can learn from Facebook:
Facebook Mobile integrates into blackberry much better by having "facebook" on the navigation panel, and then it stopped sending me msg via email. While for twitter, it still sends me msg via email though I can get it from the twitter app.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

GSB former dean to join Citi's board

Finally, this gave me some confidence on Citi as an investor.

Citigroup Board Names Three New Outside Directors and Announces Other Governance Actions

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Citi's Board of Directors today announced three new outside directors. In addition, the Board announced a new, non-executive Chair for Citibank, N.A., a new oversight committee for Citi Holdings and a new Chair of its Audit and Risk Management Committee.

The three new outside directors are:

  • Diana L. Taylor, the former Superintendent of Banks for the New York State Banking Department, and current Managing Director of Wolfensohn Capital Partners, a fund manager.
  • Timothy C. Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Ripplewood Holdings L.L.C., an investment firm that invests in financial services and other sectors.
  • Robert L. Joss, Ph.D., Dean and Philip H. Knight Professor of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, and former Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Westpac Banking Corporation Ltd.

The new directors, who will stand for election at Citi’s next Annual Meeting, bring the total on the Board to 17 members – only one of whom (Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram S. Pandit) is a member of Citi management.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

China's shares to exceed U.S. in three years

Bloomberg has an interesting article citing a fund manager with Templeton on China's stock market will exceed U.S. in three years. Beyond the size, I am more interested on opening access for global investors as well as foreign companies who want to list in China. Size is important, as well as globalization.

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- China’s stock market may surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest by value in three years as state- owned companies sell new shares and the nation’s 1.4 billion people put more of their money into equities, Mark Mobius said.

“The Chinese population is just dipping its toe into equities and they’ve got a long way to go,” Mobius, who oversees about $25 billion of emerging-market assets as executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management Ltd., said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London. State-owned companies are “coming up with more huge” initial public offerings, he said.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I wish Baidu would be more like Google

I read a very good article from Keso, a famous Chinese blogger, on the questions that if Baidu only exists for the purpose of marketing. It was deleted later, and I guess, because of the pressure from Baidu. But i still want to share it because it is the weakest part in China's Internet world now, and people have to face the problem.

Keso said the innovation will not naturally grow because of the increasing number of Internet users in China. Unfortunately, Baidu believed the other way, he said. "That's why Google is almost like half of the Internet, and changed the way people and enterprise work, while Baidu still positions itself as a marketing tool. It worked well in the past eight years, but Baidu is losing its edge in the impact on China's Internet. It's more about population business, and it's risky. He said Alibaba, instead, is doing something interesting to have enterprise more efficient.

Having been in silicon valley, it's amazing to see how a few big companies such as Google and Cisco pushed the whole industry. A lot of start-ups already planned to be bought by them in the future, while in my opinion, is a good thing. Big companies are not good at innovation, and buying small companies is an efficient way to go. Looking at Baidua and a few other big Internet companies in China, not a lot of them actually did merger and acquisition. They all believe they can do it themselves, while losing touch with the industry trend.

Baidu is safe for now, with the good financial numbers; but safe shouldn't be enough for this no.1 internet company in China. They should go further and set up a vision for China's Internet. Only until then they can be called a great company.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Michael

He is still a super star on the stage

He loves climbing trees(while that stupid journalist wasn't dare to), and he adores kids(while that stupid journalists kept asking stupid questions). He was hurt after opening himself so much. Sigh!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Are you kidding me? Citi raisedemployee salary by 50%

Even i have a lot of friends working in investment banking, I still can't believe it. Citi just got bailout money, and it is just using this to compensate its employees. Come on, the excuse of losing employees doesn't make sense, since right now there are so many bankers on the street begging for a job. oh, poor US taxpayer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How different between Facebook and Kaixin

I am a daily user of two social networking websites: Facebook and Kaixin( Facebook is for networking with my Stanford friends, while Kaixin is for networking with my friends in China. Kaixin is said to be the copycat of facebook of China; however, it is not true just in terms of my behavior.

Difference 1: name.

I use real name on facebook, and all my friends use real name. However, I use fake name on Kaixin, while I know there are plenty of friends using fake name too(amazing we can still find each other)

Difference 2: activities
I usually look at the news feed on facebook to learn what my friends are doing: I leave msg to them, comment on the pictures, as well as upload photos; However, I don't often change my status on Kaixin, neither do my friends. I never have a profile photo there, and don't upload my vacation photos. I spend 90 % of the time on playing games with friends. We buy and sell each other, plant garden, and raise a lot of pigs, rabbits and cows as pets.

Difference 3: interactions with the site
I get plenty of msgs in my facebook account; I never communicate with facebook system. On kaixin, most of the message I get are from the systems, such as "your friend just bought you in 60000 dollars", or "you was just award 1000 dollars".

It will be some interesting research topic for academia on why such difference is generated. I am sure there is something related with different culture, or different user behavior. This may suggest that social networking website may have a hard time to expand globally. And there is always some opportunities for companies who work hard on learning local behavior.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

How to create and implement a policy?

China issued a new rule on requiring PC makers to include filtering software in new PCs recently, quoted to filter the harmful pornography content from the youths . I am confused by where it came from and the way it implemented the policy.

Three questions:
(1) If this policy only targets at youths, why every PC needs to include this computer? not every household has a young kid.

(2) If parents are worried about this, then why don't give them the option, say put a CD in the PC pack, to let them set up themselves?

(3) Curing a disease has to cure from the fundamental. Why don't spend more money on regulating those pornography website, instead of making a national-wide expensive policy like this? I would be curious to know how much taxpayers' money is spent on this? and is there any open/transparent bid on who is going to be the software provider?

If those questions can't be answered, then this policy is destined to be a bizarre.

Friday, June 05, 2009

M&A still going on in Silicon Valley

When things are cheap, everyone is moving, especially big guys, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel....

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 4, 2009 – Intel Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Wind River Systems Inc, under which Intel will acquire all outstanding Wind River common stock for $11.50 per share in cash, or approximately $884 million in the aggregate. Wind River is a leading software vendor in embedded devices, and will become part of Intel’s strategy to grow its processor and software presence outside the traditional PC and server market segments into embedded systems and mobile handheld devices. Wind River will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel and continue with its current business model of supplying leading-edge products and services to its customers worldwide.