Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year, everyone


It's been a long but fruitful year for Amy. Hope you also had a wonderful 2007.

Now everything is new in the coming 2008. Please do enjoy and have fun.

Here is my best wishes from California. (pic is the beautiful Santa Monica Beach in Los Angeles)

"Walking along the beach, breathe, relax and let your mind wander"

Friday, December 28, 2007

pics for the LA/NY trip

Remember the scene in Desperate
Housewives. It was shot here in
Universal Studio in LA.













Shooting in the corner of a street in LA















New York Time's new fancy building. shot after the meeting with Bill Keller, one of the most important news person in U.S.















Five Horrifying Women, Picaso's most inspiring arts work, gave me a different angle to enjoy the modern arts. (Shot in Museum of Modern Arts in Manhattan)


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Link to our media trip to LA/NY

Finally our crazy-busy media trip finished, but it will stay in everyone's memory for a long time. I wrote the blog for the trip, which could be seen here

Media is a huge asset in U.S. After talking to creative Hollywood writers/producers and the critical media such as New York Time and Newsweek, I got a sense on how the media has shaped the American culture. People in media pursue independence, creativity and fairness in producing their works. A lot of them consider it as a life-long career and a hobby. We see how Disney changed people's view towards the world, and how New York Times generated daily topics on the table.

Also, the media industry changes very fast, while no one could predict the future, even including the executives in big media companies, which has made media industry a quite fun place to work in.

It's difficult to run a media organization in this stage, but there are still a lot of smart and hard-working people working on this. I am sure media will go back to the central stage very soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Visiting Hollywood

Amy is on the trip visiting Hollywood. It is very impressive to see how passionate people here work on their production. Intellectual Property rights should be well protected everywhere, including China.

Studios here are very amazing, such as Sony Entertainment and Walt Disney. With over one hundred year history, Hollywood is not only a brand, but also a resource of creativity. It is from the creativity that global audience gain. There are a lot of models that China could learn from, and there are a lot of things China could do to tell about Chinese culture to the world. Hopefully we will have our center of Chinese creative business later.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter is coming?



When everyone outside China is enthusiastic on the opportunities in China, some candid Chinese enterpreneurs said they are preparing for the winter's coming. Here are some quotes from the 6th China Enterpreneur Summit held in Beijing on December 8(in Chinese).

Ma Yun, the president of online B2B portal Alibaba.com, who just raised $1.5 billion from its IPO, said:

"The reason why Alibaba is preparing for a listing is to prepare for the winter. In 1999 and 2000, the Internet suddenly turned into winter when everyone was still talking on its exciting future; the same is happening now while something is going wrong with so many concept of web 2.0 or 3.0. So I want an IPO now to be ready for the winter".

Liu Chuanzhi, the president of Lenovo Group, whose private equity fund got over 8 times return in the past three years, said:

"We are doing a quick research on our industry investment now. We are not afraid of the coming winter, and we will do what we should do in the winter. The most important thing is what will happenin the winter and what we could improve to adjust the winter."


I don't really care when Wall Street Journal and Financial Times say winter, because it is always the media's job to give critical view. But if the "winter" comment is from two of the most respective and successful enterprenuers in China, I give a lot of credit on this. It is a good thing that they are still rational, and working on what they are due to do, instead of what they are imagined to do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Li Ka-shing bought facebook?

Every move of Li Ka-shing is news. so did this one. Wall Street Journal reported that the Hong Kong billionaire has acquired 0.4 percent in facebook for $60 million, following a $240 million investment by Microsoft in October. Financial Times reported that Li is going to buy the shares through Li Ka Shing Foundation, his charity vehicle. FT commented "Buying a stake in Facebook through the foundation, rather than one of his companies – such as Hutchison Whampoa, Mr Li’s global conglomerate, or Tom Group, Hutch’s internet and media unit – suggests that for the time being he intends only to salt his Facebook shares away."

Li's Tom Online, a media company based in China, may benefit from this move in China's growing social-networking website. We see News Corp's Myspace already got a high-exposed market access to China, a threatening move for Tom Online. Now Tom Online's alliance with facebook will create a nose-to-nose competition in China. At least, facebook hasn't got a Chinese version.

But the point is only a few, if none, of the U.S. Internet companies could be very successful in China, including Google, Yahoo and Ebay. The user habit is very different, the reason for those foreign firms to get a local partner. Facebook will not be an exceptional. Alliance with Tom is a smart move, but still needs effort to beat thousands of "Chinese facebook" which already started years ago.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Product is the key

What's the most important criteria to be a CEO?
The answer given by Paul Otellini is "be a product person". His argument is that a good CEO has to be very familiar with the products from every perspective because product is the key to the company's success.

Talking about leadership, we always think about various factors, such as personality and communications skills. But the most important factor is the company's success. It's not rare to see some jerk CEO whose company is making a good profit.

Yesterday's big news Edward Zander, the CEO of Motorola, was forced to quit because of the company's worst-than-expected performance. Zander had been with Motorola for four years, while he saw the successful sale of smash-hit Razr cell phone. Now with the decreasing sale of Razr and no successors, the firm has been facing pressure from Wall Street investors.

So being a good leader may not be hard. Trying to be a good sales person first.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How many online friends could you have?

Wall Street Journal has an interesting article this Friday on the online social network. The column The Numbers Guy citied the research work from an Oxford professor, Robin Dunbar, saying there is a natural limit to a friendship circle, 150 as a ceiling on our personal contacts. But the research is based on the real-life experience. So will online social networking sites help users to burst the numbers? The column said there is possibility since humans have developed this technology to surpass their physical limits on speed, strength and the ability to process information.

I have a little doubt on this. If the research is true, it means we could only maintain 150 friends even if we only live in a small town, while friends could meet and talk everyday. Now even with the new technology, the friend circle will only be like the one in the small town. Those friends are the ones your mind could keep in touch in a frequent basis.

Speaking of this, it depends on how we could define on the friend circle. Will someone who you only met once be called friends? or the ones we could speak everything? If it is the first choice, then our friend circle is definitely enlarged by the Internet. Count my facebook, I got 40 contacts; count my MSN, I got over 200 contacts. But I don't consider all of them friends. So maybe I am still within the 150 circle.

90-second pitch

Pitch to venture capital is a hard one, especially in a short time like 90 seconds. Today, in the 4th Annual Entrepreneur Bootcamp held by Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association, the biggest Chinese VC association in Silicon Valley, ten teams did use 90 seconds to pitch their business idea to get selected by four venture capital firms. They covered industries including health care, online advertisting, gaming platform, custom-made suit and etc. 90 seconds are really short, and it is more based on the presentation skills to win over the others. But this is the valley, and you have to differentiate others in a short time.

Speaking as a whole, the ideas from those teams are very practical, such as ERP software for small manufacturers. Maybe I am too optimistic. but I really want to see some big ideas, at least some big dream to do something to change the world, such as Bill Gates' "making everyone have a PC", or Google's "download the whole web". Without thinking big, I don't think a small start-up could last long. Only dreaming of being bought by a big company is not enough.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spin out or not, that's a question

We've seen a lot of newspaper setting up their websites to upload the content. I had some discussion last week with classmates on if the websites should be spinned off from the newspaper.

I argued that it should be spinned off if the newspaper didn't consider the online business as a long-term plan. Management of the newspaper are always forced to consider the profitability of the online business before the investment. To me, that doesn't make sense. Competitors of those websites, Google, Yahoo or small start-ups, are all funded by venture capitalists targeting at a break-even of at least five years. How could a newspaper website targeting at a one-year profitability compared the other websites targeting at a five-year break-even? That doesn't make sense.

Newspapers still want to leverage their existing resources. However, that's not very true. There are three different dimensions. First, the content is very different between the online version and print one. Online verson focuses more on its quantity, while print one should be more selective because of the space limitation. The second different thing is the advertisement. Advertisers have certain appetite on print and online business. Big ones still prefer print media because of the brand, while smaller advertisers prefer online ads due to budget concern. The third dimension is the content supply. Print media has all its content produced by reporters and editors, while online media should rely more on the grassroot journalism, allowing freelancers and readers to contribute more.

So to me, leveraging the newspaper's resource to set up a online brand is not very attractive. Online readers are too spoiled to be loyal to one brand. That's why Google and Yahoo News are more popular. Online readers need more news portals or news filters, instead of a newspaper brand. So spining off the online business from a newspaper, and developed it creatively, is one of the options to be able to stay in media business.

Of course, my point is debatable.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Time Warner's new CEO

Media has been in chaos these days. Profit, revenue, pressure from Wall Street. It's such a good time to be in the media career since there is chance to find big opportunity. Jeff Bewkes is named to be CEO of Time Warner Inc., the world's largest media company, replacing Richard Parsons on Jan 1 next year.
The annoucement came one day before the earnings is reported tomorrow.
A common question among the high growth industry is if they should make as much acquisition as possible. It will be a pity to lose the opportunity to buy, but it will also be a pity when the acquistion doesn't bring any value. Time Warner still suffers from its AOL operation, while Ebay got trouble in generating value from Skype. So be cautious when making acquisition.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How developing a facebook application could make money?

I have met a lot of enthusiasts in Silicon Valley these days. and seems they are all interested in one topic: developing facebook application. A guy I met yesterday in a conference is the one who developed X-Me, and SuperWall(if you are a facebook fun, you know what I am talking about). Hope you also remember that my story on Stanford's new facebook developing course. I couldn't help wondering why those people are so crazy on this. Facebook will never pay them, the users will never pay them, too. and how could they make money?

The answer is advertisement. If you pay attention, there will be a little advertising banner in some facebook application. Those are the sources for revenue. Just overheard some company already made millions of dollars on this. Gosh, this business is crazy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Impression by HP

I remember I first learned HP during the job just after graduating from the college. HP has been the system provider for my company, and the HP salesmen all looks very professional. To me, HP is the image of a man in the suit everyday, looking serious and professional.

However, I've learned the other side of HP these days. HP is sponsoring a case competition on its gaiming unit, a very innovative business enjoying high growth in the high-performing PC business. It's amazing by talking to the head of the gaming unitto see how innovative the unit is, and how advanced technology HP labs have now.

Brand is hard to set up sometimes, but for a big company, brand is sometimes a burden for the new business. For companines such as HP who experience high growth in the past ten years, how to find a new profit resource is very difficult, both internal and external.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What are the current thoughts of VC in Silicon Valley?



Silicon Valley is a place with all types of idea. Entrepreneurs think actively every day and so do the venture capitalists. Warren Packard, a Stanford MBA graduate, said in a forum on Saturday that he is looking beyond the VC industry into 2017. What will happen in ten years? He used a biology model, Biovisions, to tell his vision. (video could be reached here) Biovisions shows how the cell evolves itself via partnering, spliting, searching and diversifying. It's hard to connect VC with the inner life of cell. But I couldn't help thinking the relationship between the society and the cell. Isn't that we are also doing the same things as the cell?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Could monopoly live in a new era?

Before I met the SVP from Fox Media, the company only sounded like Fox News to me. But that's not true. Fox Media covers far more than Fox News. Fox Media has broadcasting branch, producing popular TV series such as Simpsons and 24. It also has sports channel reporting on NFL and MLB. It also has news/business branch, Film&Entertainment, Interactive media, Fox Mobile, Publishing, Dow Jones, and so on. Such a big group, I would say, covering from TV, radio, print, publishing to the Internet/Mobile.

I always wonder if a big media monopoly could produce any synergy between its different channels. People may argue it will be more content-efficiency, but my concern is the internal competition. If you could watch "24" online, (clearly and smoothly), will you still watch TV. If you could read the latest news on your mobile, will you read it again on the website? Readers are changing their appetite fast. Could a monopoly catch up with their speed? an open question.

Friday, October 12, 2007

DreamWorks, dream work?

Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the most successful figures in the animation industry and the CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG, said this in his presentation today, after showing his latest Bee movie.

"We are just trying to get close to what people believe in, instead of being realistic".

The producer of the popular movie Shrek, is calm with the sense of humor. His vision towards the movie industry, especially the animation sector, will still lead the world in the possible ten years.

"I believe in the movie theatre experience, along with the improved home experience", said the CEO. "The quality 3D experience" has a big future.

Listening to the icon in the entertainment industry is an enjoyful experience. His spirit towards the industry is very impressive.

"I always believe in me, and I hate saying no to others and vice versa". He said.

In the competitive entertainment industry, people have to be confidence, enterprenuerial, and pushing, just like this guy.

Maybe not only just in entertainment.

The bee said in the movie: "We are just bees, and honey is the only thing we got"

Monday, October 08, 2007

New media , old media, always a conflict between each other

A piece from Financial Times last week reported on News Corp's charges towards Google's not spending much more effort at preventing illgally copy video on Youtube. The interview with Peter Chernin, president of News Corp, said the Murdoch-controlled group is trying to promote its online space, Myspace, to be the world's largest social networking website, but sadly, has seen the market share taken by Facebook, though he said the Myspace is still better "in terms of measures such as time spent by users on the site and page views".

New Corp. is one of the active pioneers in the online space, from its appetite towards Internet start-up these years. However, I would say there will be always internal conflicts among all traditional media, and News Corp. is included as well. Investing in new media business, is more like grabbing market share from their exisiting business model on old media(printing, TV, radio), while old media people are reluctant to accept it. One case we discussed these days is on the electric cars, which were expected to be a new profit resource for car companies. However, producing electric cars itself means more than a new business, but the competitor to the old business. Even people know it is the future in the mind, it is hard to accept for them to move to the new direction themselves. So electric cars are killed by their inventors because of that conflict.

In such a media chaos now, new start-ups without no financial burden have more opportunites. Google, Yahoo, and Facebook all have better opportunities since they don't have to balance the revenue between old business and new business. So they are more creative with more time spending on generating ideas instead of trade-offs.

This is the opportunies for all enterprenuers.

Friday, October 05, 2007

bad things of new technology

I am not quite tech-gadget type. But I got a lot of new gadgets such as a IBM X41 tablet. It was the most advanced type when I bought it. However, I found there were only few matching accessories for this type, such as a compatiable dock. I bought a USB-connected DVD-RW(not IBM-branded) instead, and thought everything should be fine.

However, it turned out I have to have a dock to reinstall my operating system, instead of putting the restoring CD into the DVD player. So now I couldn't do anything myself. I could only send my laptop(which I couldn't live without one day) to IBM, and wait for at least a week to have them install for me.

I am quite a DIY(do-it-yourself) person. and I guess all the consumer producers should like me since I don't quite often use customer service. However, I would like to receive all the information and updates related with my products if there's any. For example, it will attract my attention if IBM/Lenove sent me updated dock information for my X41 tablet later. I may have probably bought it. Or I could just receive the info on how to set up a operating system without a dock.

Currently, people complaining how profit margin is so low in certain industries, such as computer sector. On the other hand, i would argue that companies paid a lot of attention to cut costs, rather than developing brand and consumer loyalty. As a result, they have seen less and less revenue, and finally failed in the market.

Especially for new technology, consumers want to try new things all the time, when they feel safe to buy. Now I feel very uncomfortable in buying every brand new products from IBM, since I learnt from my own experience that the deal like that will bring a lot of inconvenient to yourself. So better wait.

We have been talking about the successful business strategy these days. One thing we talked most is the customer-oriented service. Unfortunately, only a few of companies could achieve it and sustain it. Sometimes, it is easily to be said than to be done.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blackberry vs iPhone

It's cool to buy an iphone in U.S., but I chose to be practical. A Blackberry pearl only costs less than US$100, while its email function is already enough for me. Several friends chose iPhone because of its stylish look. However, I believe blackberry has more operating experience than Apply on this area. (let me wait for another five years to buy the new-generation iphone after Apply gains more experience)

Speaking of blackberry's professional service, I would say one thing. I got annoyed one day after finding the web browser disappreared from my cellphone. I called the customer service twice, and tried every thing I could to solve it.(remember, I was once in the computer engineering major). But nothing works. So after the short discussion with the customer service tele person, I was connected to a techinical enginner based in east coast. It's already 7pm in my time zone, which means it's over 10pm in his time zone. He is very patient, and seems very confident on how to solve the problem. We have been talking on the phone for over one hour on how to set up new software(most of the time the line was holding during the setting up period). And the problem was solved finally. It is really interesting to see Blackberry has real enginneers to support individual users. More importantly, the service seems works 24 hours.

It reminds me of China's cell phone market. The service quality is hardly assured, while most of the companies only compete on the price. That strategy will not last longer, I firmly believe. The service is what people depend on, and the reason I chose blackberry.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Facebook course offered in Stanford

Believe it or not?? Stanford does have such a new course now, and sounds very interesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

China's VoIP deal

FierceIP reported a piece on the VoIP deal between a Indiana firm and two Chinese companies. It will be interesting to see its future, and how the big telecom elephants are going to respond to this...


A telecom service and equipment firm based in Indianapolis has cut a deal to sell its VoIP service in China. InteleCom Solutions said it signed a letter of intent with two Chinese companies for sales and distribution.

Panda International and Shanghai NIU Telecom agreed to market InteleCom service and equipment in China. Together, the two Chinese telecoms comprise 372 million landlines, 508 mobile users and 170 Internet subscribers, InteleCom's chairman, John Roberts said. All 1.1 billion are potential VoIP customers, he said. (One research firm pegged the Chinese VoIP market at 144 million paying users in four years. China, in turn, is expected to turn out 35 million VoIP phones this year.)

InteleCom previously cut an equipment distribution deal with Sakal Group, the largest privately owned retail chain in Israel. That deal put 21,000 InteleCom VoIP phones in Sakal's 80 retail stores and 800 wholesale points-of-sale. InteleCom clearly has a plan for world VoIP domination through the clever use of alliances.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

too risky to invest in China's digital TV stock

China Digital TV Holding is planning a listing in New York Stock Exchange. It's not a big company, from my research, though the name sounds big. I would say it's risky to invest in China's digital TV market now, especially in a digital TV card maker like China Digital TV, since the policy of standard and regulation hasn't really confirmed yet and it could be changed anytime. Even China Digital admits this in its SEC filing, saying that "its business will suffer if we do not respond effectively to technological or commercial changes in our industry."I believe the company wants to catch up as the first digital-concept stock in NYSE, but I would say better to be a little conserved before everything becomes less obscure.

P.S. I am moving to California now. I start to think if I should chang to another blog or change the blog name to Amy_in a crazy california or Crazy Amy in california. Let me know your good ideas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Google and AP, good move

Google succeeded in bringing four news agnecies, AP, AFP, U.K. news agency the Press Association, and the Canandian press, as online partners. If you pay attention, you could find Google already categorized the content from four partners to links such as the ap.google.com, afp.google.com and ukpress.google.com. You couldn't open this link directly, but have to through the deeper links such as this AFP piece. I bet there is the commercial agreement to share the revenue, but it is a good way for those agencies to live and expand their audience pool. For people crticize Google's possible-violation of copyright protection, I would say they should find a way to develop along with the technology advance, instead of trying to kill the new tech in its infant age. As you may know, Russia was a typical loser during the Cold War when it forbidden people using phones. Not it takes time to catch up.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

mobile TV and TV mobile

In China, people raised the arguments on the mobile TV till so far. Should mobile TV/TV mobile be defined as new media or just the new application on the mobile network? Many experts raised their argument base: someone said content is the most important for the new stuff, just like content does to TV, so better be mobile TV; while someone else said the transmission telecom network is so vital that it is only a new technology developed from the mobile base.

I would say it is both. it will carry the content of course, and it is also part of the mobile service. However, behind all the arguments, the basic question is the power fight between the two regulatory departments, Ministry of Information Industry(MII) regulating telecom companies and the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT).With the merging of the industries regulated by the two regulators, the conflicts has increased a lot, from the Internet shown on TV, to the TV shown on the mobile. The two departments not only has diffferent opinion on how to regulate the new services, but also support different technical standards. For example, the SARFT proposed a new standard, named China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting, using the STiMi standard, and annouced to use it during the Beijing Olympics 2008; however, the stanford is not very accepted by the MII and the mobile carriers.

The deeper side is also on the two regulators' industry. MII, as one of the nation's pinoeers, has encouraged the competition between telecom carriers and the overseas listing of the four largest telecom companies. The telecom industry created the revenue of over 600 billion yuan last year, almost 7 times of the revenue created by the media industry (regulated by SARFT) with only 88.9 billion yuan. It is understandable that the SARFT may feel a little envy towards the peer. But they should learn more from the peer instead of just trying to grab from MII. Taking a look at the SARFT, it is easily found the pieces containing keywords such as "forbidden", "stop","warning". In fact, the development of an industry should be depend on the regulator's positive attitude, while "forbidden" is definitely not the right word.

We have seen the fast development of Chinese mobile carriers and their must improved customer services. ( if you tried 10086, the customer service line of China Mobile). But then people are still complaing the higher and higher charge of cable fees but still bad customer service of cable companies(usually just TV stations). If customers are satisfied, they will pay more, and in reverse, they will not pay when they could be satisfied. so either mobile TV or TV mobile, who could provide a better service, who will win.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Should Hang Seng index always follow U.S. market?

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index always follows U.S. market, a very easy way for traders to judge its daily up and down. So did today. Now the problem is not only on how the suprime mortgage problem will be solved, but on if the investors' confidence will be rebuilt. The mortgage crisis should just directly affect property and banking stocks. However, funds have been selling out their portfolios because of large amount of redeeming, which as a result leading to the stock falling down in all sectors.

Are investors in Hong Kong too nervous now? I believe so. The market, with over half of the market value from mainland firms, is not the same as the U.S. market. For example, housing and related industry generates over one quarter of U.S.' GDP, while China is still dominated by the prosperous manufacturing industry. Also, the liquidity is totally different: U.S. and European banks have to ask capital injection from central banks, while Chinese banks have enough cash and deposits on hand to meet the loan demand. Just saw one piece quoted Yi Xianrong, a Chinese academic, saying China is even worse than U.S., while I really don't think so. China's personal loan market is still developing very fast from infant, compared to a mature market like U.S. . So Hong Kong investors and traders should realize this huge difference, and react differently. If Hong Kong really wants to build itself as an international finance center, it should always have its own stand. Stock market is one example.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gmail's keyword ads

Do you often click on Google's Ads when you using your email?

I don't, and never did. I may do it when I use the search engine since it is something I want to know. But for email, I seldom take a look at the ads link on the right since it is not my priority to know more.

Yesterday, found something interesting. I typed something in the sequence of ABC, but then saw accidentally the ads on the rights including some company named in the sequency of ACB. Oh, if that's the truth, then it has nothing to do with my email content. Then I guess who is going to click that.

To me, the ads integrated in the searching engine is something really smart, since that will help boost match between info searchers and advertisers. But for ads inside the email, I still doube the profitability. People writing the email are not in the intention to find something. Then why bother clicking into it?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

It's just a deal

When we say Murdoch's deal of Dow Jone, many people just consider it as a bad thing. Here I got someone saying Don't be afraid of Murdoch on NYTimes. In fact, every newsroom gets controlled in some way. It's not Murdoch who set an example of this. Reporters are always the lowest class in the newsroom. So I would not say it is Murdoch's fault for reporters to lose their freedom and independence, it just depends on the boss of the newsroom. All the people get judgement, and it is not a surprise when you meet someone.

So there must be some way to work it out to a more independent and fair news world in this new media era.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Could Jimmy Wales compete with Google?

Seems Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, finally said and did something official against Google. From the starting of Wiki, I could smell the competition against Google since Wiki is a place where people could search definite answer instead of going to good for infinite results. The article in the above link compared Jimmy Wales vs Google with Linux vs Windows. Hmmm, personally, I don't think it is quite right since we still see an innovative Google which has more edge in the research more than monopoly. But it will never hurt to have more search engines, especially professional and vertical ones. I once had the opportunity to talk to Jimmy in Hong Kong, of course, as a big fan. He is very smart, a former hedge fund manager now dedicated to Internet. So I will not doubt his ability to do something outstanding. Let's see.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's good to see the strategy change for China Mobile

First, I didn't know if it is true or not that China Mobile is behind U.K. private equity group Terra Firma on buying the music company EMI. But at least, it shows that China Mobile is having some new thoughts on buying into the content side, instead of the old thoughts of only buying mobile carriers. That's a good thing for the mobile conglomarate, holding at least 10 billion U.S. dollars in hand, to start thinking the expansion out of mobile network.

I have argued for long that China Mobile will not have the same high profit margin as it used to be on voice usage. The central government has been pressing it to lower the calling fee, cancel the called fee and reduce the profitable roaming fee. So what will be the next profit source for China Mobile, as well as the next big good news to the stock market? Of course, it will be good to see the giant turning itself into a content producer who will connect its wide network to distribute the content. Since China Mobile doesn't own any celebrity now, it is perfect to buy a music company owning a lot of celebrities and music copyrights. We may soon expect China Mobile to stop using celebrity from other companies, and instead, using the one from EMI. (at least saving some costs)

Financing Terra Firma, a private equity, will be a smart decision since Terra knew EMI with the same country origine, and it is already a familiar idea to Chinese regulator after the country's foreign reserve firm buying into Blackstone, a U.S. private equity.

But the problem beyond this is if China Mobile is able to handle an international company since it hasn't run any worldwide business before. Also, music business is very different from the monopoly mobile business. China Mobile needs more talents to support this strategy advance.

But all in all, we expect a smooth and enjoyable music downloading process when using China mobile service.

Another Disney is needed in China

Sorry for not posting frequently these days. A friend was visiting Hong Kong last days and I am her full tour guide.

Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the must-to-visit for many mainland tourists, including my friend. Frankly speaking, you couldn't expect much in a hot summer like these days. More terrible, it is a summer holiday season for many kids who do like Mickey and Minnie. Though the world's smallest Disney theme park, it is tidy, cute and fun. The size is not a problem, but the cultural differences are more important. Most of the staffs are Hong Kong native of course, and they could speak definitely good Cantonese and English. Mandarin, to them, is not strange, but definitely not as good as their mother tongue. Especially, the programs are very different from the one we grew up since the childhood. The cartoon Donald Duck looks similar, but we are more familiar with the Chinese voice of Li Yang, instead of the English one or Cantonese one. Especially, for some interactive program, languages become a huge problem and I don't think my friend, who couldn't understand Cantonese, could enjoy the program as it is supposed to be. I remember I went to another theme park in Shenzhen, where my friends and I could enjoy the conversation from staffs and learn the culture from the Mandarin tour guide. But in Disney, I feel nothing.

So maybe there should be another Disney in Mandarin version if Warner Brother really wants to expand in China. At least it will help Mandarin-speaking people understand more, and reduce the language load of Hong Kong Disneyland.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Do you need a video resume?

How many times you have sent your word or pdf resume to the potential employers? Now you have another tool, making a video resume.

Yahoo put it as the headline today and it sounds very interesting. The video resume, created by the website workblast.com, in fact will show a much more vivid way of the applicants, instead of several lines of your past working experiences and education. Now, you have the chance to speak for yourself, not just write for yourself.

But will employers want to use this to sort out thousands of application? probably not. Employers tell the right candidates(at least the one who will pass the first round interview) by a five-second look through on the paper resume, not a ten-minute video watching on each one.

So my suggestion is that employers could use video resume for the second-round interview before meeting the candidates in person. It will save the effort to judge if the candidates have the fluent speaking ability, and in some extent, their character.

Anyway, fun to make a video resume now, especially if you want to apply a job to some online video companies:)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Will this be the trend?

Just found an very interesting new media project named Assignment Zero started by a vetaran journalism professor Jay Rosen and Wired News. The inniative is to allow citizen and non-trained journalists to contibute their stories, non 100 percent perfect, and the professionals to be responsbile in editting them. The former journalists will act more like an editor on the stories from various resources submitted by the grassroots. Take a look at the website, and it seems to be really easy to be a journalist. Have five minutes? Or five hours? Like to research, write, or conduct interviews? Do you have prior journalism experience or none at all? Any way you dice it, we can use your help.

I believe this is a good way to lead to good online journalism. Now we see too much rubbish content on the web now, and you have to stand it. If there will be someone to help them more clear and understandable, that would be great.

But the problem is that how to maintain the diversity of the content by raising their standards. Journalists usually have a certain way to write the stories, but the readers may want more, something funny, something simple and something easy. Could we achieve the quality and the diversity at the same time? That will be a question.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is the theme of Allen & Co's 25th conference in Sun Valley possible?

"Cooperation, not mutual destruction"

It should be a smart business motto everywhere, not only in media. but is it easy to achieve? In the Allen conference, we hear this theme talked by many ppl, but then we see the case in which Viacom is trying to take down the Youtube and its owner Google by a US$1 billion deal. It is not sure how this will end, but definitely it is a good example of mutual destruction just as Netscape VS Internet Explorer, or the Napster VS several big music production companies years ago. Google is definitely a strong rival for Viacom, at least strong capital backup for Youtube. So it may be a fair competition now, and let's see who will win.

Speaking of destruction, in fact, the deals should also be counted in. The long-time rumor that Microsoft is going to buy at least part of Yahoo will give us a better idea on the deal that act both as cooperation (between Microsoft and Yahoo) and destruction(to Google and other small newcomers)

So let's forget the theme. It is a competitive market and a ruthless world. Cooperation sometimes is destruction, and you have to survive from it with right business strategy and partners, instead of bearing a well-known motto.

my terrible mathmatic skills

I was reviewing my mathmatic skills these days and then suddenly I forgot how to use the derivatives of a function in my statistics course during college. I was once very good at all the mathematics course, but now seems I forgot to calculate the value of the derivatives of ln(x). How terrible it is!!!

It keeps me wondering how much we miss mathematics, one of the best brain exercise. I became lazy since I have calculator and Microsoft excel. But I still remember the chidhood time when I could easily tell the total number of money my mother should pay for a bunch of goods she bought in the supermarket, much faster than the salesman could tell.

When people grow up, it is easily to assume things based on the previous experience or the tools in the hand, instead of really looking into the problem and figuring out themselves.

Market is the same. We all think Hong Kong market is a grown-up or mature market(everyone thinks it is much more advanced than Shanghai market, to my knowledge). But in fact, is it true? Here is just one example happened days ago when several big Chinese telecom carriers, all of which listed in Hong Kong, annouced a reshuffle in the senior management. Some top securities firms issued analyst reports saying this reshuffle showed the sign of a possible 3G license granting very soon. And the market responded positively.

However, if they could do more research on this, the reshuffle is among the senior management who is in charge of due dilligence or anti-corruption, which means it is more of a sign of bureaucratic move before the 17th National People's Congress later this year. So to the market, it is nothing, at least nothing related to 3G.

A short example shows how Hong Kong and mainland stock analysts have different opinions on certain news, which directly decides on different stock price move. Hong Kong, as a grown-up, should practice the basic skills better to have a view of an insider, instead of an outsider.

So let's do our math harder.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Media moguls in the valley

seems all the American media moguls are showing in the silicon valley for the Allen&Co media conference now. And people expect some big deal like Google's acquisition of Youtube will happen after those private giggle chatting. I saw some new but familiar company names such as Facebook, Joost(created by the skype founder), Ning(created by Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape) and Slingbox. So will there be some big deal? and we will see.

But I have a question: will the small companies always be bought to support the future growth of big companies? If that's true, then we will see no big changes like those brought by Microsoft or Google. See if that day IBM bought Microsoft or Yahoo bought Google, do we still enjoy a colorful and diversified and convenient computer world now? probably not. So in terms of that, I hope those small companies could think big and do something really coloful besides attractive to the big brothers.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hong Kong, ten year anniversary

"What you were doing on July 1 1997?" A friend asked me today.

Wow, that's really a good question to me. And I've no idea. It should be a holiday for me that day since I was still in the school. But I totally forgot. The question reminded me the thing I learnt from a U.S. friend. He told me that everyone remembered what they were doing when they heard President Kennedy was assassinated.

So at that time, Hong Kong, to me, must be some place really far way, and really have no emotional connection.

However, now, in 2007, I am here. It is the city's 10 year anniversary of being transferred back to China from the Britain. And Hong Kong has become a big topic in China these days. All mainland media started very early, long time before July on doing the celebration and interview on the 10 year change.

Hong Kong people's feelings must be complicated, as of my understanding of them for these years. Their feeling to the mother country as well as the people in the country must be complicated, too.

When I first arrived in Hong Kong, two friends and me went to a very famous shop in Central selling egg tarts, the sales lady kept guessing we are from Singapore, instead of mainland, since we are very smily and dressed decently.

After going back, we had the conclustion that mainland Chinese, to them, are most likely to be someone really cool, never talk, and dress really poor clothes.

However, it's very common now to meet people speaking Mandarin now. and no one will guess I am from Singapore again. Today, the sales person in the shoe shop tried hard to speak Mandarin to mainland Chinese shoppers. one thing that couldn't be denied is that the CEPA and the policy to open the individual tours to Hong Kong helps the city recovered from the shadow of Asian financial crisis.

Now I started to have more and more Hong Kong friends, and I learnt a close city from them. This is the place where you could be spoiled by the efficiency, the rule obey and the high quality service.

I will feel really hard to leave this city.

Are women born to be the housewives?

It has been some really busy day for me. Meeting new friends, calling old friends, and again and again. Amazing both a new girl friend and an old girl friend are telling me the same wishes: they want to be housewive later. Wo...bo, is the era changing so fast that I haven't paid attention? Are women back to the era to be the housewives?

The new girl friend, a charming young lady and former investment banker, said she would consider to quit the career after she gives birth to the children during a lunch this week. What?? my first response is a big, or huge questionmark. She is such a capable woman, having a very decent job and a very bright future in the career path. Why give up? I asked. "Women are born to be able to give birth to children, and then take care of them". Her answer is.

Still yet to get rid of this amazing impression to me from this friend, I called another girl friend to find exactly the same thing. "I want to quit my job if I find someone rich to marry; just be relaxed everyday, shopping, playing pokers, that will be such a wonderful life", said my friend who is one year younger than me and now works as the strategic planner in a big state-owned Chinese company.

My god.... why those well-educated women all have the same thoughts to give up the career so soon? Is the society becoming too competitive for women to survive, or they are just too lazy to fight for the career promotion?

Now I understand why women are less and less in the senior position. If they are in, many of them are considered "jerk" among all the black-and-white tie men. This is not definitely a healthy trend, and could someone do something? I couldn't help thinking.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

a 10,000 rmb offer for refering a right CFO

My friend Marc in Shanghai is looking for a CFO for his company, and the reward is 10,000 rmb for people refering the right person. maybe you know the right guy, and could make a quick money.

Who will gain clients, mobile manufacturers or mobile operators?

Have read from a Wall Street Journal feature piece on the flight last week on a struggle between U.S. mobile manufacturers such as RIM(which makes blackberry) or Nokia and mobile carriers such as AT&T? Seems manufacturers want to serve with more free, built-in functions in the handsets, while the carriers refused to accept or replace with its own charged service instead. This is a very awkward situation, and seems the users are the only ones suffer.

This has been a arguable issue for long. Mobile carriers have been the one who deal with the clients face to face, and they are the monopoly. How manufactuers could provide multi-functional and popular services to clients without passing through carriers is such a difficult question. The carriers now act as a bottleneck for the more advanced technology and services. Someone who could get around will be the one who change the business.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Google's alliance with Sina.com

After getting rid of shares of Baidu, Google now found a new and strong partner, Sina.com. I found it yesterday afternoon when I went to the www.iask.com, the search engine of Sina. When I searched among all the websites, the Google website was poped up.

Is it a good deal? In terms of money, Sina, who definitely will share the adsense revenue with Google, will make some dollars. Google, seeking access to China's Internet users, will also reach its purpose.

However, I don't think it is a good deal(please pay attention, here is just my opionion, not a news story).

First, Sina's strength is its news story. I once wrote a story earlier on the advantages of different search engines, and to me, the news search of Sina.com is a very useful too. And I believe many other users have the same experience. But the deal this time seems didn't include the news search, and users will still stick to Sina, instead of Google.

Second, the Google still lacks the strength in the searching in Chinese compared with Baidu.com. Its Chinese content is not as complete as Baidu. Also, the cache searching is not as good as Baidu, too. Cache searching is one of the good reason for people to use search engines. Even if the website disappeared or the content was removed, the cache would still exist and provide the useful information. However, Google's cache is still unavaible in China for reasons everyone knows. This will still inhibit people's enthusiasm towards using Google.

All in all, Google and Sina should develop further in the partnership, say, improve the Chinese searching and cache searching, and share the more valuable resource with more trust, in order to compete with others.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Flickr got blocked

when I was in the mainland this week, I found I couldn't use the flickr anymore. seems you could go to the website, but the images will not be shown normally. I thought it was the problem of my computer, then found Marc had the same problem with the website. This was outrageous.

Friday, June 08, 2007

the most dangerous thing for China's business world

The most dangerous thing is to consider all the business as politics. Right, part of the business is directly related with politics, but business rule is not same with politics. And it is so dangerous to play with that, since businessmen will turn into politician some day. That's very dangerous since you will lose your direction. Making money or having power, you could only choose one.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

one of my last trips in the Post

I hate saying the word "last", but now I am counting my last days with the Post. Don't ask where i will go(though many one already did). It will be a new adventure which will be very much challenging. Give me your best wishes, and thanks.

I am now in Tianjin to attend a very big private equity conference. Tianjin, to my surprise, has developed much more quickly than I thought. The municipal government officials seem working very hard to improve the city's development. Despite of all the bad stories happened to the government officials, you could find a lot of them are still working hard, even harder than investment bankers. You could say that's their responsibility, but that deserve respectation.

This may be the last business trip in my Post days. I'm happy to end this in Tianjin. Now, 1:41am, I am still preparing for my interviews tomorrow. I always find it is the responsibility and curiosity which drive my work as a journalist. and some time before, for the trust and confidence given by the others. That makes those sleepless trips interesting and fulfilled. Those feelings are much more complicated than working for money(which was assumed for granted by many others). And I am very grateful that I could experience all this when I am still very young.

The past one week was very hard for me. lost the close touch with some good friends. Friends, to me, are very important. and I know I should cherish every friend forever without asking any return.

Now, have to go to sleep to prepare the 7:00am morning briefing.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google gets trouble in Europe

Some European organizations have been accusing of Google's invading of privacy in disclosing privacy info. Seems Google already made a compromise to only allow the online data available for two years, but seems those organizations are not satisfied.

How sad it is. To me, Google is more than a search engine. It's more like a library, a dictionary and a friend which he tells you everything. Seems now the library will be cut to a drawer-size, a dictionary that could only see the A part, and the friends will lose all his memory two years ago. It will be such a bad scence that I've never want to see.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

busy time

Haven't been posted for a while. My individual life has been experiencing a major change and I don't have a lot of time to write my thoughts here.(that's a bad excuse, I know....) Time flies. I've already been living in Hong Kong for nearly three years. In fact, it was just like a flash, and suddenly three years passed.

Today someone just asked me how do I like Hong Kong. I said "the place is nice, people are nice, food is good". But in fact, I like the atmosphere more because you could chase all you dream here if you work hard enough. It's not my home country, but it has given me a lot of opportunities which I've never dreamed of.

It may be really sad to say goodbye to Hong Kong. The city has given me a different life, a different dream, and different friends. And my life has changed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Google's role in paying for shoe leather

Seems a conflict question: the author of this article argued that Google should try to develop paid information technology instead of free ones to push a trusted online culture; however, Google has just developed based on this free culture since the beginning.

I am a big fan of free technology, since I believe they will help reduce the hierarchy. So free technology should find a way of making money itself.

P.S. but the story is not bad, with a lot of sightful idea on online news development.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

She is gone


Lin daiyu, is one of the most studied literary women in China. Chen Xiaoyu, the actress of Lin Daiyu in the "The dream in the Red Chamber", is the most successful one to act the role. Asking the people from 20 to 70, no one will miss her and the whole drama which have been shown 500 times in the country already. The drama is so good that you will never get tired watching times.

Now she is gone, peacefully with her love to the world remaining. My best wishes. Take care in the other world.

self discipline for Chinese bloggers

China is going to launch a self discipline on the bloggers' writing from June, according to Yang Zuojun, a official with China Internet Association(should be a non-profit one). (news in Chinese)

The first impression to me is: wow, China is going into the front of the bloggering world. I know U.S. bloggers are talking on this too, but still in talking. However, China is going to have its own code.

But after reading the details, I found this code is totall based from the view of blogging hosts, instead from bloggers themselves. It said the bloggering hosts will not be responsible for the wrongdoings of the blogggers, though they have to have certain "hotline" for the complaints. And also, it suggested the usage of real name in the blogging world, easy to manage, I guess.

For the Blogger Code, it is just in five items: (1) no illegal information (2) no racial discrimination (3) no offense to others and fake information (4) no copy right violation (5) responsible for managing the comments on the blogs.

In fact, I would say the five items are very simple and very general to be either misused by the regulator or the bloggers themselves. Also, a self-disciplined blogger should need more than that, such as balanced view, fair comments, double-checking facts, or in simple words, just like journalism.

The world is flat, and the media is flat, too. Now a mainstream media could even follow a blogging post, which means blogs should afford more public responsbilitiy to seek truth, not rumors.

Saying this, I felt hard to follow rumors these days. And I have lost my creativity.

The new Chinese rule is going to seek public consultation from the beginning of June. Keep tuned here (very interesting, the self-discipline working committee put it 2005 working plan on April 24 2007, a bit of late, isn 't it?)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My two cents on Thomson-Reuters deal

It's a quick deal, taking only a few weeks to finalize the US$17 billion deal for Thomson to buy Reuters. Thomson, which doesn't have the news service, could now add Reuters News into its portfolio. The target is very clear, beating Bloomberg, who has been beating Reuters on news, and beating Thomson on data. After the deal, Thomson-Reuters, will own 34 percent of the market for financial data, while Bloomberg currently has 33 percent.

However, my view is that they couldn't win just based on simply plus each other's market share. Bloomberg has got its reputation by quality news and simply user interface. I got the opportunity to use both Bloomberg and Reuters every day, and frankly speaking, the news is more structured, and the data is easily found. Don't forget that Content is always the King(look at the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times). So I would like to read more news from bloomberg because of its clear structure.

Now my question is if the deal will affect My. Murdoch's decision to buy Dow Jones. Positve, or the other side?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Well connected Couple in HK suspected of insider-trading in the Murdoch bidding to Dow Jones

Drama is always in the real life. Today, U.S. SEC filed a lawsuit towards a well-connected couple in Hong Kong of insider trading. (WSJ did a good story on this, but u could also have a look on the Reuters story. Anyone need the WSJ story, please send me ur email, I will forward to you)

Several big individual and company names appeared in the drama-like process happend between April 13 and April 30, the day before the Murdoch bidding was annouced.

Hong Kong businessman Michael Leung Kai Hung, a good friend of David Li

Dow Jones director,David Li, chairman and chief executive of the Bank of East Asia Ltd.,
Hong Kong's largest locally owned banking group.

China Mobile Peoples Telephone Co. Ltd., a mobile-phone operator in
Hong Kong

Is the US$8 million that attractive?

Be careful of a fraud Paypal email

I have a paypal account, which helped a lot when I bought a calling card online to call from U.S. And the money there was earned from writing an online column years ago.

Yesterday, I received a letter from support@paypal.com, and it seems very scaring "Your paypal access is limited". The wrting sounds very professsoinal and sincere. What the hell is that? I thought. Then I was tempted to click the link there to find what really happened. Luckily, I checked the link before, and found it would direct to a website of sw.biz.rr.com, (very weird name, isn't it?) Then I learnt it is fraud.

I checked my paypal account and seems everything is fine. So friends, please be careful of the email if you receive it. Online secury is much more important than before when you have real money in.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Finally back

After the one-month trip, I finally came back to Hong Kong, the "home" with friends and my bed. Fighting with the jet leg, It seemed I got recovered in two days, which is a bit faster than I thought.

I took the continental airline back, and met such a happy flight attendant. He, in his fifties or sixtieth, is so happy, either when he handed me the towels, or gave me another ice cream. He talked to passengers just like old friends. When he said goodbye to everyone at last, he even started singing. Such a happy person. Compared to some others, (especialy a young male attendent who has no expression in the face at all), this elder man really make travellers feel relaxed.

So here is what I learnt: love your job; if you don't love the current job, then find the one you love. Life is short, and why don't live happily?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

media should stay as the role model

The TV media in U.S. such as CNN and NBC have gradually given up replaying the video sent by the gunman in the Virginia Tech Massacre. But the question is: should the TV media exaggrate those video 24 hours that day? The shocking images didn't send a positive or even neutral signal at all, but instead, increase the pain for the family who lost their children in the massacre, or lead to a few people's bold idea to do something more terrible than this. (A few students or grown-ups in U.S. were arrested yesterday for threatening to destroy some other schools after watching the VT massacre). Also, for print media, Time magazine set a good example for all the other media, while its front page is 32 portraits of the people who were killed, instead of the gunman's pictures with gun and knife.(Many newspaper made the gunman pictures as the frontpage picture, which is really terrifying and disturbing) It's those people, including young students and respectable professtors, that should be remembered and known by the public.

All in all, we have to think about media's responsbility in the current competitive environment, especiall for TV which could show the raw material containing terrorifying or misleading content directly to the public. We used to focus on the quality of journalism a lot, but now with the spreading of unlimited info, could media still stay as the role model and a good watchdog? or should we do something to fight for it?

The media's role in VT's reporting will be a very memorial day to me, especially as I am travelling in U.S. and watching the media's development directly. Luckily, I gave my voice on this. Here is a piece of news reported by WKYC, an affliate of NBC, in Cleveland. I was in the show, telling my concern. (You could either read the news via here or watch video here)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What's going wrong in the media?

After watching the Larry King's show on CNN for over an hour, I decided to give myself a break by turning off the TV. The massacre in the Virginia Tech really disturbed me these days after reading tons of information on the newspaper(almost over four pages every day, such as USAToday) or watch the TV with the gunman's self-shot video with terrifying words repeating again and again. At first, I was in the deep sorry for those young lives; then, I was terrified by the gunman's horror words; and now, I felt I was disturbed by the media who has whrling around those words, no matter where those details, follow-ups are necessarily needed.

Curiosity is one of the most bright character of human beings, but also the weakest one. You couldn't help wondering who the gunman is, his background, how he did it and why. But is it really important for you to know all the details? No, people will soon forget about it in one week, or in one month. The reason why you want to know is because of the need to meet the curiosity, a growing and never-ending, bigger and bigger human need.

However, media doens't really care. It is the world of competition: the first is always important, no matter if the media could report the gunman was from China or turning out South Korea, or the disturbing video of the gunman's threatening words.(NBC must feel honored in some way as the recipent of those video). But is it the first always in a good-quality shape, or it is nonsense stuff, nobody will care. So the gunman achieved his purpose by shooting 30 plus young people and respected teachers, making him famous on every TV station, and then publicizing his character and theories by sharing with the TV station on his video, photos and transcripts. Some Chinese blogger named Zhuweilian (in Chinese) has a good comment, and quote: some youngester must sit before the TV and stare at the news, planning some other "activities" on the classmates or teacher they hate.

I guess one day we will not stand this at all, and I expect some new form.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

some secret Google function

Today I diabled some certificates of my Firefox to remove some virus from the computer; so my laptop will not automatically go to certified websites, and have to ask for my permission anytime. Then accidentally, I found I have to go to *.google-analytics.com all the time either when I access to Gmail.com or blogger.com. I tried this website, but seems doesn't open to the public. what kind of this websites should be, and what is its analysis?

Anyone having idea?

Lady on the mission

My next stop is Austin, Texas after the DC. To my surprise, Texas is a quite enjoyable city with nice people who think of the world in a quite ambitious way. As the former "Lonely Star", Texas is quite famous for its arrogance to the other American states. But the good side is that they turned to think of the U.S. policy from a very neutral and unbiased way. It is easy to meet some academic who is very concerned on U.S.'s future, or the working journalists caring about the neglected stories by mainstream media.(Like this one: Texas Obeserver, with very intelligent editors, and supported with an very interesting business model: financing by a non-profit organization)

Topics discussed included U.S. news media, immigrant issue, politics and online media. Of course, I am most interested in the last one. It's amazing to find that so many American media have been concerned on the competition of online media, or even overconcerned, I would say. We visited one of the largest city newspaper here: to my surprise, there is a Web Intelligence Report attached after their daily budget(the story list for editors to discuss every day). "Online is the future to the newspaper", I heard many people are repeating this sentence these days, however, the one making more sense is "online media is one of the pipes to deliver the information, just like the print media". The technolgy is not that advanced now to make print media immediately digital still keeping in the format of "paper", so holding a newspaper on the way is always needed, though the demand is not as much as before.

Austin is not a big city, but is the capital of the country's largest state(the size is bigger than any European countries). Here you could have nice Mexican food, live music and more importantly, a group of nice people welcoming you to their home. I got a red stylish "cowboy" hat, and they now call me cowgirl, haha, cool.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A new window to me

A very refreshing tour to me, I am in Washington D.C. now. The weather is cold and freezing, which made me catch the cold. The 16-hour-long flight from Hong Kong made me sick, too. But all in all, it worths the effort.

I am on a very prestigious fellowship program visiting the U.S. to learn about the media practice here. More important, the learning starts from a policital pospective, which is a totally new area to me, a working financial journalist. The schedule is very tight each day, and I found I could only sleep six hours a day to catch up the conferences, seminars, meetings and then self-readings.

Most of the information we got from senior government officials and research fellows are off the record, so I couldn't speak a word. But the process talking to those people is something really exciting and fasinating. We talked about the new technoloy's impact on the U.S. media(one of my favorite topics), George W. Bush's wrong decision on the Iraqi War, the Cross Straits relations between China and Taiwan, or even who will won the 2008 presidential campaign. The people we met are all knowledge experts, though they may have different biases. And it is very educational to listen to them, challenge them, and also, bring a Hong Kong and China perspective to U.S.

Tomorrow, I will be heading to Austin, the Lonely Star once-to-be. The experience will be very different from D.C. and I know I will learn another U.S. from there.

P.S. the Internet access is very limited here, and very expensive(US$10 a day). So I will keep more time on writing my thoughts and hope to share with you folks soon)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tornado in U.S. , gone gone gone


My mother has been worried on the Tornado Alley in the middle of U.S. these days. Yeah, I am going to visit the country this month and one of the stop will be Texas. Isn't thaPublisht scared? Hmmm, good luck to me.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Google story


I am on vacation this week. One of the best ways to spend time is to read, and another is to go to gym.

So I bought The Google Story, written by David A. Vise. It is a quite readable book, describing the whole set-up process for Google, one of the world's most creative companies. I found several things I didn't know about Google from the book.

(1) You could use Google to search on mobile phones. (Is that right? anyone having experience?)

(2) Larry and Sergey, the two founders, was running out of cash at some time and even were refused by a certain amount of companies to sell Google. (wow, if someone bought it at that time, would the world be different now?)

(3) Googler's conveniences: on-site laundry, hair styling, a car wash, day care, fitness facilities with personal trainers, a professional masseuse, beach volleyball, bean bag chairs, even dog. ( You know what it makes me thinking: socialism-type companies, or better......)

(4) The two fournders were also reluctant to hire an outsider as CEO, and even fought with Google's ventural capital investors on the hiring. And Eric Schmidt is one of the last getting good luck, though being tested and kidded around for several rounds. (wow, I thought it was the two founders who admitted they are short of management practices, hence hiring an outside professinal instead)

Just finished the first nine chapter, and the company becomes vivid to me.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More Investment education, or more trust to the government?

I've been reading an investor education book published by People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank. It is like a finance knowledge ABC book, not very hard but a bit interesting. I brought it from Beijing to Hong Kong, and read it just for leisure. The book's purpose is to let the common people understand the financial market better.

I remember both Premier Wen Jiabao and central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said publicly that they hope investors, especiall retail investors, could be much more educated. They should understand the risks in the capital market and be cautious in putting money in.

Speaking of this, I remember when I talked to a Beijing friend who is a fun in buying stocks and funs. If he, or his wife, or his parents, has some extra money, he will be more than happy to buy stocks, or funds, or even properties. He told me: "trust the government, it is more powerful than you could imagine."

If investors all act like him, why they would be bother to be educated????

Thursday, March 15, 2007

buying online articles

I don't ususally buy online articles. but when there is something good, I don't mind to try.

One day when I was looking for some job-related topics, I found a research report with the brief sounds very interesting. Unfortunately, the website said it will charge me two yuan on my mobile. Just two yuan for a story, it worths, isn't it? So I sent a SMS to a number it speficied, and was waiting for the reply, under the introduction. However, nothing happened, not even a short reply saying if it was successful. I don't have time to check if I was charge of two yuan, but the experience, with no reply, was really annoying.

The service providers in China should have a good future, but currently with the monopoly of China Mobile and China Unicom, the SPs chose to build a good relation with the two, instead of building a good relation with the customers. However, customers should be a more important source to decide if the SPs' business should develop big. Until now, many SPs are just reaping a quick profit, which made them locate in the worse and worse market condition.

"Customers are always the God", while the shops are only a complimentary, not necessary. Many small restaurants are also having a good business in China, though they are not that fabulous as big ones. That's called diversification, and it applies to the mobile industry, too.

Amy's busy busy days

It's been very busy for the past ten days. I am in Beijing, meeting a lot of different people, senior government officials, businessmen and enterpreneurs. Getting up at six is not one of my strength, and it makes the life those days quite terrible. Luckily, it came to the end and I will be back Hong Kong very soon.

I especially like talking to enterpreneurs, the group of people very candid and frank. I remember one billionaire told me about the government capital granted to support the rural development. "Only 20 percent of the money could be received by the farmers, while the other 80 percent is spent on building nice offices of local government, repaying loans as well as eating and drinking by officials." Those words are very true, but not many people dare to speak it publicly. Now he raised some proposal to the central government avoid those misuse of funds.

Those enterpreneurs are the first group to benefit from the economic reform policy, and you could say a few of them may have some bad behaviors just as you read from media everyday. But some others are becoming more and more responsbile on the society development, and they have become a power to balance with the government. and they are likely to have stronger voice.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Beijing is snowing today

Beijing has one of the most beautiful views today. It is snowing. Viewing from the window of my apartment, the rooftops are fully covered by the white snow. It was quite cold today, even below zero in the evening. However, the air is very refreshing. I just love it. Don't get surprised that I am still in Beijing. I guess I almost fell in love with this city. (though I love Hong Kong, too)

Pity didn't take pictures today. Let me try tomorrow if the snow doesn't melt.

some business opportunities in the BJ subway

The subway in BJ has the largest network among all mainland cities, I guess. What people normall do in the subway?

From my experience in Hong Kong where subway covering much smaller area than Beijing, I usually read the news from my mobile phones via GPRS. I use CSL service now, and I could enjoy the news channle, including Reuters and Dow Jones for free. Though the content is much more limited compared to the wires terminal version, it is a good resource to spend the time and learn new things.

In Beijing, seems many people read newspaper or send messages in the subways. However, if some service providers could serve the passengers free or charged mobile content, such as e-newspaper, e-game. etc, when they get onto the train, it will attract many passengers as well as advertisers, and more efficient than sending the content to someone who are working in the office or sleeping in the home. It will also be more diversified than the TV carrying advertisements all the time on the trains.

However, the problem is the mobile network doesn't really cover the BJ subway very well. sometimes when you call, the signal suddenly disappears, friends told me. So here is the tricky, don't hang off immediately, hold on for another one to five minutes with patience and the call will go through again.(hope the other party has the patience too) . The cut off of the signal will be a bad experience for passengers, but there must be a way to solve the problem some day.

Kind of like location-based service, but should be more professional and legal.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I want some good tea

The best Chinese tea has Chinese tea: different taste after several round of drinking. But seems people nowadays already used to the quick tea, such as Lipton Yellow Tea. After one round of drinking, the teabag remains no taste at all. Is there a way to create teabag with really good tea and different rounds of taste as well?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Is there a future for IPTV in China?

I visited my aunt in Tianjin during the Chinese New Year. To my surprise, her home is already equipped with three television sets, one carried with satellite channels, and the other two are equipped with digital channels.Pretty advanced among all Chinese families, however, my uncle still complained on the channles the family have.

"The satellite one has a lot of nonsense channels such as channels from Middle East or Europe and we couldn't understand even a single word, while we have to pay as much as 20 yuan per month each to the two other sets". My uncle said he will be pretty confused on if he should add another set some day to watch the nonsense satellite TV or pay another 20 yuan per month to add it into the digital channel as required.

With hundreds of TV channels available, we still ended up at watching CCTV 1 together, the general channel you could see even in the most distant corner of China. I couldn't watch Bloomberg though the satellite provides it because none of my other family member could understand it. That's called compromise.

In China, the tradition is still for families to watch TV together after the dinner. I couldn't imagine three or four family members(the normal number for a single family) to watch TV in eachone's bedroom. You could choose not to watch TV, but watching a different one in the different room will be considered as unloyal to the family.

That's exactly what I did. I will watch the "national geography" with my father though I don't really like it. I just enjoy the feeling of watching and talking together. That's why family means.

A bit out of the track. Here back to IPTV, transfering the TV through the telecom network. The technial working theory is the same, but the culture is different. A family could own one single TV, but it is rare that a family could own one mobile handset or talk on the fixed-line phone together. So it leads to the different business operation practices. Telecom operators couldn't just copy their business practice in telecom industry to the TV industry.

Reuters reported today that "BesTV, a Web TV joint service between China's largest fixed-line company China Telecom Corp. and Shanghai Media Group, is talking to potential foreign media partners as it eyes a three-fold rise in viewers by year-end." It is not new, in fact; it was reported earlier that an Australian software provider would invest $7 million to set up a channel on the BesTV on the health development. On one hand, it shows the shortage of content for Chinese operators; on the other hand, it tells that the market need more specialised professionals to provide the best content suited to IPTV. IPTV's advantage is its capability to personalize the content as well as watch any program any time. However, the content itself is much more valuable. And researching on what kind of content will attract the family audience will be much more useful.

TV is public, telecom is private; IPTV, the co-product between the "public" TV and "private" telecom, is yet to position itself properly.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The latest figure on SMS, 14 billion

14 billion pieces, this is the latest figure for the number of short messages in the Spring Festival. It means China Mobile and China Unicom will at least make the revenue of over 1.4 billion yuan in one night.(at least 0.1 yuan for one piece)

The latest figure from Ministry of Information Industry, the regulator of telecom sector:
The mobile users sent over 430 billion pieces of SMS in 2006, rose by 41 percent from last year.

Seems SMS is still the most popular telecom services now. The market needs something new. Standing in the view of mobile users, people will need something more customized and characteristic than a common SMS. And text is not the only way to show the wishes too.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy the new year of Pig


Here, I want to send my best wishes to readers of this blog, since I couldn't send the wishes one by one(neither do I know how many there are).

It is the year of the pig in China. and everyone is happy about it because pig is a lovely animal. You could hear Golden Pig all the time, which means you will have great fortune and luck this year.

I am back to the hometown, one of the few times since I started my career in Hong Kong. Yesterday I watched the traditional Spring Festival Show held by CCTV in home, which is really not that bad this time.(Maybe because I have a lower standard towards the show now). Plus, it is quite related to the telecom and IT companies. China Unicom is the sponsor for the call center, while you could send the SMS to either China Mobile or China Unicom to vote your favorite programme. Baidu.com is also one of the sponsors to help vote for the best Chunlian, the couplets written on red papers posted on each side of the front door to get good luck. Even many of the songs got the opportunities to join the show just because they are the most popular rings downloaded to the mobile handsets.

Besides the show, there are plenty of advertisements on the value-added services such as "Color Ring" and songs downloading.

More interestingly, I start to send SMS very frequently to send the New Year wishes, so does my parents. We sit together and send the messages, written by "professional SMS makers", to all the friends, and then enjoy the feeling when someone send back another different ones. There must be a good revenue generated during the period.

Then my father asked: "those SMS, in fact, are really boring, right? There really aren't many customized ones where you could read the sincere heart of others. " Exactly, maybe how to make those SMS more human-related and more characteric to individual people will be another wave of new revenue.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

be careful to your mobile, a risk to leak where you are


With the era of 3G coming, are u prepared for the era of leaking more of your privacy?

You may know that there will be more multimedia content in the 3G era, but do u know that 3G network could give the mobile operators a thorough picture on the location of mobile users anytime? Those information is attractive to many parties, including the advertisers, investigators, your friends or even your enemies? How to protect the privacy should be on the agenda of every country to protect the mobile users.

A South Korean media reported that the three largest mobile operators in South Korea(SK Telecom, KTF Telecom and LG Telecom) made a revenue of at least 230 billion S.Korean won by providing location information illegally from August 2005 to June 2006. (Chinese version of the story is here) The story said the three operators provided the location infomation of the mobile users to the third parties without the users' permission.

It should not be a problem in South Korea. In the 3G network, it is easier to get the location information in a dynamatic way. However, the location information should be the privacy of the mobile customers. You don't want to be followed all the time, isn't it?

Google is turning to cable TV?

Google is turning to cable TV to provide more service. This is undoubtfully, no matter whether the Reuters report quoted the exactly right words.

Since Google's successful experience in the searching service, its following moves, from email to blog, have leaded several rounds of revolution in the Internet world. This time, it jumped beyond the WWW world to the cable business.

It's good move in terms of basic concept to give different function to Internet and Cable. Internet will deliver text information, while cable will be still in charge of the transfer of multimedia info. However, the two have totally different character. Internet is a worldwide network, while cable is still based in different geography. Google may be right to lead the technology trends, but how to cooperate with cable to deliver the content is still a problem.

For cable TV operators, Google, to them, may become a threat that they may be reluctant to partner with. They are also carrying more cashes than Internet operators and telecom operators, so the incentives to cooperate with Google may not be that strong.

Anyway, unless Google could buy some cable TV to expand,(better with a controlling stake), things will turn around faster, maybe.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

one-way billing model

Major mobile operators in China annouced the one-way billing models from February this year, including China Mobile Beijing, China Unicom Beijing, China Mobile Guangdong, China Unicom Guangdong. I still remember last December when I first disclose this in our paper, many people were suspious of it, and even some analysts from investment banks called me to confirm. Now I could finally tell everyone that I am right and they should have trusted me at the first hand.

Speaking of this, two things I would like to expand a bit more. First, the power of media. The Internet really made the world flat. I remembered when my story was published that day, many mainland newspaper translated and republished again. Checking Sina.com, the best news website in China, you could find at least one hundred translated pieces in print media and online media citied our paper. That's amazing. No one could believe it ten years ago when a Hong Kong newspaper published something and the next day the whole story spread nationalwide. But today it is true. Even big financial media such as Bloomberg and Reuters even quoted some newspaper from nowhere on specific news. My question is how we could clairify the quality?

The next thing is whether mobile operators will suffer from this one-way billing model. Haven't really read some pieces thoroughly covering the whole effect brought by this new model. But I always believe the mobile operator stocks have changed from "fast growers" to "Stalwarts" in the past years. They could generate a lot of cash but not grow as fast as before. They are still good companies with strong cash flows to support, but don't expect it could add another 400 million users in five years. So the one way billing model to them may not be a good news at first, as it will immediately suffer from the loss of revenue from the receivers' side, but in the longer term, it will benefit because of more active calls and talking minutes. So better grade it as "sell" in one year, and then "buy" after that.

The thing I don't quite figure out is the China Mobile stock rose by 1 percent when my story on the introducing of one-way billing system was published that day. Come on, everyone knows it will be bad news. Sigh, the capital market is always hard to beat.

Friday, January 26, 2007

why linkedin is down?

Amazingly, I found blogspot.com works in China now, and I could reply the comment on my blog finally. That's good.

But Google Cache is still down. And if someone could tell me why the linkedin.com, one the most famous social network, is also down? It worked pretty well before as I remember.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Investor Relations "Fundamentals"

When the market goes up and down but not based on the company fundamentals, there are usually some bubble in. Seems Hong Kong and mainland markets are doing so these days. The same company may have different valuation in two markets, while finance-related stock seems so hot among investors.

But one thing Amy always believes is the fundamentals, not only the fundamentals on the financla report, but the "fundamental" for a company to treat its investors, both big ones and small ones. I just wonder how many percent of HK investors, excited on the mainland's financial stock these days, have really called the investor relations offices for mainland financial companies, such as banks, insurers. etc. The response from the difference company will at least give them the credit being a good or bad listed firm.

The only way for individuals to beat the institutional investors is to believe in the fundamentals. And I always believes so.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

run across the familiar face

Hong Kong is small. This is the conclusion I have come with after living here for almost three years. I always run across some familiar faces, either friends or strangers or someone I know but will never say hello. For the last circustmance, I always wonder if I could meet him again and then I always will, and still just pass by without saying anything.

Today in the crowds on Queen's Road Central, I run across a familiar face again. A girl with a big hat, but her face, especially her eyes, is just so familiar. I know she is a model, but couldn't remember she has done commercials for whom. We just passed by and I know she is looking at me too(or maybe staring is a better word).

Bearing the question in mind for the whole aftertoon, I went back home looking through all my fashion magazine. Bingo, here she is, the jewllery model for Chow Sang Sang, (the girl in the yellow skirt). CSS is a Hong Kong jewllery maker. But I still couldn't find her name.

When could we have the search engine matching keywords in pictures? That will at least help me solve a lot of my questions for the passers-by.