Malaysia and China set trade target of RM511bil, usher new era of strategic partnership


Xi_NajibChinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak jointly meet the press in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, Oct. 4, 2013. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and China have set an astounding bilateral trade target of US$160bil (RM511bil) by 2017.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and President Xi Jinping discussed this at a closed-door meeting at the Prime Minister’s office here yesterday.

The two leaders also discussed a five-year economic and trade programme and agreed to elevate the current cooperation between both countries into a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Najib and Xi said this in a joint statement issued after the meeting.

Last year, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached US$94.8bil (RM303bil).

This makes Malaysia China’s top trading partner among the Asean countries for the fifth consecutive year.

Najib said Xi expressed keen interest in seeing Chinese companies participate in Malaysia’s high-speed rail (HSR) project, the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park.

“We also would like to see more trade between the countries settled in the renminbi and ringgit,” he said, adding that the information on this should be disseminated to the private sectors of both countries.

Najib said Xi indicated some new areas of cooperation between the two countries, which included information and communication technology, biotechnology, science and space technology.

“We agreed to step up our cooperation in law enforcement, combating transnational crime, cyber security, as well as stronger and deeper military cooperation,” he said.

Najib added that Malaysia would be opening a Consul-General office in Nanning while China would open similar offices in Kota Kinabalu and Penang.

“Malaysia also fully supports Xi’s suggestion, which he made in Indonesia, for the establishment of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which would certainly help in the development of Asean,” he said.

The Prime Minister hoped that the project to develop the Malaysian campus of the Xiamen University, its first outside China, would become a reality in near future.

Najib added that he was also looking forward to visit China next year, at the invitation of the Chinese government and Xi, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Malaysia-China diplomatic ties.

Earlier in the morning, Najib and Xi and their spouses attended a welcoming ceremony at Dataran Parlimen in the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Sultanah Hajah Haminah Hamidun.

Sources: The Star/Asia News Network

Xi’s visit ushers in new era in China-Malaysia ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping left Kuala Lumpur Saturday after concluding his first state visit to Malaysia, which helps usher in a new era in China-Malaysia relations.

During his stay in Malaysia, Xi met Supreme Head of State Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Prime Minister Najib Razak, and attended a China-Malaysia economic summit. He also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements.

Both sides agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and make efforts to expand annual bilateral trade to 160 billion US dollars by 2017. The first Chinese university outside China, Xiamen University Malaysia Campus, will also be set up in the Southeast Asian country.

The visit by President Xi marks another great leap forward of bilateral relationship between Malaysia and China.

“In fact, the achievements of the visit are well beyond my expectation. It’s a miracle that so many achievements have been made within such a short period of time,” said Tan Khai Hee, secretary general of Malaysia-China Friendship Association.

Upgrade of bilateral ties

During their talks on Friday, Xi and Najib agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“China highly values its relationship with Malaysia, which is taking the lead in China’s relations with ASEAN members,” Xi said, urging the two sides to enhance strategic cooperation to make their relationship a fine example in the region.

ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which consists of Malaysia and nine other Southeast Asian countries.

Xi said the upgrade to a comprehensive strategic partnership will draw a more “beautiful” blueprint for bilateral ties.

For his part, Najib said his country hopes to enhance the comprehensive strategic partnership with China.

“China is a trustworthy friend of Malaysia,” he said. “Our bilateral relations enjoy vast prospects.”

The single most significant achievement of Xi’s visit is of course the upgrade of the bilateral relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership, which China only accords to its most valued neighbors and friends, said political analyst Oh Ei Sun, a former political secretary to Najib.

While the economic collaboration will continue to prosper in gigantic leaps, the comprehensive nature of the relationship will see more technological, cultural and educational exchanges, which are crucial for the ever closer relationship between the two countries, he said in an interview with Xinhua.

Win-win cooperation

China has been Malaysia’s biggest trading partner for the last four years, while Malaysia has been China’s largest in the 10-member ASEAN for five years in a row.

Two-way trade soared to a record high of 94.8 billion dollars last year, while trade in the first seven months of 2013 jumped 14.9 percent to 59.72 billion dollars.

The Qinzhou Industrial Park in China and the Kuantan Industrial Park in Malaysia, noted Xi, should be built as flagship projects of investment cooperation between the two countries.

Beijing encourages Chinese enterprises to participate in the development of northern Malaysia and the high-speed railway construction linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which will promote regional inter-connectivity, said Xi.

When addressing more than 1,000 business people and officials at the China-Malaysia Economic Summit on Friday, Xi proposed that the two countries boost bilateral trade and investment, deepen cooperation in the sectors of finance, agriculture and fishery, and jointly improve regional cooperation.

The Chinese president and the Malaysian prime minister witnessed the signing of the five-year program for economic and trade cooperation, which emphasizes the sharing of knowledge, technological resources and investment in the service of sustainable economic development and maps out mutually beneficial initiatives.

The two leaders have set an ambitious target that by the end of the fifth year of this program, bilateral trade between China and Malaysia will hit 160 billion dollars.

The program covers many areas of cooperation, including agriculture, energy and mineral resources, information and telecommunication, manufacturing, infrastructure, engineering, tourism, logistics and retailing.

Pheng Yin Huah, president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia, said the program shows that China values its relations with Malaysia and President Xi wants more Chinese businessmen to invest in Malaysia.

“I believe that Malaysia and China will have more exchanges in politics, business and education,” he added.

Regional cooperation

During his visit to Malaysia, Xi called for further cooperation between Asian countries.

Although Asia remains the most dynamic and promising region in the world, Asian countries still face the arduous tasks of developing economy and improving people’s livelihood amid lingering impact of the international financial crisis, Xi said.

He called on Asian countries to focus on development, carry forward the all-in-the-same-boat spirit of unity and cooperation, and jointly safeguard the long-term stability and development in Asia.

“China supports ASEAN’s leading status in East Asia cooperation, and is happy to see Malaysia play a bigger role in the region,” Xi said.

Najib said Malaysia also stands ready to advance the development of ASEAN-China relations and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

“Whether on bilateral trade relations or international efforts to build a more sustainable global economy, we are strongest when we work together,” Najib said.

In an interview with Xinhua prior to Xi’s visit, the Malaysian leader said that as a founding member of ASEAN, Malaysia stands ready to contribute to stronger China-ASEAN ties.

“Not only is China a dialogue partner with ASEAN, but it’s also an integral part of the East Asia summit,” he said.

“Because of that, the relationship between China and ASEAN is very important and continues to grow particularly in terms of trade and China’s involvement in major infrastructure projects in the whole region,” he added.

While in Indonesia, the first leg of Xi’s maiden Southeast Asia tour since he assumed presidency in March, Xi said China and ASEAN countries should work for win-win cooperation, stand together and assist each other, enhance mutual understanding and friendship to increase social support for bilateral ties, and stick to openness and inclusiveness.

Differences and disputes should be properly handled through equal-footed dialogue and friendly consultation for the overall interests of bilateral ties and regional stability, he said.

Xi arrived here Thursday and left the city Saturday for the 21st informal economic leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to be held in Bali, Indonesia. -  Xinhua

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Malaysia grand welcome for China president


Xi_MalaysiaThe King accompanies Xi after the welcoming ceremony at Parliament Square on Oct 3, 2012. Starpix by AZHAR MAHFOF 

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan were accorded a state welcome at Parliament Square on Friday at the start of their three-day state visit.

They were welcomed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, as well as Cabinet ministers.

Xi, on his first state visit here, received a 21-gun salute and inspected the royal guard-of-honour mounted by by 106 officers and men of the First Battalion Royal Malay Regiment led by Major Nur Fahmi Bassar.
The Regiment band played the Negaraku and the Chinese national anthem.

Xi and his wife were later introduced to ministers, and other VIPs, including Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Army Chief Datuk Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor.

Xi aims to bolster Sino-Malaysia relations 
 Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (right) celebrating the arrival of Xi and his wife Peng (left) during a private dinner at Seri Perdana. — Bernama

Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (right) celebrating the arrival of Xi and his wife Peng (left) during a private dinner at Seri Perdana. — Bernama 

SEPANG: It is the aspiration of the people of China and Malaysia and in keeping with the times to deepen strategic cooperation between both countries, said China President Xi Jinping.

Xi said bolstering Sino-Malaysia relations would also be conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

“China and Malaysia are good neighbours, good friends and good partners.

“Since the establishment of our diplomatic ties 39 years ago, Sino-China bilateral relations have enjoyed the harvest of rich fruits and brought benefits to our people,” he said in his arrival statement.

Xi arrived here yesterday on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft with his wife Peng Liyuan, State Councillor overseeing foreign diplomacy Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and other delegates for a three-day state visit.

The president was greeted by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam upon arrival at 6.35pm.

Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Xi’s first visit to Malaysia was at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’ad­zam Shah.

Xi described China and Malaysia as two important countries in the region, saying that both share extensive common interests.

“I hope my visit will help deepen our traditional friendship, upgrade the level of cooperation and make even more breakthroughs in our strategic cooperation,” he said.

According to the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese and Malaysian governments will sign several important agreements such as the cooperation mechanism for the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park.

Malaysia-China ties stronger than ever

Razak and his Malaysian delegation being given a rousing welcome upon arrival at the Beijing airport in 1974

KUALA LUMPUR: It has been 39 years since the late Tun Abdul Razak played a crucial role in establishing diplomatic ties with China.

And in all the years since, even after the former Prime Minister’s passing, the Chinese government has maintained a cordial relationship with his widow Tun Rahah Mohd Noah and her family.

Through its embassy here, China has invited Rahah to its functions and to the ambassadors’ official residence and even called on her – all in appreciation of her husband’s mammoth contributions in bringing the two countries closer.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Chai Xi said it had always been a custom for the Chinese to remember the good deeds done for them.

Chinese students perform dances and songs to receive visiting Malaysian delegates at the airport in Beijing in 1974. Among the many welcoming banners, some were written in Malay, like the one in this picture captured by former Nanyang Siang Pau editor-in-chief Chu chee Chuan.
Chinese students performing a dance to welcome Malaysian delegates at the airport in Beijing in 1974.

“My predecessor gave me special instructions to send well-wishes and pay visits to Tun Rahah.

“I will tell my colleague the same thing when he takes over office from me,” he said.

Among the notable occasions he cited was when the Chinese government invited Rahah, and others in her family, to join her son Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his official visit to China in 2009.

During the former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Malaysia in 2011, Rahah attended a welcoming dinner for him.

“Najib is very touched by the friendly gestures of the Chinese government,” he said.

Tun Abdul Razak Hussein (wearing bush jacket) visiting a museum in China in 1974.Recopy pictures from Datuk Wong Seng Chow.
Razak visiting a museum in China in 1974.

“He said that this was something which had not been done by other countries, except China,” Chai said.

Yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a dinner hosted by Najib and his family, including Rahah, at Seri Perdana for the president after his arrival for a three-day state visit here.

Xi will attend a state banquet at Istana Negara today, followed by bilateral talks, an MoU signing ceremony and a joint press conference with Najib.

Other programmes lined up for the president include attending a luncheon with Malaysian Chinese business leaders, giving a speech at the Malaysia-China Economic Cooperation Summit and meeting former prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

RECOPY NEWSPAPERA front page newspaper report in 1974 on Razak’s historic visit to China.

Chai said Najib had fostered close working and personal relationships with the previous Chinese leaders, especially Wen,

He said the people of both nations hoped to see Najib, Xi and their administrations continue this tradition.

On the significance of this visit, Chai said Najib and Xi would discuss the countries’ direction for the next five to 10 years.

“Both governments have agreed on a five-year blueprint on bilateral economic cooperation which we will sign during this visit,” he said.

All eyes on Xi’s visit to KL

First to host: Najib witnessing Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin handing over the invitation to the opening of the Xiamen University overseas campus in Malaysia earlier this year to the university president Prof Zhu Chongshi (left).

First to host: Najib witnessing Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin handing over the invitation to the opening of the Xiamen University overseas campus in Malaysia earlier this year to the university president Prof Zhu Chongshi (left).

It’s a packed schedule for China’s President as the two countries explore the many opportunities available.

CHINA’S President Xi Jinping has a packed schedule today after touching down in Malaysia from Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.

In his first state visit to Malaysia – and South-East Asia – since he assumed the presidency in March this year, Xi will attend a state welcoming ceremony, meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and witness the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

His programme also includes giving a keynote address at the Malaysia-China Economic Summit, which is co-organised by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, Malaysia-China Business Council and China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Tomorrow, Xi will depart for Bali, Indonesia, to attend the 21st economic leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum.

The People’s Daily, the official paper of the Chinese Communist Party, summed up in a recent news report that his trip will “deepen economic cooperation in Asia and make huge contribution to lasting peace and prosperous development in the Asia-Pacific region”.

For Malaysia, Xi’s visit will lead up to the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between both countries next year.
Both Malaysia and China have a lot to look forward to, as a result of the relations that have seen remarkable growth over the years.

For one, Malaysians are waiting eagerly to coo over the pair of cuddly giant pandas that will be loaned to us from China.

Enterprises in both countries are also looking forward to see the sister industrial parks in Kuantan, Pahang and Qinzhou, Guangxi, come to fruition.

According to statistics in 2012, Malaysia is China’s number one trading partner in Asean for the fifth year running, while China is Malaysia’s top trading partner for the fourth consecutive year.

Xinhua quoted Xi in an interview before his trip that Malaysia stands a chance to be the third Asian country to have its bilateral trade volume with China surpassing the US$100bil (RM322.7bil) mark, after Japan and Korea.

Malaysian businesses operating in China are optimistic that Xi’s visit will raise Malaysia’s profile in China.

Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (Maycham) secretary general Will Fung said the Chinese enterprises would have their attention focused on the visit to sniff out potential business and investment opportunities available following the diplomatic contact.

Maycham, with its presence established in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, has approximately 550 corporate and individual members.

Fung explained that foreign investors had to refer to the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries before setting up businesses in China.

The industries are divided into three categories, namely encouraged, restricted and prohibited.

“Local partners are needed for investment in industries in the restricted category, while foreign investment is not permitted altogether in industries that fall in the prohibited category.

“The catalogue is reviewed from time to time. The government sometimes loosens up and removes certain industries from the prohibited category,” he said.

“The sky is the limit when it comes to doing business in China,” observed Fung, “thanks to the massive market and high spending power”.

However, one main hindrance looms – bureaucracy.

“The time needed for a business licence application to be approved is too long in some parts of China.

“It is relatively fast to obtain the green light in first-tier cities, but in provinces where the local authorities are less familiar with foreign investment, it can sometimes take months, even if you follow the guidelines diligently,” Fung said.

He added that Maycham hoped to see the procedures standardised across the board to expedite the approval process.

Meanwhile, on the educational front, Malaysia will be the first country to host an overseas branch campus of a Chinese higher learning institution.

Najib announced in January that Xiamen University had been given the permission by the Chinese government to set up a campus abroad.

The branch in Salak Tinggi, Sepang, is expected to be operational in September 2015.

At the moment, the number of exchange students in both countries exceeded 15,000.

Malaysian Students Association in China said the students were proud to have the Chinese top leader visiting their home country in his maiden trip to South-East Asia.

“We believe that the relationship between the two countries will be taken to new heights, and hopefully it will also translate into more assistance and support for students studying in China.”

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. The Star/Asia News Network

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Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting Malaysia and Indonesia to witness signing of pacts   

Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting Malaysia and Indonesia to witness signing of pacts


Xi Jinping and wife
Bolstering ties: Xi and his wife Peng will visit Malaysia from Oct 2 to Oct 5. — AFP 

BEIJING: China will sign documents to boost cooperation in the fields of outer-space, trade, technology and fishery with Malaysia and Indonesia during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official visit to the two countries this week.

In a press conference yesterday, Chinese deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said this would be Xi’s first official visit to South East Asia.

“Besides bolstering ties with our neighbours, Xi’s visit from Oct 2 to Oct 5 is also aimed at enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation.

“It not only deepens bilateral relations between China and the two countries, but will also further develop the relations between China and Asean,” said Liu.

Following his visit to the two countries, Xi will be attending the 21st Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

During his stay in Malaysia, Xi will pay courtesy call on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and attend a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“Both Chinese and Malaysian leaders will exchange views on a wide range of topics, including bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues.

“Should the territorial disputes in the South China Sea be brought up during the meeting, the discussion will be based upon a mutual goal to maintain peace, stability and freedom of navigation on the marginal sea,” said Liu, adding that Xi would not be visiting Sabah.

Last year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia reached US$94.8bil (RM305.97bil).This makes Malaysia China’s top trading partner among the Asean coun­­­­­­­­tries for the fifth consecutive year.

Contributed by  Tho Xin Yi in Beijing

Mental Exercises For Battling “It Won’t Work” Syndrome


Every company has ideas that come up (sometimes frequently).  And, based on the stage of the startup and the degree to which the idea is unconventional, there are always good, rational reasons why the given idea can’t possibly work.  There are also bad, irrational reasons too.  The problem is, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Bad Idea - Good idea

Here are some of common reasons why something won’t work:

  1. We’ve debated this several times before and have decided it wouldn’t work.
  2. We’ve tried this before, it didn’t work.
  3. Doesn’t really fit our sales model.
  4. It’s not appropriate for our industry.
  5. It might work for tiny/small/large/huge companies, but we sell to tiny/small/large/huge companies, and it won’t work for them.
  6. Our investors/board would never agree to it.
  7. It might work, but we can’t afford the risk that it won’t.  (Note: When someone says “it might work…but…” they’re almost always thinking: It won’t work)
  8. Our team/plan/pitch-deck is not really setup for that.
  9. We could try it, but it’s a distraction.  (Note: This often means “I’ve already decided it’s not going to work, but I can tell I need to convince you we shouldn’t try it…”)

There are many, many more reasons why any given idea won’t work, but the above are a sufficient sample for this article. Oh, and by the way, I have at various points in time made all of these very same arguments myself (“I have met the enemy” and all that)

2 Mental Exercises To Try

Now, here are a couple of mental exercises to try when you or you or your team is stuck.

Exercise #1: What if I told you that it’s working really, really well for XYZ Company?  How do you think they made it work?

The idea here is to assume the idea is good and has worked for a company very similar to yours.  Then, ask yourself (or your team):  Now that we know it worked for them, what do we think they did to make it work?

What this does is mentally nudge you to think about how to work through whatever the obvious limitations to the idea already are.

Example: I know that nobody in our industry uses a freemium model because the infrastructure/support costs are just too high.  But, we just learned that XYZ Company is launching a free version.  What do we think they did to make it work?

Exercise #2: What if we had the proverbial gun held to our heads and we had to do [x]?

The idea here is to assume/accept that the decision to implement the idea has already been made — presumably by some higher authority.  Now, assuming that, what would you do to make the best of it?

Example: Our major investors just told us that before they can agree to funding our next round, we need to build an inside sales team.  They think inside sales teams are the bomb.  We can’t afford not to listen to them — what do we do to make the best of the situation?  If we had to build an inside sales team, how would we go about doing it?

Note:  In neither case am I suggesting that you mislead your team (or yourself, in case you’re like me and have conversations with yourself late at night).  These are meant to be mental exercises, just to help drive discussion and analysis.  Though I’ll confess, there is a small part of me that wonders what would happen if one did make the hypothetical seem real (at least for a short period of time).

What do you think?  Any mental tricks or tactics you’ve used (or thought of using) to help break-through conventional thinking?

Posted by Dharmesh Shah

China’s content-rich microblogs


Sites like Sina Weibo can even get Western figures and celebrities, like boxer Mike Tyson, to come aboard.

sina-weibo

WHILE Twitter is blocked in China, there are local microblogging sites to keep me informed and entertained.

Among the providers for microblogging service include Sina, Tencent, Xinhua, Souhu, People’s, Phoenix, NetEase and more.

Sina tops the list with 500 million registered users and 46.29 million daily active users as of December 2012.

Its popularity is proven with public and media using “Weibo” to refer to its microblogging site, although Weibo stands for microblog in general.

(Twitter has over 200 million active users churning out 400 million tweets a day, according to its blog post in March this year.)

The Chinese microblogging sites have similar basic features as their US counterpart, such as tagging other users with the symbol @, trending topics with hashtags and posting within an allowed character limit.

But what sets Weibo apart from Twitter is the rich media content.

Besides photos and animated GIF, some Weibo allow users to embed video and music files, and start a poll in their posts.

These elements have enhanced the Weibo surfing experience and created an entertaining platform for all.

A unique feature on Sina Weibo is the charity platform. Users can initiate a charitable cause, pledge donation, sign up as volunteers or simply repost a cause.

I am drawn to Sina Weibo for one simple reason – you can find almost everyone on it, from celebrities to writers, and government departments to restaurants.

Many of the official accounts are well-maintained, providing frequent and useful updates.

While Chinese president Xi Jinping does not have an official account, there is an account dubbed “Xuexi Fensituan” (Learning from Xi Fan Club) dedicated to disseminate news and photos of his activities.

The account owner has denied speculations that the account was a publicity effort, claiming that he was only a supporter.

Sina Weibo, which was launched in August 2009, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month.

In an unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2013, Sina Corporation announced a 209% year-on-year growth for its Weibo advertising revenue, which amounted to US$30mil (RM98.74mil).
The non-advertising revenues also increased from US$23.8mil (RM79mil) in the same period last year to US$32.2mil (RM106.9mil).

Back in April, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba invested US$586mil (RM1.9bil) to purchase an 18% stake in Sina Weibo. This deal valued Sina Weibo at US$3.3bil (RM10.86bil).

The population on Weibo continued to beckon Western figures and celebrities to come on board to reach out to their Chinese fans.

The latest to join Sina Weibo was retired American boxer Mike Tyson, whose username is “Quanwang Taisen” (King of Boxing Tyson).

After greeting Chinese fans on his maiden post on Monday, he went on to ask who is the best fighter in China.

Amid the genuine replies (Donnie Yan and Jackie Chan, for instance) came an answer that had everyone in stitches – chengguan.

The term refers to the city management officers who are often labelled as abusive for getting involved in physical brawls with street vendors.

A clueless Tyson then asked, “Who is Chengguan? A tough man? I’ve never heard it (sic).”

He mentioned it again in a post later, “So many guys talking about chengguan as a great fighter? Still not a clue about him … All I’ve heard about are Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, and wait wait, the Chinese dama (middle-aged women)!”

(Local news reports said the term Chinese dama became a popular term when the women rushed to snatch up gold.)

Needless to say, Tyson’s Weibo went viral, attracting 200,000 followers in just three days.

Although Sina Weibo has a reputation for self-censorship – posts with sensitive topics or keywords are deleted – it remains largely as a platform for freedom of expression.

It was even described as China’s Hyde Park in a report by Xinhua in December 2011: “… An open space where people feel free to participate in public affairs”.

As such, Weibo is the place to gauge public sentiments and there are calls lately to urge opinion leaders to observe their social responsibility on social media network.

Contributed by Tho Xin Yi

  • Tho Xin Yi (thoxinyi@thestar.com.my) sees Weibo as a tool to get first-hand news and gain insight into the Chinese society. She follows 329 users on Sina Weibo.

Smartwatch trademarks for Samsung “Galaxy Gear”?


Samsung-galaxy-gear-smartwatch-conceptSamsung Electronics has applied for US and South Korean trademarks for a watch that connects to the Internet in the latest sign that consumer technology companies see wearable devices as the future of their business.

Samsung described “Samsung Galaxy Gear” as a wearable digital electronic device in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle in its July 29 application with US Patent and Trademark Office. A month earlier, it applied for a “Samsung Gear” trademark in South Korea.

The trademark applications did not show the shape of the products. But drawings from a Samsung design patent approved in May show a watch-like design with a flexible screen that curves around the wrist.

The US trademark application said the device will be “capable of providing access to the Internet, for sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages” as well as “for keeping track of or managing personal information.”

The trademark filings in the US and in South Korea show that Samsung is deep in preparations for what tech industry experts expect will be a new generation of mobile technology that dramatically expands the utility of single-function objects such as watches and glasses. The South Korean consumer electronics giant was caught flatfooted by Apple’s invention of the smartphone but through what turned out to be a legally risky strategy of imitation was able to capture a dominant share of the global smartphone market within a few years.

Apple applied June 3 for a trademark in Japan for “iWatch.” Industry watchers have long speculated that Apple is working on a smart watch that uses a version of the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad. The company has not confirmed those rumors but CEO Tim Cook has hinted it may be developing a wearable computing device.

Google is testing an early version of Internet-connected spectacles called Glass. It uses a small screen above the right eye that displays information and imagery retrieved from the Internet.

The South Korean patent office said the Gear trademark will not be approved this year as it takes seven to eight months to start reviewing applications due to a waiting list. Samsung applied for the South Korean trademark on June 21.

It was not clear if Samsung would use the “Samsung Gear” trademark for a Smart Watch. The trademark application covers 38 possible products including mobile telephones, bracelets, glasses and software interfaces that monitor human vital signs.

South Korea’s patent office said in June that Samsung had patented watch designs in which more than three quarters of the device is covered by a flexible display that curves around the wrist. Illustrations showed ‘back’ and ‘home’ buttons at the bottom of the screen. Another illustration shows a rectangular screen with an edge that tapers toward the top.

The product is made of metal, synthetic and glass materials, Samsung’s patent document said.

Samsung executive vice president Lee Young Hee said in March interview with Bloomberg that the company’s mobile division has been working on a smart watch. Samsung declined to confirm the report then.

Company spokeswoman Chenny Kim declined to comment on the patent applications. – AP

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How to grow a small business?


  Growing-a-small-business

 

IT’S what everyone who’s ever wanted to start a business or already running one aspires to achieve – to grow big. But growing a small business is riddled with challenges.

The following, though not exhaustive, are some examples that will set you on the path to growing your still minuscule venture.

Technology

SMI Association of Malaysia president Teh Kee Sin acknowledges that technology adoption is often an issue for small companies.

“It’s always a challenge. They see technology adoption more as an expense rather than an investment. It’s something that they would rather avoid.

“But adopting technology into your business should not be seen as an immediate expense and rather, a long-term investment.”

Teh admits that one of the biggest nitpicks of small companies is the inability to secure financing to “move to the next level.”

“Many small firms complain that financial institutions demand a lot of unnecessary documents and information that is difficult to be fulfilled. So they get stuck and are not able to move forward.”

Teh says there needs to be more Government involvement so that support from financial institutions can be improved.

Branding

Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Eric Chong says branding is extremely important for business organisations, regardless of the size of the organisation.

“Big and medium-sized businesses usually understand the importance of branding. They would not be where they are had they not understood and practised the art of branding along the way.

“Small businesses, however, usually struggle tremendously in this area. It is a chicken and egg situation for these small guys – should they make money and maximise profits first, or invest in their brands from day one?”

Chong adds that what a lot of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) operators fail to understand is that branding isn’t just about spending money on advertising.

“While advertising is an essential part of branding, it takes much more than just splashing money around if one wishes to brand something properly. It is just like gardening – you need to sow the seeds and nurture the plants with consistency. A beautiful garden reflects the absolute commitment of the gardener; similarly, a good brand reflects the absolute commitment of the CEO and his team.

“It is about finding the right brand positioning, creating the right image, building a great brand culture, ensuring superb customer experience, communicate effectively with the market, etc. So is branding essential for SMEs? Yes, it lays the foundation and paves the way for a small entity to, someday, become a respectable player in the market.”

Talents

Leaderonomics chief executive officer Roshan Thiran notes that for many SMEs, leaders want growth but do not want to invest their time or energy to grow their people.

“This ultimately results in their company not growing either. Every company, even SMEs, are limited by the growth of their people. So, as long as your people are not learning and growing, don’t expect your organisation to grow exponentially either.

“As the business world changes, even small companies have become more attractive to young talents. Many start-ups can attract great talents in spite of their size or funds.”

Roshan says that many youths view working at start-ups more attractive than multinational companies.

“SMEs need to leverage this by their own personal inspirational leadership. People are attracted to work in an SME not because you pay well or have a big reputation.

“Instead, it is because of the leader. A great way to attract talent to your organisation is for the leaders and the leadership team to develop their own leadership skills. If you become an inspirational leader, the likelihood of you attracting talent rises significantly.”

Training

Peoplelogy group founder and chief executive officer Allen Lee says many small firms first complain that they have “no time” for training.

“Whenever they say they have no time, I always tell them to ‘make time lor.”

The next complaint, says Lee, is “what if I send them for training and they leave?”

“My response to them is always what if you don’t send them for training and they stay! If this is the case, how could these employees help small business to improve productivity and efficiency, cost savings and customer retention, for example? This also means that you will not have a chance to improve on your sales, cost efficiency, profitability and even your competitive edge.”

Lee believes most companies spend 60% to 70% of their money on people’s salary.

“And yet, they spend less than 1% of their total budget to develop the people. And most companies, in fact, spend more time and money on maintaining their buildings and equipment than they do on maintaining and developing people.

“If people get results, then it certainly makes good sense to invest in people. People are an asset to organisation anyway, regardless if it’s a big or small business.

Diversification

Established in 1974, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd initially offered only customs brokerage services – but is now providing total logistics services.

PKT group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio believes that diversification was they key to how the company transformed itself into the total logistics provider it is today.

“As we started to diversify our services, our revenue grew. So the first step of growth was to continue to diversify services within the logistics industry by providing more services.

W started off as a custom agent, then subsequently expanded to freight forwarding, haulage, warehousing and so forth.”

Tio says the next step was to look for foreign partners to grow the business.“We found Japanese and Korean partners.

The Japanese provided us with a cushion during the currency crisis and the Korean partnership gave us entry into the automotive logistics sector.”

He adds that PKT started to observe how other multinational logistics companies expanded their revenue.

“We ended up competing with them in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment because 60% of the industry, or RM2bil, were controlled by them.

We had to overcome several challenges in order to compete with these companies, namely know-how, acquiring new technology, modern infrastructure and most importantly, moving up the value chain.”

Costly mobile Net surfing overseas!


Data charges can go up to thousands of ringgit if phone usage not monitored

Mobil Net Surfing costly overseas 
Be careful when surfing the Internet on your handphone while overseas — you may end up being asked to pay the price of a car.

PETALING JAYA: A mobile user was in the Middle East for 12 days and was slapped with a RM122,703 bill for data roaming. Another went on a four-day trip to Singapore and was charged RM23,000 for checking her e-mail during the trip.

Be careful with that smartphone. Surfing the Internet on your mobile phone while overseas can be very costly. If you are not careful, you could end up with data roaming charges exceeding the price of a car.

Even the big names are not spared. One “victim” of excessive roaming charges was Communi­cation and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who received a bill shocker after a short trip to Indonesia.

“I only used data roaming for a few minutes towards the end of my stay but I was billed RM4,500 for it,” he told The Star.

According to the Communica­tions and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM), complaints against telcos increased in the last two years, with mobile data charges and data roaming being the main grouses.

How to save on your data

CFM said it received 1,191 cases on billing and charging last year. In the first half of this year, it received 1,018 complaints.

CFM director Ahmad Izham Khairuddin added: “The complaints used to be mostly about poor coverage, but they’ve changed since 2011.”

CFM was set up by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission in 2001.

In the case involving the complainant with the RM122,703 bill, CFM mediated and the consumer was given an 88% discount, with a 10% rebate and partial payment arrangements.

The complainant, however, has yet to accept the settlement.

In another case, Sara Kamal (not her real name), 45, complained that she was sent a bill for RM23,000 after using data roaming for four days while on a business trip to Singapore in 2011.

“I was shocked when I got the bill as I had only checked my e-mail during lunch and dinner while I was there. The telco said it was because my data roaming was on. Even though the bill was settled by my company, I felt really bad,” said the manager.

The National Consumer Com­plaints Centre (NCCC), too, has received many similar complaints.

“Since January, we’ve received about 300 complaints on telcos. Two main issues are consumers disagreeing with the amount charged and being charged for items they did not subscribe to,” said NCCC deputy director K. Ravin.

Ahmad Shabery cautioned telcos to be more responsible in their billing.

“It’s illogical that a phone bill should cost so much. Companies should be more responsible when charging.

“Perhaps they should emulate credit cards and put a cap on how much one can spend on roa­ming to avoid cases where people get charged tens of thousands of ringgit on their phone bills,” he said.

 

Expert: High price of data roaming ‘very possible’ 
Data charges mobile internet
PETALING JAYA: It is “very possible” for you to be charged tens of thousands of ringgit for data roaming, said an IT consultant who specialises in customer relationship management and billing systems for telcos.

“If you check your phone bill, you will see how much data actually cost (refer to actual bill cut-out).

“In this case, for example, you have actually incurred RM15,467.70 for 1,546,770KB (1.546GB), which amounts to 10 sen/KB (kilobyte), but this is waived because of your data plan. If you’re roaming, it will definitely be much more,” said the consultant, who declined to be named.

For example, Celcom charges RM12/MB in Singapore, RM18/MB in Australia and RM20/MB in Britain on a pay-per-use basis for data roaming (with their roaming partners).

Maxis charges RM30/MB worldwide and Digi RM38/MB. However, all telcos have data roaming plans which are more cost effective. Pricing information was obtained via the telcos’ customer carelines and websites.

“All these prices are fixed by the individual telcos based on their pri­cing strategy and arrangement with their roaming partners.

“They vary from country to country, so your roaming charge in Singapore may be different from that in the Philippines, or Britain, for example,” said the consultant.

For comparison, a single A4 Word document page takes up about 15KB, while a one-minute YouTube video clip takes up between 2MB and 3MB.

“Data roaming is expensive because you’re paying a premium for a value-added service to data roam in another country.

“It’s like having nasi lemak and teh tarik in England,” he said.

Chances are, you’ll have to pay a lot more there than back home.”

 

We have stringent billing process, say telcos 
 

PETALING JAYA: Telecommuni­cations companies say they adhere to a stringent billing process to ensure that customers receive accurate and timely bills.

Celcom Axiata Bhd in a statement said it believed that one reason for a spike in customers’ mobile spending was that many users were not “completely familiar with the features of their smartphones and the third-party apps they support”.

“Various apps, especially those for social media, GPS and messaging, rely on data connections and geo-location services that can constantly run in the background and drive up data charges for those on limited quotas.

“We encourage our customers to take some time to familiarise themselves with any new mobile device by reading the manual carefully and learning how to turn off unnecessary services,” the statement said.

When asked how it was possible for a mobile user to rack up a bill of tens of thousands of ringgit when data roaming, Maxis Bhd sales and service head Tan Lay Han said: “Maxis is committed to providing our travelling customers roaming experience via affordable data passes in over 60 destinations.

“However, not all countries fall under this arrangement. Hence, customers will be charged based on pay-per-use rates in countries that we do not have preferred data roa­ming agreements with. Therefore, customers roaming in these destinations are more likely to incur high data bills.”

A Digi spokesman said that when searching for a phone plan, consumers should make comparisons first, as “information is readily available online” for them.

“Consumers first need to understand their usage patterns, ie, how much they usually spend for voice calls and SMS versus surfing or using mobile apps, to find a plan that suits their needs,” he said via e-mail.

Should there be discrepancies in their bills, the telcos urge customers to contact them immediately for clarification.

By LISA GOH The Star/Asia News Network

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How stolen handphones would be useless?   

How stolen handphones would be useless?


HP stolen
Retrieved goods: Some of the handphones and an iPad recovered from the businessman.

KUALA LUMPUR: Stolen handphones will be rendered unusable within three hours of the owners reporting the devices missing. And even changing the SIM cards will not reactivate them.

The system, to be introduced before the end of the year, is part of a government crime-prevention initiative to reduce phone thefts.

A telecommunications industry source said that industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), issued a directive to telcos in April to comply with the new requirements for this initiative.

MCMC chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi said the system was to reduce street crime and handphone thefts since stolen smartphones can be sold at half the retail price in the black market.

“Yes, we are doing this. Many countries like the United States, Australia and Britain already have such a system in place. We got the consumers’ backing,” he said.

HP code
[ Type in your image caption here ]

He said MCMC was ironing out some technical issues with the network operators before the service was launched.

Mohamed Sharil added that the telcos were not to charge their subscribers for the new service.

The operators had been told to instal an Equipment Identity Register (EIR) so that the 15-digit International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) code that is unique to every phone can be blacklisted if the device is reported stolen. Each EIR will be linked to a Malaysian Central Equip­ment Iden­tity Register (MCEIR), to which the IMEI codes of stolen phones will be forwarded.

The source said all blacklisted IMEI codes would then be stored in the EIRs to render the phones unusable on any network and to block any attempt to reactivate the devices with new SIM cards. Once blocked, the phone cannot ever be reactivated.

“This can help reduce phone thefts and at the same time, assist the police to identify the thieves or anyone trying to reactivate the device,” the source said.

The telcos had been given three months to comply with the MCMC directive and the deadline expired yesterday.

Malaysia will be the first country in the region to introduce this IMEI barring system, according to the source.

MCEIR will be operated by the MCMC, which has outsourced the managing of the system to Nuemera Malaysia Sdn Bhd. The deal was signed about two months ago.

“Nuemera will operate MCEIR round the clock. It will be responsible for monitoring and generating the IMEI code blacklist. The information will be forwarded to all telcos within 180 minutes of the phones being reported stolen or missing,” said the source.

The source said the initiative would be extended regionally and the effort had been endorsed at the recent Asean Telecommunication Senior Officials Meeting and Asean Telecom­munication Ministerial Meeting.
The Star reported in December last year that the rising popularity of smartphones has made them one of the most sought-after loot.

Consumers laud move to block stolen handphones

PETALING JAYA: Consumer associations have given the thumbs up to the initiative to block stolen handphones from being reused or circulated back into the market.

Describing it as a long-overdue move, Federation of Malaysian Con­sumers Associations (Fomca) deputy president Muhammad Sha’ani Abdul­lah said it would contribute towards lowering street crime, especially snatch thefts.

He called on the Malaysian Com­munications and Multimedia Com­mission (MCMC) to work with other regulators in the region so that this initiative can be expanded to other neighbouring countries too. He was responding to a move to reduce phone thefts as part of the Government’s crime prevention measure.

Penang Consumer Protection Asso­ciation president K. Koris Atan said consumers would embrace the move as it would give them peace of mind knowing that their phones would be rendered useless if stolen.

He also warned telecommunication companies (telcos) not to charge consumers for this as the system was already in place.

Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Dr Ma’amor Osman said while this was a good move, he was unsure as to how consumers would reap the benefits as the likelihood of getting back their lost devices was slim.

“I also hope this will not cost the Government much,” he said.

One mobile phone user questioned whether having such a mechanism could work a little “too well”.

“What’s the point of getting your phone back if you can’t use it any more? It is better off lost,” said music teacher, Susan Kuee, 39.

She is also concerned over whether unscrupulous parties could take advantage of the new system to maliciously block other people’s phones.

“Perhaps victims could provide some verifying details before they allow authorities to render a phone useless so that malicious people do not abuse the system,” she said.

- The Star/Asia News Network

Huawei develops 5G technology


Huawei Technology SHANGHAI: As people across the world get used to the fourth generation (4G) mobile technology, Chinese equipment maker Huawei Technologies has said it is working on the fifth generation (5G), which is likely to be available for use by 2020.

The company said presently 200 people are working on the project and it has earmarked a specified amount for the research and development of the technology. It, however, refused to share details about the amount to be spent for the development of the technology.

Huawei Technologies official Wen Tong said that by 2020, there will be billions of connections and 5G can provide massive connectivity. The technology will enable people to have a fibre network like user experience on a wireless connection.

It can provide speed of 10 GBps, which is 100 times faster than the mobile technology used these days, Tong added.

South Korean giant Samsung has also announced that it has successfully tested 5G technology and it will be ready for commercial roll-out by 2020.

Mobile operators across the world have started moving towards the high-speed long term evolution (LTE) or 4G networks and Huawei provides equipment to 85 such networks.

The company is also undertaking a trial run to test the speed on its 4G technology on high speed MagLev train in Shanghai.

Huawei has deployed an LTE network to support wireless connectivity on the train, which runs between the centre of the Shanghai district to the International Airport. The total length of the track is 31 km and the train achieves a speed of up to 431 km per hour.

The company said on that speed, its 4G technology can provide a download speed of up to 50 MBps.

 

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