Cowboys Meet Rookies in China

December 12, 2009

Cowboys went to China and Hong Kong to find something interesting but also to meet their friend who met at Infinity Ventures Summit (IVS).

They have known a president of a company whose office is in ShenZhen. The company recently focuses on applications for Facebook and mobiles. So to share our experiences, they visited the office there.

There is an area of office buildings far from electronic market, about 20km or so. Buildings are really big. Also guards are found everywhere. Maybe, more protected than LA!

The office cowboys went was of 中友集団。They creates SNSs, mobiles, Facebook applications and so on.

This is the development floor.

MTK has the biggest share among Chinese mobiles. Thirty engineers developed the software for MTK.

MTK’s merit is that keeps complete backward compatibility. It is like MS-DOS.

All applications can be developed in Java.

Cowboys noticed that in China, they don’t need CMS which we develop in Japan.

The differences between devices are only colours and shapes. Specs and features are the same.  That is the characteristic of MTK platform devices.

That means it doesn’t need high-tech and complicated systems such as displaying using career depend emoticons or dividing movies which are necessary for usual mobile CMS.

This is the floor to develop Facebook applications.

We were aware again that MTK is the most popular in Japan and many mobiles are depend on it.

So, they didn’t know Youtube. Also, instead of Twitter, they develop their original “tweet” systems!

Although Great Firewall in China is usually disliked, it surely protects domestic IT development. They welcome the Great Firewall protecting their business and life in China. So they dare not use international services.

They said that the Wall is as “customs barrier” of Web applications.

Generally the barrier is applied to trades in special products like liqueur to protect domestic business. However, it has not been applied to the trade of Internet of information technology and domestic business were not protected.

That is why JustSystems in japan was trampled by Microsotf, and the sales of Cybozu, the biggest japanese groupware development company,  is only a few billions. Sales Force, IBM, or Microsoft is in the same trade of Cybozu, but their sales are much higher than it.

Some say that is faults of Japanese companies, some say it is of the government.

Japan also copied web contents for Japanese market. For example, main services of “hatena” are not completely original. Language played a role of barrier and made it look original at that time.

There is no customs barrier for web so web services in Japan are completely out of law.  Pornography come across the Pacific ocean to Japan. Online casinos make illegal profits.

On the way to hotels, the CTO of the company showed them a building.

There was a huge building from a distance. far.

He told it was the headbrunch of QQ, and about 10 thousands work there.

QQ users are a billion. The number is almost the same as the population in China. Because all use QQ to use the internet in China. It is the standard.

QQ’s stock prices is now 160 yuan, 40 times of the price 4 years before.

However, general salary for university graduates are about 50 thousand yen in China. In Japan, it is about 200 thousands.

He was surprised at the salary and said that is because Japanese work hard.

However, Keith couldn’t agree with that. He thinks that Japanese worker nowadays are a lazier than before and lost a kind of ambition to create their own companies. They were rather tamed and only follow to their company’s will. Also, “Hikikomori,” being unsocial and doing nothing productive,  or NEET is problem in Japan. There are few people who work really hard.

There is surely the gap between the image of Japanese that was often described in movies or books decades ago, and of current Japanese.

The recent problem in Japan is lack of motivations. People can live even they don’t work hard. “Richness” causes further lack of motivation.

However, in China, people are suffering from lack of jobs. Even people who obtained PhD, they cannot find better job and work for grocery shops.

Though cowboys were a little shocked by what he said, but felt a kind of relief. Because, current Shenzen is like Akihabara 50 years ago. The city, originally for black markets, grew up to the most active electronic market in the world.  The electronic market assisted the development of high-tech in Japan, and Japan became, I think, a one of leading technology developed country. Now, we believe Shenzen is as electronic market in the World.  In the city, there are many smart and industrious people like him.

When cowboys said such things to him, he showed smiled shyly.

We think people in Japan do not work hard as before. They seem not to be enthusiastic about their work. Contrary to that, people there were really studious, active, and smart. Their presentation was impressive. They effectively exchange their opinions with their president. He said that status doesn’t matter to express their opinion. Keith thought that such company will goes well.

That is why we thought that people in China would be richer than us in near future. Also, felt a kind of anxious that Japan would be a “formerly” tech influential country.

Cowboys were shocked at what they said and thought then.  At the same time, though ambiguously had, they clearly noticed that it is truly possible for Japan to be a following country in the world.

Thinking Chinese population, its influence, and earnest of the people, we cannot but felt that we were in a critical phase. We should take an action and should not be satisfied with current situation.

From the conversation with him, cowboys and we could realize such things. It was really nice meeting with him! Thank you Shenzen!

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As their annual visiting, cyberspace Cowboys went to Shenzen and Hong Kong looking for something interesting. 

Mr Yamane, a specialist of mobile phones, guided them. He showed and is showing really interesting things there. 

The first thing cowboys saw was a felt case for iPhone looks like iPhone. Other members got it the day before their arrival. How well made it is! We were really impressed that details of iPhone design was well realized on the felt, such as Bluetooth. 

It is a fake and smaller iPhone.

After such a surprize, they arrived Shenzen. Contrary to their concern that travellers may be victims to robbers, the place was so calm and not danger for traveller so much. The prices are not high, there are less beggars. Situation of Shenzen are surely changing.

OPhone is one of things cowboys wanted to get during this travel. Mr Yamane took them to the shop and they could get it easily, though he said OPhone is really popular in China and he concerned that it might be sol out. 

Customers are buyers from  all over the world. So many professionals gather there. The place is so flank and there are no dress code, people casually came there as if they come to groceries for vegetable or fruits. The place is such electric device market.  

We thought that inside of shops are similar to a radio department store in Akihabara, Japah. Shops gather closely. Many small shops are in one big building. They eat on the counter of the electronic shops.  They don’t waste their time, they do other things in their free time.

 Many shops are  being specialized, for instance, this shop specializes in stylus pens.

Here is a mock-up specialized shop, iPhone cases shops,etc.

iPhone cases are so popular there and really fashionable. They found many cases which we may not find in Japan, also its quality is good and the price is cheap. About 250 yen (2.8 USD) per one! They found a building where all shops of a floor sell the cases.  

Next, look. What do you think are they?

 They are all mobile phones!

These are fake “iPhone”s!! But they work as mobile phones properly… :-O 

Cowboys were trully satisfied with visiting there. When they returned to Hong Kong, cowboys asked unlimited mobile connection. Mr Yamane told them to buy the device of Android and SIM cards and took them to a high-tech devices market.

They got HTC TATOO, the latest HTC device. HTC TATTOO was a device for Android which equipped with unique ODP, HTC SENSE. 

This is a SIMs shop.  The number lined on the table is phone numbers of the SIMs.  The price goes high if the number is a pun or a lucky number. They got a pay&go SIM for 3 days unlimited internet access, supporting HSDPA. costed 65 HK$. It would be much cheaper than LAN connection in hotels.

Mr Yamane said that, a Tiwanee chip maker, called MTK, has the biggest share in China. So more OS for devices in China become the OS which MTK distributes for free. The shipment of MTK based device is 100 millions per year! Incredible! Because chip-set Android is yet expensive so there are less kinds of it than other ones. However, more Android devices, like OPhone, will be developed in the future tanks to its free OS.

Though some expected, we actually realized the merit of Android in China and Hong Kong. Because, only in Japan there is no pay&go unlimited access SIM. In America or Europe, pay&go unlimited SIM is already available.  Everytime we go abroad on business, we should concern how much will international access cost by using our Japanese mobiles. But with such unlimited SIMs, using Androids would be much more convenient and cheaper. So global executive would prefer Android.

Also, we realized another thing. In this trip, Keith spend time watching Twitter and Hatena blogs with Japanese DoCoMo’s device. If compared with it, the Android device, HTC TATTOO, is really useful and has good UI though still less than iPhone. 

When we uploaded photos took with TATTOO, we were surprized with its high speed though its resolution is low. 

However, some features of Japanese mobile are still better. One is “decoration mail.” Android lacks the feature  to decorate its text or e-mail and that makes Android a bit unattractive. We hope an app to write decoration mail will be released soon.

The Android Market in HTC TATTOO was automatically upgraded and surprisingly it is far better than Google’s Android Market. But, there are no apps like Simeji or Twitdroid, so we suppose the Market might be developed only in China.  Such development would be popular in the world, rather, we hope that because of its convenience. 

Some apps like Simeji can be downloaded and be installed directly from maker’s page.  (We tried to install Simeji in OPhone, but failed… OPhone is not Android itself but Android based OS, that would be the reason of the fail.)

HTC TATTOO was so popular in Hong Kong. It is about 2900HK$, cheaper than HTC HERO for 900HK$. Also, the features are almost the same. These points might catch the attention of people. 

We are really looking forward the futures of Hong Kong, China, and Android. After several years, if MTK device sold in Shenzen changed into Android devices, we would use them anywhere by developing Japanese mode. Furthermore, when we suddenly become need mobile phones in foreign country, we will definitely buy Android mobile and install Simeji in it so that we can use it in Japanese. 

Android is certainly a potential device!

For further information of mobiles in Hong Kong, let’s visit Mr Yamane’s page!

For more pictures in Shenzen, please visit Shin Ishimaru’s blog😀