Tag Archives: China Daily

“Uncorking the Full Potential”_China Daily

Strategic use of micro blogs can help companies achieve marketing success

It comes as no surprise that Sina Weibo is one of the most popular and the fastest growing micro-blogging platforms in China, considering that it had nearly 500 million users by the end of February.

Along with its popularity the platform has also become an integral marketing tool for companies across various industries in China. According to the 2012 Corporate Weibo White Paper, there were 130,565 companies that had certified enterprise micro blog accounts by the end of February. Prominent among them are restaurants (50,000), automotive (7,546) and business services (7,212).

In the Fortune Global 500 list, there were 243 enterprises that have opened micro blog accounts, while 207 enterprises in the Fortune China 500 list also have micro blog accounts. All of this clearly underscores the point that a micro-blog presence is essential for a company that is planning to operate in China.

That also raises the question on the need for a micro-blog presence. The obvious answer is not just to tap the huge market with immense potential, but also to realize some benefits that only a micro blog can bring to a business. Micro blog is known as the Chinese Twitter, but in my opinion it is Chinese Twitter plus Facebook.

First of all, micro-blogging is the way for businesses to personally interact with potential customers to build brand image and customer loyalty. Micro-blogging can also create a positive association and friendly attitude toward the brand.

Secondly, a micro blog can be used as a market research tool since the company can learn current trends, and interests as well as what people are saying about its products and services. By constantly getting feedback on their micro blog, companies can come up with new ideas to approach customer needs and expectations.

Finally, it is free to open an account or to publish anything on a micro blog, and hence an option for companies to reduce marketing costs. If a company has a relatively huge number of fans, any posting on its micro blog automatically acts as a free press release.

Though these advantages are enticing enough, it is important for companies to have enterprise micro blog accounts if they are to realize the full potential. This is especially so as there are several challenges that companies face while using social media, or more specifically a micro blog in China.

Most of the people use a micro blog to connect and interact with others as a way to relax and entertain, while certain amounts of enterprise users in specific industries are more serious than that. Therefore, how to combine the entertainment factor and commercial factor is a question that many enterprise micro blog users need to ask themselves.

Companies should look at how to draw people’s attention but still focus on promoting the brands’ image. This is mainly to reach the goal of getting more micro blog users to become real potential customers.

An example of this is the strategy adopted by one of the top 10 Chinese banks, with a relatively low number of fans and activities on its micro blog. The bank came up with a strategy to get more attention from the public by encouraging other users to share posts, re-posts and comments on their micro blog posting. To encourage this activity, the bank also offered an iPhone 4S for the best posting. The initiative got excellent feedback with over 26,000 re-posts and 23,000 comments on the required post “What is your love and dream?” This strategy did boost up the bank’s popularity, but the post was not relevant to the business that the bank offered. Therefore, it did not really help the bank in getting more real customers but only in getting more fans onto its micro blog.

Many Chinese companies also consider micro-blogging as a powerful new media tool to build up brand image and increase customer numbers, along with the traditional marketing in newspapers, radio and television. However, the two media tools cannot be separated but need to be synchronized toward the companies’ objectives.

Much also depends on the business segmentation, and companies should consider using a variety of different media channels to effectively reach all the target audiences. Companies also need to work on how to create integrated marketing in general and how to generate micro blog numbers in particular.

A micro blog is an open site for employees and customers, and once information is published, it is impossible to stop it as people can keep re-posting the original post in just seconds. Another issue of using social networking sites is the risk of leaking confidential information such as salary, trade relations and innovative technology. Companies should take this into serious consideration and come up with a better way to tighten employee activities on social networking sites.

There is no doubt that companies want to do a good job in marketing on their micro blogs, but it also calls for a talented team to run it. RMG Selection recently released the China Talent-flow Survey Report, which showed that there is still a huge shortage of qualified online marketing professionals, especially in terms of social network platforms.

Micro-blogging and its strong influence on the public is definitely a great tool for many companies. However, it is a double-edged sword that can only benefit the business if the company knows how to use it strategically. Therefore, enterprise micro blog users should be aware of certain challenges and get cracking on a detailed marketing plan to uncork the full potential of micro-blogging.

The author is marketing director of RMG Selection, an Asia-focused specialist recruitment and executive headhunting firm. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Link to the article:

http://africa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2013-04/05/content_16377459.htm

RMG Selection on 21st Century – Mock Interview

MOCKINTERVIEW

本期问题由RMG Selection高级咨询顾问Rooty Xu的提出:What can you do for our company/organization that others can’t?Rooty

Answer:

I’d like to work as a consultant. My major is electronic business, so I had courses on programming and the principles of technology. This unique educational background and experience will enable me to better understand the customers’ demands.

I also acquired knowledge of operating a company. For example, I designed a website for a print shop on my campus through which students can upload files to print and pay online. As a result, the print shop received more orders and students saved time. This shows how I can solve business problems with technical methods.

By Li Siyuan, 21, a junior from the University of International Business and Economics.

Comments:

When HRs ask this question during the interview they want to know what makes you unique. Have you obtained special skills on campus or through an internship? Do you have good personal traits? You need to think about what makes you irreplaceable as an employee.

Normally, interviewees start by summarizing their experience and conclude with the problem solving abilities they developed. This reader’s answer is well organized and shows logical thinking. But it would be better to demonstrate a strong learning ability, such as by saying what she got from the experience. This can increase the chances of getting an offer.

下期面试问题由Career International Consulting Ltd的Campus Recruitment Manager, Summer Tian提出:Can you tell me how many trees there are in Beijing?(这个别出心裁的题目主要考察你的逻辑和应变能力)请将回答发送至[email protected],并署名。

作为奖励,李思源同学将接受罗迈公司顾问面对面的个人职业咨询一次。祝贺!也欢迎大家继续踊跃投稿。

Read the article: http://paper.i21st.cn/story/83445.html

Executives Reach Breaking Point – RMG CEO on China Daily

Stress among managers in China is mounting, even causing deaths at work. What is pushing them to the brink?

These days, Brian Dong is crying out for a vacation. The stress of running a startup company in China’s finance industry is threatening to overwhelm him. Too bad he does not have the time.

As the CEO of an Australian foreign exchange trading company, he has a laundry list of tasks and roles, from dealing with hundreds of emails every day, reporting to the board and investors to giving directions to his employees.

“From the moment I get into the office till the time my head hits the pillow, I’ve worked almost 15 hours a day,” the 30-year-old executive says. “I should take some time off before I burn out.”

Like Dong, many business leaders in China are saddled with enormous pressures. But stress among senior executives is often not discussed in the corporate world, where working 80 to 100 hours a week is the norm.

China Daily found out, however, that stress and problems related to high stress are more common and serious than many employers are willing to admit. Sixty percent of business executives in China say they have seen their stress increase in 2011, according to Grant Thornton, an international business research accounting firm.

The number is 28 percent higher than the average stress level around the world and the second-highest after Greece, which is currently under a deep depression with 67 percent of senior executives admitting a spike in stress levels.

Jonathan Geldart, the global head of marketing and communications at Grant Thornton International Ltd, says the problem is getting serious and sometimes dangerous because stress can force business leaders to make decisions too quickly or worst of all, take the wrong direction.

“Eventually it can affect the profitability of a company or even bankrupt it if the stress is not managed because you are stressed and you don’t look thoughtfully at all of the issues,” he says. Geldart says there is more pressure on the Chinese government to fix the nation’s ills.

“The Chinese government is clamping down on many aspects of business corruption in particular, in taxation, in improving the accounting standards and in encouraging people to go overseas, so the pressure is rising. And the economy is not doing as well as it used to. So there is a higher pressure in China than other places.”

The American Institute of Stress estimates that American companies lose over $300 billion every year due to stress and stress-related diseases such as absences, exhaustion and mental health problems.

According to RMG International, a recruitment consultancy in Beijing, work pressure costs Chinese businesses more than $100 million each year.

A recent example of what stress can do in China happened earlier this month. A 25-year-old employee of Kingsoft, a software company in Beijing, died at his desk after spending the night in the office. The company denied that too much work contributed to the tragedy.

In recent months, unexplainable deaths have been more common in financial sector.

In May, a 34-year-old senior manager in the legal department of CITIC Securities, China’s largest listed securities company by total market value, died of cerebral hemorrhage. The death triggered a heated public discussion with many saying that the death resulted from the manager being overworked.

Peer pressure

Experts say several of the deaths are closely related to being overworked as well as intense pressure from peers, the fear of “losing face” and unrealistic business expectations in the workplace.

Mike Thompson, a professor of management practice at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, says that in China there is a great amount of pressure on an individual to be seen as successful among peers.

Robert Parkinson, CEO and founder of RMG, says that money leads to pressures to live a prestigious life, to have a nice apartment, to join a nice club and to marry a pretty girl.

“People are fearful of losing their position in society or lose their money when they become rich,” he says. “In China 40 or 50 years ago, people were concerned about whether they had have enough to eat or if they had enough basic things.

But as China has rapidly expanded its economy with the huge level of disposable income available to the people, things have changed. This competition to have more things in life will never end if your only value is money.”

The increasing desire for luxury goods is an apt explanation of why people seemed more stressed in China than in other countries.

Here, people are trying to live up to a social status they’ve created for themselves.

All about face

One of the results from the Grant Thornton survey is that business people in the United Kingdom and France have the lowest stress levels in the world.

Thompson, who was born in the UK and has been working in China for more than three years, says one of the causes of lower stress levels in the workplace in the UK is directly connected with humor or wit that works as a relief to stress. He says it’s a very common factor across all UK workplaces.

“It is more acceptable and more usual to use and express humor at the expense of someone else in the UK than in other places, particularly in China,” he says. “Humor can lower stress because the use of humor actually allows a person to more fully disclose who they really are.”

But Parkinson says in China, people care most about losing face. “What does losing face mean? It means looking stupid,” he says.

“In my interpretation, people in China care very much about what people think of them and that causes lots of stress. In fast-moving competitive working environments, you can have conflicts and misunderstandings very easily.”

Oliver Barron, the head of the Beijing division of NSBO China, a UK-based Chinese government policy investment research firm, says the Chinese concept of losing face makes managing workers very difficult. Losing face is another source of pressure for many foreign managers in China.

Heavy workload

Experts say that a heavy workload and high expectations are two major sources of stress for senior managers.

According to the report by Grant Thornton, 24 percent of respondents from China believe their stress stems from the pursuit of business goals, while 20 percent of the respondents reported difficulties in finding a work-life balance.

“I think the expansion of personal performance targets is one of the chief causes in the rise of stress internationally and particularly in China, where I think the competitive nature of the market is stronger than in the West,” says CEIBS’ Thompson.

In the face of stress, many senior managers are trying to manage the pressure by delegating work to others, while some are finding other ways to help ease their stress, such as meditation, exercising and traveling.

Barron also recommends meditation on a regular basis.

“Ten minutes everyday is more important than an hour every week, and the simplest technique is to focus on breathing,” he says.

Thompson says that exercise or vacations are only a temporary relief from stress.

“The more permanent way to get rid of stress is by living from within and from discovering who you really are and taking a step back and looking at yourself,” he says. “Perhaps enjoying humor because it is energizing and can also reveal a lot about you.”

Read the whole article: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2012-09/21/content_15772409.htm

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Heading Home for Work – RMG Marketing Manager on China Daily

Foreign companies losing their edge as more professionals turn to Chinese companies for jobs

After studying in the US for five years and then taking up a job with a US technology company in China, many thought that Cui Nan had made it in life. But last month, the young engineer surprised everyone when he decided to leave his job and take up employment with a State-owned enterprise.

Though the new job came with a salary hike and other perks, in Cui’s case almost double his current earnings, the job shift was more due to a combination of several factors.

“Salary counts but it’s not what determines whether one should change a job or not,” says the 31-year-old engineer. “What really attracted me to the new job was the long-term career development opportunities.”

Cui says Chinese employees often get stuck at a certain level after the mandatory promotions in a foreign company, whereas they have better career prospects in a domestic firm.

Like Cui, a growing number of Chinese graduates and professionals feel that domestic firms are a better bet than multinational companies in terms of job benefits.

A survey conducted during 2010 and 2011 by Li Hongbin, a professor at the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, shows that about half of those surveyed chose SOEs as their ideal workplace.

Despite foreign-funded organizations offering better pay, the survey says that the majority of Chinese employees consider State-owned enterprises as the ideal job destination.

Western companies have for long held the upper hand in recruiting top professionals by offering higher positions, better benefits and the possibility of overseas assignments. But that advantage is fast diminishing.

According to a survey conducted by Korn/Ferry Institute, one of the world’s largest executive search firms, Chinese companies are now luring talented managers and executives from multinationals by offering generous compensation, more decision-making power and a faster career track.

“They (multinational companies) did not anticipate that Chinese companies would poach their critical managerial talents,” the report says.

But with global economic power shifting from the West to the East, domestic companies have also begun to offer higher compensation, better working conditions and career advancement opportunities, in many cases far better than those provided by the multinational companies.

Wang Xiuli, a professor at the Business School of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, says the halo of multinational companies is slipping and the days are gone when salaries at foreign companies were several times higher than those at the State-owned and private companies.

“Domestic firms have demonstrated their competitive strength both at home and abroad, and they have become more attractive by offering salaries and bonus packages that are competitive with their foreign counterparts,” she says.

A generous salary is certainly a strong motivation for employees switching jobs, but a gain from a possible IPO (initial public offering) seems to be even more attractive.

Smaller local startups with the potential for rapid growth in the Chinese market offer handsome payment and stock options for their employees.

Success stories like the IPOs of Youku.com and Dangdang.com have triggered interest among young professionals to work for early stage and pre-IPO companies in China, as in many cases the employees have made handsome financial gains.

The Korn/Ferry Institute polled 43 senior executives and managers working in China and found 45 percent of them would consider joining a pre-IPO Chinese company, while 30 percent wanted to work for publicly traded Chinese enterprises.

Many foreign companies have taken a considerable beating due to the global financial turmoil and have been forced to curtail their overseas operations and trim jobs to keep the overall costs under control. On the other hand, Chinese firms have been on a hiring overdrive, thanks to the booming Chinese economy.

Many Chinese employees also feel that their career would stall after a certain point at MNC firms as the higher management jobs are often reserved for expatriates.

Luo Rui, who works as a department manager at an Italian food and beverage company, says she wants to work with a Chinese company as she feels that local employees and managers are often excluded from strategic discussions, while many of the senior positions are for foreign staff.

“It’s unfair and sometimes it means a lack of opportunities to prove our worth,” she says.

State-owned enterprises overtook foreign and private enterprises as the top destination for job-seeking graduates in 2011, according to a survey of 200,000 students conducted by ChinaHR.com. Eight of the top 10 companies named in the survey are State-owned.

Sophie Li, marketing director of RMG International Business Consulting (Beijing) Co Ltd, a recruitment consulting company, says most of the young recruits are eager to get on the fast track. Domestic companies can offer them “skip-level” promotions that put them straight into jobs with senior positions and expanded responsibilities.

“Young professionals are keen to see a clear leadership development path, and domestic firms with faster growth can offer more rapid promotion, a more challenging environment and greater decision-making power than some foreign companies,” she says. “All these factors are something that potential employees will consider, because they tend to think more about the long term rather than the short term.”

Read the whole article: http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2012-08/31/content_15723754.htm

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Now for a Place on the big Stage – RMG CEO on China Daily

The post-90s generation is about to enter the workforce. what should they, and employers, expect?

In the past few years, I have been asked by dozens of media organizations why State-owned enterprises and local employers are so attractive to graduates. However, the latest ChinaHR-sponsored Best Employers List, an annual compilation of the most-desired employers among China’s new graduates, contained a different view.

The list, published last month, featured 18 multinational companies (MNCs), and shows an increasing tendency toward working for MNCs as their employment brands become more attractive compared with SOEs and Chinese companies.

Moreover, in the discussions started by job seekers on Internet chat rooms in China, foreign companies seem to attract the most attention. “Hasn’t the Philips interview started? I’m so anxious!” “Does anyone know about Unilever’s admission news?” The urgent questions come one by one, and there are signs of recovery for foreign companies in China – it seems that they tend to be the first goal of this year’s graduates.

Actually, according to my experience in career consulting, this type of change is inevitable. Young graduates seem to feel comfortable when foreign companies interview them. My company, RMG Selection, found that 90 percent of candidates choose to stay in the same type of company. That means people who work for a MNC prefer to have another MNC to be their next employer, while people working for an SOE job-hop to other SOEs as well. Only 10 percent will consider a change.

Why does this happen? Clearly the influence of company culture and philosophy is a major reason. As we know, foreign companies usually have a different culture and management style to more traditional Chinese companies.

The post-90s generation has grown up at a time when the social material condition is relatively rich. In particular, information availability, information technology and the Internet developed rapidly as the 21st century dawned. Those changes have deeply influenced the growth of the post-90s generation.

The Horizon Group recently released a survey about the psychology of this generation. The report showed that 26.3 percent of participators believed the biggest reason for success was “knowledge and ability”; the best features they liked were “talents” (49.5 percent) and “great effort” (29.4 percent). This group of people is said to emphasize individuality and self-actualization. As the survey said, 46.7 percent of respondents enjoy change in their lives and 43 percent of them like to be out of the ordinary. All those qualities fully match European corporate culture, which is often known for its diversification, inclusiveness, critical thinking, encouragement and openness.

What is diversification at the company level? It comes from a multifaceted culture and a comprehensive platform. Take one of our clients, a dental-product manufacturer KaVo-Sybron Dental China, which belongs to a US-owned Fortune 500 enterprise, Danaher Corporation. Their products, including all kinds of dental supplies and infection-control products, are sold in more than 100 countries all over the world.

Its personnel benefit from the company’s diversified platform. Most of KaVo-Sybron’s employees have a medical background. With a solid training system named DBS (Danaher Business System), the employees’ personal qualities are comprehensively developed in different ways, including technique, professional behaviors and creative thoughts. Each year, the Harvard Business School takes a case study from DBS.

Secondly, there is a well-designed rotation program that involves circulating employees between positions and locations. The company also maintains a good relationship with experts in the field, and employees can build up a very powerful network by participating in the salons that their employer holds dozens of times every year.

Another benefit of the diversification of company culture is inclusiveness. Many MNCs or Western companies try to understand the different characteristics of their employees and allow them to flourish. With a more inclusive corporate attitude, the company will take a very different and positive attitude toward making mistakes.

For example, in my company, we firmly believe that the only way to learn more is by making mistakes. Many people (particularly working in Western companies) believe that routinely punishing mistakes contributes to a poor culture, and instead try other approaches such as using mistakes as educational case studies. It’s worth mentioning that the discussion (and any judgment) of mistakes should be kept private, while praise for good work is public.

Should we say “good” all the time? Certainly not. People need to be critiqued, and the post-90s love it. In my experience, people in China are among the most receptive to positive criticism. According to the Horizon Group’s survey, many of the post-90s generation are frustrated and confused as they find a big disparity between practical work and their ideal job. It is therefore hard for them to concentrate on a job for a long time, and their job-hopping rate increases.

Here’s an example explaining how to act. A well-known pharmaceutical company came across a problem when it first hired a batch of graduates from the one-child generation. The company treated them very discreetly, because it was afraid the new employees would break down under pressure. Unfortunately, the new employees were found to be quite inefficient. A later survey by the company’s human-resources department found that direct criticism from their superiors was what these employees liked the most, as they believed a justified critique meant their employers cared about them.

On the other hand, we should also remember to encourage our employees. Motivation and praise promote innovation and maximize development among the post-90s. Increased positive responses let this generation understand that the enterprise accommodates them, and also increases their sense of accomplishment, pride and desire for further good performances.

Last but not least, an open attitude – a common feature of foreign companies in China – is quite precious and satisfying for employees. In my view, openness refers to three aspects. For the first one, the door to foreign companies is fairly open to everyone. Everyone can fully display his or her talent. In the office, it is unusual to refer to someone by their rank. You can surely call your boss by his or her name, and so can your colleagues. Also, many of the more progressive foreign companies have an ongoing, tailor-made training program for their staff.

Then there is the core spirit of company, which is taken as the most important thing to consider before choosing a job. Especially for those post-90s first stepping into the job market, the spirit of company decides their future career development. Once again, let’s take a look at KaVo-Sybron, which takes integrity, passion, innovation and excellence as its spirit. In this special business, integrity comes first, which attracts many graduates to the company. They’re quite people-oriented and insist on a “prior to do everything, you need firstly to be an upright person” principle. For the post-90s, who emphasize individuals and self-actualization, integrity is the most respected personal quality.

The third aspect is the performance-appraisal system. As long as you are really talented, your talents will not be neglected with this system. There are no “unspoken” rules in foreign companies. You are the chief determiner of your own performance, and of course a scientific evaluation method is also a powerful support. This is like the saying “You are your own master”.

This is regarded as the first year that the post-90s graduates will step into the workplace. If you are part of this group, how should you properly orient your career? First of all, you should find out what kind of role you wish to play on the big stage of labor. Then, you need to understand the various careers on offer to find the one that best suits you. My suggestion is that internships are quite a wise way to achieve this; there are various internship opportunities provided by foreign companies. Once you know yourself, and you know what your ideal job looks like, it’s inevitable that you will find a happy and successful workplace.

The author is the founder and managing director of RMG Selection, an international recruitment group. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Read the whole article: http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2012-09/07/content_15742179.htm

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