Wednesday, September 28, 2005

IT_Why Hong Kong is hard for IT guys?

"Don't join the IT company in Hong Kong, or you will have no future". Friends always warn me.

Really? Are Hong Kong people are so afraid of developing IT business, or they are not that smart to be involved in the business?

Hong Kong is one of the most developed cities in telecommunications, with advanced products and cheap fees. But the IT stocks are not that welcomed by investors compared with Nasdaq in United States. Richard Li, the son of Li Ka-Ching, the riches Asian billionaire, once invested a lot in the business.but then shifted to properties and seems never step into the IT now.

Does that mean it is an opportunity or a doomed business in the city? Anyone having idea?

Banking_why Chinese banks are attractive?

The latest news in China's banking industry is Hua Xia bank is went after by many foreign banks such as Deutche Bank and Singapore DBS. As one of the five listed bank in China, it may be famous but I am sorry I never use its service before. Just wonder why it is so attractive in a near-double price that its paper value in the stocks.

Foreign banks have their own reason to buy to try to grab a bit before the other competitors get into the China. But the problem is not all the banks are well set up. Not to say the state-owned ones, but the private-developed banks are learning bad habits for the goverment-backed ones. The only good bank I think is China Mercants Bank, for its efficiency service and advanced web system. The only advantage is it is not government-backed, which means it couldn't enjoy the benefits as those giant and slow banks do.

I always think there are problems between China's fast developing economy and its weak banking system. In some means, the banking system on the typical examples based on the political systems.

If banking systems develop in a foreign way,how about the political system?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Business_Do social network website still popular

Someone just invited me to WAYN-Where are you now, a new website for social network in the world where you could make new friends. The business idea is really boring, though the website's design is not bad. You have to fill in a lot of private information to register and then you could either look for new friends or invite friends there, which is already a niche business idea among social network wesbites. Say, Linkedin, Friendster, and so many.

How those social network websites make money? Some of them via getting subscription fee from VIP users, some of them via advertisement, but the money is not that fat.

One of the most popular social-network websites in China is Chinaren, a website famous for its groups for alumnies. I would say, 80 percent of the university graduates own a Chinaren account and go there at least once a week. That's really huge. But the website itself, though that popular, is not making huge money. It was bought by Sohu, one of the three biggest portal websites in China. After the deal, the only advantage is the user could access to Chinaren via a Sohu account.

"How the website didn't make money with so many middle and high-end customers?" One of the friends who invests in Internet in China asked.

I don't know. The only reason is that some websites are good at attracting customers; some are good at creating new making-money idea. But only a few could do both.

of course, Google is one of those who have done both. And others?

P.S. not sure what Ebay could do with Skype. If it only makes the recently-bought Skype do the same thing as it did to Paypal, I would like to say the deal will be a failure.

Friday, September 16, 2005

People_interview with state-owned company officials

As I cover mainland but not live there, I have to make hundreds of calls per day to try to get the right and prompt information. It is always interesting to talk to people on the phone, where you always have to know people's thinking and opinions just via their voice.

Not many, or only a few people are nice to the reporters, especially someone from outside. Sometimes, they said they didn't know anything though they did; sometimes, they would introduce the reporter to someone else, whose phone never get through; sometimes, they even joked at me:

Amy: Hi, is there ****? I am the reporter from ****

Someone: Hmmm, why not you call 110? (110 is the emergency number in the mainland) (Then he quickly hung up)

I stucked at the words for almost half a minute, just wonder if it is a joke, or he is really serious...

That's why I kind of felt scared before calling someone in mainland. You will never know what you will get next, though someone's mother told "Life is just a box of chocalate".

This time, I tried to call a company Cinda Asset Management Co. which is one of the four state-backed bad loan clearers in China. And they are nice. Out of my expectation.

I called two people, one in Beijing and another in Northern Heilongjiang.

Beijing guy is conservative and really knows his responsibility on what could be given to reporters and what couldn't. But the point is he is nice to every question in the whole process, without any urgent feeling to hang up the phone. I was flattered, to tell the truth. As an official in the state-owned company, he could just do his job, without talking with media. But he don't.

Heilongjiang guy is more open compared with Beijing guys. (I guess he doesn't know how distructive media will be sometimes) He is willing to give any information, and willing to answer questions with all he knows. At last, he even said "welcome calling me back". I was flattered further by the email I got from him after I sent him my contacts the day before. The email says" sorry for the late response, I got your contact". Wow...

I am always interested in digging into the interviewees to study on Chinese's character, also including mine. Sometimes I am too open to the local, sometimes I am too conservative to the world. In such a world city like Hong Kong, I am still looking for enough confidence in my country. Experienced in a changing process in this one hundred year, Chinese are changing fast, from proud to scare, to conservative, to.. I believe it will work back to the start finally that everyone's mind will be peaceful.

link to the story:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

People_met a Thailand millionaire

Though Ranked in the Forbes billionaire list, Dhanin Chearavanont couldn't be easily recognized as one of the world's riches men just via the look. He is outspoken and nice, with a speak style like the one of the Chinese leaders. One thing why I liked him is he praised me my question in the press conference as the best one among all. Haha, but the contradicting problem is if I could do a good journalist job when the interviewees tell me the questions are good.

As a expert in feed industry in China, Chearavanont has leaded Chia Tai group into the top company selling feed meal in China, with almost 7 percent of the market share among the nation. His next aim is to do more value-added work on the raw meal and eggs. "China is a big market for eggs, chickens and porks", he said. "We want to be the kitchen for China".

Is it easy? of course not. With the hard competition and people's remaining scare towards chicken and pork, it is difficult for Chia Tai group to make a big step to change everything. Also, people's eating habit has gradually changed from meat-focused to vegetable-focused, which may lead to a decrease in China's meat industry(BTW, diary products really did good these years)

The billionaire is also interested in doing supermarket business. The "lotus" supermarkets in China has been expanded to 51 among the nation, though it is not famous as Walmart and Carrefour.

But investing in the agricultural industry is more safe than investing in others. People need to eat whatever time, right? In that sense, this billionaire is smart.

The link to my story:

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Media_what's the potential future for newspapers?

Have you still read newspaper? I guess more than 50 percent of the youth between 20 to 25 would say no. Even before I work in the current newspaper, I don't read it in print, too. So does newspaper still have the market?

Newspaper is hard to report spot news now coz it couldn't report it anytime as Internet/wires do. Newspaper stories are also not research-based and well-written as reporters don't have enough time to cover all in one day. The only advantage for newspaper is that some readers are still used to reading newspaper every day, not every second, or every week. But will that last long?

Some newspaper does a good job. New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times still post good-quality articles as well as inside news. But for the others, the job is easies, with following news wires and writing simple stories, which could only keep current readers without expanding more.

So what's the future for newspapers????

Opinion_enjoy a free weekend

After started working again, suddenly I feel the importance of a free weekend.

Slept at 3 am in the evening, I got up pretty late today, almost 11am. Wearing my favorite clothes, I got to a famour Chinese restaurant in the downtown. Though my friend came an hour late, I enjoy a fantastic meal with her in a nice mood. We eat the traditional Chinese morning tea as well as the most popular dessert in the restaurant. At last, I gave the manager a big smie.

After that, I went back to school to enjoy the fresh air here. Sitting in the computer roon, I viewed all the blogs in my portofolio that were missed in the working day, also I read many interesting news(not in financial sector, of course). I even go to a science fiction website in my university to download the list for SF films and fictions. I may write some of the science fiction in the future.

There may be a gathering in the evening. If not, I will go back home and work on my SF plan. Amy is always a SF fun and believes in the stuffs such as time travel and butterfly effect. Hoho, my dream is to be a SF writer, though it is still too early to say.

Tomorrow is free, too. No plan yet, but there will be some interesting things to do.