Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jack Ma: we are young, we will make it, and we will never give up!

Two years ago, by a chance, I attended a screening at Stanford to watch a film called Crocodile in the Yangtze. Don't get confused by this name. The movie has nothing to do with crocodiles. It is a documentary that captured the emotional ups and downs of a Chinese startup company named-Alibaba.

The movie draws on 200 hours of archival footage filmed by over 35 sources between 1995 and 2009. It recorded Alibaba's growth. The movie shows how Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, leads his team to achieve their big dream. 

It has been a while since I watched the movie, but I still remember the entire story about how Alibaba gets stronger and bigger, and how it became a successful company from nothing. 

One thing I learned from the movie is never judge people by their appearance. Jack Ma is not tall, standing a little over 5'4. He is neither handsome nor athletic. Actually many people laughed at, even discriminated against him because of his gollum-like appearance. However, if you did so, you must fully regret now. Facts prove that Ma is a passionate, creative, and spiritual leader- brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he can change the world, and talented enough to do it. Ma is indeed the richest person in China now with net worth more than 25 billion US dollars.

Stay passionate, dream big and work hard. It sounds a hackneyed saying, but that is what Jack Ma has followed. Crocodile in the Yangtze filmed the time when Jack Ma just founded Alibaba. He gathered a team in his small apartment in Hangzhou China, working day and night on this seemingly unrealistic e-commence idea. In 1999, He knew that his competitors were not in China, but in the US: specifically, in Silicon Valley. He believed his team members have the intelligence to develop an e-commence platform to compete with US companies. At that time, Internet access was limited in China, so people were not heavily exposed to the IT industry. They had a hard time understanding Ma’s idea, and doubted his potential to lead the firm to success. Some Chinese people are still challenging his ability today, though the general public regards him as highly successful.

Crocodile in the Yangtze tells us some unknown stories of Alibaba and Jack Ma. It is both entertaining and inspiring. The audiences will get motivated to do or achieve something after watching it. I was deeply impressed by Ma's words, "We are young,we will make it, and we will never give up!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chinese Mobile Consumers Remain Divided

Since Apple launched its bigger screen phone, smart watch, and new digital-payment service, Apple lovers around the world, especially those in China, are interested in discovering more details about the three bold bets. 

Recently, an article in EnfoDesk posted the second quarterly mobile phone sales in China for 2014. The data shows that 1.12 million phones were sold in the 2nd quarter, including 1.09 million smartphones, up by 24.4% from last year. Samsung commands 15.4% of the market, followed by Chinese local brands Xiaomi and Lenovo, with 13.5%, and 10.8% market share, respectively. Apple is ranked No.6 with 6.9% market share. 

Apple's high price has hindered expansion in China, but enthusiastic fans are still willing to pay more for new iPhones. Some are offering $3600 to $4000 to foreign buyers for the new iPhone 6. 

Big screen smartphones are the primary computer device in China, and demand had never been higher. Samsung Galaxy used to enjoy a significant advantage over competitors. However, the advantage is vanishing as other competitors launch their new big screen phones. Beside Apple, Huawei Technology released Mate 7, a mix between a tablet and a smart phone with a 6-inch screen. 

Now, Chinese customers have many technological options. Consumers remain divided: some opting to support Chinese brands, while others value quality above loyalty. The latter believe Apple has higher quality products, customer services, and user-friendly interface than competitors. 

This is a decisive moment for Apple. The company needs to collaborate with the Chinese government and network provider to design regional marketing strategy to drive iPhone sales. According to Wall Street Journal, Apple made a deal with China Union Pay to bring US Tech Company’s smartphone payment option to China. Apple competitors include payment service companies, will have a difficult time once Apple pay is ready in China.