RealTime IT News

On-the-Scene in Hong Kong

"Ladies and Gentlemen...this is your captain speaking: We just landed at Hong Kong International Airport where local time is 10:30pm." Awesome! My one-week vacation in Hong Kong was right on schedule.

I was greeted at the airport by my Brother who is in Hong Kong for a stint at the HK office of his New York-based law firm. After taking the Airport Express full speed ahead to my Brother's apartment in the Central District, it was time for me to get a good night sleep. I would be waking up bright and early the next morning to head for the internet.com Hong Kong Breakfast Forum at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

The morning's topic was "Outsourcing Web Services". The keynote speaker was Avi Tenenbaum, VP Asia for Commtouch. Turns out that the Israel-based email infrastructure company has a Seattle connection. They have provided email services for both Go2Net (now InfoSpace) and Microsoft.

Talking about email...it was neat to finally meet in person the Hong Kong internet.com Team. Up until now...all of our communication has been via email.

Both Managing Director Hans Lombardo and Managing Editor Steven Schwankert hail from the U.S.A. Schwankert, my counterpart in Hong Kong, is from New Jersey. He first came to Asia in 1985 as a high school student and decided then that he wanted to pursue a career as a journalist.

Networking HK Style...

In HK you don't have business cards...you have name cards. In just my first morning in HK...I exchanged name cards with some cool people at the breakfast forum like Chas Sweeting from Skinnyhippo (www.skinnyhippo.com), Yon-Yi Sohn from Real Media (realmedia.com) and Michael Li from hotvoice.com.

Sitting next to me at my table at the forum was Tim Louey, Senior Consultant for Nicholson International, an IT recruiting firm.

Louey, who hails from Vancouver, B.C. has been working in Beijing for the past five years. So what are some of the hot skills that he is looking for? "The ability to manage people and build teams are crucial in HK/PRC".

According to Louey, language skills are quite important too. "You really only catch about 40% of what's going on through translation, or working exclusively in English".

Louey believes that landing a job in HK/PRC can be quite interesting for one's career development.

"First of all, work in PRC/HK is usually focused more on the region of Asia-Pac, rather than a smaller but more highly defined & segmented market like the Pacific Northwest; so greater geographic coverage," says Louey.

According to Louey, in developing markets like PRC, the chance for exposure in different areas of business is increased. "In fact, the reason why many "expats" come to work in Asia in the first place, is because they want to broaden their scope of responsibilities and do more work in areas they would not otherwise be able to."

Also sitting at my table was Jonathan Hakim. Hakim is definitely on the HK Internet Industry fast track. As managing director of tplabs (tplabs.com) he runs a cool company that provides startups with office space, money and contacts. His parent company techpacific.com, a prime mover in assisting early stage technology and Internet ventures, unveiled the flagship incubation center (that stretches over 21,000 sq ft) back in September.

Hakim invited me to a networking event sponsored by Oracle later that afternoon.

At 5:00pm I entered tplabs offices on the 26th floor of the Cosco Tower (that's Cosco...not Costco like I told my taxi driver at first). Within minutes a crowd of some 150 internet industry professionals gathered in the company's large lounge. The lounge featured everything from a pool table to a bar and an awesome view of Victoria Harbour.

Oracle's Senior Director E-Business Marketing Nick Arnold gave the crowd a 15 minute pitch on Oracle's latest venture: VentureNetwork. According to Arnold, the VentureNe