谢祖墀:疫情后将会出现的新机会

文 | 谢祖墀
2020年2月

正值中国新春来临之际,湖北武汉等地发生新冠肺炎疫情。新冠来势汹汹,没过几日便开始持续霸占了新闻各大头条。病情的发展牵动着中国以及全世界人民的心。

直至2月14日,至少有48个城市已经宣布了“封城”、限流等政策,大部分省市接连推出了延迟返工、延后开学等相关措施。疫情的迅速发展使线下商业活动停摆,各行各业都受到了极大的影响。于疫情期间,各类商品和服务的销量都在下降,其中零售、旅游和休闲等行业受到的影响最甚。此外,疫情也暴露出一些长期存在的社会问题。展望未来,面临着此次挑战,新的机会亦有可能伴随而生,而未来政府机构将更加关心如何完善中国的公共社会议程,而不再是仅仅聚焦于几个特定的垂直领域。

此次冠状病毒危机将在几个方面重塑中国。首先,中国的治理体系将变得更透明与负责。自改革开放以来,中国社会通过不断实践和调整逐渐发展出了一套独特的三层发展模式,使中国的经济持续发展。在顶层,中央政府负责制定国家的发展议程。而在基层,则是快速成长且充满活力的企业家们,尤其是民营企业家,他们是中国商业创新的主要推动者。而在中间的则是地方政府,在连接上下两层的同时,与彼此之间相互竞争或合作,以推助当地经济发展。

在过去的数十年中,这种发展模式尽管有它的一些问题,但总的来说却为中国创造了惊人的经济效益。但随着本次疫情的发展,我们也意识到了这种模式在面对除经济以外更宏观的问题上的短板。所以这个模式在未来必须有所调整,以确保公共议程能更合理推进。未来,中央及省、市、乡镇各级地方政府必须投入更多的精力和资源来强化公共议程的治理。同时,国有企业(SOEs)和私营企业(POEs)将更加紧密地合作,利用各自的优势创造价值。此次疫情中,在国企与民企的共同努力下,武汉的火神山和雷神山医院分别在10天和14天内竣工,着实是一个壮举。

其次,中国各个城市将向智能化与万物互联发展。长期以来,许多人批评中国所谓的“监控社会”,认为当局掌握了民众们过多的数据。然而,当武汉市长向大众宣布自己并不知晓离开武汉的500万人都去哪的时候,政府对民众的监控似乎还未达到大多数人的想象的程度。在未来,为了确保民众更全面的安全,政府应对人们的行动有更加智能和正面、合理的监管。

此外,中国社会的经济格局也在发生变化。消费正在从线下转向线上。同时,此次疫情加速了诸如5G,人工智能和物联网等新技术的商业化应用。

那么疫情过去之后,哪些趋势会带来潜在的商机?

1. 政府将在全国范围内加大投入,创造一个更安全、更健康的生活环境。

2. 在公共卫生领域,早发现、早预防、早诊断和更有效的治疗将成为关注的焦点,而更为全面的公共卫生管理体系也将得到良好的发展。

3.更多的公私合营模式(PPP):企业与政府部门之间的协作能够创建更多的解决方案,推动未来公共议程的发展。

4.物联网、人工智能、5G和区块链等颠覆性技术将持续推进高效连接的智能化社会的发展。

5. 数字化与大数据在公共管理方面的应用将被大幅提高。

6. 新的社会沟通方式将涌现。尽管人与人之间的沟通仍是主流,其他交互形式如人机交互、机间交互将在未来获得指数式的增长。

7. 在过去几十年中,中国的企业家精神和创新能力一直不断上升,这些仍将进一步加速解决在此次新型冠状病毒疫情危机期间暴露出的各类社会和商业痛点。

此次贸易战与新型冠状病毒疫情的爆发已较大程度地打击了中国的经济。在短期内,政府将会加大重大固定资产投资以促进经济发展。除此之外,中国政府亦将以举国之力建立一个可靠的公共卫生体系。近日,中央政府已经宣布将把生化安全纳入国家安全体系,并佐以立法等相关部门的支持。

这些公共项目将以公私合营(PPP)的形式催生更多的商业机会。民营企业将会与政府建立更深层次的合作以建立新一代的智慧城市及其相关基础建设,这将包括在交通运输管理、供应链管理、应急措施、灾难预警及各类信息追踪方面进行更为智能化的建设。举例来说,未来的智慧城市将在追踪个人行径的同时识别潜在的传染者(基于体温进行甄别)并向附近的医院发出预警来从根本上完善公共卫生体系。诸如这般复杂的工程需要政府、各类企业与医疗机构基于大数据的高效合作才能实施与完成。

在疫情过去之后,新的商业模式将随着交互模式的变化而产生,尤其是在大健康、物流、自动化、线上办公、娱乐、零售、教育和社交媒体等领域将会因此得到新的发展。

在物流和机器人领域,人机交互和机对机交互将加速。例如,武汉新落成的火神山医院已经在使用自动化机器人运送食物和药物、对环境进行消毒并帮助医生进行基本的诊断分析。自动化和机器人技术将在未来变得越来越普遍,并逐渐取代大部分的运输模式。

此外,传统的以线下驱动的商业将开始向线上进行转移,这其中包括大健康、零售和教育等行业。在大健康领域,新兴的技术将使更多的服务可以远程实现。除了更有效的诊断和治疗外,未来医疗的重点将更多地放在疾病的预防和早期发现上。

线上工作的方式变得越来越普遍。因为本次疫情,很大一部分上班族首次尝试了远程工作。企业微信、钉钉和其他远程工作工具成为受益者。这一趋势可能可以得到延续,我们今后的工作、沟通方式亦将会有所改变。

在线娱乐亦在不断发展。电影《囧妈》在线上首映,新的盈利模式取代了传统的线下影院盈利模式。此次疫情推助了线上线下融合(OMO,“Online-Merged-Offline”)模式的发展,亦被应用在许多其他行业,如零售和教育领域等等。

此外,社交媒体在我们社会中扮演的角色亦将会演变。长期以来,社交媒体是C2C和B2C模式沟通的桥梁。然而,正如这场危机所表明的那样,它应承担一种新的角色:民众与政府之间的沟通渠道(G2C和C2G)。社交媒体是政府传播信息并非正式地建立问责制反馈回路的有效方式。

这次疫情暴露了中国的不少问题,但亦带来了一些新的机遇。在短期内,从制造业、供应链和消费者需求的角度来看,这场疫情将为在中国运营以及与中国企业有合作关系的企业增加更多的不确定性。从中长期来看,中国必须要大幅完善公共管理体系,将公共管理放在国家议程的重要地位。这次调整将为政府、国有企业、私营企业以及外资企业更广泛协同合作提供了机会,特别是在智慧城市和智能基础设施等领域。新的消费模式、技术的进步以及商业创新将随之而来,从而进一步改变中国的商业格局。

(注:本文图片来自网络)

HSM | Why Chinese are Workaholic?

By Edward Tse
January 2020

Gao Feng Advisory’s CEO Dr. Edward Tse’s article was published in his regular column on Brazil’s HSM Management Magazine in January 2020 issue. In this article, Dr. Tse discusses the “working hard” culture of the Chinese businesses.

English Version

After decades of tremendous growth, China is now an upper-middle-income nation, according to the World Bank. Its reputation as an innovative economy is increasing. Along with its economic growth, China’s productivity too has been growing well.

The growth of China’s productivity during the last few decades is mainly due to the opening-up and reform policy implemented from 1978 onwards, its labor intensive exports driven manufacturing and investment-led growth model underpinned this extraordinary progress. Yet some strains associated with that approach have become evident in the last one decade or so as these economic drivers seem to be running out of steam.

China stepped into the innovation wave after the wireless internet (together with smart phones) became prevalent. Chinese entrepreneurs have leveraged this technology to create a range of new business models and products that cater to the evolving consumer and business needs. In the race against time and in the midst of hyper-intensive competition, Chinese entrepreneurs have to be fast, agile and adaptive in order to remain ahead of others. They often don’t mind using the market as a test bed for experimentation as they fine-tune their business models along the way. Quick experimentation often becomes the core part of the very culture of Chinese companies. Speed, rhythm, intensity and multi-tasking have become parts of the DNA of many Chinese companies. On top of this, evolving government policies and regulations are often a source of uncertainty and they keep Chinese entrepreneurs persistently and highly alert and vigilant.

As a result, many Chinese businesses have formed a culture of “working hard.” This is the now widely known as “996” schedule – which means working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week. This has become common place among Chinese entrepreneurs, particularly among large internet-based businesses. The 996 schedule was initially applied in order to improve overall productivity of companies by increasing working hours.

Source: Baidu

However, the notion of “996” has become somewhat controversial. Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma is a vocal supporter of the gruelling working hours commonplace in China’s tech and internet industry. He once said at an internal meeting that this is, “a huge blessing that many companies and employees do not have the opportunity to have,” according to a transcript published on Alibaba’s official WeChat account. Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com, a leading e-commerce company, responded to the recent layoffs saying that JD.com would never force employees to work in a 995 or 996 schedule, but every staff of JD.com must “have a competitive spirit!”

Besides the 996 schedule, many Chinese companies, including both state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and privately-owned enterprises (POEs), are actively seeking multiple ways of improving productivity. More and more companies, especially SOEs and some internet companies, are beginning to provide free meals to their employees in order to reduce the amount of time spent on purchasing and eating meals. Moreover, employees’ dormitories and free buses are also being offered as perks to simplify the lives of employees and make sure they can get to work on time. In some companies, a military-style management has also been deployed to improve the efficiency and productivity of their staff’s work.

The “working hard” culture of the Chinese businesses probably won’t go away any time soon.

How Would China’s Businesses be Affected by the Coronavirus?

Source: Baidu

These days, the news is dominated by the impact of the Coronavirus and how China is coping with this latest shock. Consumer demand for goods and services is declining in China; sectors such as retail, travel and leisure are the most directly impacted as businesses have closed or are semi-closed throughout the country. The Coronavirus has challenged China, exposing some crucial gaps, but it will also potentially create new opportunities. Attention will be focused on improving China’s entire public agenda, not only one or two vertical areas.

In the aftermath of the crisis, one would expect China’s governance system to become more transparent and there will be more accountability. In order to ensure its public agenda is advanced properly, a lot more effort and resources will need to be put in by the central government as well as local governments at the provincial, city and township levels. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and non-state-owned enterprises, including both Chinese privately-owned enterprises (POEs) and foreign companies, will be able to better leverage their respective strengths and capabilities. As a case in point, two new specialized hospitals were built in Wuhan – one in 10 days and one in 14 – through the combined efforts of SOEs, POEs and foreign companies. That was quite a feat.

Comprehensive data has always been collected throughout China and surveillance too, was prevalent, and yet China wasn’t able to fully track those who might have contracted the virus. In the aftermath, surveillance and monitoring will become even more important for ensuring their utility for the people.

China’s socioeconomic pattern is also changing as consumer behavior shifts and technology continues to develop. Consumption is shifting increasingly from offline to online. New commercial applications of technologies such as 5G, AI and IoT are also developing faster because of the epidemic. We will see innovative business models and changes in the ways that humans interact with each other and with machines in the future.

Source: Baidu

What trends could possibly drive future business opportunities in the aftermath of the Coronavirus?

1. A major nationwide effort would be made towards creation of a safer and more health-conscious living environment.

2. For public health: early detection, prevention, advanced treatment, and diagnostics would receive much more attention and a more comprehensive public health management system would evolve.

3. There would be more Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Collaboration between private and public sectors to create solutions addressing public agenda issues going forward.

4. The development of a more ubiquitous, connected and intelligent society will accelerate, leveraging new disruptive technologies such as IoT, AI, 5G and blockchain.

5. Big data will become even more prevalent with more data sharing across the board for more effective public agenda management.

6. A rise of new modes of interactions will be imminent. Although human-to-human touchpoints will still remain, other forms of interactions, such as human-to-machine and machine-to-machine will grow exponentially.

7. While entrepreneurship and innovation have already been rising in China over the last several decades, they would further accelerate going forward for addressing the pain points that were exposed during the Coronavirus crisis.

The virus has exposed China’s many problems and created challenges. In the short run, it has added more uncertainty to businesses operating in and with China from manufacturing, supply chain and consumer demand perspectives. In the medium to longer-run, we can expect a huge potential shift as China re-invents itself, making the improvement of its public agenda management a top priority. Collaborations across governments, SOEs, POEs and foreign companies to foster synergies, while at the same time, new consumer patterns and innovative use of technology and business models will come along.

谢祖墀 | 超越数字转型

数字转型是一个几乎每天都被人们所热议的话题。无论是企业家、咨询顾问、学者还是自媒体人等,都在热烈地讨论究竟数字转型是什么,要怎样做,成功转型的秘诀在什么地方。一些在数年前不相信互联网对商业有重大影响的“实体经济企业家”,今天亦在参与这个话题的探讨并着力于带领他们的企业进行数字转型。

目前,世界正处于以数据为驱动的大变革时代,中国亦在此潮流之中。早在党的十九大中就明确指出,“我国经济已由高速增长阶段转向高质量发展阶段。”这是根据国际国内环境的变化,加之中国现有的发展阶段做出的重大判断。近期,中国信通院发布的《中国数字经济发展与就业白皮书》显示,2018年我国数字经济规模达到31.3万亿元,增长20.9%,占GDP比重为34.8%。随着经济结构的优化,消费市场也随之发生了一些变化,例如智能化的产品在近年来备受大众的青睐。为了适应市场的快速变化,企业作为实体经济的主体,在发展中必须与数字化结合得越来越紧密。企业们要么选择遵循数字转型的道路,要不然只能遵循即将被淘汰的道路。这是他们不得不下的赌注。当然,随着时代的快速变化,“数字转型”本身作为一个命题亦在改变。

在2018年的微软Ignite会议上,微软CEO萨蒂亚·纳德拉(Satya Nadella)提出了“科技强度”(Technology Intensity)的概念。他认为对于企业而言,数字转型和云技术必不可少,且一部分头部的企业已超越了基础技术,采用了较尖端的科技进行创新并开发独特的新型解决方案,从而赋予自己新的竞争优势。我们所熟知的大众汽车(Volkswagen)、联合利华(Unilever)、万事达卡(Mastercard)等皆是如此。

科技强度涉及两个方面:第一,每个组织都必须迅速地采用前沿的技术;第二,他们需要建立自己独特的数字化能力。科技强度以这样的一个等式来表达:(科技采用率)^(科技实力)=科技强度 [(tech adoption) ^ tech capabilities = tech intensity]。

一篇《福布斯》(Forbes)文章解释说:“纳德拉将科技强度描述为文化思维方式和业务流程的融合,促进了数字化能力的发展和传播,这些能力创造了端到端的数字化反馈回路,消除了数据孤岛并释放了信息流以激发洞见和预测,自动化了工作流程和智能服务。”

对于企业而言,数字转型有许多好处。迁移到云存储并采用SaaS(软件即服务)解决方案可提供敏捷性、弹性并节省成本。在2020年,数字转型的应用将更为普遍。想要成功达到数字化转型的企业将不仅是生存下去的公司,还有需要跳出原有思路、愿意探索新型协作方式、发现创新解决方案的企业。

那么数字转型与科技强度之间的区别是什么呢?数字转型更多地与所使用的技术和基础架构有关,而科技强度则与企业内更广泛的文化有关——企业如何应用数字转型里已有的工具来挑战极限。换句话说,数字转型能帮助一家公司生存,但是拥抱科技强度将会帮助一家公司进行更深层次的改变和发展。

专注于科技强度可以提升数字转型的高度。科技强度倾向于采用更快的速度,利用它来建立自己的能力并开发特有的知识产权。科技强度将为公司更好地管理其员工,并为当前的竞争格局以及未来的挑战做准备。

为了通过建立自身的技术能力来加速提高影响力,公司需要在人才方面进行投资,建立一种鼓励能力建设和协作以激发新的突破性概念的工作文化。例如,某家企业可能发展了一个概念上的构想,但他们还需要具备拥有构建概念所需的工程和设计技能的员工与将其付诸实践的能力。

信任(trust)是采用和构建技术的基础,信任既是对技术的信任,也是信任合作伙伴的业务模式与他们自身能够成功保持一致。这听起来有些陈词滥调,但是如果公司的技术合作伙伴与他们竞争,他们将永远无法使用技术来建立竞争优势。

一些学术研究的结果说明了技术强度是组织成功的主要驱动力。美国波士顿大学的詹姆士·贝森(James Bessen)对关于是什么使顶尖公司超越了竞争对手进行了广泛的研究。他的结论是,建立专有技术是决定性因素,有助于显著提高生产率。

除了企业之外,科技强度的概念也更广泛地适用于国家的层面,它对政策制定具有重大影响。

在过去的200年里,国家之间出现了巨大的收入贫富差距。经济学家们,特别是美国达特茅斯学院的迭戈·科明(Diego Comin)教授指出,造成这种差距的主要原因是一个国家在使用新技术时的“使用强度”。科明教授将“使用强度”定义为某一种技术在进入一个国家后渗透到民众中的强度。该定义与我们对组织“科技强度”的认知紧密相关。随着时间的推移,技术渗透率或“使用强度”更高的国家将更容易建立自己的技术。这使政府能够为其国民提供更好的服务,使这些国家的大型企业更具竞争力,使中小型企业和企业家提高他们的生产力。

为了鼓励技术的采用,国家们需要优先考虑在哪里下注,例如如何广泛地使用连通性(connectivity)等。今天,各个国家和地区之间的连通性仍然不尽相同。以目前的采用率,低收入国家和地区要实现大范围的互联网访问要等到2042年。

无论是对于国家亦或对于公司而言,要下的赌注仍然极高。在数字时代里,科技强度对于经济增长至关重要,每个部门都将受其影响。因此,这是一个在国家和全球范围内促进更大的经济发展的机会。而科技强度带给不管是私营还是公共部门的利益和资源,都将让他们在面对社会的紧迫挑战时较能有些弹性的空间。

你的企业准备好超越数字转型了吗?

注:本文图片均来自网络

Edward Tse: China’s Shift into Industrial Automation

Another new article authored by Gao Feng Advisory’s CEO Dr. Edward Tse was published, where he discussed china’s shift into industrial automation. Dr. Tse said robots will become a strategically important constituent in China’s labor force going forward.

China’s labor market is evolving from a mass of unskilled labor into one featuring an increasingly sophisticated labor force. Now, it is transforming as automation and the use of robotics in manufacturing or logistics sectors are rising fast.

Cheap labor has long been considered as one of the main factors propelling the country to the status of the word’s factory, which shifts global supply chains and attracts thousands of companies in other countries moving their plants to China. However, economic growth during the past 20 years has led to a rapid increase in wages. China’s average wage increased by 8.2 percent annually in the decade, much higher than the global growth rate, according to the International Labor Organization report. In the report, it also mentioned the average real wages of China has almost doubled between 2008 and 2017. That’s the result of an economy that’s been growing by high single digits to double digits annually for two decades.

In 2008, Beijing updated its Labor Contract Law to improve the labor contract system by defining labor right, reducing working hours and improving the welfare benefits and working environment. Labor conditions have largely been improved since that time. At the same time, there are an oversupply of educated workers and a shrinking low-cost labor force as more high school graduates go on to obtain university degrees. With increased labor union activities, better wages and higher levels of education improving the plight of workers, manufacturing becomes less profitable before the country can shift to less labor-intensive and more value-added industries.

“Made in China 2025”, a strategic plan of the People’s Republic of China issued by Premier Li Keqiang and his cabinet in May 2015, aims at rapidly moving from being a low-end manufacturer to becoming a high-end and high-tech producer of goods. Under the plan, the number of industrial robotics operating in China is targeted to expand tenfold to 1.8 million units by 2025. As part of its effort to upgrade its manufacturing sector, the Chinese government started a campaign in 2014 with the overall aim to gradually replace manual labor with robots, with the heavily industrialized provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong among those introducing the new technology on a massive scale.

According to the World Robotics 2019 report released by International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China has been the world’s largest industrial robot market since 2013. The city government of Dongguan, in the heart of the Guangdong province that is known as China’s industrial and export hub, has allocated 385 million yuan (US$56.8 million) to boost automation in factories last year alone. Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics giant which makes half of the world’s iPhones, plans to fully automate 30 per cent of its production by 2020. In the logistics sector, robotics is also changing the whole industry. Cainiao, one of China’s leading logistics players (~63% owned by Alibaba), has opened China’s largest and most efficient robot-operated warehouse in 2018, with the application of nearly 700 robots, including robotic arms and unmanned drones.

China began its economic ascent as the “world’s factory” over the past several decades by taking advantage of cheap labor. Now, a robot revolution is under way and robots will become a strategically important constituent in China’s labor force going forward.

 

Edward Tse: Are Chinese Workaholic?

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This is a new article authored by Gao Feng Advisory’s CEO Dr. Edward Tse, in which he discusses the culture of “working hard” —”996″ schedule of the Chinese businesses.

After decades of tremendous growth, China is now an upper-middle-income nation, according to the World Bank. Its reputation as an innovative economy is increasing. Along with its economic growth, China’s productivity too has been growing well.

The growth of China’s productivity during the last few decades is mainly due to the opening-up and reform policy implemented from 1978 onwards, its labor intensive exports driven manufacturing and investment-led growth model underpinned this extraordinary progress. Yet some strains associated with that approach have become evident in the last one decade or so as these economic drivers seem to be running out of steam.

China stepped into the innovation wave after the wireless internet (together with smart phones) became prevalent. Chinese entrepreneurs have leveraged this technology to create a range of new business models and products that cater to the evolving consumer and business needs. In the race against time and in the midst of hyper-intensive competition, Chinese entrepreneurs have to be fast, agile and adaptive in order to remain ahead of others. They often don’t mind using the market as a test bed for experimentation as they fine-tune their business models along the way. Quick experimentation often becomes the core part of the very culture of Chinese companies. Speed, rhythm, intensity and multi-tasking have become parts of the DNA of many Chinese companies. On top of this, evolving government policies and regulations are often a source of uncertainty and they keep Chinese entrepreneurs persistently and highly alert and vigilant.

As a result, many Chinese businesses have formed a culture of “working hard.” This is the now widely known as “996” schedule – which means working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week. This has become common place among Chinese entrepreneurs, particularly among large internet-based businesses. The 996 schedule was initially applied in order to improve overall productivity of companies by increasing working hours.

Source: Baidu

However, the notion of “996” has become somewhat controversial. Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma is a vocal supporter of the gruelling working hours commonplace in China’s tech and internet industry. He once said at an internal meeting that this is, “a huge blessing that many companies and employees do not have the opportunity to have,” according to a transcript published on Alibaba’s official WeChat account. Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com, a leading e-commerce company, responded to the recent layoffs saying that JD.com would never force employees to work in a 995 or 996 schedule, but every staff of JD.com must “have a competitive spirit!”

Besides the 996 schedule, many Chinese companies, including both state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and privately-owned enterprises (POEs), are actively seeking multiple ways of improving productivity. More and more companies, especially SOEs and some internet companies, are beginning to provide free meals to their employees in order to reduce the amount of time spent on purchasing and eating meals. Moreover, employees’ dormitories and free buses are also being offered as perks to simplify the lives of employees and make sure they can get to work on time. In some companies, a military-style management has also been deployed to improve the efficiency and productivity of their staff’s work.

The “working hard” culture of the Chinese businesses probably won’t go away any time soon.

 

谢祖墀:印度人在跨国企业上位是必然的

前不久12月3日,谷歌两大创始人拉里·佩奇(Larry Page)和谢尔盖·布尔(Sergey Brin)宣布,分别卸任谷歌母公司Alphabet CEO和总裁职务。现任谷歌CEO桑达尔·皮查伊(Sundar Pichai)将同时兼任Alphabet CEO,总裁职务将被取消。

这位新的Alphabet“掌门人”是什么来历呢?

1972年,皮查伊出生在印度金奈,是印度典型中产家庭长大的,他是一名品学兼优的学生。求学期间,他的成绩相当优秀,曾分别在印度理工学院、斯坦福大学、宾夕法尼亚大学沃顿商学院求学。之后,皮查伊在美国开始了自己的职业生涯,先是在应用材料公司(Applied Materials)担任产品经理,随后跳槽到麦肯锡担任管理咨询顾问。

2004年皮查伊加入谷歌,成为一名产品经理,负责包括Chrome、Chrome OS和Google Drive在内的软件产品的创新工作。2015年8月10日,皮查伊被任命为谷歌新任CEO,谷歌也重组为Alphabet。2015年10月2日,皮查伊履新谷歌CEO一职。如今2019年12月3日,他成为 Alphabet的CEO。

在之前的工作岗位上,皮查伊就是深受谷歌领导信任的团队成员,曾担任佩奇和布尔的顾问。尽管同行认为皮查伊很低调,但技术能力和远见卓识,使得他在谷歌能不断受到提拔。在每个岗位上,皮查伊都展现出推动产品增长、吸引新用户,既重视产品质量又重视营收增长的能力,把Android打造成谷歌最大的增长引擎。谷歌前CEO拉里·佩奇评价道:“皮查伊拥有丰富的技术经验、敏锐的产品目光和极高的企业家才智。很难有人能集这三种品质于一身,皮查伊也因此堪称一位伟大的领导者。”

在Alphabet,仅用15年的时间就从一名产品经理升至了CEO!皮查伊应该是现代最完美诠释“美国梦”的印度人。其实,皮查伊就是不少印度人在硅谷,在美国乃至世界的一个缩影。

放眼全球,在各行各业成功人士中印度裔占了很大的比例:美国著名记者、时事评论家和作家法里德·扎卡利亚(Fareed Zakaria),国际货币基金组织首席经济学家吉塔·戈皮纳斯(Gita Gopinath),特朗普政府的前驻联合国大使尼基·黑莉(Nikki Haley),百事可乐CEO英德拉·诺伊(Indra K. Nooyi),如此人士不胜枚举。

我对于印度人近距离的观察开始于我31年前在美国加入麦肯锡公司之后,尽管当时麦肯锡主要是“WASP”(白人盎格鲁-撒克逊新教徒)的组织,但是有三位非WASP的咨询顾问在麦肯锡全球举足轻重,一位是日本人大前研一(Kenichi Ohmae),一位是德国人赫伯特·亨茨勒(Herbert Henzler),而另一位则是常驻纽约的印度人蒂诺·普里(Tino Puri)。他们三位都是卓越的咨询顾问,尤其是蒂诺·普里,他的辩论和演讲能力在芸芸资深麦肯锡顾问中已经非常出众。给我留下了深刻的印象。同时当时还有还不是很出名,但后来成为麦肯锡全球的CEO的拉贾特·古普塔(Rajat Gupta)亦是印度人。其他例子亦有不少。

后来我到了波士顿咨询公司(BCG)和博思艾伦(Booz Allen Hamilton)之后,这一现象亦存在,不少优秀的咨询顾问都是印度人。在博斯公司(Booz & Company)年代,我们的第一任CEO,亦是曾经长时间与我在亚洲地区打拼的合伙人舒梅特·巴纳吉(Shumeet Banerji)就是印度人。

除了我的同事外,我许多位于跨国公司高管地位的客户们亦是印度人,他们有些在欧美,有些在亚太地区,亦有不少在中国地区。与我合作较多的包括全球领先的音响产品制造商哈曼国际公司的CEO包利华(Dinesh Paliwal),全球最大的家用清洁用品公司之一利洁时公司的刚卸任的CEO拉克什卡普尔(Rakesh Kapoor)(该公司新任CEO拉什曼·纳拉辛汉(Laxman Narasimhan)亦是印度裔)、COO赛艾迪(Aditya Sehgal)和大型日用消费品生产及经销商安利公司的CEO潘睦邻(Milind Pant)等。

以我的观察,这些能够争取到较高社会地位的印度人普遍有以下几个特征:1. 他们擅长辩论,而且往往在之前没有任何准备,在不经意间便能作出深入浅出的辩解。2. 他们不会害怕在“权威”或资历较深的人面前发表自己的言论和观点。3. 他们善于在复杂情况中进行归纳和最后简化的总结。4. 他们在语言能力,特别是英语方面很强。他们不但很能说,更重要的是他们的讲话方式非常精巧(sophisticated),辞藻丰富,对听众们有强大的感染力。5. 一部分学习了英国人遗留下来的“幽默感”,能容易受到西方人士接受。

为什么印度人能做到这几点?许多人说是因为印度曾经有数百年是英国的殖民地,所以他们的英语能力高,而因此他们在欧美比较容易成功。以我看来,这是必要(necessary)的条件,但并非充分(sufficient)的情况。

印度是一个文明古国,从远古开始印度人就对“我们究竟是谁”这个问题进行着不断的探索。这是因为当地的地理、气候和人种的迁徙而造成的。他们通过多时间和重复的冥想和其他的方法来在人类内在的智慧进行探索。长此以来,逐渐形成了他们对于抽象、复杂的问题不断验证和通过不同的方式特别是语言表达出来的能力。

印度的梵文在描述精神软性现象方面,如认知(cognition)、意识(consciousness)、觉知(perception)方面的范畴有着非常细致的描述和解释。同时因为这些软性的现象大多数都不能以当时(和现在)的科学来解释,所以不同人或团体便需要通过辩论来说服其他人或团体。他们自己修炼的方法是最为正确的,久而久之,印度人形成了一种在抽象、复杂和高度不确定性中沟通的精致能力。他们一方面要充分解释感知上的每一点,但亦需要全面地系统性地做出总结。

后来印度被英国殖民之后,印度人逐渐学会了将他们之前数千年来积累的能力通过英语来沟通。英语在描述精神软性方面的精细程度虽比不上梵文,但亦不差。许多人说,印度人的英语能力比许多以英语为母语的人更要强,这是主要是因为印度人历史长流中积累的文化基因形成的,而语言只是此基因表达的工具而已。

印度人的文明有它的长处,亦有它的短处。长处我在上文已谈到,就是它在抽象问题方面分析和演绎的能力。短处就是过度的个人化或小众化,因为注重对于个人内在的了解所以缺乏培养大型组织建设的能力。在经历了几千年来文明的发展,印度到今天在大型组织建设的能力方面相对中国而言仍然较为乏善可陈。

不过一部分印度精英离开了他们的故土,到了海外,特别是工业化较早发展的西方国家,在投入了当地的社会和企业的组织体系中,当地的秩序便弥补了印度人在这方面的缺陷,而他们的长处便能自然发挥出来。这种结合让不少印度人在西方,特别是美国的企业中能够脱颖而出,逐渐出现大量的企业高管,甚至是CEO。

这种现象特别容易在科技企业中出现。因这些企业比传统企业更需要探索,更模糊且不确定性程度更高,更需要印度人那种能言善辩,辞藻犀利,擅长sophisticated的沟通和总结能力的人来主导。

这是几千年以来文明积累下来的结晶,亦是一不可逆转的趋势。我们中国人亦有璀璨的文明和我们的优势,我们可以虚心学习印度人的能力,结合我们自身的优势,中国人亦可以不断地进步。

 

注:本文图片均来自网络

文章 | 谢祖墀:何谓韧性组织

本文是高风咨询CEO谢祖墀博士发表在《今日头条》网站上的文章。谢博士认为,“韧力调节型组织”企业总体较为灵活,能迅速适应外部市场的变化,能始终坚持清晰的经营战略,并围绕它开展业务。它能够围绕客户需求,重新进行自我定义。在他看来,生态和平台是“大组织”韧力的重要来源。即组织的能力判断和建设已从平面、单维朝向立体、多维方面进化,对于如何建立韧性组织的话题上,我们亦需与时俱进。

在快速变化、模棱两可的时代里,企业的韧性日益变得重要。什么是韧性?韧性是如何建立的?

我在博斯公司(Booz & Company)工作的时候开始接触“韧性组织”(Resilient Organization)的概念。当时,我的一位常驻芝加哥办公室资深合伙人加里·尼尔逊(Gary Neilson)提出了组织DNA(Org DNA)的理论。加里和他的团队在对大量企业的组织形态做了详细的研究后发现,企业的原始形态,(亦即“组织DNA”)可归纳为七种,其中三种是健康的、四种是不健康的。而在三种健康的DNA类型中,最好的类型是“韧力调节型”组织(Resilient Organization)。这一内容刊载于2004年夏天的《战略与经营》管理杂志,加里发表的“七种组织DNA”(The Seven Types of Organizational DNA)这篇文章里。按照加里的说法,韧力调节型的组织具有以下特征:

“这种企业非常灵活,能迅速适应外部市场的变化,但同时又能始终坚持清晰的经营战略,并围绕它开展业务。企业具有前瞻性,能经常预测未来的变化,并未雨绸缪地做好准备。它能够吸引积极进取、具有团队精神的人才,不仅为他们提供催人奋进的工作环境,还提供资源并授予他们权力以有效解决各种棘手的问题。”

自从加里·尼尔逊经典之作后,不少其他学者、咨询顾问甚至自媒体人亦在韧性组织的话题上提出了他们的观点。

哈佛商学院教授兰杰·古拉蒂(Ranjay Gulati)在2010年提出了“组织韧性的四个层次”(The Four Levels of Organizational Resilience)。他指出,不同组织的韧性可以从低至高分成四个层次。第四层韧性组织可定义为,“能够围绕客户需求,整合内部和外部伙伴的资源,并能够提出解决方案,而非简单的产品和服务,甚至能够根据客户需求重新进行自我定义”。古拉蒂以苹果公司(Apple)作为第四层韧性组织的代表案例。为了满足用户对直观、简洁的操作、以及丰富应用的需求,苹果与美国电话电报公司(AT&T)合作,在iPhone上开发了可视化语音邮件,简化用户注册流程;并与第三方公司合作开发了超过十万款应用。

在今年8月份《战略与经营》杂志上的一篇名为《如何打造颠覆性战略飞轮》(“How to Build Disruptive Strategic Flywheels”)的文章里,桑德尔·苏布拉曼尼亚和阿南德·饶(Sundar Subramanian and Anand Rao)提出了韧性组织所需的三种特性:

一是不断感知和适应市场的变化,并通过清晰的思考模型,不断进行尝试、甚至作出赌注,让企业能够应对不同策略决定下可能出现的场景和可期待的结果;二是发展强化的因果反馈机制,并不断根据该框架测试、放弃或修改想法。在颠覆性的市场趋势出现时,这种机制能够提供巨大的优势;三是关注WTP(Way to Play,即“打法”),通过一套能力驱动的战略,扩展与其相关的能力体系,并根据动态反馈的需求来扩展和完善业务模型。”

苏布拉曼尼亚和饶认为,奈飞(Netflix)和亚马逊(Amazon)是具有强大韧性的组织的佼佼者。奈飞打造了三个良性循环系统作为它的颠覆性战略飞轮:一是定制化循环,通过AI带来更多观众、更多观看、更多信息,从而带来更好的定制化服务;二是决策频率循环,通过订阅模型带来每分钟更多的用户决策数,从而带来更多数据与更好的定制化服务;三是内容生产循环,通过更好地理解每位观众的偏好,成为内容生产者眼中更好的合作对象。

亚马逊则是另一个通过建立深层能力打造战略飞轮的绝佳案例:它通过挖掘数据以了解用户需求和行为模式,并在此基础上扩展了经营范围,从线上内容流到云服务,以及IoT中的一系列硬件产品。尤其是亚马逊通过旗下智能语音音箱Alexa打造了第二个因果反馈闭环,即通过Alexa适配更多硬件设备,提高销量,从而吸引更多合作伙伴。

自从博斯公司在韧性组织的突破性研究之后,在过去15年间,有不少其他人提出了他们在这方面的理论和观察。最近数年,我亦觉察到国内亦有不少观察者提出了他们在这方面的观点。

当然,一个企业的成长和演变取决于许多不同的因素。领导者的风格和能力往往是决定性的原因。

在我从业战略咨询的生涯中,最为难忘的一段话是2004年担当时任《战略与经营》杂志的主编,我的旧同事,兰德尔·罗森伯格(Randall Rothenberg)以“改变与韧性”为题说的以下这段话:

“复杂性和不确定性是挑战。战略转型是道路。韧性是目标。尽管商业领导者在认识到战略转型是一个持续的旅程后会有些不安,但为了达到韧性这一超越物理境界的目标——亦即获得不断适应非连续变化的能力(the ability to adapt continually to discontinuous change)——让领导者、员工及股东都在这个旅程中深深地觉得很有价值。”

“在不断适应非连续变化。”——这确实精准地描述了当代企业必须具备的能力。这段话是罗森伯格在“前移动互联网时代”所说的,当时还没有脸书、推特、领英等公司,谷歌、亚马逊、阿里、腾讯等也还是规模很小的公司,但罗森伯格已经将企业转型和韧性的精髓用几句话便清晰地提了出来,很了不起。

那时亦是“前生态系统”、“前平台”时代,对于组织韧性的分析和研究主要还是从单一企业角度来看的。今天我们已经习惯了生态、平台等组织概念。在我看来,生态和平台是“大组织”韧力的重要来源。换句话说,组织的能力判断和建设已从平面、单维朝向立体、多维方面进化,对于如何建立韧性组织的话题上,我们亦需与时俱进。

HSM | China’s Mega Platforms Organizations

Edward Tse

Gao Feng Advisory’s CEO Dr. Edward Tse’s article was published in his regular column on Brazil’s HSM Management Magazine. In this article, Dr. Tse wrote about China’s mega platforms companies. China’s innovations are not just about monetization. It’s an inspiration for new intellectual capital on how businesses generate their strategy and innovations. They enrich the world’s thought leadership.

 

English Version
China’s Mega Platforms Organizations

The most valuable Chinese companies today are typically “mega ecosystem” players which operate networks of businesses that can support each other and supplement each other’s capabilities. Internet giants, Alibaba and Tencent, arguably the most well-known companies in China, are now in the top ten of public companies by market capitalization.

The notion of a business ecosystem is not new. Apple, one the world’s most valuable companies, was a pioneer in this regard. Other leading U.S. tech companies such as Amazon and Alphabet are also ecosystem players. Chinese companies, however, have turned out to be even more adept at building such organizations.

Prime examples of mega ecosystems in China today include Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi. Building out from their original core businesses, they have jumped into a string of new sectors.

Alibaba started as a small business-to-business online marketplace almost 20 years ago and jumped in with consumer-to-consumer site Taobao and later business-to-consumer site Tmall. To support these businesses, Alibaba started Alipay to support mobile online payments and then used it as a platform to offer wealth management services.

Today, Alibaba’s has also branched into areas including “automobility”, “big health”, media, “new retail”, location services, cloud services, and smart logistics.

Xiaomi, the youngest Fortune 500 company, is a leading ecosystem players with a range of businesses in hardware, internet services and new retail. By partnering up with a hundred more start-ups since 2013, Xiaomi has been able to add many more products onto its In-ternet of Things (IoT) platform, without having to produce them in-house. Today, Xiaomi offers more than 300 lifestyle products and are connecting more than 170 million devices (excluding mobile phones and laptops).

Xiaomi’s smartphone business is becoming a smaller part of its business, while internet services are growing. To this end, it has added to its portfolio apps ranging from online games, eBooks, live streaming, music and videos, internet finance, cloud services and automotive social platforms. This allows them to monetize on ser-vices after selling low-priced hardware, which could drive a large part of revenue going forward.

With such a large range of products in its portfolio, Xiaomi has made the jump into new retail that aims at seamlessly interconnecting its online and offline channel. Over the years, Xiaomi has built interac-tions and close relationships with its supporters, affectionately called the “Mi-fans.”

Xiaomi’s founder and leader, Lei Jun, has said that the next strate-gic move would be building a smartphone + AIoT (AI and IoT) in anticipation of 5G technology. With this strategy, it is likely that Xiaomi would extend its ecosystem, and increase in the variety of Xiaomi applications.

When Chinese companies sense a market opening, they would quickly make the jump to capture the opportunities and try to make up the gaps in capabilities through ecosystems of collaborative part-nerships. In contrast, most foreign corporations tend to focus on what they have been doing all along and avoid “diversification”. Foreign companies operating in China have now increasingly recog-nized this difference and are catching up by learning from Chinese companies and participating into their ecosystems.

About the Author
Dr. Edward Tse is founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, and a founding Governor of Hong Kong Institution for International Finance. One of the pioneers in China’s management consulting industry, he built and ran the Greater China operations of two leading international management consulting firms for a period of 20 years. He has consulted to hundreds of companies, investors, start-ups, and public-sector organizations (both headquartered in and outside of China) on all critical aspects of business in China and China for the world. He also consulted to the Chinese government on strategies, state-owned enterprise reform and Chinese companies going overseas, as well as to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. He is the author of several hundred articles and four books including both award-winning The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015) (Chinese version «创业家精神»).

 

重温《边缘上竞争》

本文是高风咨询CEO谢祖墀博士的最新观点文章,他重温和回顾了《边缘上竞争》(Competing on the Edge)的理念。在此理念的指导下,于五年前提出了“战略的第三条路”的概念。

最近华章出版社与我联络,他们说他们计划在2001年出版的《边缘竞争》(华章出版社用了《边缘竞争》为中译名字,我觉得《边缘上竞争》与英文原文较吻合)一书,在近期重新发行,并希望征求我的意见。

这比较突然而来的邀请,让我再度想起来这本书在企业战略管理历史上的重要性,很可惜,这本书在国内几乎没有什么人听过,对这书里提出来的理念几乎完全不知道。所以在这次的专栏中,我想写一篇对这本书的重温和回顾。

我接触这本书应该已经有20年左右,看的是它的原文英文版本。它给我留下来非常深刻的印象。因为我的工作关系,一直以来我非常关注有关企业战略的书籍。这本书应该是第一本从真正意义上介绍动态战略的一本书。于90年代末出版,对今天还未过时,是一本真正掌握到动态战略真谛的书籍,说它是超时代并不过分。

《边缘上竞争》(Competing on the Edge)一书于1998年出版,由美国斯坦福大学两位女性学者肖纳·布朗(Shona L. Brown) 和凯思琳M. 艾森哈特(Kathleen M. Eisenhardt) 合著,主要作者是布朗女士。该书针对当时的计算机行业的发展给企业和管理界带来的新的问题。在书中她们提出的一个在当时来说全新的战略管理理论。该理论吸收了环境复杂性理论(Complexity Theory)和进化理论(Evolutionary Theory)等前沿思想,并对分布于全球的12家企业进行了实地调查和深入研究。

在这本书出现之前,几乎所有的企业战略理论都是以静态为主的,其中有代表性的包括波特五力模型,BCG矩阵,以及蓝海战略等。主导思想是:企业致胜之道是要为自己寻找到一个最优胜的定位。

在1990年代初期于学术界和管理咨询界出现的重要的新的战略理论。于1990年美国密歇根大学商学院两位教授C•K•普拉哈拉德(C.K. Prahalad)和加里•哈默(Gary Hamel)提出了核心竞争力理论。该理论指出一家企业要成功必须按照自己的优势来做,亦即所谓核心竞争力。而1992年时,我当时在BCG时的三位合伙人斯托克(George Stalk, Jr.),埃文斯(Philip Evans)和舒尔曼(Lawrence E. Shulman)发表了《基于能力的竞争》(Competing on Capabilities)。他们认为,企业的持续成功来自企业已建立的内部能力,而战略的精华在于它能否以动应变,从而确立并形成一种他人难以效仿的组织能力。按自己的强处和能力来做事所讲当然是一般的常识,这套理论后来亦是成为了在过去二十多年支配着西方商界和投资界的主流战略思想理论。

以后,不少咨询公司仍然用这些理论来标榜自己。如贝恩(Bain)咨询公司的祖克(Chris Zook)和艾伦(James Allen)在2001年出版《从核心盈利:动荡时代的增长战略》(Profit from the Core: Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence) ,书中提出了基于核心竞争力的增长战略。这一理论和密歇根大学的核心竞争力理论和BCG能力竞争理论有着相同的原理。

以至2008年,亦即原来核心竞争力理论出版18年后,博斯咨询公司(Booz & Company)才提出“以能力驱动战略”(Capabilities-Driven Strategy)的概念。其核心思想是:企业必须依赖3至6个最强的能力和它们形成的能力体系来进行竞争。从本质上,与原始的核心竞争力方面理论没有很大的突破。

在此期中,有些学者和咨询顾问们曾经尝试将动态的思想注入能力战略理念之内。较著名的是加州大学伯克利分校的教授大卫·J.蒂斯(David J. Teece)于1997年他提出了动态能力(Dynamic Capabilities)的概念。基本上他将能力从原来的静态状态延伸到动态的状态。举例来说,他说速度、感应和应变能力对企业是非常重要的。但蒂斯的理念没有超越原来的核心竞争力/能力的思想范畴,本质上没有突破。

《边缘上竞争》是第一本将动态战略从本质上整体介绍出来的一本书。“动态”不只是将静态能力重新包装一下而已,而是在思想和理念方面整体上的一种提升,亦是一种系统思维。它书名的副题是《有序中混沌的战略》(Strategies in Structured Chaos),它说明了我们处于的竞争和经营环境将是在有序(Structure)和混沌(Chaos)之间的徘徊,没有任何时候,我们所处于的环境将是完全的有序但亦没有任何时候是完全的混沌。战略最基本的真谛就是在有序和混沌之间不断的动态平衡。肖纳•布朗(Shona L. Brown)在书内提出了几点非常重要的观点。她说未来企业经营环境的主要特征是高速变化和不可预测性,因此,战略管理最重要的是对变革进行管理,这主要表现在三个方面:一是对变革做出预测;二是对变革做出反应;三是领导变革,即走在变革的前面,甚至是改变或创造竞争的游戏规则。
在当时1990年代末期,这些观点是划时代的,布朗应是第一个将这些理念做系统性介绍,同时她亦提出了动态战略的十项原则:

1. 优势是短暂的;2. 战略是多样化的,迭变的和复杂的;3. 不断地自我发现是目标;4. 组织简单化,作用极大化;5. 从过往而来;6. 向未来延伸;7. 保持适当的节奏和步伐;8. 将战略拓展出来;9. 从业务层面启动战略;10. 将业务与市场紧密挂钩和不断整合到企业整体。

从战略角度来说,我认为最主要的原则是第一条、第二条、第三条、和第七条。第一条:“优势是短暂的”,说明企业的所有优势都是短暂的,没有什么是“持续”的。企业应该不断地发掘和发展新的优势来源,将改变视为机遇而不是威胁。第二条:“战略是多样化的,迭变的和复杂的”,说明了战略不是死板和静态的,它必须是动态调整的。第三条:“不断地自我发现是目标”,亦是动态思想的核心,企业没有停下来的时间,必须不断发掘新的目标。第七条:“保持适当的节奏和步伐”应是我第一次在有关战略思想的文献上看到的,不只是速度重要,保持适当的节奏和步伐一样关键。

在这本书写完以后的20年来,企业所处的经营环境经历了加速的改变,不确定性越来越高,静态的战略思想已经完全不行,作为第一个提出整体动态战略的布朗女士,她的预见的确令人佩服。当然,随着时代的变化,布朗的理论亦需进行微调。不过,她当时的视野和感觉在今天而言还是非常到位的。

在《边缘上竞争》的理念指导下,我从五年前开始就提出了“战略的第三条路”的概念。此概念是说企业在快速发展的市场环境里,可以考虑多级跳作为动态发展的手段,而不一定需要以传统的核心竞争力/能力作为自我限制发展的枷锁。多级跳理论的基础是边缘上竞争,亦即动态战略。在未来科技发展的超快速,国际上地缘政治关系和日趋复杂的大前提下,动态战略的重要性将更加重要。在这个时候,重温布朗女士划时代的巨著《边缘上竞争》恰是最好的时机。

(注:本文图片均来自网络)
作者简介
谢祖墀 (Dr. Edward Tse) 是高风咨询公司的创始人兼CEO。同时他也是香港国际金融学会创会理事。谢博士是中国管理咨询行业最早的从业者之一,在过去20年中,他曾带领两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。他为包括国内外的数百家企业提供过咨询服务,涉及在华商业的各个层面,以及中国在世界的角色。他曾为中国政府提供过战略、国有企业改革以及中国企业走出国门的建议。他已撰写数百篇文章以及四本书籍,其中包括屡获殊荣的《中国战略》(The China Strategy,2010年)和《创业家精神》(China’s Disruptors,2015年)。

Inspiring Innovations through Curiosity in the China Context

By Edward Tse

December 2018

This article is the introduction to the China highlights in the State of Curiosity Report 2018 published by Merck Group

Source: Google

The last 40 years of China’s reform and market liberalization have brought profound changes and tremendous progress to the country’s economy, especially to its business landscape. Along the way, China has evolved into its own development model without consciously planning for it – a “Three-layer Duality”. At the top, the central government sets the overall development priorities. At the grass-root level, the private sector entrepreneurs are now a major driving force in the Chinese economy. In the middle, various local governments, in response to the directions from the top, compete, and sometimes collaborate in regional clusters, often by teaming up with the entrepreneurs. With both a state sector and a private sector co-existing – in some cases competing and in others playing their own distinctive roles – this duality is a defining feature of the Chinese economy.

This three-layer working paradigm has stimulated the exponential rise of curiosity-driven business innovations, especially from the private sector. The rise in workplace innovation is reflected in Merck’s 2018 State of Curiosity survey, a multi-dimensional model that measured the importance of curiosity and innovation across several countries. China, above the US and Germany, found that innovation played a meaningful role in its workplace culture. With this value on innovation, the country has shed its copycat stigma and emerged as an epicenter of tech-enabled innovations. According to reports by Xinhua News Agency last year in 2017, the internet and technology sector – ranging from AI, big data, IoT, and robotics – grew twice as quickly as the overall gross domestic product over the past decade. Born with a different set of characteristics in each generation, Chinese entrepreneurs are thriving in what is now the world’s second-largest birthplace of unicorns (unlisted companies valued at or above US$ 1 billion that established within 10 years).

Source: Google

What has enabled China to move from copycat to curious innovator?

1. First and foremost, it is due to the “why not me?” mindset. Realizing the huge gap between China and the rest of the world, especially in the early days of the country’s reform and opening, Chinese entrepreneurs were compelled to show the world that they too could succeed.

2. As the economy transformed, China’s societal pain points that once were hidden became exposed. Coupled with the prevalence of technology, especially the commercial application of smart devices through the wireless internet, these new conditions provided the breeding ground for innovations.

3. While state-owned counterparts are typically slower in responding to these changes, private sector entrepreneurial companies rose to the challenge and took on the opportunities.

4. At the same time, China’s massive market allowed companies to rapidly scale up and its hyper-competition spurred companies to speed up their innovations to stay ahead in the game.

5. Finally, along the way, Chinese companies have benefited greatly from the vast capital pool and angel investors, and the investors, in turn, have benefited from exceptional returns on their investments in China.

Regardless of whether these investors came from abroad or home, Chinese entrepreneurial companies, especially tech companies, often pattern themselves after companies in the US Silicon Valley. Leaders of these organizations often work alongside the team, making it easy for them to capture market changes and make quick decisions. These leaders (usually founders and managers) are typically strong and visionary – a common trait of Chinese entrepreneurial organizations and culture. Structures of these organizations especially during their early phase tend to be flat thereby allowing efficient response to the ever-changing business environment.

While these companies have strong leaders at the top, they also have appreciable empowerment across the organization, which may sound like a paradox. However, institutional curiosity manifests itself often in a profound manner, particularly in tech companies during their entrepreneurial phases. A few key drivers are noted for these organizations in the form of Curiosity dimensions, as defined by Merck.

The first is the openness to people’s idea: The relatively open organization structure in Chinese tech companies enables more openness and better communications among team members.

The second is stress tolerance: There are more ambiguity and uncertainty in China’s rapid and disruptive evolution. Entrepreneurs must be willing to try and embrace pressure.

The third is joyous exploration: Growing income and better living conditions over the past decade have uplifted people’s expectation that the future will be better. They’re more willing to explore a life that’s better and more joyous.

Last but not least is deprivation sensitivity: Entrepreneurship makes people more sensitive to deprivation. If there is a gap, Chinese entrepreneurs are curious about it and more determined to close the gap.

With these highly adaptive characteristics, Chinese tech companies are embracing new and emerging technologies, and China as a whole is at the front seat witnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the merging of physical, digital and biological means. With technologies such as AI, IoT and Blockchain are here and 5G coming just around the corner, the Chinese are significantly embracing them to enable the next generations of innovations.

Going forward, we expect more tech-enabled innovations driven by heightened organizational curiosity from China. Though it is a universal phenomenon that the bar for success remains high, given the scale of the China market, its fast growth, its increasing prevalence of various forms of technologies and the prowess of its “three-layer duality” paradigm, the “odds of making it” are expected to be on the Chinese side. China’s path towards an innovative economy will inevitably involve many ups and downs, perhaps at times becoming quite turbulent and wasting some resources. However, one should acknowledge China’s consistent drive toward better livelihood for its people and a “community of shared future” for the humankind. At the heart of it, the source of this inspiration is the intrinsic curiosity of its organizations.

HSM | China’s Age of Innovation and Game-Changers

Dr. Edward Tse’s article was published in his regular column on Brazil’s HSM Management Magazine. In this article, Dr. Tse discussed how China’s system works to the favour of the country’s tech-enabled business innovations.

English Version

China’s Age of

Innovation and Game-Changers

Branded for decades as a “copycat nation”, China has now re-emerged as a global epicenter of business and technological innovations. The internet and tech sector – ranging from ride-hailing to e-commerce, robotics and artificial intelligence – grew 20 percent in 2018 to a total of 142 billion USD value. Two Chinese companies, Tencent and Alibaba are now among the top ten of the world’s most valuable companies. China has also become the second-largest birthplace of unicorns (unlisted companies valued at or above US$1 billion), and has filed the largest number of domestic AI-related patents, trumping Silicon Valley by as much as seven times, according to CB Insights.

Several drivers contribute to China’s rapid transformation. First, a “why not me” mindset drove the Chinese entrepreneurs who, realizing the huge gap between China and the rest of the world, in particular during the early years of China’s reform and opening, want to show that they too could succeed.

Second, as its economy transformed, China’s once-hidden societal pain points became exposed; coupled with the prevalence of technology (especially the wireless internet and smartphones), these pain points provided the breeding ground for innovations.

Third, while their state-owned counterparts are typically slower in adaptation, privately-owned entrepreneurial companies rose to the challenge and took on the opportunities. At the same time, China’s massive market allowed companies to rapidly scale up, and its hyper-competition spurred companies to continuously innovate.

Finally, Chinese companies have benefited greatly from the vast pools of venture capital and angel investors. Many of the investors, including both foreign and local, have also benefited from exceptional returns on their investments in China.

The innovative ecosystem arose from China’s unique “Three-layer Duality” development model. At the top, the central government’s guiding hand sets goals and directions for the country, giving the rest of the country clear targets to follow. At the grass-roots level, the private sector entrepreneurs have re-emerged since the end of China’s Cultural Revolution and is a major force in driving the growth of China’s economy. And, In the middle, China’s local governments channel their resources into national and local priorities, often collaborating closely with entrepreneurs who bring innovative ideas to bear. Local governments often compete with each other, but they also cooperate within regional clusters. Though the model occasionally suffers from glitches, in general, the coexistence of private and state-owned players provides tremendous resilience for the growth of both sectors.

China’s path towards an innovative economy will, however, not simply be a straight line; it will inevitably involve many ups and downs. The probability of successful innovations for anyone – either large corporate or startups – is low. Nonetheless, with the scale of the China market, its relatively fast rate of growth, the increasing prevalence of various forms of technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things, blockchain technology and 5G, as well as the prowess of its “three-layer duality” paradigm, one would expect that China could continue to drive innovations in significant ways.

Clariant | What Drives Business and Innovation in China?

What Drives Business and Innovation in China?

We are pleased to share with you an interview report on the topic of What Drives Business and Innovation in China?, which was published on Clariant Integrated Report 2018. It includes an interview with us that covers our perspectives on China’s innovations.
Q: Edward, what’s the biggest misconception Western companies have about China?
It’s the presumption that China’s development will follow the path of the West, and that they can simply copy and paste their strategy and business model to China. The typical Western stance is, ‘If this cookie-cutter approach results in success, that’s great and we know what we are doing! However, if it doesn’t, then the problem has got to be with China, and not our strategy’.
Q: What makes China so different?
It’s an ancient civilization going back 5 000 years, but its modern business development is exceptionally young. Only since the reforms and opening of the late 1970s has China started to reconnect with the rest of the world. That development is far from perfect, but it has lifted 700 million people out of poverty. The China that you’re seeing now comes from a rather unique background and makes for a very different context compared to that of the West.
Q: Is the role of the government as big as we think?
Going from a Soviet-style planned economy to a market economy takes time, and China is not entirely there yet. But today, relative to the state sector, China’s private sector is by far the bigger job creator and contributor to the country’s GDP. It’s also the primary source of business innovation. The reemergence of the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit is probably the most profound development in China’s recent history.
Q: It led you to write a book in 2015 about ‘China’s Disruptors’ What contributed to their success?
What certainly helped was the size and growth of the China market, which allowed for rapid scaling of their business models. The prevalence of digital technology, specifically the wireless internet through smart devices, was the critical enabler.
Q: What chapters would you like to add to this book today?
What’s special today is the fact that entrepreneurship is not just for the privileged. It has become the fabric of Chinese culture today. State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) still play an important role, but many young people have realized that starting a business or working for a start-up rather than an SOE is a path for them to get where they want to be. If I were to write a new book about Chinese innovation today, it would be about the new era we’re entering with technologies like artificial intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain technology, and 5G. Those will have a profound impact on China’s innovation and business. The Chinese entrepreneurs will be at the forefront of that.
Q: Are Western executives in China less open to innovation?
Western executives are very keen – I would even say indoctrinated – to base their strategy on the doctrine of core competencies: ‘Focus on what you are good at and don’t divert your attention to anything else’.
Q: Why is that bad for innovation?
Because it limits what the company is willing to consider. Chinese entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have that ideological baggage. Many of them are happy to develop multiple business ecosystems even if they don’t have all the capabilities in place themselves. When they feel a new opportunity is worth pursuing, often they would rather jump before anybody else does and then fill the capability gaps along the way.
Q: Are the gold rush days over for Western companies in China?
China continues to evolve and to open up. China today is very different from China ten years ago, and it will again look very different ten years from now. There is major potential for more growth. But if you want to make the most out of that, you need to put China at the core of your global strategy and organization, which means making China a part of your corporate brain. Including the ability to evaluate opportunities and to design, innovate, and execute new ideas. It’s impossible for a corporate headquarter that is thousands of miles away to fully appreciate what’s going on on the ground in China.

China and the Power of Tech-Enabled Philanthropy

By Edward Tse | February 2019

Dr. Edward Tse’s article on China’s philanthropy was published in the augural issue of Social Investor, commissioned by the Chandler Foundation.

From e-commerce platforms and Internet mobility service providers to AI and blockchain developers, Chinese technologies companies are transforming China’s economy and changing entire industries – including philanthropy.

China has a long tradition of giving, although it stagnated for roughly three decades when wealth was nationalized under the rule of Mao Zedong. Today, China is home to more billionaires – 819 in terms of US dollars – than anywhere else in the world, outnumbering the US and topping the Hurun Global Rich List 2018. And China’s super-rich are increasingly engaging in philanthropic causes.

According to Harvard University and UBS, between 2010 and 2016, donations from the top 100 philanthropists in mainland China more than tripled to US$ 4.6bn, and 46 of the wealthiest 200 Chinese billionaires now have charity foundations. Giving is much more common among ordinary citizens as well. It was reported that early in 2016, more than 20% of the total charity in China came from individual donors, a number that has grown steadily over the years.

Corruption and Transparency Woes Impede Progress

Despite those growing numbers, the philanthropic industry has been plagued by corruption and a lack of transparency. These are especially prevalent with non-profit organizations that claim to be government-supported.

In 2011, for example, a woman named Guo Meimei received a substantive amount of money from an official at the Red Cross Society of China, then flaunted her luxurious lifestyle on social media. In 2012, to cite just one other example, the China Charities Aid Foundation was accused of money laundering and embezzling.

For private philanthropists, a number of institutional and social barriers make it difficult for them to build, promote, and sustain charitable organizations. Policies mandating high expenditure rates and low administrative costs are two such barriers. Private foundations are required to spend a minimum of 8% of their previous year’s assets, making it almost impossible to grow an endowment. As a result, philanthropy remains a largely monopolized, state-run sector, and donations are largely limited to a few causes: education, poverty alleviation, and healthcare.

 

Technology – the Great Gamechanger

However, new technologies have helped bring innovative approaches to philanthropy and encouraged broader participation.

Tech giants, in particular, have already learned to take advantage of their branded merchandises to involve the general public in philanthropic activities. For example, in response to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan, Tencent, the company behind China’s biggest social network as well as the largest gaming company in the world, established an online donation platform. More than half a million people contributed, raising a total of US$ 2.9m. Tencent added donation options to WeChat, the instant messaging and social media app with one billion monthly active users, and allowed users to give any amount with a swipe of a finger, making philanthropic engagement easier than ever.

New technologies have created more diversified ways of giving. The rising popularity of fitness apps in China has inspired tech companies to incentivize giving among the younger, more health-conscious, generation. Through the Xingshan (“doing good”) app developed by the Beijing-based company iMore, users record the number of steps they take each day, which is then “donated” to charities through corporate sponsors. By the end of 2015, users of Xingshan had walked a total of 2.8 million kilometres, raising more than US$ 4.6m for 52 different public welfare organizations and projects.

Facing the troubled reputations of charitable organizations, new types of charity platforms have stepped in to address both transparency and accountability issues. Real-time updates on donation collections, along with different verification systems, guarantee the funding reaches the right people at the right time. For example, JIAN Charity – launched by Alibaba’s Cainiao Logistics in 2016 – is an online donation platform where people can place orders and then track the real-time location of the items they donated.

When it comes to smaller donations – often a much more manual process – this kind of tracking can be challenging. By encoding the lifecycle of each donation on a blockchain, Ant Financial, a subsidiary of the tech giant Alibaba Group, addresses these transparency concerns and significantly reduces operating costs.

Embedded within a larger digital ecosystem like that of Alibaba’s, philanthropy has an even more magnified potential. On Taobao, an online shopping site, sellers can register for the “Treasures for Charity” program, allowing them to donate a portion of sales revenue to non-profit projects. Sellers not only draw more customers but this also boosts their conversion rate. Even though the per-deal donation can be as low as US$ 0.0058, the cumulative effect is significant: in 2017, 1.8 million participating sellers and 350 million buyers donated a total of 245m RMB (US$ 35.7m) to charity projects the world – owing to the enormous transaction volume and user base on the e-commerce platform.

A New Era for Philanthropy in China

China’s private wealth continues to expand, and philanthropy in the country is on an undeniably upward trajectory. New technologies are unlocking more inventive forms of giving, which become more synergized with companies’ mega business ecosystems. Public awareness about philanthropy is rising, while non-profit organizations are regaining their credibility and trustworthiness. I expect a brighter future.

Inkstone News | China Enjoys Many Advantages in AI Development

By Edward Tse
31 December 2018

Gao Feng’s CEO Dr. Edward Tse believes China’s sheer market size and lesser concern for data privacy could prove advantageous – but the US still leads in terms of research and creativity. This is a summary of his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, published with the center’s permission but without Dr. Tse’s prior review or approval.

In the last 40 years since the start of China’s economic reform and opening up, a lot has happened. The most profound development in China is the rise of the private sector.

Compared to the state sector, the private sector contributes much more to GDP and the creation of new jobs. But more importantly, the private sector has been embracing emerging technologies, in particular over the last decade.

Ironically, this decade is epitomized by American inventions. The iPhone and the wireless internet have fundamentally changed China, and that has created a large number of innovations along the way.

China has the world’s largest internet economy. There are more than 800 million active internet users and Chinese consumers do everything online: shopping, ordering food and so on.

Artificial intelligence is another emerging technology. For Chinese people, technology has served us well in the past decade, so why not embrace it?

Vast amounts of data are being generated every moment. Whenever we are on WeChat, we tell the app what we are doing.

Whenever we buy anything on Alibaba or JD.com, we tell Alibaba and JD.com what we are doing. It’s the same thing here in America with Facebook and Twitter. The difference is the scale.

Source: Internet

Artificial intelligence is really about a lot of iterations. The larger the amount of data you have, the greater the opportunities for machine learning and fine-tuning the pattern recognition. Therefore, better results are yielded for commercialization.

Rightly or wrongly, China has gotten itself into a situation where data privacy protection is perhaps not as stringently applied, compared to many of the Western economies.

China fundamentally has a system advantage. It’s not only about the scale of the market, but also the state and the Communist Party.

When someone decides something, they will push it all the way down to the whole country and everybody has to obey.

But that’s not the only thing that happens in China. There is a large number of entrepreneurs, who are coming up with all sorts of innovations.

Chinese companies are investing significantly in new technology. But they’re nothing compared to the Googles, the Amazons and the Microsofts of the world.

The gap is still very significant. Americans are way ahead in terms of creativity and original research. The Chinese certainly would like to close the gap, but only time will tell if they could succeed.

I think China is likely to be a leader in AI, perhaps the leader in commercial applications. But it won’t be the leader in original ideas.

Edward Tse is founder & CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in Greater China. He is also author of China’s Disruptors.

FT中文网 | 国际大趋势对企业领导者的启示

文 | 谢祖墀

总结2018年,展望2019,国际局势有什么重要的趋势,对企业领导者的启示是什么?高风CEO谢祖墀博士为FT中文网撰稿,分析了国际大趋势对企业领导者的启示。

1. 单边主义和保护主义抬头与多边主义和全球化所引成的张力。

过去二十多年来,全球化和多边主义为全球的主要趋势,全球各国在全球化的浪潮中合作互补,在经济、政治、文化等各方面都取得了极大的进展,经济方面尤为显著。然而,2018年来,以特朗普执政的美国政府牵动的单边主义和保护主义抬头,跟一直以来全球奉行的多边主义、全球化背道而驰。这两者之间的矛盾造成了很大的张力。

2. 原有价值观被逐渐颠覆。

全球化以来,各国人民的意识形态逐步交融并演化出了三种主流的价值观。第一,全球化。正如美国记者汤马斯•弗里曼(Thomas Friedman)所说,“世界是平的”。世界各国重新分工,相互协作,优势互补,大大提升整体效益,让大多数参与者都能受益。当然,有些簇群(cluster)会受益较多,另一些利益却受到某程度的损害。第二,全球治理。虽然各国间存在差异,但依然有很多超越国界的问题(如安全、环境、资源、扶贫等),需要大家共同努力去解决,尽管不是所有问题都能妥善处理,但全球各国普遍都愿意参与。第三,和平共处。尽管各国在思想状态、意识形态方面有所不同,但除了某些区域性战争动乱和某些恐怖组织出现之外,不同国家基本可以和平共处。

3. 互联网的全球化与地区化在同时进行。

全球化:技术是具有普适性的。互联网让全球信息交流更加畅通,减少了地理地域的限制。美国学者莫伊塞斯•纳伊姆(Moisés Naím)在他于2013年发表的《权力的终结》(The End of Power)一书中预言在全球化背景中出现的互联网的兴起将会驱使权力从原来的拥有者手中下放到一般老百姓之中。

不过,在与全球化交替之际,互联网也在向另一方向——地区化进行发展。因不同地区在互联网法规上的不同,产生了不同地域性的特色,因而衍生出了不同的商业模式。基于互联网的数据隐私就是一个鲜明的例子:在不同国家和地区的政策法规下,数据隐私问题被区别对待。在欧美等西方国家,互联网用户的数据隐私是被严格监管的;而在中国这却不是一个主要问题(起码目前还不是),相反地,人们正享受着海量大数据和精准定位所带来的便利。

4. 新科技带来的新型商业应用已到临界点。

新技术(如人工智能、物联网、区块链、5G等)进入不同商业应用的临界点,新一轮的商业模式将会出现,新的发展曲线将在原有发展曲线的末端中出现。不少新兴的科技企业有着行业领先的技术与海量的数据和资源,然而,如何拥有可持续发展的模式却是不少企业一直以来思考的问题,新的模式正在被探索和开发。

5. 中国经济不均衡发展依然突出。

在不同因素的影响下,今年以来,中国经济的波动性已经提高,且不均衡发展。不少问题较为明显。新技术驱动下互联网曾一度成为中国经济的热潮,电商、社交媒体等行业也因此得以较高速地发展。然而,在一些实体经济领域和某些地理区域中,诸多之前未曾暴露的问题却在逐步凸显。在核心科技领域,今年第二季度的芯片风波就曾是一大信号。

6 . 双创面临重新被激发的需要。

创新创业在过去十年快速发展之后,开始进入调整期。一些所谓创新的打法,如共享单车、新零售等后来大幅度的成效不彰。同时,市场反应初创公司的估值往往极高,不禁令人发问,一个类似2002年的科网股的泡沫是否正在形成?创新创业者和投资者都需要反思,双创需要再次被合理地激发。

以往许多的信条和框架都已经面临巨大的挑战,如全球一体化、多边主义、人类命运共同发展等。世界秩序正在被重塑,但不确定因素却不断涌现。企业家在此环境中需要做好什么?

1. 坚持正确的理念。做好自己应做的事
尽管全球的政治、经济局势变幻莫测,不少负能量充斥于我们之间,但我认为无论我们所处的环境和世界如何,企业和个人应该始终站在正义的一方,坚持正确的理念和价值观,做对自己、对他人、对社会都有意义的事情。开放的阳光最终必定超越围堵的北风。

2. 带领企业建立强大的意识(Consciousness)
企业和人一样,都具有意识,企业和人的行为被其所拥有的意识所支配。在绝大多数情况下,企业和人的意识都是由潜意识所支配的,而潜意识却会在不知不觉中将企业和人带入并非正确的道路。企业领导者的责任就是带领企业培养清晰的显意识,时刻在清晰的意识中做事情,知道自己在做什么,不能人云亦云,被潜意识拉着走。

3. 培养多维度看问题的能力,广泛涉猎各领域知识
看问题不能单方面只从自己以往的认知来解读,必须要从多方面,多维度来判断,对未来做出很清晰的判断。多读哲学,历史(特别世界历史),地理和文化,对世界的问题尽可能全面地了解,不以偏概全。我们知道许多西方国家对中国不够了解和怀有偏见;但我们亦应多从对方的角度来理解他们的观点。

4. 做好防冬的准备之余,仍不忘发展
2018年来,资本市场动荡起伏,一些所谓的新兴行业也经历了大洗牌。正如不少人所说,“冬天即将来临”。虽然并非全部,但至少在某些领域里,冬天可能真的要来临。企业需要做好过冬的防备,但我认为发展依然得继续,只不过对某些领域的一些企业来说,它们的发展模式和经济高速增长时期会有所不同。

5. 创新仍是最关键的任务
当今时代下,全球商业环境瞬息万变,但无论外部环境如何变化,企业最主要的发展动力是创新,企业必须坚持创新,以创新、以技术不断赋能、提升自己。

“祸兮,福之所倚;福兮,祸之所伏。孰知其极?其无正也。”正如中国国家主席习近平所说的,今年是惊涛骇浪的一年。从现在看来,2019年好像不太乐观,但它亦可能是新一轮发展的开始。所有世事都有二元力量同时存在,领导者必须在二元力量之间不断动态调整,管理企业亦需如是。

声明:本文版权归FT中文网所有,如需转载,请与FT中文网联系

(注:本文图片均来自网络)

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风咨询公司的创始人兼CEO。他是中国管理咨询行业最早的从业者之一,在过去20年中,他曾带领两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。他为包括国内外的数百家企业提供过咨询服务,涉及在华商业的各个层面,以及中国在世界的角色。他曾为中国政府提供过战略、国有企业改革以及中国企业走出国门的建议。他被称为“中国于国际上最富经验和具权威的商业战略专家”。他已撰写过数百篇文章以及四本书籍,其中包括屡获殊荣的《中国战略》(The China Strategy,2010年)和《创业家精神》(China’s Disruptors,2015年)。

 

清华管理评论 | 新时代背景下企业战略转型之道

文 | 谢祖墀

原文发布于2018年 第11期《清华管理评论》(Tsinghua Business Review)杂志并保留所有权利

科技创新正在让这个世界加速改变,而科技创新和中国崛起的交汇将带来重大影响。近年来,超级指数型企业和独角兽竞相出现在中国。从BAT(百度、阿里巴巴、腾讯)到TMD(今日头条、美团点评、滴滴),再到拼多多、抖音等,后起之秀不断涌现。这是最好的时代也是最坏的时代,跨界竞争日趋常态化,“野蛮人”随时出现在门口,很多行业都正在被颠覆。

从全球市场来看,以媒体广告行业为例,20世纪以来一直不断增长的纸质报刊营业额,却在21世纪短短的头十年间,被数字化技术颠覆。2000年以来,报刊的广告收入急剧下跌,从巅峰时期的近700亿美元下跌到不足200亿美元。即便后来增设了电子报刊,也没能逃过被颠覆的命运。相对应的是,各大互联网企业纷纷崛起,以谷歌为例,其营业额在短短十年间便达到了660亿美元,并呈现出指数增长的趋势。在中国,创立于2012年的今日头条,利用大数据引擎进行资讯内容的处理与推荐,成为国内首家将大数据推荐算法运用到资讯领域的独角兽公司,颠覆了传统媒体线下为主、低效的商业模式。截至2017年底,今日头条已经有7亿注册用户和2.4亿日活用户。

中国有着世界上最复杂和多变的消费者市场。2016年云栖大会上,马云提出“新零售”概念,随即引发行业广泛关注。2017年来,以腾讯、阿里为代表的各大互联网巨头纷纷开始布局新零售。阿里通过战略入股线下零售企业三江购物、联华超市和新华都,发展新兴业务如盒马鲜生、零售通、淘咖啡无人便利店等,构建了庞大的新零售生态。腾讯也提出了“智慧零售”的概念,它与京东携手,通过与海澜之家、永辉超市、家乐福等现有实体零售商进行投资、合作,并通过微信支付、腾讯云、小程序等进行线上交易连接,构建了自己的“智慧零售”系统。据36氪估计,2017年内,阿里巴巴与腾讯两家公司的线下商业投资总投资额至少在1000亿元以上。

此外,中国的咖啡行业也正在经历巨变。前神州优车COO钱治亚于2017年10月创立中国咖啡新零售品牌瑞幸咖啡,在短短五个月时间内开设门店525家,超过了Costa进入中国12年来的门店总数。瑞幸咖啡采用了低价、补贴和微信病毒式营销方式,快速打响了品牌知名度。通过线上APP下单,线下外送,线上线下相融合的方法,解决了传统咖啡行业“价格高”、“不方便”的两大痛点。今年7月,瑞幸咖啡成为中国首家咖啡行业的独角兽企业,意在挑战传统咖啡巨头星巴克。

新的时代下,企业的优势都是短暂和不断变化的。源自西方的传统静态定位论和能力理论在今天瞬息万变的环境下已不再适用,当今企业的战略要点是在动态环境中实现多维度的平衡。公司应根据市场及自身变化,适时调整战略,和适时进行变革管理,也即“在边缘上竞争”。“在边缘上竞争”理论认为,企业战略中最重要的就是对于变化中产生的变革进行管理。企业需要考虑:是否需要转型?如何转型?什么时候进行转型?

在我看来,企业的战略转型包含三大元素:愿景和战略、领导力、组织形态和意识。

元素一:愿景和战略
企业应该拥有怎样的愿景和战略?清晰和模糊的战略愿景,哪个更有利于企业的发展?我认为,企业在早期不一定需要追求清晰的战略和商业模式。一切都是混沌初开,不可能有清晰的战略。当然,随着企业的发展,愿景和战略可逐渐地清晰化。

当某企业创始时,它会选择某种业务,亦会建立它所需要的核心竞争力。在科技的驱动下,新的机会在不断涌现,而这些机会往往是以非线性、S形状的方式出现。新来的机会可能是真实的,亦可能是虚幻的;可能是庞大的,亦可能是比较小的;可能是现在的,亦可能是过一段时间才会成熟的。面对这些新的机会,企业家会做出判断:在企业未具备所有新业务需要的核心竞争力的情况下,要不要从现在的业务跳跃到新的机会?

战略的第三条路指导企业“跳过去”,并在跳跃之余弥补在跳跃过程中产生的能力空缺。企业在弥补能力空缺时一般会采取两种方法:一是自建,二是通过构建生态系统来建立。第三条路既非无核心的多元化经营,亦非死板的核心竞争力所衍生的“聚焦”经营,而是“连续跳跃”。(参见《清华管理评论》2017年第1-2期,《战略的第三条路——连续跳跃理论》)(见图1)

持续成功的企业在面对快速变化带来的新的机会时,会平衡各机会和自身能力,而决定是否需要“跳跃”到自己原本的“核心”外以抓住这些机会。他们通过“连续跳跃”在“边缘上竞争”,不断地进行调整和优化。通过多级跳跃,企业将不断从核心跳向边缘,并把边缘变为新的核心,不断地扩大业务边界,并向着庞大的生态系统发展。阿里巴巴、腾讯、平安集团和吉利集团等都是通过不断的“跳跃”来拓展边界,并最终形成了庞大生态系统的例子。

企业在跳跃之后,他们必须产生强劲的冲击力来“冲刺”,以弥补在跳跃过程中所产生的能力空缺。执行力是企业能否产生强劲的冲击力的决定性因素。执行力是什么?执行力由三大要素构成:更快的速度——唯快不破;更好的结果——追求卓越;更大的影响——成为驱动者。平安集团董事长兼CEO马明哲曾说,“拥有执行力才能让你强大。一个人做事快点,顶多叫执行,一百万人的同进退,那才是执行力。”

当市场上出现新的机会时,企业往往会考虑要不要“跳过去”来抓住这些新的机会,即便它们并不拥有经营新业务所需要的所有能力。有些企业跳跃并成功地跳了过去;亦有一些企业曾尝试却没跳成功。跳跃成功的关键是什么?它是机会与能力之比。这里的能力并不只是企业自己的能力而已,它亦包含企业自建、并购或组成生态系统等隐性能力。

2010年,美团作为团购网站首次上线。四年后,有着庞大用户数据积累的美团,开始“跳跃”,布局酒店旅游业,并与大众点评合并。近日来,美团点评相继推出打车业务和生鲜零售店,并收购共享单车独角兽摩拜单车,一步步构建属于自己的生态系统。此外,快递商顺丰也在积极地尝试新的“跳跃”,2018年6月,顺丰旗下的首家零售商城“Wow喔噢全球精选店”在重庆开业。该商场主打跨境商品,线下门店体验并下单后,商品将由顺丰物流从海外发货,开辟了新零售海淘的新模式。

此外,我们还发现,这些成功转型的企业,他们都是以客户为中心,并以数据为导向。商业的根本在于对客户抱有“以客户为中心”的理念。许多人都很羡慕亚马逊的业绩表现,但有多少企业和企业家真正理解贝索斯所推崇的“对客户的疯狂热爱”(Customer Obsession)的信条呢?亚马逊的“空凳文化”是对其“以用户为中心”理念最好的说明:在亚马逊开会时,杰夫·贝索斯(Jeff Bezos)通常会在会议室多放一把空的椅子,作为客户的代表,也被称为房间里最重要的人物。房地产中介链家也正在以数据为核心,积极地进行自我转型。2018年4月,链家网正式宣布升级为贝壳找房,为消费者提供二手房、新房、租赁等服务。一方面,贝壳找房是链家旗下子公司的集合,是链家把自己的所有业务进行“平台化”和“互联网化”的载体。另一方面,链家想建立一个房产行业开放型平台,在建立属于自己的企业数据库的同时,为房产中介行业赋能。最终使链家成为一个以技术驱动的房产互联网中介机构。

元素二:领导力
吉姆·柯林斯(Jim Collins)在2001年出版的《从优秀到卓越》一书里提出卓越企业的领导人都是所谓的“第五级领导者”。在他的定义里,这些人作风谦虚,擅长通过他人取得成功,愿意与他人分享成功,同时亦往往愿意第一个承受挫折和责任。他们一般较害羞和谦逊。换句话说,他们是“老好人”。

今天,所有的企业都在面临着一个巨大变革的时代,变化多端,速度特快,不确定性特高,对企业领导力的要求亦特别高。新时代背景下企业的转型需要什么样的领导力?

我在博思艾伦咨询公司(Booz Allen Hamilton)时,我们亦在领导力方面做了不少研究。我们发现,成功的企业领导者都是Zealot(狂热者)”,我想在这里翻译为“疯子”亦不为过。

当今很多领导企业转型的出色企业领导人都具备这种“狂热者”的特质,例如苹果公司的史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs),亚马逊的杰夫·贝佐斯(Jeff Bezos),英特尔前CEO安迪·格鲁夫(Andy Grove)。在国内,这样的例子亦有不少。

“狂热”的企业领导者们往往非常努力,并擅长为企业创造价值,他们懂得如何激发人才的潜力以发挥其最大的价值,并最终把价值转化为实际的成果。他们通常是不脱离现实的愿景者,他们对今天取得的成果充满激情,为明天创造出色的业务,并不断为员工开拓发展机会。

在今天,这种“狂热”的特质对一个企业来说更为必要。科技的发展正在加速这个世界的改变。传统行业间的界限正在被技术越来越模糊化,去中心化已成主要驱动因素,股东和员工对其权益的期望日益增长,这要求企业的领导者必须对企业做出改变与转型。我认为,企业自我转型的最大原动力是通过狂热者的力量。

从个人来说,狂热者是拥有独立动机的人,对组织的成功抱有极大的责任感,他们可以超出当前的业务范围和模式,来构思、开发并实施新的业务构想,积极地通过战略性的“跳跃”来扩大自己的业务和边界,从而及时地抓住这些变革和机会,领导企业的变革与转型。换句话,“狂热”的领导者都是“战略第三条路”的信奉者。

从气质的角度来说,狂热者们往往都(至少表现为)充满活力、魅力和创造力,但他们并非仅仅是魅力型领袖或者创意的提出者。在做出勇敢的决定后,他们亦擅长于业务的实施和执行。他们是计划的实施者,能将业务最大化地提升以满足企业转型对业绩的要求。

在文化层面,他们懂得自己的企业的转型需要什么样的基因、文化和组织体系,并用强大的执行力去执行和改造。也因此,他们的个性或风格很可能和现有的外部社会文化体系格格不入,但这种独特的“狂热”文化,正是推动企业不断跳跃、进步和转型的最原始动力。在如今这个被科技高速颠覆的时代,狂热的领导者们亦在高速地不断探索适合时代与企业背景的组织形态,从而不断转型。

他们不一定是传统意义上的“老好人”,不会创造“和稀泥”的文化,但亦不会是“人憎鬼厌”,相反他们往往受人极度的尊敬,因为他们能做到结果,最终引领企业成功转型。

大变革的时代,只有狂热者才能成为最具时代颠覆力的领导者,特别是转型中的组织,将以狂热的魅力带领整个企业,甚至生态系统伙伴之中,领导团队容忍不确定性,在不确定中探索和转型,但始终有着坚定的信念。他们不是没有章法,但亦不会墨守成规。这种领导力就是“有理性的狂热”。

元素三:组织形态和意识
同人类一样,每个组织也都拥有其独有的意识。企业的意识分显意识和潜意识两种。简单来说,显意识是“看得见、摸得着”的东西(如组织流程、架构等),而潜意识是“看不见、摸不着”的东西(如愿景、战略等)。企业的变革与转型需要以企业意识的转变作为基础。企业领导者的工作就是在建立良好的集体显意识之余,同时亦要引导良好的潜意识。

在变革的时代,在边缘上竞争代表企业必须适时地调整和变革其组织形态,以适应新的发展模式。这属于对企业显意识的调整。不少企业在打造其显意识的过程中,往往曾花不少资源去“打造企业”、“做好管理”,并可能聘请了某些咨询公司来帮助他们建立流程、制度、组织构架、管控模式等等。当然这些都是非常必要的工作,没有这些基础建设,企业是很难有效运作的。但这些远非企业意识变革的全部。

显意识的建立比较容易,因为它“看得见、摸得着”,而潜意识的引导较为复杂,因为它“看不见、摸不着”,需要时间和技巧来潜移默化。企业组织的转型,亦需要对潜意识进行变革与管理。长期的固化不可取,但亦不能过度地因改而改。企业对于组织的变革,必须基于自身的追求、价值观和愿景,也即组织的潜意识作为驱动。企业领导者应怎样引导企业建立适合企业转型的潜意识?潜意识的引导和影响可以透过集体学习来达成。一方面由企业领导者不断进行呼唤和提醒,而另一方面通过团队不断和无拘无束的交流。另外,企业的领导者们会不断地与组织进行沟通。优秀的领导者必定不断重复地提醒企业必须建立适当的危机感,提醒企业员工们不可以松懈和安于现状。

除显意识和潜意识外,组织内往往存在“软”与“硬”两种力量,要达到“软”与“硬”之间的平衡,即组织内“相反力量间的平衡”。任何企业运作时都存在正式和非正式两种组织。

正式组织(formal organization)是大公司在发展过程中建立的管理结构,是规则、等级制度和绩效考核等要素的理性结合。在这种组织中,大多数高级管理人员都曾接受金融、技术、运营等“硬训练”,已经学会在正式组织中自如地工作,熟练使用组织结构图、流程图或平衡计分卡等有形工具。

相对的, 非正式组织 (informal organization) 则是公司所有人文部分的结合,包括价值观、情感、表现行为、传言、文化标准,以及潜在的人际关系等,它们潜移默化地影响着每个企业。即便是最理性的经理人也必须承认,公司中的非正式组织能够产生巨大的影响力,尤其是在公司转型过程中,例如基层员工中意外涌现出领导者、业务单元迅速地进行自我更新和迭代等。但是,非正式组织也可能会产生一些负面影响,如暗中的反对者、焦虑和恐惧会阻碍工作推进等。

正式组织代表着组织的显意识,而非正式组织则代表着组织的潜意识。优秀的组织领导者十分懂得如何在保持和改进正式组织结构的同时,积极调动非正式组织,使两者保持同步。在领导能力方面,能够在追求高业绩的同时平衡正式和非正式举措的“跨越界线的领导”(leading outside the lines),往往最为关键。

我们所处的世界越来越复杂,人与人之间联系也越来越紧密,企业的领导者们需要学会规避单一的思考模式,积极面对环境变化中的不确定性,有效利用组织中相反的力量,在控制和混沌中取得平衡。

良好的组织意识和组织意识的控制与平衡是企业意志建立的前提。企业的意识需要适当的组织形态来配合,而组织意识到意志的重要性,将组织的潜能充分发挥出来。良好的企业潜意识亦可以充分激发组织的好奇心。我曾受全球领先科技公司默克(Merck)委托,协助其进行关于组织好奇心方面的研究。最终我们发现,保持好奇心是促使企业创新的重要驱动力。

以战略的第三条路作为指导理论的企业应拥有怎样的组织形态?我认为它们的组织形态往往都是生态系统。正如阿里巴巴和腾讯通过自建或者投资合作,打造围绕消费者“衣食住行”等日常生活的数字化生态圈,在为消费者提供便捷服务的同时,企业也不断实现指数级跳跃增长。

传统的从上到下的组织形态早已不适合时代,赋能前台,建立扁平,去中心化的包容、开放的生态系统,才能充分发挥组织的作用。线下企业中,海尔集团是最早尝试通过“平台+生态型”横向组织形态,来提高对市场变化和客户需求的反应速度。它建立了200多个“小微组织”,形成敏捷前端,并通过整合集团内外部资源的赋能平台,市场化激励手段和合伙人机制,不断提升“小微组织”的生命力。比如专注于游戏笔记本的“雷神小微”,通过利用海尔内部技术支持和股权激励,仅用3年时间即挂牌新三板,估值超过12亿元。同样,线上企业京东最近提出一种有开放性和有延展性的“积木型业务单元”组织形态,其核心是集团内部的各业务单元和模块像积木一样可以灵活拼接、叠加,以满足内外部客户偏好和个性化需求。

此外,组织还需要时刻保持警觉,勇于主动转型。热力学中的熵增加原理表明,世界上一切事物发展的自然倾向都是从井然有序走向混乱无序,最终灭亡。引申至社会科学,任何企业,如果任由企业自然发展,必将会“熵增”,失去活力走向混乱,并最终消亡。鉴于此自然现象,华为公司通过组织变革对抗“熵增”。具体来说,它通过破格提拔人才,打破平衡,同时保持开放,吸收新思想,以保持组织活性,推行艰苦奋斗价值观,目标是实现组织的有序平衡。

一致性及挑战
企业的战略转型,除愿景和战略、领导力、组织形态和意识之外,更需要在其三者之间建立足够的一致性。唯有当它们最大化协同时,企业才能够取得最终的进步与成功。

同时,战略转型中的起伏和痛苦是难以避免的,随着时间和组织积极性和时间的发展,企业会往往经历起伏和不同的发展阶段。项目启动初期,随着转型的开始,企业会面临计划停滞、受挫等危机,但总体来说,组织内部的积极性会随着转型的推进而不断提升上涨,而进一步达到企业转型的关键阶段。在此之后可能会有在转型过程中积累的问题逐步暴露出来,有些企业成功地化解问题并成功转型,而另外亦有一些企业因没能成功化解问题而失败。企业转型成功的关键是什么?是对企业每层制定明确目标,并对企业每层进行有效沟通(见图2)。

2015年新成立的GE Digital计划作为变革的引擎,用五年时间将通用电器(GE)这家传统工业巨擘打造成为全球十大软件公司。然而GE Digital作为集团内的新部门,既继承了大公司传统的基因和流程,又背负P&L,导致其疲于获得收入和盈利,忽略了带领GE转型的大目标。截至2017年末,GE股价下跌40%,市值缩水至1600亿美元。反观科技巨头微软,在新CEO萨提亚·纳德拉(Satya Nadella)的带领下,反复强调同理心和谦卑,大刀阔斧改革封闭傲慢的企业文化,强调开放和团队精神,并从用户需求出发,出售Nokia手机业务,大力投入企业云服务。经过三年努力,微软员工满意度从44%升至93%,市值超过8000亿美元。

总结
新时代背景下企业的战略转型不是一蹴而就的,它要求企业有动态的愿景和战略、狂热者的领导力、适应转型的组织形态和意识,并让这三者具备高度的一致性,不断在“边缘上竞争”,不断取得动态中的平衡。

案例:同仁堂健康的战略转型
近期,北京同仁堂健康药业股份有限公司(同仁堂健康)设计了新的战略和组织架构,并不断通过研讨会、战略共识会等形式促进集团转型。作为一家拥有300多年历史的企业,凭借“炮制虽繁必不敢省人工,品味虽贵必不敢减物力”的古训,同仁堂经历了无数次变革和起伏,并总能走在时代发展的最前沿。在技术飞速进步,消费升级和“新零售”的大背景下,同仁堂健康正在从一家传统生产、销售保健品公司,转型为一家全面、专业的健康和慢病管理的生态型组织,服务数亿级客户。

为实现这一战略目标,同仁堂健康将打造“一体两翼”的三大生态圈:健康管理生态圈,C2M智能供应链生态圈和创新创业生态圈。针对健康管理生态圈,同仁堂健康正在搭建OMO(线上线下融合)平台。OMO平台本质上是技术赋能的“新零售”,是对传统线上线下分离(O+O)和线上到线下(O2O)的升级。它既包括建立线上平台吸引流量,开放线上端口与各大互联网巨头合作引流,也包括提升线下实体店数字化能力,使之能与线上平台互相导流,实现消费者数据线上线下统一并实时更新,最终促进流量的商业变现(见图3)。同时,同仁堂健康OMO平台将拓展现有的保健品产品和中医诊疗服务,未来将打造新的产品和品牌,提供体检、保险、健康管理等综合性解决方案,并与各细分领域的企业共同打造“以患者为中心”的大健康生态系统。通过搭建OMO平台,同仁堂健康将逐步具备当今万亿市值企业的四大成功要素,即“无处不在、全面连接、互联互通和单客经营”。

为促进转型成功,同仁堂健康从运营型公司升级为控股集团,并采用合伙人机制,激发组织的创新创业精神(见图4)。在新的控股集团架构下,同仁堂健康还建立了“小前台+大中台+强后台”的平台生态型组织结构,区别于传统的“金字塔”式管控结构,平台生态型组织将更注重对内对外赋能。

作为战略转型的延伸,同仁堂健康还梳理了集团传统的分销模式,并采用“产业路由器(B2F)”新打法。“产业路由器 (B2F)”的核心是赋能和共享。它将价值链两端的碎片化市场进行对接,左边需求端是小b,代表小商户,右边供应端可以是工厂或者任何关键资源的供给方。产业路由器通过团结并全面赋能碎片化的需求端,把中间一些低价值的供应链环节消灭,深度连接闲置的供给侧F端,最终提高全产业的效率,降低成本,形成赋能型产业共同体(见图5)。同仁堂健康创新的“产业路由器(B2F)”打法是通过联合整个产业链的上下游,包括代理商、零售商、物流商等,共同打造利益共同体生态。同仁堂健康将不再只是一家掌握保健品资源的品牌商,而是能在产品/品牌、数字化、运营和资本等四个方面为生态合作伙伴深度赋能,从而更好地服务消费者。

同仁堂健康专门成立转型变革小组,分别在战略变革、业务转型、流程再造、数字化平台和赋能推广等方面大力开展变革。领导力方面,集团积极招贤纳士,并采用战略共识会等形式制定战略目标和进行有效沟通,激发高管团队“有理性的狂热”。组织上,通过转型四部曲逐步将稳态及敏态业务系统性的进行构建。稳态,亦步亦趋,逐步夯实;敏态,快速迭代,赛马机制。同仁堂健康用互联网的思维重构新业务,蓄能新基因,并将伴随战略转型,不断动态演进。此外,集团还组织团队深入学习阿里巴巴、腾讯等互联网巨头的打法、华为的变革管理和西门子智能制造科技,动员全体员工参加军训,以强化组织的执行力和狼性文化,激发变革的热情和斗志,取得战略转型效果的最大化。

同仁堂健康“All-in-One”项目总指挥附子女士在集团战略转型中感言道“‘All-in-One’项目初期,由于过去的惯性使然,安逸,缺乏危机意识,缺乏行动力,并坦言,当时的状态很痛苦也异常艰辛!但经过对团队坚持不懈的持续打造,培训赋能,认知迭代,自我否定,甚至要求996工作时长以历练奋斗者精神,在团队成员以狂热者的心态追求梦想实现的过程中,在经历这些痛苦的蜕变中,‘All-in-One’团队成长起来了,他们不畏痛苦,打碎重构,历经一次又一次失败,坚韧地坚守心中的梦想,在破碎中重生,团队变得越发成熟,相信拥有创业心态的团队和组织的逐渐强大,一定塑造一家不一样的企业,虽然未来新零售或者OMO面临许多未知数,但今天我们正在取得阶段性胜利!”

关于作者:
谢祖墀(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风咨询公司的创始人兼CEO。他是中国管理咨询行业的先锋,在过去20年中,他曾带领两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。他为包括国内外的数百家企业提供过咨询服务,涉及在华商业的各个层面,以及中国在世界的角色。他曾为中国政府提供过战略、国有企业改革以及中国企业走出国门的建议。他被称为“中国于国际上最富经验和具权威的商业战略专家”。他已撰写超过200篇文章以及四本书籍,其中包括屡获殊荣的《中国战略》(The China Strategy,2010年)和《创业家精神》(China‘s Disruptors,2015年)。

注:本文部分图片来自网络

 

汽车与配件 | 加速中的中国汽车行业创新

 

本文作者:罗威(Bill Russo)、谢祖墀、陈英麟(高风咨询公司)

在新的商业模式中,竞争不仅仅是汽车制造的工艺,同时还包括建立数字生态系统的能力,以及与出行服务用户建立紧密关系的能力。

中国汽车合资政策历史回顾

我国将大幅放宽市场准入,尽快放宽汽车行业的外资股比限制。2018年4月17日,发改委在其官网宣布对“汽车行业将分类型实行过渡期开放,2018年取消专用车、新能源汽车外资股比限制;2020年取消商用车外资股比限制;2022年取消乘用车外资股比限制,同时取消合资企业不超过两家的限制。通过5年过渡期,汽车行业将全部取消限制。”

此前,发改委和商务部共同发布的《外商投资准入特别管理措施(负面清单)(2018年版)》中亦明确了以上汽车制造业的全面开放时间表。

在此之前,1994年和2004年发布的汽车工业产业政策中都规定, 汽车整车中外合资企业,外资股份比例不得高于50%。

政府一开始就希望国内的汽车企业通过“市场换技术”的方式,向外资合资伙伴学习技术经验,推动中国汽车产业的崛起,并最终成为全球化的汽车企业。遵循该政策的传统外资汽车制造商在很大程度上在中国取得了快速的增长和盈利能力。

在过去的几十年间,中国汽车工业的基础设施和产业链围绕着中外合资模式快速发展,然而与政府要求合资的初衷不同的是,迄今为止,中国尚未出现全球领先的本土汽车品牌。

事实上,自政策最初制定以来,汽车行业在过去的25年中发生了重大变化。 一开始,中国汽车制造商主要是国有企业,它们普遍缺乏独立发展汽车业务的技术和财务手段。

经过一段时间的发展后,中国的汽车市场格局变得较为多元化,除国有企业之外,同时涌现出了一批由民营企业家领导的私营车企。而大多数目前国内领先的本土品牌,例如吉利、长城和比亚迪等,是在没有组建合资企业的情况下发展成为国内市场的领导者。

新的数字化移动出行商业模式的崛起

作为全球最大的汽车市场,以及最具出行与运输挑战性的地方,智能互联、共享、电动化和自动化的出行模式将成为中国在21世纪汽车行业中夺得主导地位的发展路径。

中国本土的汽车品牌正在迅速获得市场份额,并不断提升其传统的汽车生产制造的能力。目前,本土品牌约占中国乘用车销量的44%。尤其在增长最快的SUV和新能源汽车细分市场,本土品牌占据着优势。

然而,真正的颠覆并非来自传统的汽车生产商。 中国的互联网巨头(包括腾讯、阿里巴巴和百度)正在积极投资并致力于将汽车转变为智能平台,用于提供各种线上和线下生活方式服务。

购买和拥有一辆汽车已经不再是满足个人出行需求的必要方式,中国互联网公司正在积极投资未来的移动出行科技(包括智能互联、电动和自动驾驶汽车)。

在这种新的商业模式中,竞争不仅仅是汽车制造的工艺,同时还包括建立数字生态系统的能力,以及与出行服务用户建立的紧密关系的能力。

为了争夺未来大出行市场竞争中的领先地位,本土的出行创业公司正在迅速崛起和扩张,同时这也得益于资金雄厚的投资者,这些投资者从中国蓬勃发展的数字经济中获利。在新的数字化商业模式中,中国公司正在引领着出行革命。

谁是受益者?

自40年前改革开放以来,随着时间的推移,中国一直在陆续开放不同的产业,逐步放开对外资企业参与度的限制。如今,消费品、家电、零售、汽车零部件和其它一些行业已经完全开放。

虽然合资股比要求仍适用于汽车整车制造,但汽车供应链的其它领域已经完全开放。 继续开放并与世界其它国家融合是中国的长期政策,中国决定取消对汽车整车制造的外资企业控股权的限制。这是因为在数字经济的影响下,监管者认识到未来汽车工业的发展方向和主要战场将会通过数字经济将汽车出行服务科技商业化。

传统的汽车生产商正在向出行服务方案解决商转型,政策的放开将有助于加快此类创新和转型的速度和强度。

为了达到全球汽车和出行行业领导者的目标,中国政府必须开辟并投资建设未来汽车技术的新赛道,主要集中于互联、电动和自动驾驶等领域。这些领域将越来越多地通过数字生态系统及百度、阿里巴巴和腾讯等投资者实现商业化。

通过将传统汽车生产制造行业开放给外资企业,全球汽车制造商将把它们最先进的生产制造和供应链体系带入中国,这将加快中国主导未来出行解决方案的步伐。

同时,中国仍需要从北美、欧洲和以色列等全球创新高地引进创新技术。政策的变化将鼓励汽车创新转移到中国——全球最大且最具颠覆性的出行市场。

政策的改变基本上消除了可能阻碍全球汽车制造商和零部件供应商将业务转移到中国的关键原因,并且将鼓励车企在中国生产制造,并将其产品从中国出口至其它国家(得益于国内完备的生产和供应链系统,尤其是在电动汽车领域)。

中国目前在电动汽车零部件供应链和整车制造方面有一定的规模优势,通过允许完全所有权,国外的汽车制造商未来极有可能将中国作为其电动汽车生产制造的重要基地。

同时,新政策将改变目前的竞争态势,并加速大规模新出行创新的商业化。 然而,由于缺乏本地的合作伙伴,外资车企将在中国新的汽车出行行业的竞争中面临更大的挑战,其竞争对手将不再是传统的汽车制造商,更多的挑战将来自于新的出行服务提供商及生态系统巨头。各类参与者正在积极投身到中国数字经济的快速发展中,并正积极投资于互联、电动和自动驾驶的出行平台。

我们能取得“双赢”吗?

虽然合资企业的监管要求将被取消,但这并不意味着合资企业将全部消失。 一些现有的合资企业可能仍然存在,同时也可能会出现新的合资企业。是否需要合资将基于双方目前的能力以及在未来新的汽车出行市场中所需能力和增值服务,以及如何在新的竞争中获胜。

外国汽车制造商将决定:与现有合作伙伴共同扩大现有的合资企业,寻找新的合作伙伴,试图从现有的合作伙伴那里购买股份,还是自建新的生产设施以期获得更多份额?大多数外资车企可能会发现,重组目前的合资企业将是比较困难的。

新来的外企,尤其是电动汽车制造企业,现在可以选择独资拥有自己的整车制造企业,例如特斯拉于2018年7月全资在上海市建立超级工厂的计划。

然而,电动汽车市场的很大一部分显然正在向按需出行用户提供服务的B2B主导业务发展,在这种情况下,拥有本地合作伙伴对于外资车企进入国内的移动出行市场将是关键的一步。

未来的移动革命或许将主要由中国科技公司及其生态系统合作伙伴领导。中国市场对于新兴的全球科技公司是至关重要的。

全球的科技公司需要接触能够实现技术创新的市场。作为世界上最先进的数字经济市场,中国是部署和扩展新技术的理想之地。中国的数字经济正在大力投资出行的未来,而且海外科技公司将从中国市场的投资和规模中受益,以加速其增长。

矛盾的是,虽然最初汽车产业政策的目的是要求外国车企投资和转让专有技术,但中国汽车行业的快速发展现在要求每个中外参与者将相关能力带到这个世界上最大的出行市场。

在这样的市场中,所有本地和外国参与者必须拥有协作创新(“共同创新”)的思维模式,将其在全球的能力与本地的需求相匹配。

虽然外资所有权限制将被取消,但预计将会有新的中外合作形式和实体浮出水面,会产生更多的参与者和更多的竞争,但也会有新的合作形式,创新的出现将层出不穷,中国的汽车出行市场将继续影响和改变世界汽车行业格局。

谢祖墀: 中国已经站在第四次工业革命最前沿

文| 谢祖墀
翻译| 观察者网青年观察者庄蕴菲

高风咨询公司于今年10月8日在香港《南华早报》发表了一篇观点文章 — Powering Ahead – China is Rapidly Evolving to Becoming Hub for Technology Innovations. 近期,《观察者网》将此文章翻译成中文并命名为《中国已经站在第四次工业革命最前沿》,并于11月5日发表在该网站上。我们很高兴于此与大家分享这篇译文。

今年9月,超过2000名来自各国政界、商界、艺术界和社会团体的行业精英出席了在中国直辖市天津举办的世界经济论坛新领军者年会,即“夏季达沃斯论坛”。在此次论坛上,“第四次工业革命”的话题成为了焦点。

据论坛主席克劳斯·施瓦布(Klaus Schwab)介绍,中国凭借着能够“打破物理、电子和生物界限”的最新前沿技术,正在领跑这场即将到来的科技革命。“中国制造2025”已经是中国力图成为先进制造和高科技产业领导者的象征。中国正在洗涮“山寨大国”的污名,成为时下全球商业创新的中心。据中国新华社报道,2017年,在包括网约车、电子商务、机器人和人工智能在内的网络和科技领域,中国实现了18%的增长,大幅超过6.9%的年经济增长率。

在近期《纽约时报》的评论板块中,专栏作者托马斯·弗里德曼(Thomas Friedman)引用互联网明星分析师玛丽·米克尔(Mary Meeker)最新发布的《互联网发展趋势报告》称:20年前,全世界市值最高的上市科技企业前20名榜单中,中国一家也没有。5年前,中国有两家,美国有9家。而如今,中国有9家(阿里巴巴、腾讯、蚂蚁金服、百度、小米、滴滴、京东、美团和今日头条)跻身该榜单,美国有11家。

在《福布斯》杂志的一篇评论中,财经评论员约翰·马尔丁(John Mauldin)指出,中国正在打造世界上最大的创新经济体——包括香港、澳门以及广东省的9座城市在内的“粤港澳大湾区”,由于其体量、政策支持以及创新竞争力,“粤港澳大湾区”正在成为“打了激素的硅谷”。

中国正全力发展人工智能、数据网络、区块链以及5G网络等新型科技产业,以便进行进一步的创新。中央政府、地方政府以及民营企业都在大力投资有望引发革命性变化的产业领域。这些科技创新将进一步带动自动化、互通性、智能化以及有望改变产业格局的商业模式。

比如,根据国际机器人联合会的数据,2016年,为了推动自动化生产,中国新增了87000台工业机器人,这个增量仅略少于欧洲与美国的总和。施瓦布认为中国在高端制造上的进取姿态是“供给侧的奇迹,将在效率和生产力方面给中国带来长期利益”。清华大学最新的研究显示,全球对人工智能领域的投资中有三分之二已经流向中国,这在去年为中国人工智能产业带来了67%的增长。

根据市场调研公司ABI Research的一份报告,2017年中国人工智能领域的初创公司超过美国同行,获得了近50亿美元的的风险投资。市场调研公司CB Insights给出的数据表明,中国公司申请人工智能相关专利的数量最多,达到了硅谷的7倍。去年11月,上海市政府宣布新的发展路线图,将把上海打造成为人工智能技术领域的国家级中心。

在中国,在不同产业内使用区块链的新价值链已经出现。据中国工业与信息化部的数据,在中国,已经注册的区块链科技公司约有450家。监管部门的态度从怀疑转为接受,现在已经变成了鼓励。

今年,为发展区块链网络,中国政府已投入数十亿美元作为创始基金。今年4月,仅杭州市政府就向全球区块链创新基金(the Global Blockchain Innovation Fund)投入了16亿美元。

在汽车行业,新能源汽车产业获得了加速发展。与此同时,自动驾驶以及“共享出行服务”也得到了发展,后者致力于重塑市民的出行方式。目前,无论外国还是中国本土的传统动力汽车制造商,他们都在努力将自己重新定位为符合未来发展趋势的新能源汽车制造商。他们与新出现的几个中国民营汽车品牌(如蔚来汽车,该公司刚刚在纽交所挂牌上市)形成了既竞争又合作的关系。

在第四次工业革命中,中国将成为领跑者之一,而且中国有望超越大多数国家。创新发展已经成为了全球流行的主题,未来会继续保持热度。一个国家未来的发展也将取决于它拥抱这一发展趋势的意愿和能力。

许多外国公司以及他们所雇佣的游说者一直在抱怨进入中国市场的门槛颇高,并且要求得到“互惠”待遇。他们执着于这些问题,却大多忽略了与此同时中国在创新领域进行的转型,也因此成为了这一历史进程的旁观者。

目前,美国与中国已陷入贸易战,可即便如此,中国仍将成为一个更加强大、更加富有创新能力的经济体。中国无法避免发展道路上会遇到的动荡起伏,有些政策试验或许无法得到理想结果,也有部分资源可能会被浪费。

中国缺乏尖端芯片这样的核心技术,这暴露了中国的弱点,但也给中国企业提供了进步的动力。在中国,许多初创企业会失败,但仍然有一小部分会成功。任何人若质疑中国达成目标的决心和能力,必将被证明是轻率的。

创新必将为社会带来挑战:失业、教育转型以及日益严重的贫富差距,但是创新也会为社会带来利益——那些能够预见并抓住机会的公司和个人将占有先机。而那些没有意愿或能力抓住机会的公司和个人将被边缘化甚至更糟。现在是时候问问自己了:你想站在历史的哪一边?

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

 

Foreign Companies Should Take Advantage of China’s Innovations

By Edward Tse and Bill Russo
17 Sep, 2018

Despite the simmering trade tensions, China announced on April 17th to scrap a two-decades-old limit on foreign ownership of automotive ventures by 2022. While unsettling some state-owned car manufacturers who worry about emerging competition, the plan unveils tremendous opportunities for foreign corporate investors to fully leverage the advantage of China’s market size and growth. Earlier in April, the country had also lifted ownership cap on banking and financial sectors.

President Xi Jinping described the measures as part of a “new phase of opening up” which has its roots back in the 1970s. For a long time, foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) complain about a lack of market access in China and ask for reciprocity. They argue that China’s regulatory and industrial policies confer unfair advantages on Chinese companies, represent forced technology transfer and penalize foreign companies. In reality, China has been liberalizing its sectors for non-state Chinese companies and foreign companies gradually over the past decades. Many previously closed sectors were opened, either entirely or partially. Though not every sector is now open, the trend and direction are pretty clear.

Is the golden era for MNCs in China over? Pundits take examples of companies such as Best Buy, Home Depot and PepsiCo, which have had to make “strategic retreat” from China’s market. PepsiCo, for instance, sold its bottling business in China in 2011 to the Taiwanese company Tingyi Holding, which has a broad distribution network across China.

Source: Internet

The answer lies in how foreign MNCs approach the China market. They tend to copy-and-paste their strategy approach that has worked, perhaps for decades, in their home markets, assuming that it must also work elsewhere in the world. However, coming out from a planned economy at the end of the 1970s, China is a highly complicated and fast-evolving environment. This market context makes the “cookie-cutter business model transfer” approach not always appropriate.

However, China’s environment is not entirely without patterns. Through years, China has found its own development model: at the top, the central government plans the direction of the country. At the grass-roots level, entrepreneurship is thriving and driving economic growth often through innovations. In the middle, local governments compete and sometimes collaborate in clusters of cities within regions. This three-layered model, though not perfect, has indeed enabled China’s tremendous economic growth for the past four decades and offered major resilience for continued growth.

China’s innovations, in particular, are picking up with unforeseen speed and intensity. With “Made in China 2025” outlining China’s roadmap to becoming the world’s leader in high-tech, China is now already the second-largest spender on research and development and accounts for 21% of the world’s total, according to the US National Science Foundation. From the grass-roots level, patents, trademarks and industrial design soared in recent years. World Intellectual Property Organization reported that China contributed to 98% of global growth in patent filings, more than the combined total of US, Japan, Korea and Europe.

While China’s innovation is taking place with speed and intensity, MNCs have largely been a bystander. For long, China was known as a “copycat nation” and admittedly, for a long time, copycatting was blatant. However, innovations, largely business model innovations driven by China’s entrepreneurs have emerged with unprecedented speed, ever since technologies such as the wireless Internet became prevalent in China. Most MNCs were not even aware of this phenomenon because they didn’t believe the Chinese could be that innovative, and they did not really mix themselves into the Chinese business ecosystems.

Source: Internet

This lack of awareness is a key reason why MNCs have not captured the full potential that China offers. The “core competency” mindset from western corporate management drives foreign CEOs to not take risks and cling to what they are (supposedly) good at, often missing out on new opportunities to learn from Chinese consumers and companies. On the other hand, China’s leading entrepreneurial companies are good at identifying emerging market opportunities and are often willing to “jump over” to capture the new opportunities, even if they don’t have all the required capabilities to compete in the new conditions. They would often make up the capability gap through a combination of self-building and leveraging partnerships in the ecosystem.

Another reason why MNCs didn’t “get it” is that they see China as one of the many markets in the world, albeit often a very important market, but few put China at the core of their global development strategy. As much, they position their managers in China merely as operational or administrative people. Without an in-depth understanding of the China context, decision-makers from faraway global headquarters often find it difficult to stay informed of China’s innovations and to take full advantage of them. Or worse, they think they know and make decisions on that basis while in actuality they don’t (or at least not enough).

Lessons can be learned from multinational drug companies that are already bleeding talent to China startups. Zhi Hong, an 11-year veteran of GlaxoSmithKline, who led the company’s infectious diseases business, launched Brii Biosciences which raised $260 million from investors including Sequoia Capital. Dr. Xiaobin Wu, former China manager of Pfizer, left for a local cancer drug developer, BeiGene, where he sees opportunities for indigenous innovations for patients in China.

First, their strategy requires a thorough understanding of the China context which is evolving in a peculiar and multidimensional manner. Instead of using a linear, incremental approach at micro business levels, which is common at MNCs, they should focus on, or at least start with, the big picture and capture changes that can be abrupt and rapid.

Second, because these changes can be abrupt and rapid, MNCs should shorten their decision-making process, thus becoming more sensitive to innovations happening at the grass-roots level. Compared with the complex layers of management at MNCs, the dynamics at China’s new start-ups are very nimble and the decision-making is very fast. MNCs should therefore draw inspiration and create more agile organizations.

Third, the speed of development, uniqueness, complexity and strategic importance of China require foreign MNCs to fully embrace China as the core of their global strategy and organization, not just as one of many markets. Foreign multinationals should also train their China managers to be thought leaders and place them at senior levels as well as empower them with appropriate decision rights and resources.

There are cases of MNCs capturing significant value from China’s innovations. Earlier examples include Telstra, an Australian telecommunication and media company. Though its core business in China is restricted by foreign participation rules, it turned to invest in China’s online automotive advertising platform Autohome and made a handsome profit. Insiders estimated Telstra profited well over US$ one billion in well less than 10 years. Lately, Coca-Cola China ventured into the yogurt business with an investment in Beijing Lepur to tap the growing demand for health products and consumption trade-up. Lepur, a premium yogurt startup, is one of China’s fastest-growing brands.

Source: Internet

The golden era for foreign MNCs in China is not over. But to capture the rightful potential that China offers to them, foreign companies have to step up their game through more innovations, as well as better disruptive strategies supported by the right organizations and driven by the right leadership under a new and empowered global governance. Participating in China’s innovations in a full-fledged manner gives foreign companies a much better chance to succeed.

A major potential is emerging in Sino-foreign collaborative innovations (“co-innovation”). While China needs access to breakthrough technologies from global innovation hubs such as North America, Europe and Israel, top global technology firms also need a market that allows innovations to scale up. One of the most progressive markets with a vibrant digital economy, China is an ideal place to deploy and scale up new technologies.

To catch up with the new rules of games, foreign MNCs must accelerate by joining or even creating their own innovations ecosystems. Thriving or failing in China depends on whether they can strategically anticipate and capture the opportunities and handle the challenges. After all, it goes back to companies’ own mindset and awareness.

About the authors
Dr. Edward Tse
Founder and CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company
Dr. Edward Tse is founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company. A pioneer in China’s management consulting industry, Dr. Tse built and ran the Greater China operations of two leading international management consulting firms for a period of 20 years. He has consulted to hundreds of companies – both headquartered in and outside of China – on all critical aspects of business in China and China for the world. He also consulted to the Chinese government on strategies, state-owned enterprise reform and Chinese companies going overseas. He is the author of over 200 articles and four books including both award-winning The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015) (Chinese version «创业家精神»).
Email: edward.tse@gaofengadv.com

Bill Russo
Managing Director and the Automotive Practice leader
Gao Feng Advisory Company
Bill Russo is Managing Director and the Automotive Practice leader at Gao Feng Advisory Company based in Shanghai. With 15 years as an Automotive executive, including over 14 years of experience in China and Asia, Mr. Russo has worked with numerous multi-national and local Chinese firms in the formulation and implementation of their global market and product strategies. He was previously Vice President of Chrysler North East Asia, where he managed the business operations for the Greater China and South Korea markets. Prior to this, Mr. Russo was Head of Product & Business Strategy for Chrysler. He also has nearly 12 years of experience in the electronics and IT industry, having worked at IBM Corporation as a manufacturing and systems engineer, and formerly served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Harman International.
Email: bill.russo@gaofengadv.com

 

How Huawei Found Global Success with Secondary-market Customers

The following is an edited excerpt from China’s Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies are Changing the Rules of Business by Edward Tse. The excerpt was provided by Portfolio Publishing.

In a quarter of a century Huawei has made itself the world’s biggest manufacturer of telecom-network equipment, rivaled only by Sweden’s Ericsson.

Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was born in 1944 in southwest China’s Guizhou province, one of the country’s poorest regions. Ren attended university, studying engineering, and then joined the People’s Liberation Army to work on military-related technologies.

He left the army in the early 1980s as part of a round of military downsizing, moving to Shenzhen to start his own business. After a few false starts, he used 21,000 yuan of his own savings (then worth about $5,600) to set up Huawei in 1987. Initially, Huawei’s main source of revenue came from selling office telecom equipment imported from Hong Kong.

By 1990, it had acquired enough resources to open its first research laboratory. Two years later, the company launched its first digital switch, the core piece of equipment at the heart of any telecom network, which directs signals to and from callers. China at that time had just embarked on a massive telecom rollout; within less than 10 years, the country went from having no private telephones to acquiring first a nationwide fixed-line network and then multiple mobile ones.

The big winners for most of this period were the international equipment makers – Siemens, Alcatel, Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, and Nortel – all of whom found ready customers in the provincial arms of the country’s big telecom services providers: China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom.

These companies’ best Chinese customers were in the richer provinces and cities of the east coast, from Guangdong in the south to Beijing and Tianjin in the north, where buyers preferred to get their hands on the more advanced equipment offered by the international vendors.

But a government rule saying that all provinces had to buy equipment from at least two suppliers opened the door for Huawei to become the second provider in poorer, inland regions. Orders were small at first, which allowed Huawei’s engineers to gain experience at both installing equipment and seeing how what they made measured up against the systems from the international suppliers.

Driven by Ren’s insistence that Huawei continually upgrade its products’ quality through research and development, and supported by a government eager to see indigenous equipment makers displace foreign companies, the company’s footprint grew. The performance of its switches still lagged that of its competitors, but cheaper prices compensated for the gap. Able to undercut foreign companies on price and out-compete Chinese state-owned companies on quality, Ren began to find buyers in richer coastal provinces.

In 1997, Huawei stretched across the border immediately to Shenzhen’s south to secure its first international deal, a contract with Hong Kong operator Hutchison Telecom. Within eight years, as it extended sales first across Asia, then Africa and Latin America, and finally into Europe, Huawei’s overseas revenues were greater than its domestic ones. To ensure it secured deals, Ren insisted that his sales staff always submit bids below those of competitors – typically, by 5 to 15 percent, according to a report by Wharton Business School.

From the start, there was also another side to Huawei’s business: regardless of a customer’s size, the company would always be willing to come in and look for ways of improving the operations of its clients. During the golden era of telecom growth through the 1990s until the dotcom collapse, this approach was very different from that of the big international vendors, whose main focus was developing cutting-edge technology which they could then sell to fast-growing telecom operators.

Their preference was for selling entire systems to big companies, and they had little interest in selling to smaller businesses, especially those in poorer markets.

Huawei, in contrast, was happy to work with such customers, focusing on their often prosaic needs. It developed smaller, more power-efficient mobile base stations that allowed operators to reduce their electricity and rental bills. The company honed its ability to integrate its equipment with existing systems.

And, perhaps most important, it rapidly expanded the number of its R&D staff, hiring thousands of computer programmers and software-engineering graduates fresh from university, and putting them to work figuring out ways in which operators could run their networks more efficiently.

Today, Huawei is China’s biggest private exporter, with two-thirds of its $39 billion in revenues coming from overseas. It sells to markets in almost every part of the world, with the glaring exception of the United States, where its sales have been restricted to a handful of small mobile operators, largely due to national security concerns in Washington. Unsubstantiated allegations that the company is an agent of the Chinese government, however, serve as a smoke screen to hide Huawei’s significance.

It has shown how innovation, instead of calling for a string of groundbreaking products, can also be about finding ways of supplying and supporting an appropriate version of a product to secondary-market players. Serving customers in China’s lower-tier regions and other less-developed countries, then working with smaller players in developed markets, allowed Huawei to gain footholds and experience without having to go head-to-head with the big European and American equipment makers.

Instead, accompanied by a constant push to narrow the technological gap on its rivals, it could focus on growth through stealth by eroding their market share in areas they usually regarded as of secondary importance. As it grew in scale, Huawei’s consistently cheaper prices also had the effect of commoditizing the telecom-equipment sector, in the process reducing its competitors’ profits.

While its rivals could still win contracts where technological prowess mattered, less frequently could they win them where operators simply wanted their networks extended or upgraded in a routine manner. Along the way, Huawei has gradually transformed the world’s telecom-equipment market into something resembling China, where what counted was being able to offer constant incremental improvements in technology, features tailored to meet the precise needs of cost-conscious operators with no extra frills, and always at a price a little better than anyone else’s. Year by year, other companies merged or exited the industry, as Huawei relentlessly forced margins downward.

By 2012, it had established itself as the world’s biggest network-infrastructure vendor, with Ericsson its only remaining serious rival, and second only to Cisco in the router and switching market.

How Corporate Innovations Work in China?

On March 15th, 2018, Gao Feng Advisory Company’s CEO Edward Tse was invited by Asia Society Switzerland to discuss China’s innovations in business. We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Ernst Bärtschi, chairman of the Board of Directors of Conzzeta AG, for initializing the concept of this event and for orchestrating its organization. We would also like to thank the event’s host, Ms. Eunice Zehnder-Lai, member of the Board of Directors, Asia Society Switzerland, for leading the conversation.

Ms. Eunice Zehnder-Lai (EZL): Thank you, Mr. Bärtschi. Innovation is a very timely topic for all of us. Technology seems to be influencing all parts of our lives. China, as a topic, is also very relevant. Having said that, innovation in China may not come as the most intuitive topic. To many, the image of China is that of a socialist, planned economy and as a copycat nation. Not long ago, a lot of people were afraid of forming joint ventures with China, that they will steal your intellectual property, that they’re very good at making imitation and fake products, selling them at a fraction of the price and ruining your market. Suddenly, China has become a global leader in innovation. They’re one of the leaders in cashless payments, in drones, in many areas of e-commerce, and in facial recognition. How did that happen so quickly? If you count the number of unicorns in China, it is catching up with the US very quickly. If we look into history, at the end of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, Deng Xiaoping took over and inherited a big mess. His job was to turn the country around and he made certain decisions that really set the backdrop for this mass entrepreneurialism and grassroots innovation. Could you give us a little bit of color on the backdrop?

Edward Tse (ET): First of all, thank you. Thanks to Asia Society Switzerland for the invitation and to Mr. Bärtschi for your arrangement which is really wonderful, and Eunice for your being our host this afternoon.

I’m very privileged and I hope I can share with you some of my views and experiences. Having worked in China for over 25 years by now at some of the top and biggest consulting firms, first with the Boston Consulting Group, and later with Booz Allen Hamilton (later known as Booz & Company), I was fortunate to have helped a large number of companies, foreign and Chinese – including SOEs and private sector companies — over the years to help them develop their business and strategies.

Developing the right kind of strategy for China needs consideration of the China context. Without that consideration, the strategy would mostly fail. You cannot just copy and paste the strategy approaches that you take in Europe or in America or wherever and expect that to work in China. Sometimes it works but most often, it doesn’t because the context is very different.

Eunice, your question is very good. Many people are surprised by the speed and intensity of the changes in China. However, all of these happened for a reason.

The biggest near-term game-changer in Chinese history is the Cultural Revolution which left the Chinese disillusioned. When that was over, Deng Xiaoping returned to power. He decided to be pragmatic and tried something different: allowing entrepreneurship to come back to China.

Back at that time, the Chinese people were clueless about business because they had no exposure to the notion of business under a planned economy. However, we Chinese were innately very entrepreneurial in history. For centuries, the Chinese were trading with the Europeans, Indians and Arabs over the Silk Road. And we traded with our neighbors. It was just totally and artificially stopped by that aberration in the first 30 years of the PRC. However, after Deng lifted the ceiling, entrepreneurship started growing fast.

EZL: When we think about Chinese companies’ entrepreneurship, there are three companies that always come to mind: the “BAT” – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. And every time we see them, they seem to be going into a new business. And they seem to be growing horizontally in their ecosystems. Whereas in the West, the managers are taught to focus, to find out what your strengths are and what your core competency is. Do not deviate from what you’re good at, because the market will penalize you for it. It doesn’t seem to be the same in China. Why is that?

ET: You’re right. It is about management science. When I first joined consulting 30 years ago, I was in the US and was taught there were only two ways to think about business strategy. One is to form conglomerates, meaning collections of different kinds of businesses but on a random basis. The other way is to focus based on a company’s core competencies, i.e., what you are good at.

In fact, since around the 80’s, conglomeration was not considered as a good thing by the western capital market. The notion of “focusing on what you are good at” as an outgrowth of the “core competence” concept became the mainstream strategy thinking in the West till even now.

The rise of China and the prevalence of technology, in particular the creation of smart devices, have provided the context for the rapid emergence of companies like BAT. The Chinese really embrace the Internet, particularly wireless internet and its associated features like social media.

In China, while there are some companies that are conglomerates and there are some that are core competence focused, the fastest-growing companies grow by “multiple-jumping”: jump when they see new opportunities, even though they may not have all the capabilities needed to operate in the new opportunities space. They will make up for the capability gaps along the way either by themselves or through collaborations with other companies, or both. These companies may focus on their existing core competencies at first, but when they see the opportunities showing up in what we call the S-curve manner, they will try to catch these new opportunities even if they don’t have all the capabilities needed to run the new business. Managers in Western multinational companies don’t necessarily see these new upcoming opportunities in China. Even if their local managers tell them there are opportunities, most of them will revert back to a core competence focus, thinking, “if I try to stretch, I will be accused of being not focused.”

 

On the opposite, the Chinese entrepreneurs are highly driven to grab these new opportunities. If they lack the capabilities to do so, they would collaborate with partners thereby building ecosystems. Companies like BAT have developed into not just one but multiple ecosystems, turning into mega ecosystems. Today Alibaba and Tencent are already in the world’s top five by market capitalization.

By the way, leading U.S. tech companies like Google and Amazon have also grown through “multiple jumping”.

EZL: In all these mobility companies, they don’t really see themselves as transportation companies. They see themselves as data gatherers. The value is really in the data they have from having twenty million rides a day.

ET: That’s exactly right. The Chinese entrepreneurs have discovered this without knowing it actually. With the command of large user databases, they feel they can crisscross over industry boundaries. They can go into industries that they were not in before. So they can do multiple jumping.

Meituan-Dianping, the popular food delivery app, has 400 million active users in China and offers fast and convenient service. With that database, they look at mobility services as a good business to enter into. The leading mobility services company in China is a company called Didi Chuxing. Didi competed with Uber for a while until Uber pulled out from China. Didi didn’t look at the auto OEMs as competitors because they lived in different spaces – mobility solution and car manufacturing respectively. But this is not the case with Meituan-Dianping, who as a food delivery provider, has a large active user database. When Meituan announced that they would go into mobility service solutions, Didi was concerned that real competition and a real war would start. This is how competition is being defined in China’s digital space.

EZL: What other advantages do the Chinese have if you look at the very successful companies in China that are truly innovative? Do you see a common thread that goes through all of them? What are the typical characteristics of these companies compared to what you see in the West?

ET: It all started with the mindset and the leadership. In the West, companies tend to focus based on their core competencies. That is the response to a general slowdown of the economy in the 80’s and the early 90’s after the “go go years” of the conglomerates in the previous decades. So the academics and the consulting firms came up with a theory to try to explain that, which became the mainstream thinking in the West and it still is nowadays.

The Chinese came from a very different context. In the 80’s, coming out of the Cultural Revolution, they were experimenting with businesses, but had little clue because the notion of “business” didn’t even exist in China’s planned economy. Thereafter China has grown in a very different era and much faster. When opportunities came with the prevalence of technology, Chinese entrepreneurs began to develop a new and different mindset. This mindset is epitomized by the willingness to take risks and to capture new opportunities before the opportunities fully manifest themselves. Technology is a key enabler for developing new business models and new capabilities. Examples of this include not only BAT but also many others such as Ping An, Xiaomi, Geely, etc. Ping An, for example, has evolved from an insurance company into a major horizontal ecosystem. Peter Ma, its chairman, is now trying to benchmark the company against Google and Amazon.

EZL: What insight and learning would you have for our audience here? Not everybody here is involved in business in China. And even if they’re in business in China, it’s not a hundred percent in China. One could say, “Okay, all these great things are happening in China. How is it going to affect me?” How should we think about the threats and challenges of these new business models in China to the West? That’s number one. Number two are these context questions that you said about why these entrepreneurs are so successful in China, having a fast-growing market, having government support, having a lot of data, having hungry people because of their pain points that we don’t have in Switzerland. It’s a good life here and there is little competition. So what can we learn from innovation in general that is transferable to Europe?

ET: Of course, to what extent China affects you depends on your individual conditions. Some of you may be doing business with China and so China has a lot of implications for you. Some are not doing anything with China but are looking. Some may have nothing to do with China. But the Chinese may knock on your door anytime and you should be prepared for it.

China is on the verge of a new generational rise that will last for some prolonged period. Entrepreneurship and innovation are an important underpinning for that. Entrepreneurship cuts across many parts of China, and young people are going after their own dreams and pursuits. They aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates or Jack Ma. Though only a very small percentage will succeed, a small percentage of a big number is still a big number.

Some of these young people realize that if they can be successful in China, they have a good chance of being successful in other parts of the world. I cannot predict exactly who they may be, but I know the mentality: the first step is to become number one in China; the second step is to go out to the world. The world is becoming more and more connected through technology, and globalization will prevail more than isolation.

EZL: Thank you very much.

About the host and guest

Ms. Eunice Zehnder-Lai is CEO of IPM (Institut für Persönlichkeitsorientiertes Management). Previously, she was in the financial services industry for 20 years with LGT Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch in New York, London, Hong Kong and Switzerland. She also worked for Procter & Gamble in marketing and brand management as well as for Booz & Co. in strategy consulting. Eunice is also a member of the Board of Directors of DKSH (since March 2018), Geberit Group (since 2017) and Asia Society Switzerland (since 2016). She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University.

Dr. Edward Tse is founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company. A pioneer in China’s management consulting industry, Dr. Tse built and ran the Greater China operations of two leading international management consulting firms for a period of 20 years. He has consulted to hundreds of companies – both headquartered in and outside of China – on all critical aspects of business in China and China for the world. He also consulted to the Chinese government on strategies, state-owned enterprise reform and Chinese companies going overseas. He is the author of over 200 articles and four books including both award-winning The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015) (Chinese version «创业家精神»).

About Asia Society Switzerland

Asia Society Switzerland is an independent Swiss foundation, which is a member of the global Asia Society family. Founded in 1956 in New York, Asia Society has developed into a thought leader on Asian issues, and a vibrant community of decision makers around the world.

As the first Center in Europe, Asia Society Switzerland – founded in 2016 – provides a unique opportunity to become part of this global community, and to contribute to a meaningful dialogue that could shape our future. Asia Society Switzerland is committed to exploring Asia’s role in a multilateral world and to advancing the dialogue and strengthening partnerships among individuals and institutions in Switzerland and Asia.

About Gao Feng

Gao Feng Advisory Company (www.gaofengadv.com) is a pre-eminent strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China coupled with global vision, capabilities, and a broad resources network. We help our clients address and solve their toughest business and management issues — issues that arise in the current fast-changing, complicated and ambiguous operating environment. We commit to putting our clients’ interest first and foremost. We are objective and we view our client engagements as long-term relationships rather than one-off projects. We not only help our clients “formulate” the solutions but also assist in implementation, often hand-in-hand. We believe in teaming and working together to add value and contribute to problem solving for our clients, from the most junior to the most senior.

Our senior team is made up of seasoned consultants previously at leading management consulting firms and/or ex-top executives at large corporations. We believe this combination of management theory and operational experience would deliver the most benefit to our clients.

Our name Gao Feng is taken from the Song Dynasty Chinese proverb Gao Feng Liang Jie. Gao Feng denotes noble character while Liang Jie refers to a sharp sense of integrity. We believe that this principle lies at the core of management consulting – a truly trustworthy partner who will help clients tackle their toughest issues.

创新的国度:不论政治,中美两国共享相似的创业文化

文 | 谢祖墀

潜在的中美贸易战是当下全球关注的头条新闻。表面看来,这是美国总统唐纳德•特朗普在践行“美国第一”的竞选口号,也是他将中国视为“战略竞争者”战略中的一部分。

然而目前这种僵局最根本的原因可以追溯到西方国家,尤其是美国,对中国所存在的根本上的不信任。2018年3月3日《经济学人》的封面故事“西方国家如何错读了中国”印证了这一点。根据此篇文章,西方国家期待在把中国融入全球贸易体系的同时将中国的政治经济体系转变成资本主义政治经济,或者简单来说,“他们(中国)将和我们一样。”

然而,中国并没有走西方国家所期待的道路,相反,中国建立了适合于自己的发展模式。在对西方所定义的市场经济保持持续渐进的开放的同时,中国政府依然保持了强大的掌控能力。

当西方国家仍然认为有且只有一种合适的治理方式时,公允地来说,根据实际情况的不同,适合某个国家在某个特定时期的发展道路,很大程度上跟其他国家在不同发展阶段里的发展道路是可以不同的。考虑到过去十年发生的事件,例如2008年的金融危机、唐纳德•特朗普当选美国总统和十多年来缓慢增长的经济,西方政治家和专家们期待每个国家都应该追随西方走过的道路和完全融入西方体系的观点未免过于自负。

Source: Google

另一方面,中国政府帮助中国民众从基本生存状态中解放出来,让许多人如今享受到小康生活。美国历史学家弗朗西斯福山(Francis Fukuyama)在他2014年出版的《Political Order andPolitical Decay》一书中指出,撇除意识形态的不同观点,很难说所有国家只有一种合适的治理方式。

然而除了这些差异外,中国和西方国家之间,尤其与美国之间有着很多相似之处。

中国过去四十年来最令人印象深刻的发展之一就是民营企业的崛起。在中华人民共和国成立的三十年间,民营经济并不是它的经济的一部分,直到文化大革命末期邓小平决定容许进行民营企业的试验。

过去四十年中国发生了翻天覆地的变化。在20世纪90年代末,中国工业领域的国有部分和非国有部分的总营业额和总利润几乎一样。而如今,工业领域中的非国有部分在总营业额和总利润两方面都已经是国有部分的大约四倍。

根据中国社会科学院人口与劳动经济研究所的一项研究表明,中国的新经济——涵盖了从电子商务到网约车服务的基于互联网的商业,在2010年到2016年间的增速是中国整体GDP增速的两倍。新经济相关的公司几乎都来自民营部门。

Source: Google

中国领先的民营企业例如阿里巴巴、腾讯、百度、京东、小米和滴滴出行都被认为是具有高度创新能力的。这些科技创业公司相较于阶级分明的国有企业,更像美国硅谷的公司。中国和美国的创业者都勇于冒险,愿意去接受不确定性并积极地寻求财务回报。这些中国公司都很年轻,并常以硅谷的公司作为榜样。

中国的科技公司也倾向于通过“生态系统”来构建合作伙伴关系。当市场上出现新的机会时,这些公司往往会考虑要不要“跳过去”来抓住这些新的机会,即便它们并不拥有经营新业务所需要的所有能力。它们常利用合作伙伴构建“生态系统”或者“平台”来弥补跳跃的能力欠缺。从合作的立场来说,生态系统的概念包含开放、包容、平等和共赢的思想。这些概念听起来很熟悉,是不是?

随着中国的科技公司寻找创新的灵感或具体工具时,他们经常把目光转移到西方的创新中心,尤其是美国的硅谷、西北部和波士顿地区。中国的科技公司和投资人已经投资了不少美国的初创科技公司。根据《纽约时报》报道,中国的投资者在2010至2016年间投资了300多亿美元在美国的高科技产业上。

根据 CB Insights,腾讯自2011年起已经投资了超过35亿美元在41个硅谷的高科技创业公司,并成为了美国高科技领域的第二大非本土投资者。同时,美国的风险基金例如红杉资本、IDG资本,也在投资中国的科技公司并取得了不错的投资回报。

Source: Google

中美的科技公司和他们的投资者,在思维方式和做事方法上有极多相似的地方,并在多年来建立了很多的共同利益。因此,尽管政治方面,也许一些西方国家对中国没有按他们自以为是的路来走感到失望,但从商业的角度来说,中国和西方,尤其与美国的创新中心,有着很多的共同点并采用了非常相似的理念。实际上,中国和美国的科技生态系统已经相互交织并且很难分割。

中国的成语“求同存异”指在允许差异存在的情况下寻找共同点。西方国家尤其是美国也应该用这种求同存异的目光来看待中国。中国正处于持续崛起的边缘,习近平主席已经明确中国将要在全球领导力和治理上扮演越来越重要的角色。通过更加关注这些相似点,全球的贸易和商业都将获益。

英文原稿于2018年3月29日在《南华早报》发表,版权归该报所有。

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

 

China’s HNA, Shedding Debt Overseas

Reporting By Matthew Miller; Editing by Philip McClellan
CHANNEL NEWSASIA | March 16, 2018

China’s HNA, Shedding Debt Overseas, Is Still Hainan’s Hometown Champion

Hundreds of workers pour concrete as tower cranes swing overhead at the building site where a giant skyscraper is set to soar above the palm-fringed streets of this tropical Chinese city.

HAIKOU, China: Hundreds of workers pour concrete as tower cranes swing overhead at the building site where a giant skyscraper is set to soar above the palm-fringed streets of this tropical Chinese city.

The building is the first of two towers that will serve as the gateway to a 200-hectare new central business district in downtown Haikou, capital of the island-province of Hainan in southern China.

The project is being constructed by HNA Group , the widely scrutinized and highly leveraged aviation-to-financial services conglomerate that got its start in Hainan 25 years ago as a regional airline with just two aircraft.

But HNA is now looking to shed at least some of its sprawling interests in the huge 100 billion yuan (US$15.84 billion) business district, as it has done with many of the interests the company has amassed in a US$50 billion global spending spree.

HNA is currently in talks with potential “strategic partners” for parts of the development, which a range of investors also have stakes in, according to sources familiar with the situation, even as it prepares to re-organize its operations and shrink its workforce.

The search for investors in HNA’s hometown underlines the difficulties the company is facing as it struggles under the weight of the debt it racked up during its rapid expansion.
HNA told major bank creditors in January that it faced a potential cash shortfall of at least 15 billion yuan in the first quarter.

In the last two months, HNA has sold more than US$6 billion in prime real estate in Australia, New York and Hong Kong, while selling shares in Deutsche Bank , Park Hotels & Resorts , and Hilton Grand Vacations Inc .

On Monday, HNA Infrastructure Investment Group , one of the key developers of the Haikou business district, said it would sell a Hainan-based property company and logistics unit to Sunac China , a real estate developer, for 1.9 billion yuan.

When asked for comment on the stake sales, the company said in a statement that “HNA is always looking for trusted partners”.

The master plan for the Haikou business district includes 23 office buildings, residential compounds, and a massive luxury shopping mall. The first of the Haikou Twin Towers, 94-floors high, is scheduled to open in 2020, and will include a St. Regis Hotel.

Anchored in the center of the district is the Hainan provincial government, with HNA’s headquarters, a Buddha-shaped tower, sitting just down the road.

A COMPANY ISLAND

Hainan is in many ways an HNA company island. HNA Group operates 92 enterprises across the province, employing 30,000 workers, with total assets of nearly US$50 billion. It is Hainan’s biggest money maker, with total revenues outstripping the combined sales of the province’s next nine largest companies combined.

HNA is also critical to local government efforts to establish Hainan as a regional and global tourist destination.

The group operates the island’s three commercial airports and its flagship Hainan Airlines operates 17 international and regional routes from the province and transports about 45 percent of all visitors arriving by air here.

The company is currently investing 15.3 billion yuan for a second runway and terminal for Haikou’s international airport, part of an expansion to accommodate 35 million visits by 2025.

The branded tailfin of Hainan Airlines, which travels to 110 cities worldwide, has elevated the province’s name around the world, said Edward Tse, chief executive of Gao Feng Advisory Company, who previously advised Chinese companies at Booz & Company and Boston Consulting Group.

“HNA is a business card for Hainan province,” Tse said.

Hainan’s governor, Shen Xiaoming, who visited HNA’s Haikou headquarters in November just as the severity of the company’s financial struggles emerged, underscored the importance of the group to the province’s development.

“HNA took root in Hainan, understands Hainan, implemented a new development concept in Hainan, and built a modern economic system in Hainan,” Shen said. “If HNA is good, then Hainan is good; when Hainan is good, then HNA is better.”

GOVERNMENT CLEAN-UP

HNA and other non-state conglomerates in China have meanwhile been under intensifying pressure from Beijing to clean up operations and deleverage their businesses.

In recent weeks, Chinese regulators have taken control of Anbang Insurance Group. The government is also investigating the chairman of CEFC, which has agreed to take a US$10 billion stake in the Russian oil major Rosneft.

HNA executives have recently elevated their patriotic rhetoric and have tethered company goals closely to those of Beijing.

HNA Capital, for instance, announced on Feb 27 that it was helping to raise 20 billion yuan to help fund projects along China’s new Silk Road trade initiative.

HNA’s cause is the “cause of the party, the cause of the people and the cause of all mankind”, Chen Feng told HNA’s Communist Party members on Feb 7, according to a company report.

HNA’s co-chairman, Wang Jian, voiced a darker message, telling employees that the company’s difficulties were the result of a “major conspiracy” against the party and President Xi Jinping by foreign and domestic “reactionary forces”, according to an internally-distributed email.

China’s leading industrial conglomerates and technology companies all have Communist Party committees, and such rhetoric is not unusual now, said Tse of Gao Feng Advisory Company.

 

A Gap in Expectations

By Edward Tse
March 29, 2018

A Gap in Expectations – Why People Didn’t Understand China’s Innovation

Many people are now talking about China’s innovation like they have just discovered a New Continent. Some say China is now going “from imitation to innovation” while others even say, “It’s time to copy China.” This is unthinkable just several years ago.

Recently, I went back to my book China’s Disruptors, which came out in 2015, to recall what people said about China’s innovation at that time. The following is a relevant excerpt. In addition to the people quoted in the excerpt, I remember around that timeframe, Carly Fiorina, ex Hewlett-Packard CEO, was quoted saying, “…but what (the Chinese) can’t do is innovation, they are not terribly imaginative, they are not entrepreneurial…”

The following is the excerpt from my book.

Outsiders who get information about China from the Western media tend to view it as an innovation desert: a country of copycat firms, weak or nonexistent intellectual-property rights, and an education system based on rote learning.

Addressing a group of air force cadets in May 2014, U.S. vice president Joe Biden declared, “I challenge you, name me one innovative project, one innovative change, one innovative product that has come out of China.” Two months earlier, Harvard Business Review published an article with the headline “Why China Can’t Innovate.” The piece, written by business-school professors Regina M. Abrami, William C. Kirby, and F. Warren McFarlan, boldly declared: “Today, … many believe that the West is home to creative business thinkers and innovators, and that China is largely a land of rule-bound rote learners – a place where R&D is diligently pursued but breakthroughs are rare.”

The authors agreed with this outlook and dismissed the kind of advances seen at companies such as Alibaba and Baidu as “second-generation” innovation – adaptations of existing technologies for the Chinese market, and the kind of routine work companies around the world do day in and day out once someone else has done the blue-sky thinking.

Source: Google

This is bizarre. How can the authors of that article and many other similar pieces miss the impact that companies in a wide range of industries are creating in China, reworking daily life by inventing and applying new ideas in a variety of fields? Consider Haier in white goods. Huawei in telecommunications. Xiaomi in mobile phones. Alibaba in e-commerce and finance. Tencent in messaging and gaming. These are just a few examples; there are many more. Yet they are often overlooked. Why?

Rather than simply a snapshot of today, or even a view from the past, China’s development is inevitable, discontinuity is a way of life and often multi–dimensional. As such, linear and single-dimensional viewpoints will often miss the point.

The simplest explanation is a gap in expectations. Chinese companies have yet to produce basic technological research in power systems or chemicals, for example, or a product or service that has had the same impact on Western markets as the iPhone or Facebook, or a praised and adopted business process such as Japan’s “just-in-time” production system. But simply translating this into “China isn’t innovative” is short-sighted, simply focusing on what has not happened in China and not seeing what is actually taking place.

Source: Google

Since my book was published, China has taken huge strides in both innovation and entrepreneurship. Today, many people have come to recognize that China can be innovative, especially in tech-enabled innovations. However, as the above excerpt of my book indicates, this certainly wasn’t the case just a few years ago. It is always important for people to study China not from a long distance but be on the ground – all the time and across many dimensions. It is also important for people to adopt a prospective point of view on the likely changes in China instead of just taking a snapshot of today or constantly looking back at the past.

Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).

 

Europe’s World | Don’t Belittle China’s Innovation Potential

By Edward Tse | 24 Feb 2014

Four years ago, Dr. Edward Tse wrote an article, Don’t Belittle China’s Innovation Potential, which was published on Europe’s World. The date of the publication was February 24th, 2014.

Is China a breeding ground for innovation? Most people wouldn’t say so, as China is so often associated with copycats, restricted freedom of speech, poor protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), rote-learning education and an overbearing state sector. For some or all of these reasons, outsiders tend to see China as lacking the fundamentals for successful innovation.

But this view is simplistic and superficial. Let’s look at two of these so-called reasons in more detail. Lack of IPR protection is a real issue, but it hasn’t stopped innovation from taking place. Over the past decade, there have been many examples of innovation originating from China, both product and technology innovations as well as business model innovations. One can argue that change is still at a snail’s pace, but China’s IPR protection is improving and in recent years there have been cases where foreign companies successfully sued Chinese companies for IPR infringements.

The dominance of the state economy is another often-cited reason inhibiting innovation in China. Yet even the state sector can create innovations. Large scale examples include China’s space programme, its expanding high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-elevation railway (to Tibet), and the world’s fastest supercomputer. The list goes on and is lengthening. These were all developed under the auspices of the state sector. Regardless of what many people say about the Chinese copying or even stealing technology from others, for projects as complex as these, real innovations clearly do exist, and the dominance of the state economy was able to provide ample funding for these advances.

“Despite the state sector’s role so far, most of China’s innovation will not be coming from there. It will come from the companies or even individuals who compete in China’s increasingly open economy”

China’s market economy is still developing, and is now slightly over two decades old. This fundamental transformation away from the fully planned economy so deeply ingrained during the Chinese People’s Republic’s first 30 years is still just a small blip in China’s long history, and nothing that we have seen during the last 20 years is by any means perfect. But the forces shaping the future change need to be fully understood, and the direction and speed of their change recognised and appreciated.

Despite the state sector’s role so far, most of China’s innovation will not be coming from there. It will come from the companies or even individuals who compete in China’s increasingly open economy. And that includes both Chinese and foreign private companies as well as state companies. And as more mixed equity enterprises are formed in response to the needs of a competitive market, the lines separating these different kinds of companies will become more blurred than ever. China is undergoing a measured but definite process of deregulation, sector by sector. Not all sectors of the economy will ever be fully deregulated, but the trend is clear.

The size of China’s market and the potential for profits mean that when the government opens up a sector it becomes an arena for some of the world’s most intense competition. This forces companies to be innovative and to create the best products, services and business models to achieve success. There’s also a strong “why not me?” mentality among Chinese entrepreneurs, so when an opportunity arises they tend to give it a try. Some – maybe even most – may fail, but with a population of 1.4bn, even a small percentage of successes is noteworthy and these are going to encourage many others to try their luck. In short, waves of new entrepreneurs in China will be pushing for greater experimentation and more innovation.

Xiaomi, one of China’s leading smartphone players, is an excellent example of an innovative company in a highly competitive industry. Xiaomi’s leader, Lei Jun, understood the power of the Internet and built his company’s business model by “listening to customers” through social media – the concept known as “crowd-sourcing”. Its strategy is working so well that Xiaomi’s revenues grew from zero in 2010 to $5bn in 2013, with the company now reportedly valued at $10bn. The late Steve Jobs at Xiaomi’s U.S. counterpart, Apple, didn’t believe in focus groups because he felt he knew best, but Lei Jun takes the opposite approach, and is convinced that customers will be the best ones to tell him how his products should be designed and how its service model developed. With millions of fans, Lei Jun claims his business model is not to make money from the hardware, but from services.

At a more basic level of innovation, Haier, a leading Chinese white goods manufacturer, quickly gained market awareness and share by introducing a washer capable not only of cleaning clothes but also potatoes. This sprang from a customer claim and is an example of Haier’s “customer centric” management philosophy. Not every Chinese company will be like this, but the market is changing so rapidly that there are major incentives for Chinese companies to be agile, nimble and innovative.

“There’s also a strong “why not me?” mentality among Chinese entrepreneurs, so when an opportunity arises they tend to give it a try”

To successfully breed innovation, a country must be tolerant of mistakes and failures. These failures will include short-lived innovations, but they are part of the process and in fact often further examples of how innovation will be sustained in China. Tencent’s QQ, for example, was a precursor to WeChat, a fast-growing Twitter/WhatsApp type of platform very popular not only in China but internationally too. Although only two years old, WeChat already has over 600m registered subscribers and over 270m active users and the numbers are growing fast. It introduced voice capability before WhatsApp, along with a more recent payment capability that is undercutting China’s dominant incumbent, Alipay of Alibaba.

Telecom operators see WeChat and Sina’s Weibo as competitors because they eat into their own text messaging businesses and the prevalence of the Internet, in particular wireless internet, is fast cutting out traditional distribution methods. Only a few years ago, Gome and Sunning were the dominant retailers through their “bricks-and-mortar” retail stores and today, Sunning is having to quickly transform itself into an “O2O” (Offline to Online) retailer. The same goes for companies like Haier, while many retailers, especially state-owned ones, are looking at how they must revamp their business strategies to remain competitive.

As China’s economic transformation continues, more and more monopolies will be broken down. It’s unlikely that China will become completely deregulated in the near future, but it’s heading in the right direction, and the new government re-affirmed this trajectory at its recent Third Plenum when it was emphasised that market forces will play a “decisive role” in China’s economic development and non-state capital will gain access to more sectors. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are set to remain important, but non-state companies were for the first time put on an equal footing with the SOEs. Experimental free trade zones like that of Shanghai are to be established in more cities across China, and an effort will be made to create economic conditions that are conductive to innovation by entrepreneurial companies, both foreign and state-owned.

China’s unique qualities are its complexity and size. Even a small percentage of successes can be significant in the context of global commerce. Europe and the rest of the world will need to keep a close eye on China’s innovations because as well as threats they will bring with them opportunities.

 

观察者网 | 谢祖墀:揭秘中国通往人工智能领域全球领袖之路

如果一切按照计划顺利推进,那么中国有望在2030年前成为人工智能领域的全球领袖。中国在人工智能领域的成功甚至也意味着,全球地缘政治的游戏规则将随之改变。

我认为中国会在未来十年内实现其既定目标,我之所以做出这样的判断,部分原因在于我看到了中国已经取得了何种进展。尽管今日世界在很多方面都没有明确的方向,但中国在融合强势的、自上而下的政策引导与生机勃勃的草根创新这方面相较其他国家拥有很大优势。

此外,因为中国有多达7亿的互联网用户,这使其拥有海量的数据用来训练人工智能系统的学习和运算。中国生机勃勃的移动互联网生态也为人工智能研究者搜集分析极具价值的交易行为大数据提供了合适的平台,同时也使得中国研究人员与国外的竞争者相比能够进行更高层次的大规模实验。

政策引导与草根创新的结合使得中国获得了独特的优势,这一优势将使其在未来十年里成为人工智能领域的主导者。要理解其中缘由,只要看看当今中国的科技进步便可略知一二。

中国正在地方层面向人工智能领域增加投资

如今中国许多地方政府都在为人工智能领域的创新提供资金支持。在政府的支持下,作为中国最贫穷的省份之一的贵州省已经成为了中国的“大数据中心”。包括苹果、阿里巴巴、腾讯和高通在内的产业巨头都在贵州设立了大数据中心,这在很大程度上是受到政府财政政策推动的结果。根据中国政府的统计数字,贵州省2016年的国内生产总值增速达到10.5%,这在中国所有省级行政区中名列前茅。

另一个例子来自位于中国西南的直辖市——重庆。重庆是中国最早设立专门的政府部门以支持当地人工智能产业发展的城市之一。2017年5月,重庆与中国搜索引擎公司百度展开合作,推动当地人工智能和大数据产业的发展。中国的其他地方,包括北京附近新设立的雄安新区以及粤港澳大湾区,也将人工智能写进了当地的发展规划,并将其定位为当地经济增长的关键引擎。

中国公司致力于人工智能科技创新

中国政府的有利政策刺激了国内一众不同的技术厂商的技术创新。如百度、阿里巴巴和腾讯等领先的互联网巨头,以及像碳云智能(iCarbonX)、商汤科技(Sense Time)等初创企业,还有估值超过十亿美元的独角兽公司如滴滴出行、小米科技等都已在业务中运用人工智能技术或已投资于此。

例如,百度将公司战略从“移动互联网第一”调整为“人工智能第一”。百度战略的具体内容包括能与音响、电视、冰箱等智能设备相连接的对话式人工智能系统DureOS、无人驾驶汽车研发开源平台“阿波罗项目”,以及可以提供60多种人工智能技术服务的“百度大脑”等。百度的竞争对手腾讯也建立了自己的人工智能技术实验室,该实验室研发的产品在今年早些时候打败了日本围棋高手一力辽(Ryo Ichiriki),从而一举成名。

除此之外,中国医疗行业的初创企业碳云智能(iCarbonX)则建立起了一整套数字化的“生态体系”,利用人工智能技术收集用户的生理和心理健康数据,为用户提供个性化的健康分析报告,并且针对用户的健康状况给出预测分析。而初创于2014年的人工智能企业商汤科技(Sense Time)则聚焦于计算机图像识别创新和深度学习技术。今年7月,商汤科技称已获得4.1亿美元的全球人工智能行业最大单笔投资。

即便如此,中国与全球人工智能领袖美国相比仍然存在明显的差距。根据腾讯研究院近期发表的一份报告,中国人工智能企业的数量仍落后于美国(截止2017年6月,全球人工智能企业总数达到2542家,其中美国拥有1078家,占42%;中国其次,拥有592家,占23%——观察者网注),尤其是在算法、芯片和数据等产业核心领域,美国积累了强大的技术创新优势。另外,在人工智能基础算法和基础理论研究方面,中国也不及美国。但中国在人工智能技术的应用上则比美国做得更好。

中国人工智能技术跃进对美国造成的另一潜在挑战也体现在地缘政治领域。路透社援引五角大楼尚未披露的一份报告称,美国政府已将中国对美国人工智能初创企业的投资视为对美国国家安全的潜在威胁。因此,美国会严格审查在敏感的人工智能技术领域的跨境投资。不过特朗普政府已提议将美国国家科学基金会在“智能系统”上的研究经费削减10%。在中国政府强有力的政策和资金支持下,这也许会给中国带来潜在的机会,美国人工智能技术人才有可能受到吸引赴中国设立实验室并进行相关领域的研究。

中国在成功挖掘利用人工智能技术的潜力之前还有一些工作要做。但中国有物质条件和人才资源来实现其目标,而且中国有很强的政治意愿将人工智能列为国家发展的优先目标。在这些因素的共同推动下,中国人工智能产业在未来将难有对手。

(青年观察者张成译自《华盛顿邮报》网站,观察者网马力校译)

 

Ten Predictions on Business and Strategy in China for 2018

By Edward Tse | January 12th, 2018

It has become a tradition for people to come up with predictions around the new years and here’s my list for 2018. This is my first endeavor and given my professional focus, my predictions will center on strategy and businesses with focus on China and China’s increasingly involved role in the world.

No predictions of this sort will be totally MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive), including mine. I will attempt to go through my thoughts from the top of my mind. My predictions for 2018 will be as follows.

1. China’s GDP growth for 2018 will be around 6.5 percent

I don’t really have a crystal ball and as you know, this sort of predictions is anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, my work through different parts of China has allowed me to talk to businesses and people from all over, As always, there is both optimism and pessimism. Overall, I sensed more optimism than pessimism and I felt that a somewhat positive momentum is being built. Like always, there will be areas in which China will struggle, for example, sectors with chronic overcapacity and structurally low performing SOEs in parts of China. There are also doubts on the prospects of China’s property sector in 2018 and China’s debt level remains high, causing concerns about its financial risks; however, there will be areas in which China will continue to do well. According to a study by the Institute of Population and Labor Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China’s new economy – Internet-based businesses ranging from e-commerce to car-hailing services – grew twice as quickly as China’s overall GDP in the past 10 years to 2016. The contribution from the new economy to the overall GDP growth will continue in 2018, along with an increase in consumption and investment as well as trade, all serving to continue to prop up the GDP growth. In summary, barring major Black Swan events, I expect China’s GDP growth would hover around 6.5 percent plus and minus some, consistent with what the Chinese government and institutions such as the World Bank and IMF predicted. The perennial prediction of the “coming collapse of China” will unlikely to happen (again).

2. China’s consumers will continue to trade up

The fact that the Chinese middle class is growing and that their ability to afford more products and services continues to increase shouldn’t be viewed as a prediction anymore. This will happen almost for sure, but it’s still an important trend that’s worth mentioning. Depending on whose estimates you believe, the number of China’s middle class is currently around two-and-a-half to three hundred millions. All estimates are pointing to an overall increase over time. And these consumers are trading up. Instead of basic products and services, Chinese consumers are increasingly looking for those who can cater for better lifestyle and health. They are also increasingly digitally savvy and globally mobile, and are becoming more individualistic in their needs and consumption behavior.

3. Innovation and entrepreneurship in China will continue to thrive

China has begun to shed off its image as a copycat nation as more and more companies, both large and small, are becoming innovators in their own right, mostly in tech-enabled business models. Entrepreneurship is spreading across China – not only in top-tiered cosmopolitan areas but also in lower-tiered cities and across a wide range of sectors. Additionally, the entrepreneurs are getting younger. Many of them are in their 30’s or even 20’s. The Chinese central government has embraced innovation and entrepreneurship as a core part of the national development strategy. In 2018, we would expect more to come.

Source: Google

4. Technology will play an even larger role in driving China’s innovations

The wireless Internet and the smartphone have played a major enabler role for helping to drive China’s rapid growth in innovations for the past decade. As Chinese entrepreneurs continue to search for the next rounds of innovations, technology will continue to play a major enabler’s role. The Chinese have embraced various forms of new technologies in artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and are experimenting many different ways for innovations. Surely, many of these experiments would fail but some of them would succeed. Given the size of the Chinese market, the ability of scaling up gives experimenters opportunities to try, learn and adapt, allowing a natural selection of the right application of technology to businesses.

5. Continued hyper growth of the Chinese ecosystems organizations

In 2017, China made history as Alibaba and Tencent became two of the world’s largest market cap companies and their rankings continued to move up. These two companies are prime examples of “mega-ecosystems” as they have built out from their original core business to form various ecosystems that together form a mega ecosystem. They jump from sector to sector as they see new market opportunities pop up as China continues its reform and opening up, and as technologies become available as an enabler for disruptive means of doing business. Each mega ecosystem attempts to offer what the consumer needs for his or her “lifestyle needs”, so each of them could be a bona-fide exponential business. When put together, the mega ecosystem becomes “super exponential” in their growth. While leading US tech companies such as Amazon and Alphabet are also major ecosystems players and are very successful, the Chinese seem to be more inclined to migrate across sector boundaries and to create larger ecosystems. Companies like Geely, Didi Chuxing, Ping’an, Meituan are building out their respective ecosystems in incredible speed and intensity. Clearly, access to abundant users’ data is the core for this kind of companies. Even shared bikes start-ups like Mobike and ofo claim that they are data companies and not just shared bikes companies, meaning that they would also build out their ecosystems with consumer lifestyle at their core.

Source: Google

6. Mixed ownership reform of Chinese SOEs will finally happen

China’s SOE reform has been talked about for at least for the last couple of decades. In recent years, the notion of mixed ownership reform was mentioned many times as the solution to the structural issues of the Chinese SOEs. However, not much has taken place. In 2017, China Unicom’s mixed ownership reform was given the green light by the Chinese government. It looks like the Chinese government is ready to step on the gas pedal for this sort of reform in 2018. Not only SOEs at the central government level, but also many of those at local levels will be targets for reform. And, reform will likely be focused on enterprises in the “competitive sectors.” Let’s see how it would go but from what I saw and heard, it looks like things can get much more serious this time.

7. More opening up will be allowed for foreign companies’ ownership of their operations in China

Since its reform around three decades ago, China has been gradually opening up its industry sectors for foreign participation. Today, while some of the sectors remain pretty closed, some of them are entirely open. And, some are somewhere in between. I would expect the gradual opening process would continue but it is unlikely every sector would become entirely open overnight. In November 2017, the Chinese government announced the ease in foreign equity participation in a range of financial services sectors. While this move didn’t allow full foreign ownership in the relevant sectors, the increase in scope and scale was quite significant. I would expect more opening up in 2018.

8. Foreign companies’ performance in China will continue to be mixed

Some pundits have claimed that the golden era for (foreign-headquartered) MNCs in China is over. I don’t agree with that. China’s continued growth offers plenty of opportunities for foreign MNCs. It’s a matter of how the MNCs view the opportunities. However, the performance of these companies in China to-date has been mixed. Some came to China and were disappointed with the market. Some of them even decided to withdraw from the China market. Some other MNCs are engaged in sectors where there is significant and structural overcapacity. These companies tend to be in a wait-and-see mode. Yet, some others have found China to have become one of their most important and most profitable markets, or even the most important and most profitable. This overall pattern will probably continue in 2018 but the dynamics would evolve. For the companies who are in the third category, I predict most, if not all, of them would continue to invest in China, and for some, significantly. For some who have left or have de-emphasized the China market, they may return to and re-invest in China. For these companies, China is just too big and too important a market opportunity, as well as a pivot for these companies’ global strategy, to ignore. Competition in China’s open sectors will become even more intensive in 2018 driving foreign MNCs to become more competitive and more innovative in their own right.

9. Cross-border M&As will continue

While Chinese companies’ outbound investment in 2017 has dropped from its peak in 2016 due mostly from the Chinese government’s capital control measures, the 2017 investment level was modestly higher than that in 2015. Chinese companies’ interest in investing overseas has not fully cooled down as many of the Chinese companies are still seeking for ways to do these investments. From the Chinese government’s standpoint, the reason for investing overseas has to be legitimate. But as long as they are regarded as legitimate, it looks like the Chinese government would give the green light. Two recent cases in point were Geely’s US$ 3.3 Billion purchase of 8.2% of AB Volvo, the truck manufacturer, in December and the US$ 9 Billion deal completed by private oil company CEFC China Energy to take a 14% stake in Russia’s biggest crude producer, announced in September. I expect this trend will continue in 2018. Perhaps the total volume or value of the transactions wouldn’t shoot up in a major way, but I would expect a modest increase. Of course, cross-border Chinese investments are sometimes blocked by the host government due to “national security” reasons. I expect this would continue to be a challenge for the Chinese investors as they look to investing overseas.

Source: Google

10. The China development model continues to foster

For a couple of decades, the so-called “China Development Model” with which a top-down guiding hand by the central government and the bottom–up grass-roots entrepreneurship has worked remarkably well for China. This model has created several decades of high economic growth and has lifted several hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. While some pundits continue to argue against the legitimacy and sustainability of this approach, surveys have shown the Chinese people are largely supportive of the results that this model has generated. In addition to the top-down government guiding hand and the bottom-up entrepreneurship, the “China Model” also includes a middle piece which gives the entire model extra effectiveness and resilience. That is the intensive coopetition among various provincial and municipal governments. Over the years, local governments have tried to build their respective advantageous positions over others. To this end, various governments would choose certain sectors or technologies as focus of their developments. This competition has generated much progress across China and in some cases, much waste. While this kind of competition will continue in 2018, regional clusters of cities are also being formed such as the Greater Bay Area linking key parts of Guangdong Province with Hong Kong and Macau, the Greater Shanghai Area, the Greater Beijing Area (Jing-Jin-Ji) as well as the development of the Xiong’An New Area in Hebei Province. While cities within each cluster would cooperate with each other, competition is somewhat significant across the clusters. This coopetition will manifest itself more profoundly in 2018 providing an underpinning for further progress for China.

So, here they are – my predictions for strategy and businesses in China in 2018. As I said, these are not MECE. For example, I haven’t covered major topics such as Belt & Road, capital market, financial reform. property market, shared economy, etc. Nonetheless, hopefully these predictions offer some insights as you plan for your business in 2018.

 

谢祖墀:从“传授“到“学习”

文 | 谢祖墀
2017年12月

月前,我有幸与一家世界五百强企业的高管于其上海办公室会面。虽然我们第一次相见,但会面非常愉快。这位高管告诉我,他在六个月之前受公司总部指派来到上海以运营亚洲,尤其是大中华区一块的业务。

他原本以为自己到中国来是为了“传授”。尽管他知道中国是一个经济快速发展国家(因而事物发展可能日新月异),他却相信中国在企业管理技巧等方面还“趋于落后”,并且缺乏创新。事实上,许多外国人仍认为中国是个只会模仿山寨的国家。

自从这位高管落地中国,他便逐渐了解着中国变化的速度与强度,不过当然这很容易感觉到。但是,随后他就被中国急速且大规模的创新发明所震惊了。他特意引用了共享单车的现象——几乎一夜之间,上海的街道就被无数的自行车挤得水泄不通。这其实是一项迅速被人们接受的产品/服务。中国式创新的发展方式,他总结道,与美国过去的发展方式相当大的不同。

他以这样一句话结束了他的故事:“一开始我觉得来中国是为了传授,但后来我才发现自己是来学习的。或者说,至少是在传授的同时学习。”

类似的反思在跨国企业的来华高管中变得愈发平常。过去,或者说,二、三十年前,这些外来高管“我是来华传授的”一类想法相当普遍。无可厚非,当时中国仍处于其改革开放与经济发展的初级阶段。那时的它经历着由计划经济到所谓的市场经济的转变。国有企业占据着主导地位,而私有企业还在其“幼年期”。

现代意义上的企业管理实践在当时中国还刚刚起步。山寨企业遍地皆是。那个时期来华的跨国企业高管可能觉得他们有着知识与经验上的优势。那些被派遣来华的人,他们会觉得自己可以教授中国许多东西。

随着中国逐渐发展,事物以日新月异地速度进化着。尽管那些国有企业还是在某些行业有着主导地位,但私有企业的成长速度更为显著,尤其在那些管制较少的领域。伴随着移动互联网络所推动的科技普及,那些领跑的私有企业不仅成了创业者还摇身变成了改革创新者。他们认准市场机会,迅捷地组建了新的商业模型,他们通常基于科技以定位主要市场要点。其中的部分企业以不可思议的速度成长着,以至于我们称其为“指数型组织”。在这个过程中,它们的高管也掌握了有关管理企业的大量知识与经验。

如今,中国的创新与创业仍在如火如荼地进行中。企业家越来越年轻。他们中的许多人是80后甚至90后。他们不仅出现于像北京,杭州和深圳一类的中心城市,更扎根于不少二三线城市。他们尝试于众多行业的新创企业。即使那些更为知名的公司也认识到了改革与创新的重要性,以抓住新的商机,或至少避免被边缘化。许多中国企业高管企图从科技,战略,商业模型,组织和过程的尖端发展中获取灵感。他们中的更多人断定说,尽管他们想尽办法从西方十年、二十年前的最佳商业与管理实践中学习,可是现在已经难以确定往后发展的西方基准。所以众多中国高管需要伐竹取道,开辟自己的道路。

纵观众多行业,中国本地公司逐渐成为位于中国的跨国企业的强力竞争对手,甚至超越了对方。它们不仅迅速,机敏,具有很强的适应力,同时也越发复杂,富有创造力,至少那些行业领导者们都是这样的。大家都知道如阿里巴巴,腾讯,百度以及滴滴和大疆一类的公司,但还有些在国际上还并非那么有名的民营创新公司,例如立白(家庭清洁产品),江小白(中国白酒品牌),三只松鼠(坚果和零食),乐纯(酸奶)和盒马鲜生(食品杂货零售)等。这些品牌在包括主要国外企业在内的垂直行业中具有颠覆性。类似的公司案例数不胜数,且每天都在增加。

尽管现在还有诸多山寨公司,但产业前沿正被愈来愈多的创新型公司推动。它们创造了经商的新方式,这些公司中的领导者也多是“好学生”。因此,跨国企业发现它们原先在中国的领先地位已难以确保,甚至不复存在。它们必须将自身的战略,组织和商业模型本地化,将中国放在它们全球战略的中心核心点并将其在中国所学到的知识传授到全球其它地方。毫无疑问,跨国企业高管在某些领域还有许多可以传授中国本地企业。同样,许多本地企业也仍有虚心求教的态度。不过,师徒身份交换的情况也逐渐变得普遍。跨国企业很快发现它们有许多可以向本地企业学习之处。“中国的做法”已不再是一个普遍负面的概念,而逐渐被认可,成为一个独具一格,价值增值的方法取向。

由“我是来传授的”到“我是来传授同时学习的”之间的转变发生于一个较短的时间段。中国在全球商业中扮演的角色在这段时间有显著的升级。我们可以期待未来的发展,更快更强的发展。

(注:本文图片均来自网络)

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

 

Inside China’s quest to become the global leader in AI

By Edward Tse | The WorldPost
October 19, 2017

SHANGHAI — If all goes as planned, China hopes to be the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. If successful, Beijing’s “moonshot” initiative – recently unveiled by the government – has the potential to be a game-changer not just for Chinese society but for global geopolitics as well.

My bet is that China will indeed reach its goal over the next decade, in part because of how far it has already come. While so much of the world today lacks clear direction, China has an edge in its ability to combine strong, top-down government directive with vibrant grassroots-level innovation.

Beyond this, China has an abundance of data to train AI-learning algorithms because of its huge population of Internet users – more than 700 million. China’s thriving mobile Internet ecosystem also provides a test bed for AI researchers to collect and analyze valuable demographics and transactional and behavioral big data and to conduct large-scale experiments at a much higher level than foreign counterparts.

This combination places Beijing in a unique position to dominate AI in just over a decade. It would be imprudent to expect otherwise. To understand why, look no further than the country’s current technological advancements.

China is investing in AI at the local level
Today, a number of local governments in China are offering financial incentives to encourage AI-related innovations. With the government’s assistance, Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in the country, has become known as China’s “big data hub.” Major Internet companies such as Apple, Alibaba, Tencent and Qualcomm have set up new big data centers in the province, in large part due to this initiative. And in 2016, government data reported a 10.5 percent growth in Guizhou’s gross domestic product, one of the highest GDP increases among China’s provinces and municipalities.

Another example is the municipality of Chongqing. It was one of the first municipalities in China to establish a bureau to support local AI development. In May, Chongqing partnered with Baidu, a local search engine, to foster AI and big data. Elsewhere in China, Xiong’an New Area, a newly established district near Beijing, and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, a city cluster, have also incorporated AI in their development plans as a key economic growth engine.

Workers test the functions of a giant robot as they set up a robot exhibition in Hefei, Anhui province. Sept. 26, 2013. (Reuters/)

China is inspiring tech to prioritize AI
The Chinese government’s favorable policies have inspired innovations across a wide range of tech players in the country. Leading Internet giants such as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, rising start-ups like iCarbonX and SenseTime, as well as “unicorns” – companies that have reached $1 billion valuation – like Didi Chuxing and Xiaomi are either adopting AI technology already in their operations or investing in it.

Baidu, for example, has shifted its company strategy from “mobile-first” to “AI-first.” Some of its initiatives include DuerOS, a conversational AI system that can be integrated into smart devices such as speakers, televisions and refrigerators; Project Apollo, an open source platform for the research and development of autonomous vehicles; and Baidu Brain, an AI platform with 60 different AI-enabled services. Its rival Tencent has also established its own AI lab, which developed the software that famously defeated high-ranking Japanese “Go” player Ryo Ichiriki earlier this year.

Additionally, Chinese health care start-up iCarbonX is building a digital “ecosystem” using AI technology to collect users’ biological and psychological data, provide personalized health analysis and predict users’ health status. And SenseTime, a Chinese AI start-up founded in 2014, focuses on innovative computer vision and deep learning technology. In July, SenseTime claimed it had raised the largest single round investment in AI globally at $410 million.

Alpha1 Pro, a humanoid robot for entertainment and education, at the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China. Oct. 16, 2017. (Venus Wu/Reuters)

Still, there are some significant gaps to close before China becomes the world leader in AI. According to a recent AI report from Tencent Research Institute, the number of AI companies in China lags behind those in the United States, especially in the areas of core components and processes. China still falls short of the U.S. when it comes to new ideas and research related to AI but appears to have the upper hand in the application and implementation of these AI technologies.

Another potential challenge is geopolitics. According to an unreleased Pentagon report cited by Reuters, the U.S. government views Chinese investments in American AI start-ups as a potential threat to national security. As a result, the U.S. wants to scrutinize cross-border investment in sensitive AI technologies. On top of that, the Trump administration has proposed a 10 percent cut to the National Science Foundation’s spending on “intelligent systems.” This could present potential opportunity for China, through strong government support and financial incentives, to attract U.S. talent to set up AI labs and conduct pilots in China.

China has some work to do before it successfully harnesses the potential of AI. But it has the resources and talent to reach its goal – and now it has the political will to make it a national priority. That combination will be hard to beat.

This was produced by The WorldPost, a partnership of the Berggruen Institute and The Washington Post.

Edward Tse is the founding chief executive of the consulting firm Gao Feng Advisory Company. He has worked with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Chinese government on state-owned enterprise reform.

 

From “Teaching” to “Learning”

By Dr. Edward Tse

A few weeks ago, I had a meeting with the APAC head of a major Fortune 500 company at his office in Shanghai. It was the first time we met and the meeting was very enjoyable. He told me that he had arrived in China around six months ago and was sent from headquarters to run their Asia business with a particular focus on China.

He said he thought he would come to China to “teach.” While he knew China was a fast-growing country economically (and that things in general were changing fast), he believed that China was still somewhat “backwards” in terms of corporate management know-how and lacked innovation. In fact, many people still perceive China as a “nation of copycats”.

Since landing in China, he confirmed the pace and intensity of change in China, of course. That was easy. However, he was struck by the speed and magnitude of innovations taking place in China. He cited the dock-less bike sharing phenomenon, where literally over night the streets of Shanghai became overrun with thousands of bikes. Critically, this turned out to be a product/service that people really embraced rapidly. The way that Chinese innovations are taking place, he concluded, is often quite different from what he knew back in the United States.

He concluded his story by saying, “I thought I would come to China to teach, but instead I found out that I am here to learn. Or, at least to both teach and learn.”

This kind of reflections is becoming more and more prevalent among expat executives in foreign multinational companies (MNCs) in China. In the older days, i.e., a couple of decades ago, the “I come to teach” mindset was very common. Sure enough, back then China was at the early stage of its economic and political reform and opening-up. It was still at the initial stage of its transition from a planned economy to a so-called market economy. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) were dominant and privately-owned enterprises (POEs) were only at their infancy.

Corporate management practices in the modern definition were just being picked up by the Chinese. Copycats (“Shanzhai companies”) were all over. MNC executives who came to China during this time appropriately felt the knowledge and experiential advantage. For those who were compelled, they felt they could teach the Chinese.

As China grew, things evolved rather quickly. While SOEs continued to dominate some sectors, POEs were growing much faster, especially in sectors that were not as regulated. With the increasing prevalence of technology, driven by wireless internet, the leading POEs turned out to be not only entrepreneurial but also very innovative. They identified market opportunities and swiftly created new business models, often enabled by technology, to address major market pain points. Some of them have grown extremely fast creating what we call “exponential organizations” and in the process their executives also picked up a great deal of knowledge and experience on how to better manage businesses.

Source: Baidu.com

Today, innovation and entrepreneurship continue to pick up steam in China. Entrepreneurs are getting younger. Many of them are “post-80s” and “post-90s”. They can be found not only in major hubs like Beijing, Hangzhou and Shenzhen, but also in many lower-tier cities. They are dabbling in all sorts of start-ups across many industry sectors. Even more established companies have found they needed to change and to re-invent themselves in order to capture the new opportunities or at least not be marginalized. Many Chinese business executives are looking for inspirations from the cutting-edge development in technology, strategy, business models, organizations, and processes. More of them have concluded that while they were trying to learn from (“benchmark”) the western best practices in business and management a decade or two ago, they are now less able to identify appropriate western benchmarks for their growth going forward. Many of them need to figure out their own ways.

Across many sectors, Chinese companies are becoming strong competitors to western MNCs in China. They are not only fast, agile and adaptable (“they do everything”), but also increasingly sophisticated and innovative. At least the leading ones are. Most people by now know the likes of Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, as well as Didi and DJI, but there are lesser known entrepreneurial companies such as Liby (household cleaning products), Jovo (Chinese alcoholic beverages), Three Squirrels (nuts and snacks), Lepur (yogurt) and Hema (grocery retail) that are disrupting their respective verticals including the major foreign incumbents. Examples of such are numerous and the number is increasing every day.

Source: Baidu.com

While there are still plenty of copycat companies around, the front end of the curve is driven more and more by innovative companies. They generate new ways of doing businesses and the leaders of these businesses also tend to be good students. To this end, MNCs found that their original superior positions are no longer guaranteed. They must adapt their strategy, organization and business models to China (and increasingly transfer their learnings from China to the rest of the world). There is no doubt that in some areas MNC expat executives still have things to teach the locals. And many of the locals are still open to learn. However, the reverse is also becoming true. MNC expat executives are quickly finding that they can learn a great deal from the local businesses. “The Chinese Way” is no longer a universally negative notion but increasingly being appreciated as ingenious and value-adding.

The transition from “I come to teach” to “I come to both teach and learn” took place over a relatively short period of time. The role of China in global business has evolved significantly during this period and one would expect more to come, perhaps with even higher speed and stronger intensity.

 

Innovation in China: An Interview with Edward Tse

About the Interviewee:
Dr. Edward Tse
Founder and CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company

About the Interviewer:
Jim Euchner
Chief editor at Research-Technology Management, a US business journal

For more than two decades, Edward Tse has lived and consulted in China and observed the country’s dramatic transformation, one driven by a new entrepreneurialism and encouraged by the Chinese Communist government.

He has seen countless multinationals misread these changes, and a few grasp them. In this interview, he discusses the opening of the Chinese economy, the role of Chinese entrepreneurs in the resulting growth, and what multinational companies can do to succeed in the large, growing, and dynamic Chinese economy.

JIM EUCHNER [JE]: Your book, China’s Disruptors, makes a pretty compelling case that innovation is thriving in China. It’s a surprise to many who see China in the narrower role of a contract manufacturer or an imitator. What has happened in the last 8 or 10 years that has changed how China is innovating?

EDWARD TSE [ET]: One of the biggest impetuses was to open up the private sector in China. For a long time, the Chinese economy was dominated by state-owned enterprises [SOEs]. And while the SOEs have contributed in their own ways to the development of China, business innovation has come largely from the private sector. The private sector has been growing very, very rapidly, which the mainstream media in the West have not fully reported.

The entrepreneurs in China, by definition, are looking for ways to grow their businesses, and many of them are looking at innovation as the way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And, of course, technology has become a very important enabler—in particular, the development of the Internet. The wireless Internet has been especially important over this period. It may surprise people that China is really a very significant Internet nation. The enabling factors of technology and thriving entrepreneurship in the world’s most populous country have driven the change. There are other factors, as well, but I think these two are probably the most significant ones driving innovation in such a fast and significant manner.

JE: Can you talk about the dance between the opening up of the economy and the official control of both the communications infrastructure and the state-owned enterprises? How does that dance work for the entrepreneurs?

ET: It is certainly true that China is still a very governmentcontrolled country; in many cases, there’s not a full degree of freedom in what people and companies can do. The interpretation of that in the West is that, therefore, it’s very difficult for the Chinese to be innovative. And also, perhaps, the Chinese are not very happy. This is only partially true. In reality, although the control of the government is very, very significant, the entrepreneurs are still able to grow in their own ways. It’s a very interesting case, because it’s becoming a duality in the development of the Chinese economy.

While the state-owned enterprises remain strong in some of the sectors, the private sector also has been thriving in its own ways at the same time, despite not having 100 percent economic liberation (so-called freedom). In a way, the Chinese government has been very, very supportive, in terms of working with the private entrepreneurs and in innovation and entrepreneurship. They have not in general tried to block the development of the private sector. The government, in fact, is encouraging almost everybody in China to be entrepreneurs and to be innovative. It has developed into a very interesting case; despite the imperfections in the society, it is thriving in its own way, which I think defies the assumptions that many in the West have made about the development of China.

JE: Yes, I think so. I had a chance on a trip to China to visit with some entrepreneurial firms, and I was surprised by their willingness to take risks and to invest in the development of new technologies and new processes. The management was nonbureaucratic; it was decisive. Did I just see a good example?

ET: No, what you said sounds right. Entrepreneurial thinking is an extremely widespread and fast-growing phenomenon in China. It is spreading across China, not only in one or two geographic areas; it’s not only in big cities like Shanghai or Beijing.

As you go around China, from the eastern seaboard, where it’s more developed, all the way to the inland area, down south to Guangdong, you see the same thing. Shenzhen is one of the world’s most innovative technology hubs. You see that all around China. People are willing to take risks.

I have found the entrepreneurs I have met in China to be quite bold, and they’re very thirsty for knowledge about technology. They’re very thirsty to understand what the latest technology is and how to apply it to business, whatever makes sense. It’s happening across age profiles. The entrepreneur in China is actually getting younger. We’ve got a lot of young people, who we call the post-80s and post-90s, who have become entrepreneurs. Many of them don’t want to work for big companies anymore; they want to be successful, and they have an urge. They see predecessors, people like Jack Ma from Alibaba and Pony Ma from Tencent. They aspire to become the next Jack Ma or the next Pony Ma.

It’s very encouraging. Of course, entrepreneurship is a low-probability game. Many of these entrepreneurs won’t be successful, certainly at their first attempts. But this has not deterred these young people from all over the country from trying to make it happen. China today actually is culturally accepting of people who fail. If they try and they fail, that’s okay. People can come back again. It’s a very different culture compared to the China of 20 or 25 years ago. Entirely different.

JE: In your book, you profile Alibaba and Tencent. Both had early failures, and yet they ultimately achieved—I hate to sound ethnocentric, but they achieved the great American dream. They achieved the same things we think of the most successful entrepreneurs in the West as having achieved.

ET: Exactly. It’s the pursuit of the same values or ideals, but it’s happening in a very different political and social context. It’s very interesting. I think that there have been assumptions made that for these sorts of inspirations, innovations, or breakthroughs to happen, you have to have a certain context, in politics and the organization of society.
But I think that the Chinese phenomenon is proving that perhaps there’s another way.

JE: It will be interesting to see. In your book, you talk about four things that are driving growth in China, with the acronym SOOT: Scale, Open, Official support, and Technology, especially the wireless Internet. Can you start by talking about the scale effect? There is a large, emerging middle class in China. Is its growth akin to what happened in the US after World War II, where a large number of people moved into the middle class, and there was a bootstrapping going on as the middle class created demand, which drove a growth in good jobs?

ET: In terms of actual scale, it’s bigger than even the US after the Second World War, since China is the world’s most populous country. So the scale is significant. But of course, before the opening up of China, up until the Cultural Revolution, China was closed and the Chinese people were poor. Although there were a billion people, they were not really consumers. But during the rapid economic rise of China over the last 25 years, a real middle class has been developing. And this middle class, depending on your definition and depending on whose analogies you believe, ranges anywhere from 200 million to 300 million or more people.That’s not a small number. And that number will only continue to grow.

Source: Baidu

At the same time, it’s not only the middle class consumers who are driving demand. We’re also seeing demand from the lower-tier consumers, as the rural areas in China are also undergoing major changes. Chinese entrepreneurs have benefited from the fact that the scale of the market for them is significant and, mentally and culturally, many of them are quite willing to take their business model innovations to the market, even though that business model may not be 100 percent perfect. They go to the market with a somewhat imperfect model, use the market to scale up the business and to experiment with the business model; they use the feedback from customers to learn and adapt and refine the business model. The scale of the China market is very, very important because it allows that scaling up in a very fast manner, which allows people to adapt and to improve.

JE: That makes sense. The scale and the pace are two different things. The pace of change is also staggering. How does that play into the entrepreneurial activity there?

ET: The pace is happening in two ways. One is on the demand side; the other is on the supply side. The demand side is driven by the rapid increase in income levels, so everything that’s related to consumers has been changing very rapidly; as income levels go up, people gravitate more to lifestyle needs rather than just the basic consumer needs. That doesn’t mean that the basic needs are not necessary; they’re still very necessary. But at the same time, the upper end of the needs pyramid is also developing very quickly, and it’s happening within a very compressed time frame and with a huge volume. That is what is driving the pace of change on the demand side.

On the other hand, the pace of change on the supply side is also very significant. The underlying driver for all of this is the gradual transition of China from a planned economy, something like the former Soviet Union, to a so-called market economy. Unlike the Soviet Union, which accepted the IMF recommendation when the Soviet Union collapsed and took on the shock therapy, where everything had to be privatized overnight, the Chinese moved more slowly. Deng Xiaoping actually said, “We actually don’t know how this will go, but let’s do an experimental and gradual process.” He called that process “crossing the river by feeling the stones.”

That process is still happening today. Obviously, it has its drawbacks, but at the same time, it also has a significant benefit. Every time there has been a sector that has opened up during this gradual transition, it has exposed additional imperfections in our economy. When entrepreneurs see the imperfections, and combine that with the new technologies, they see opportunities, as well. Once a sector is open, a lot of companies jump into the market and try to get a piece of the action because they see the opportunities.

From the supply side, we often see the world’s most intense competition happening in China. There are SOEs, who want to hang on to some of the market. There are the multinationals, perhaps, who want to get a piece of the action. But there are also some Chinese competitors that you don’t see in the US or in Europe. They are thriving here in China. The birth and the rise of local competitors are significant. Competition drives efficiency, and it drives innovation. With these forces at work, the pace of change is intense. It’s incredible.

But at the same time, competition also drives companies to improve. Some get it, but some don’t get it. Later on, they find out there’s an alternative way to do business that can overtake the incumbents. All of this is happening. The pace is significant because people need to survive and because people want to get ahead. We’re talking about different levels of intensity; China is more competitively intense than in many other parts of the world.

Source: Baidu

JE: As the economy opened, did it do so sector by sector? Did the government open up the entire economy, or did they choose what sectors to open first?

ET: This is a very important topic. The West, in particular the mainstream Western media, have not really clarified this point. So when they make comments on China business, they’re often comparing apples to oranges. The transition from a planned economy to a market economy has been a gradual process in China, starting about 30 years ago. And it’s still going on. In my view, it will continue to go on for decades, if not forever; 40 years ago, everything was 100 percent in the planned economy—it was closed, certainly for foreign investors. And everything was run by state enterprises.

With the economic reform that was started by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese government has been taking industries one by one from being closed to being open. In this process, some sectors have become 100 percent open; this means that everybody, no matter whether an SOE or a private company, whether a Chinese private company or a Western multinational, can compete in that sector. There’s not much regulation. In fact, in some sectors, there’s almost no regulation except for the common rules and laws that apply, like antitrust. So, some of the sectors are already open, but other sectors are still very closed: they’re restricted to SOEs. Not even private Chinese companies can participate in these sectors, and certainly not the multinationals. We still have some of those sectors in China. Telecom operations is an example. American telecom carriers are not able to offer their services in China.

There are also sectors that are somewhere in between; they’re partially open. An example is the automotive sector. From the standpoint of manufacturing, a foreign OEM needs to have a 50/50 joint venture partner in China to manufacture vehicles. The industry dynamics are totally different between an open sector versus a closed sector, and also between an open sector and a semi-open sector. That process of gradual opening up is still happening. Once a closed sector opens up for nonstate companies’ participation, you often see a drastic change in the industry dynamics. Such changes incentivize a lot of companies to enter the market, including many entrepreneurs who want to get a piece of the action.

So the business climate in China varies a lot by industry sector, depending on the degree to which it is open and how long it has been open.

JE: That makes sense. In your book, you note that official support for entrepreneurial firms and for the environment in which they operate is very important. Can you talk about the nature of official support?

ET: One might hypothesize that because China is a Communist state, it would stifle entrepreneurship, certainly entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. That is the assumption that many people make. But that is wrong. That’s not what’s happening in China.

While the government in China is still very supportive of state-owned enterprises, and while it is trying to achieve a lot of things through the SOEs, at the same time the private sector is developing. When the government sees the fruits that the private sector is bearing, it is very, very supportive of allowing entrepreneurs to do what they’re doing.
The innovation that the entrepreneurs are doing, and the employment and the social impact that they’re creating, and the wealth that they’re creating in the process, are important to the Chinese government. So the Chinese government is not only supporting entrepreneurs but also now regards innovation and entrepreneurship as a key pillar to the future development of the Chinese economy.

JE: And what does that mean? In practice, what does the government do to encourage that pillar?

ET: In general, they are very supportive of entrepreneurs when they are experimenting with new ways of doing business or new business models. As a new business model or new innovation comes about, there may not be a full set of regulations or policies to govern the new concepts, right? The Chinese government is quite willing to work with the entrepreneurs to develop new regulations and policies that are sensible.

The government also encourages the local governments all across China to work with entrepreneurs and to invest in them. There has been a huge amount of venture capital money in different localities in China, and in many cases, the major investor was actually the local government. Local governments are starting up funds that will fund the experiments that the entrepreneurs are suggesting. That’s another way that the government is supporting entrepreneurship.

JE: How fickle is it? Could the government shift its view and affect the fortunes of these entrepreneurial firms? For example, there are an awful lot of very small factories in China; I visited a few of them. I don’t know whether it’s accurate, but I have heard that there’s a state desire that they consolidate and get to the scale that they can become more professionalized. That’s obviously going to have consequences for some of the entrepreneurs who started those businesses. How does that kind of desire on the part of the government work?

ET: In some cases, there may be government action to try to consolidate some subscale operations. And as you also know, in many sectors in China, there is a lot of capacity in production, and a lot of this capacity is not that productive. From the standpoint of the government, it’s critical that there’s a way to rationalize the capacity. In fact, we now call it supply-side economics in China. On the other hand, there are sectors that have been growing significantly without much overcapacity, and in many cases, these are driven largely, if not entirely, by the private sector; in these cases, the government is not blocking private businesses unless there is major risk of fraud. And these firms can grow to a scale that is extremely dominant.

Alibaba is one case of a very significant firm. Tencent or WeChat is another. We’re seeing this phenomenon over and over. The government is not blocking these private entities because they’ve become so significant and so big. In fact, the government is encouraging them to continue to develop innovation. So two things arehappening at once. There is overcapacity in some sectors, which causes the government to respond, but there is also continued encouragement of companies that are thriving and developing dominant positions in their spaces.

JE: That’s helpful. You just mentioned what you call the BAT, or Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—the three big, very successful, Internet-based companies. Can you say a little bit about them?

ET: BAT—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—are the leading Internet tech companies in China. They’re all private, entrepreneurial firms; they’re not state-owned. They were formed at about the same time, towards the end of the 1990s; none of them is more than 20 years old. They’re all growing significantly. Alibaba had its IPO in the US two years ago, and it was the largest in US history. Tencent is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and it’s now the most valuable company in all of Asia. These companies have become very dominant in China.

Source: Baidu

But their positions are somewhat different. Baidu started with the search engine business, kind of like Google, but now is very much shifting into artificial intelligence [AI], because they view AI as the future. Alibaba has built itself into a diverse business ecosystem, but the core is still in e-commerce, kind of like Amazon and eBay. It has launched various e-commerce marketplaces, including B2B (Alibaba.com), C2C (Taobao), and B2C (Tmall) models. They also have created businesses in cross-border e-commerce, mobile payment, Internet finance, smart logistics, cloud computing, and many others. Tencent started off mostly as a game company—video games and online gaming, and online games have become a significant business for them. But probably their most influential and most commonly adopted business is WeChat. It started off as an instant messaging platform, like WhatsApp, but now is basically a lifestyle and business application. People can do virtually anything on WeChat. And it’s a very, very sticky platform.

All of them are very significant in size and dominance, but each finds its own areas of focus. BAT is at the core of what a lot of people look at as the tech sector in China.

JE: Something that I had not fully appreciated is that there are, in a real sense, two Internets. There’s the Internet in China and the Internet in the rest of the world. Some people talk about the Great Firewall. How important is this firewall to the success of these companies? In some sense, they’re protected against competition from companies like Google because Google won’t comply with the politicalrequests or demands of the government. It’s a differently open Internet. Can you comment on that?

ET: That’s a very good question, and in fact, a question that’s probably on the minds of everyone I’ve talked to about this topic. In general, the assumption, at least from people from the West, is that because of the Great Firewall, people can’t be as innovative as they can in the West, because they don’t have access to all information. Further, they assume that people must not be happy, because they don’t have access to everything from the rest of the world. And the Great Firewall gives unfair advantages to Chinese tech companies at the expense of the West. These are the assumptions.

They are not entirely wrong, but they are certainly not entirely right, either. Some US companies were really blocked: I think Facebook was blocked; Twitter was blocked. Google was not blocked, but they chose not to comply with the requirements of the Chinese in terms of censorship, and so they withdrew.

There are also Western companies in this space that were not blocked at all. They were actually quite welcome to come to China to play. This includes eBay, which tried to enter China 15 years ago, and of course, Amazon, which has been in China since the early 2000s. But despite the prominence of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, and despite the fact that there is not much in the way—the kind of regulations and policies that would prohibit Amazon from operating in China—Amazon has not been able succeed in China in the e-commerce business as it has in the West. And eBay, as I mentioned, was beaten by Alibaba hands down in two years. Alibaba is not an SOE. It had no government support, but succeeded because of its capability and its competitiveness.

So, it’s a factual mistake to claim that all Western tech companies were blocked by China because of Chinese policies and regulations and the Great Firewall. That’s only partially correct. For those who have tried, many have not been able to capture the potential of the China market. Some of the reasons relate to the China context, but most of the issues are internally driven. They are limited by their ability to really understand China and to develop the right China strategy and the right China approach. This applies not only to the Western tech companies but in general to Western multinationals.

Source: Baidu

JE: I would like to segue to what works. What have multinational companies, not just tech companies, but tire companies, auto companies, appliance companies, done to succeed as they’ve moved from manufacturing in China to development in China and finally into innovation in China?

ET: If I had to pick one area where the multinationals have really failed, it is that they have tended to assume that whatever they do in the rest of the world, in particular in their home market whatever product, business model, go-tomarket model they use—would apply equally in China. That is an assumption that many multinational CEOs have made. In the back of their minds, they say, “Well, we’re a successful American company, or we’re a successful German company. We’ve been in business for 50 years, 100 years, 150 years. And we are a leader or the leader in our space in the world. I understand that China is large and growing, but I can just apply my way to China.”

And when they do market analysis, what they can forget or not fully appreciate is that the China market is developing in a faster and more competitive manner, and frankly, in a much more sophisticated manner, than their experience in the rest of the world has prepared them for. The size of China, the pace of China, the degree and intensity of competition in China, the quick development of technology in China, and the willingness to learn via trial and error all contribute to the complexity. Add to this the emergence of consumers who are, from an economic standpoint, middle class, but from a demand standpoint, probably among the most sophisticated and complicated in the world.

Instead of trying to cut and paste your business model or product from wherever it originated to China, start with a really deep understanding of what the China context is. Try to fundamentally understand what China was, is, and will be in the future. And from that, try to extrapolate to what business you should be in and how you can capture the right position in China and the full potential the China market offers to you.

I have worked with a large number of clients over the years. I think that the willingness of global CEOs to do that is actually very limited, including many of the global Fortune 500 CEOs. That is actually the fundamental issue with multinationals in China, rather than China is mysterious, China steals IP, and so on. That’s 20 percent of the issue; 80 percent is the companies themselves.

JE: Can you give an example of a company that’s done it well?

ET: There are some. The auto industry is doing in general pretty well. China is now the largest automotive market in the world. The German manufacturers and also General Motors and Ford, they’re doing very well in China. For those companies, the rapid rise of the auto market, the sheer size of the market, and the willingness of the Chinese consumer to adopt Western brands, really carries the automotive multinationals. And the market continues to grow at double-digit levels.

Source: Baidu

There are also companies that are in very intensively competitive consumer markets that are open; there’s not much regulation, and they’re really thriving. I’m talking about the sporting goods companies like Nike and Adidas. They’re really the stalwarts; they’re the leading companies. Starbucks is also doing well. Why would the Chinese like to drink coffee? Chinese people used to drink tea. Starbucks is doing extremely well in cultivating a new coffee culture in China. A latte in China is more expensive than a latte in America.

Honeywell is a prime example of an industrial company that has gotten it right in China. Honeywell is a multibusiness-unit industrial company with a variety of B2B divisions and a few B2C business units as well. China is now the second largest market in the world for Honeywell, after the US. It contributes the largest growth for Honeywell. They are a good example of a multinational that gets it in China.

JE: And that is because they really took the time to understand the dynamics of the Chinese market?

ET: That’s correct, yes.

JE: One more question, in the limited time we have. When I was in China, I spoke to people about the rich startup movement in China, the equivalent of what’s going on in Silicon Valley, or Austin, Texas, in the US, or Toronto in Canada, or London. I know Shanghai has a thriving startup market, with an active VC community. How is the startup movement in China similar to and how is it different from that in the West? If a company wants to work with startups in Shanghai or one of the other centers in China, how would it operate differently there than in Silicon Valley?

ET: In many ways, the basic tenets of entrepreneurship are not that different between Silicon Valley and the Chinese centers. People are willing to take risks. People see the pain points, and they want to turn the pain points into opportunities. People are enthusiastic about the opportunity and are willing to take risks to act on it. So the basic tenets are more or less the same.

The pace and intensity of entrepreneurship in China is unique, however. You often find, in a very short period of time, a lot of companies are trying to do the same thing or similar things: everyone sees the opportunity, and they jump into it. Very often, the market becomes quite crowded, overly crowded. And when it’s overly crowded, some of the companies will not be able to make it, as in any market. That process is happening at a pace and intensity that’s faster than in any other place in the world—perhaps even including Silicon Valley. And this is happening in a period of significant regulatory uncertainty.

So from a multinational standpoint, when you work with a startup in China, you have to take a somewhat different mindset. Of course, multinationals know that these experiments are a low-probability game, and you have to go into it with that kind of mindset. But in China, the risk and also the opportunities are amplified. They’re magnified even beyond what you see in Silicon Valley. And so, when you’re working with a startup, you have to have a mindset that recognizes the higher opportunity but also higher risk. And at the same time, you have to develop internal processes for managing these sorts of situations.

JE: Is IP a specific concern? I hear it mentioned often.

ET: IP concerns are, in my view, somewhat of an excuse for many multinational companies. You do have to be careful with IP, but at the same time, you cannot let that stifle your willingness to grasp opportunities in China. It’s a careful balance, and every company needs to treat it somewhat differently. But in general, a blanket statement that because of imperfect IP protection in China we shouldn’t be bringing our products or our technology or our innovation and experimentation to China is a flawed assumption.

Over the last 10, 15, or 20 years, entrepreneurship and innovation in China have been happening, led by Chinese entrepreneurs, under a very imperfect regulatory context. The lack of protection for IP, of course, applies equally to the Chinese companies, not only to the multinationals. Yet at the same time, a lot of companies are able to innovate and experiment and create new businesses. And many of them fail, but some of them are extremely successful. One needs to be careful about IP, but one needs to be careful, as well, not to use it as an excuse to not do innovation in China. If you don’t innovate in China, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

JE: If you were advising a CTO or a leader of innovation at a Western firm, what key advice would you give for succeeding in China?

ET: My advice applies equally to the CEO, the CTO, the CIO, or the Chief Innovation Officer: you need to really understand what’s going on in China and in the Chinese market. My advice is to throw away your Western lens for a little while and truly look at China without any constraints; try to understand both the threats—the risks of doing business, but also the competitive threats—and also the huge opportunity China offers. Once you have a full appreciation of the China potential, then devise your innovation strategy and your China R&D strategy. You need to have a lot of good, on the-ground competence in China to drive these things. The capabilities at headquarters are still critical, but headquarters needs to support, not control. You need to empower appropriately. You need to have a good balance between empowerment of the local team and support from the global function. You must build a strong team on the ground, a team that understands the market and really turns the demand side from the market into innovation ideas. This kind of innovation has to be done on the ground in China because of the need to stay close to the market, and also because the competitive environment requires speed and responsiveness.

JE: What’s the best way for leaders to get it? How much time should they spend on the ground in order to really understand China? What do you recommend to someone who says, “Okay, I get your message. I want to understand China. How do I do it?”

ET: The first hurdle is mindset. I’ve seen quite a number of leaders, presidents of business units and so on, who say, “I moved to China. I’m based in Shanghai now,” and they think that gives them the perspective. But from the outside, I can see that the way that he or she behaves is actually still very non-Chinese. I think that where you’re based physically is of secondary importance; the first level of importance is having a new mindset. You can do that from Munich, Germany, or from Cleveland, Ohio, or from Houston, Texas.

Once you have that mindset, and you’re willing to use an approach that is very locally adaptive, the key is to find the right team on the ground that you can work with and that you can appropriately empower. Then, keep a very close connection between the headquarters and the China unit. You should also have good advisors to help you, to remind you, to help you steer the way. That is the basic mechanism that I have seen work.

If you set it up right, it can be very powerful. That is what drove Honeywell to its success in China. It sounds very simple. But in my career, which includes over 25 years in China, it is interesting for me to observe how little multinationals have actually been able to create this mindset.

 

Why Foreign Companies’ M&As in China Have A Mixed Record?

By Edward Tse

China with its massive population and growing purchasing power has become a critical market for many foreign multinational corporations (MNCs). Over the years, different growth models have been adopted. Some have chosen to build their China presence organically while others have formed joint ventures with Chinese companies, or a hybrid approach. Some other MNCs decided to acquire local companies to accelerate their growth in China. Most of these acquisitions were with local privately-owned enterprises (POEs) because of simpler ownership structure compared to state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Unfortunately, many of these acquisitions resulted in foreign MNCs and local companies getting a nasty shock. MNCs’ record of acquisitions of local companies is at best mixed, and in many cases, complete failure. Management of these MNCs have a go-to list of excuses for why these M&A deals failed (of course after the fact), with the target of the blame always being their acquired local companies. Often they claim these local companies are dishonest, cooking their books to make them look more profitable than they actually are, or that the eagerness to expand into the China market led to shoddy due diligence work that would have discovered these issues beforehand. Of course, in a number of cases this indeed was the truth and some of the falsifications were serious. However, these reasons do not fully explain all the cases that didn’t work out. (By the way, not all of the “local companies” accused of these improper behaviors were “Chinese”. Some of these companies were actually started and owned by foreign entrepreneurs. However, in the remainder of this article, let’s just call these companies “local Chinese companies” for sake of simplicity.)

Source: Baidu

In taking on acquisitions as a growth strategy for China, foreign MNCs normally assume integration of the local companies’ operations into the MNCs’ own operations to be an imperative. In fact, these MNCs’ management believe that integration is the best way for them to “add value” to the local operations because of their more superior management know-how and that synergies can be created via better economies of scope and scale – indeed a very common practice for MNCs in their M&As in many parts of the world. So why not doing the same in China? In order to ensure a smooth transition, the MNCs would typically offer financial incentives to senior managers of the local companies – often the founder himself or herself – to stay, at least for a certain period of time, until “integration is complete.”

From the local Chinese entrepreneurs’ standpoint, many of these acquisitions also didn’t realize their original expectations, but for different reasons. They were led to believe that under the wing of the MNCs who claim to be far more sophisticated and professional than the local enterprises, their own companies would have a better chance to continue to sustain, their brand would continue to grow, and that their companies would become a “long-lasting company”, or ji ye chang qing in Chinese. As the “integration” proceeds, many of these entrepreneurs begin to discover problems, the most common and biggest one being that foreign companies don’t really understand how to operate in China (lao wai bu liao jie) and how the original senior management are either forced out or leave of their volition after seeing that they are no longer welcomed or no longer “belong” there.

Like every situation in life, there are pearls of truth found in different perspectives of the same story. Both sides have their valid arguments, but the one-sided views often miss the overall picture. Based on what I saw through my consulting work in China, I would however suggest that the biggest contributor of these issues is the differences in behavioral approaches and norms between the parties involved. I believe there are four key reasons: 1. mismatch of expectations, 2. holistic philosophy vs. bits and pieces philosophy, 3. differences in rhythm and speed, and 4. decision making systems. (See Exhibit 1)
Exhibit 1:

MNCs vs. Local Chinese Companies

Mismatch of Expectations (top line vs. bottom line)
Foreign MNCs typically care for both top and bottom line growth. This is business 101. Most of these companies have been in operations for decades, if not for over a century. It’s only natural that they look for both top line and bottom line performance. In fact, that’s why many of them chose to enter the China market in the first place. After all, China is a high-growth market compared to more mature markets. The fact that many of the foreign companies, especially the larger ones, are publicly-listed makes the case of profitable growth even more compelling because the management of these companies need to be responsible to the capital markets. This can be very different for Chinese companies, at least for some of them, especially when China’s economy was growing at high speeds and opportunities seemed to have presented themselves left and right. For many Chinese entrepreneurs, their first priority was to grow, or to “land grab”; so top line growth was often more important than bottom line growth. Of course, this strategy wouldn’t work forever. But for a certain period of time, it was the go-to strategy for many Chinese entrepreneurs. Clearly, this divergence in points of view often led to difference in strategy, level, pace of investment, and if not properly handled, mistrust. Of course, the laws of gravity also apply in China. And companies, regardless of their ownership, need to be profitable. However, for some of the companies during certain periods of time, their priorities could be different.

Holistic Philosophy vs. Bits and Pieces Philosophy
Many foreign MNCs have built excellence by function across geographies over long periods of time. These global functional capabilities became the backbone of these companies’ well-being. And, they naturally desire to apply these capabilities across all geographies in the world. China wouldn’t be an exception. To this end, many MNC executives become specialists in their own right. They are very good at what they specialize in, but as a result, they are often less aware of areas beyond (or the “broader context”) and the often need for making necessary trade-offs. On the other hand, given that the Chinese owner/CEO often builds their company in a rather short period of time in an environment that is often ambiguous, imperfect and fast-changing, and filled with a large range of stakeholders, they frequently need to make tradeoffs across many dimensions and their solutions are commonly an optimization of numerous factors facing various constraints. So, when someone with a single-dimensional view looking for consistent, global standards and someone who has always been juggling different considerations across multiple dimensions in an evolving, imperfect environment have to work together, they would inevitably run into conflicts. These conflicts, if not properly managed, could lead to frustrations and mis-trust.

In their eagerness to “help”, many MNCs would assign some of their own people to fill in key management positions to “assist” the Chinese entrepreneurs. These people would typically be Mandarin speakers, either ethnic Chinese or non-Chinese who’ve been in China for some time. The MNCs often assume that “since these people were trained in my system and they know China, they must be able to help.” Unfortunately, that turned out to be not always the case. From the Chinese entrepreneurs’ standpoint, these people while technically sound, often lack the ability to see beyond their narrow specialty and to understand broader implications of a holistic perspective of the business. So, these attempts often ended up with mixed records at best.

Differences in Rhythm and Speed
Compared to foreign MNCs, Chinese POEs typically are far speedier, more agile and more adaptive. Foreign MNCs are much more focused on checks and balances, and deliberations which makes them slower. Many Chinese POEs are quite willing to quickly build a good enough product or business model, throw that into the market, and let the market tell them what they need to improve and adapt. This is of course risky, and unacceptable, if the product hinges on quality, safety and security. However, in cases of new business models, the willingness of the market to accept imperfect business models can actually be pretty high, especially in the first trials. But consumers do appreciate companies whose business models or products cater to their needs and utilize fast feedback cycles to improve their offerings to the consumers’ taste. In these situations, Chinese POEs tend to have an upper hand over more established foreign MNCs. So when these two different speeds and rhythms come in contact with each other, incompatibility naturally occurs.

Decision Making Process
Many Chinese POEs came into existence in less than couple of decades and many of them were able to achieve lots of growth piggybacking off China’s fast pace of economic growth. Many are still run by the owner who typically grew the company from nothing to its current size. These organizations are typically concentrated to the one person or a small group of senior executives with the founder/owner still calling the shots. In this structure, the organization is very top down and often hierarchical. While there are people who by title are leading various functions such as marketing, logistics, sales, or R&D, more often than not, they are merely carrying out orders from the most senior person(s). In a way, the founder/chairman/CEO in reality is the synthesizer of information and the decision-maker for all decisions affecting the company, no matter how large or small. Decisions often come from the top of the pyramid with the rest of the management simply there to execute. On the other hand, foreign MNCs, especially large ones, are organized with clearly defined roles and responsibilities throughout the chain of command. In a local POE, a senior VP of Marketing’s role is likely to execute the vision and strategy developed by the most senior person in the company. In an MNC, an individual with the same title will be actually responsible for the marketing strategy.

Source: Baidu

So, what should foreign companies do as they consider M&As in China? Clearly, one needs to do the basic homework well. Rigorous due diligence is a must. But for all those cases where the conducted due diligence did not identify the problems that were later discovered, that by itself is its own problem. For sure, these companies would have hired management consulting firms or auditing companies (and I am sure these are world-renowned brands) to do the due diligence and yet they couldn’t uncover some of the most basic yet critical problems. The reason behind this issue is that it really requires someone who understands the nitty gritty of businesses in China to do a proper and thorough job. This sort of capabilities is still rare in the professional firms in China especially those who are not headquartered in China.

Foreign MNCs shouldn’t assume that “integration” is the only way to capture the value of their acquisitions in China. At least, not “integration as fast as possible.” While in some cases integration may make sense, in many other cases, it may not. It depends on the contextual factors I mentioned above and the severity of the gaps in behavior and perspectives between the two sides. Due diligence should not only cover the “data” per se but also the culture, behavior and beliefs. This won’t be easy especially for many foreign MNCs. They tend to assign their M&A team from global HQ to carry out these tasks. While these people are usually technically sound and experienced with many deals under their belt, they often lack the experience and sensitivity needed to understand the softer, often unspoken, elements especially in a culture and context that are very different and can be overwhelming. Almost certainly, they don’t fully understand nor appreciate the China context. Over-eagerness in creating value often backfires as well as simple notions such as shared services, while a proven approach for realizing value in M&A deals in many parts of the world, may or may not achieve the same level of impact in China due to China’s complicity and diversity in labor rates, local regulations and requirements, as well as availability of competent human capital in key functions.

Fundamentally, MNCs need to fully evaluate the tradeoff between immediate integration or keeping companies separated or a gradual migration from separation to integration, and the speed and intensity associated with the process. Immediate and full-scale integration, which is often MNCs’ incoming assumption, may or may not actually yield the best result. Sometimes overzealous attempts at integration could result in loss opportunities for the MNCs to learn from the Chinese companies on how better to run businesses in China. For example, some Chinese companies are good at keeping their costs at manageable levels, while foreign MNCs tend to somewhat “gold-plate” things. For some local companies, their relationship with their distributors is often more win-win and intimate, while their foreign MNC counterparts can be more transactional.

Making the decision on integration or not correctly, and the manner of how, requires senior executives who can see the forest beyond the trees within the China context and increasingly, the role of China in the rest of the world, as well as being able to align the China realities with the expectation of the global headquarter. This capability does not always exist in MNCs but when it does, it’s a rare asset to have and to cherish.

About the authors
Dr. Edward Tse is founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company. A pioneer in China’s management consulting industry, Dr. Tse built and ran the Greater China operations of two leading international management consulting firms for a period of 20 years. He has consulted to hundreds of companies – both headquartered in and outside of China – on all critical aspects of business in China and China for the world. He also consulted to the Chinese government on strategies, state-owned enterprise reform and Chinese companies going overseas. He is the author of over 200 articles and four books including both award-winning The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015) (Chinese version «创业家精神»).
Email: edward.tse@gaofengadv.com

观察者网 | 谢祖墀:王兴和梁建章别多元化了 其实还有第三条路

2017-07-16
【文/ 谢祖墀】

近期,美团王兴和携程梁建章以及饿了么张旭豪,关于多元化还是专业化(以梁张的说法来看,“专业”应是“专注”的意思)的隔空交锋,成了商界关注的一个热门话题。

王梁张之辩的焦点在于对于一家企业而言,走多元化之路和专注之路,哪个更好?

交锋始于王兴,王的核心观点在于企业不应太多受限于边界,应借助多业务发展和整合来释放更多红利。他带领着美团以团购起家,到如今涉足餐饮、酒旅、电影、打车等诸多生活服务领域。

梁、张的观点则是多元化不利于创新,中国企业更应考虑专业而非多元化发展。两人更称世界上伟大的公司都是专注的。梁举了GE案例,称其多元化路线失败,“美国的GE公司是美国最好的多元化公司,但是就连GE,近几年的业绩也不如人意。
多元化的世纪争论
王和梁张之辩的背后,反映了长期存在于广大中国企业家心中的一个非常普遍的困惑,那就是对企业发展来说究竟多元化发展好,还是专注好。我们称之为“战略的困局”。

企业的“专注”理论在西方企业界和管理界又称之为“核心竞争力理论”,即优秀的公司都应专注在自己有最强能力的领域内,不应随便分散精力。

在现实里,企业的战略选择并不像到市场上买菜一般,不是选一、就是选二。每一种战略路径,都有其诞生的特定背景(Context)。不能轻易地说孰优孰劣,每一种战略路径下都有成功的企业,也有不成功的企业。不同的背景下会产生不同的战略路径,不可一概而论。

上世纪70、80年代,在欧美的企业界、特别在美国,多元化集团式经营很受欢迎。后来资本市场逐渐发现,这些集团中的业务与业务之间的协同性不是很强,开始对多元化集团式经营方式产生怀疑。

到了90年代初期,美国两位著名的管理学者加里•哈默尔(Gary Hamel)和普拉哈拉德(C.K. Prahalad)提出了核心竞争力理论(Core Competence),基本上否定了多元化集团式经营方式,认为成功的企业都是应该按照其核心竞争力所处的领域去经营。

资本市场将此演绎为“企业必须要聚焦(专注),不应分散精力”。这个理论推出后迅速获得企业的认可。至今,欧美主流的企业界还宗教式地遵循此理论。

每种战略理论都与其大环境的背景有关,多元化集团经营流行时正值欧美经济腾飞。机会多,企业自然就想什么机会都抓,“做大做强”变得理所当然。

到了90年代欧美开始进入调整时期,经济增长放缓,行业与企业需要进行整顿和优化,因此于核心竞争力基础在业务上聚焦不是没有道理。但此理论只是考虑企业的内部能力,对外部环境变化几乎完全没有涉及。
中国的崛起和科技迅猛发展重塑新格局
全球宏观环境在过去的5到10年间发生了很大的变化,特别在中国呈现出了快速的增长,以及美国特别在西海岸创新科技的涌现带来了新发展。在这样的变化背景下,狭义的从企业既有的核心竞争力出发的所谓“聚焦”战略就显然不能完全指导企业的发展。

美国高速发展的企业如亚马逊、谷歌、特斯拉以及中国指数级增长的企业阿里巴巴、腾讯等在过去10到20年的历程中都呈现出不断跳跃式的发展。

这些企业并不是单凭自己目前的能力来判断他们战略上要做什么,而是要看未来的机会是什么以及机会有多大、在机会和能力之间的差距有多少,以及要不要跳跃过去。

今天的背景和格局与以往不同。在新的背景下,有两个巨大的驱动力在改变和重塑新的格局。

一是中国市场的崛起,中国市场的快速变化和复杂程度将商业社会的额外维度突显了出来。以往的战略分析框架已经不能完全解释新的情景。

二是科技的迅猛发展,尤其是移动互联网的普及、物联网的逐渐成熟以及大数据、人工智能技术的应用提供了以往没有的促进作用,在面对社会的痛点时,企业家被赋予机会去解决这些痛点。但同时这些机会点也带来了威胁点,随着其他竞争对手的介入,竞争态势可以瞬息改变。

如果你的企业对此无动于衷故步自封,很可能代表着竞争优势的消失。因此,一个非常动态、剧烈而快速的改变,带来的也是无比巨大的机会和风险。

多元化和专业化之外 其实还有第三条路
在这种新的背景下,多元化集团式经营和依托“核心竞争力”为本的“专注”化经营已经不能给企业家提供全部的答案,战略的第三条路则弥补了这个空白,我们称之为连续跳跃战略(参见图一“主要企业发展战略”)。

连续跳跃是指企业面临新的(往往是非线性的)发展机会时,不再囿于现有能力所限定的范围,而是通过不同路径弥补能力空缺,进而抓住新的机会实现延续性的跳跃式发展。能力的差距不再成为企业决定是否跳跃、追求新发展机会的主要羁绊。

核心竞争力不够怎么办?可以通过自建、并购或组成生态系统等多种方式去实现跳跃,从一个S曲线到下一个S曲线。

其实,战略就是在机会和能力之间的比较和匹配。第一条路的多元化集团式经营将注意力放于捕捉机会,而忽略了企业的内部能力和业务与业务之间的协同。

第二条路的专注经营却将注意力放于内部能力,而对外部环境几乎完全不理。第三条路是将机会和能力之间作出比较,并在最匹配和适当情况,将机会和能力有机的结合。

故此,我们说第三条路其实是弥补了第一条路和第二条路之间的空缺,是在新的背景出现后突显了新的考虑维度,故此第三条路其实是必然的,完善了企业战略分析框架,本质上非常合理。

以GE为例,正是在新的不同的背景下(数字工业时代的来临),由以往多元化(传统制造业时代)向第三条路转型的例子。面向新的数字工业时代,GE提前布局进行战略转型,以数字化为核心,集成全球智能制造中心、全球研发中心与合作伙伴一起构筑数字化解决方案和服务体系,打造成为开放的GE商店生态体系,激发更多指数级的发展机会。

GE能否成功转型目前还是言之过早,但走向第三条路却是他们选择的路径。纵观全球市值排名领先的公司,如谷歌、亚马逊、GE、腾讯、阿里巴巴,都是第三条路的实践者。

商业的根本在于对客户抱有“疯狂的热爱”。今天的消费者需求更加个性化和多样化,追求通过多种场景感受不同定制化的体验和多元生活方式。

虽然美团、携程和饿了么坐拥海量用户数据,但如何深入挖掘、通过数字化和智能化使产品更加“懂得用户”,继而提供更好的服务吸引更多用户形成闭环体验就成为决定胜负的关键。移动互联网出现后,尤其是物联网的逐渐成熟以及大数据人工智能技术的应用使得对用户数据的深入挖掘在技术上成为可能。

价值创造也不再仅仅只是线性的价值链(Value Chain),而是立体的、多维的价值网(Value Net);横向的、跨业务的机会越来越多,企业可通过投资、创新和孵化等多种手段激发行业间机会,我们称之为“跨界激活”。

一小批具有远见的企业纷纷布局于此,借助战略的第三条路加强科技创新和商业模式创新,通过不同跨界元素之间的融合和互相渗透实现巨大的商业价值。
战略困局如何打破?
那么,第三条路如何去走呢?第三条路不是一套工具,而是一套思考的方式。我建议企业家可以问自己以下几个关键的问题:

1. 对于会影响“我的业务”的未来,我知不知道未来将会是什么?这个“未来”应至少是未来的三至五年。我有没有兴趣和方法去尽量了解影响我的重要趋势和拐点将出现在什么地方?这需要企业家建立强力的“远见”(Foresight), 而不单只是看到过去的“后见之明”(Hindsight)。

2. 我的企业的核心能力究竟是什么?企业家必须对于自己企业的核心能力有深刻和客观的剖析,不能过于自大或过于自卑。核心能力除了管理能力还包括核心资源,如资金和人力资本。

3. 识别未来的机会是什么?未来的机会有多大?发展速度和形式将会如何?要争取到未来的机会,我们能力的差距有多大?

4. 决定是否“跳跃”捕捉这样的机会?跳跃成功的概率有多少?同时,这种跳跃对于竞争格局的影响是如何的,如果我们的竞争对手同时在跳跃呢?新的竞争格局又是什么?新的竞争格局对我们的影响是什么?

5. 假如我们决定要“跳跃”了,在跳跃过程中,我们如何弥补能力差距?哪些是靠我们自身能力提升去弥补差距的?哪些能力差距是我们要通过第三方或是建立生态系统去弥补的?

6. 在考虑要不要跳和跳到哪里时,我要经营业务的范围宽度与我能力的带宽(Capability Bandwidth)是否匹配?

战略的开始点是企业的愿景(Vision)。开辟企业的长远打算什么?然而愿景很吊诡,有些企业家目标非常清晰、勇往直前,但另一些企业家对愿景却只能隐隐晦晦,大约知道照哪个方向走,但却不能具体说清楚什么时候做到什么东西。

无论如何,成功企业的愿景都是振奋人心的,能让公司的员工有共同的追求和欲望,包括精神和物质层面。

在战略方面,企业必须要将客户放在最重要的位置,做到“客户为中心”。无数的企业都这样说,包括一些曾经辉煌但今天已经灰飞烟灭的企业都曾经以此为信条,但只有绝少数的企业真的能够做到这一点。

今天许多人都很羡慕亚马逊的业绩表现,它增长的很快,估值不断上扬,更有分析者预测贝索斯将会超越比尔•盖茨成为世界首富。但多少人理解贝索斯所推崇的“对客户的疯狂热爱”(Customer Obsession )的信条呢?

亚马逊于以客户为中心方面应是芸芸企业中的最优者。没有这种做到极致的信条和驱动力,什么所谓的愿景、战略都可以是假的。

“对客户的疯狂热爱”是建立于企业对客户需求的深入理解和主动管理。以目前大数据和其他科技的能力,企业是可以做到以个别客户为最低识别单位的,我们称此为“个体的市场细分”(Segment of One)。

从个别客户的喜爱给予他最贴身的服务和产品,让他感到宾至如归,同时高度尊重他的反馈意见,直接反馈到公司的产品服务策略上。打造一个能够与客户零距离互动的线上平台有利于实现“个体的市场细分”。

从组织形态方面,越来越多的企业需要向外延伸,通过建立生态系统来补充自身的不足,而生态系统亦即横向的组织形态(Horizontal Organization )。

不过生态系统的建设并不简单,它本身就是一门学问,而且不仅仅是“硬功”,同时亦需要“软功”。同时它亦需要企业领导者能够拥有一种“虚怀若谷”的心态,能接受其他人,而不能桀骜不驯,自以为是。

归根到底,“战略的第三条路”需要出色的领导者和领导力。能履行这种战略的领导者必定能够在多个方面进行不断的动态平衡。在愿景中,能在清晰和模糊之间,让员工知道公司的方向和速度为何。

在战略上,能在未来机会和目前能力之间作出比较和在“跳与不跳”之间作出判断。在组织建设中能在自身发展和生态系统建设上作出平衡。

一方面能建立自身能力,同时亦能接受其他合作伙伴在生态系统里共赢。当然,他亦能平衡什么时候授权而什么时候要抓权,什么时候要给团队足够的空间,同时亦让团队知道出现重大问题时,他永远是最强和最可依赖的后盾。

我们相信在一段时期内中国乃至全球的企业界仍然会出现这样或那样的“王梁张之辩”,并建议我们的企业家更多着眼于战略的全局而非局部,充分认识当下所处的不同背景,根据外部环境的变化和自身的情况选取相应的战略路径并动态调整,保持战略的上下一致性,打破战略的困局为企业带来持续的发展和成功。

原文发布于《观察者网》并保留所有权利

(注:本文图片均来自网络)

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

 

企业战略丨中国的商业颠覆者

文 | 谢祖墀 高风咨询创始人兼首席执行官 2015年7月发表于《管理学家》杂志

敝作China’s Disruptors (中文版暂译为:《中国的商业颠覆者》)刚在美国和英国同时面向全球发行。在撰写和编辑此书时,我得到了许多朋友、客户、合作者和高风咨询公司的多位同事们的协作,首先我想在此向他们给予深深的感谢,没有他们我不能把此书写出来。

这本书的主题是中国的私营经济的崛起,它的力量、中国企业家的能力和企业家精神,以及他们所创造的创新和创业的氛围。这些状况我们在中国居住和工作的人可能已经耳熟能详。可是,在国外,一般人对此还是非常陌生,甚至毫无所知。我觉得我们有责任向全球介绍这些方面的发展和它们对中国以及全球商业世界带来的影响及意义。

长期以来,国外特别是西方人士以为中国的经济是由大型国有企业所控制甚至是垄断的,而这些国有企业背后有国家支持、政策的保护和倾斜,他们所在的许多行业都不容许非国有资本的进入。这些国有企业之所以能够享受到这些“人为”的优势,最根本的原因是中国的政治体制,特别是它的核心——一党领导。从西方的眼光来看,这种做法和它代表的体制与他们所认为放诸四海皆准的“普世价值”有许多差异之处。某些西方评论者将这种现象称之为“国家资本主义”(State Capitalism),他们在称赞它的有效性之余,其实在他们的内心,这也加深了他们对中国作为“他者”
(“The Others”)的观点和断言。这种观点当然不能说不对,但它肯定不完全对。在过去的 30 多年,中国的民营经济从无到有,经历了几个不同阶段的发展,在今天民营经济已经成为中国经济的一股庞大和不能忽略的力量。它在为社会所创造价值和财富的同时持续地茁壮成长。与此同时,国有经济却遇上了许多的挑战和限制。虽然国企在某些领域还有一些优势,但是在其他领域特别是开放有竞争性的行业里,国企已经受到了来自民营企业(包括外企)正面的挑战。尤其是在商业创新方面,民营企业已经逐渐地占了上风。

我写此书的目的就是要向全球的相关人士介绍这个现象和它带来的意义。其实,这个现象我在十几年前已经开始意识到。民营企业家在灵活性、适应性、速度和企业家精神上,相对于国有企业,一早已经显现出了优势。但是他们缺乏的是资源、经营环境和管理能力。但随着中国经济的快速增长,中国政府对非国有资本的逐渐开放,以及互联网(特别是移动互联网)的发展,民营企业家的机会越来越多,他们之中不少亦充分利用了这些机会,将他们的业务迅速的做进去并做大做强。

在2000 年,国有与非国有工业企业的总收入是差不多的,都是大约四万亿元左右。到2013 年时,虽然国有企业的总收入增加了大约六倍左右,但非国有企业则增长了超过18 倍。在同一时期内,利润增长了更多。国企大约是7 倍,非国企大约23倍。两方面发展速度的差异非常明显。中国民营企业快速崛起的现象在五年前已经非常明显,虽然有不少人正在说“国进民退”的迹象。当时亦是我开始撰写此书。经历了几年的准备、访问、整理材料、撰写和编辑,此书初稿于大概一年前已经完成。但在英美出书,从初稿到最终稿还需大概一年左右的时间。当然在这段时间内中国的商业环境已有不少的改变,我书里的某些材料可能已经有点过时,这是不可避免的。然而我谈到的基本趋势还是有效的,而这些趋势对于国际上的观察者包括跨国企业的领导者、政府官员、经济学家和学术研究者应有相当重要的参考作用。

在书中我描述了1980 年代以来的几代不同的中国民营企业家。从20 多年前创业者还是中国社会的少部分人,到今天创业精神和参与的火爆式增长……在今天这几代人还同时存在,虽然他们的年龄、经历、成就和观点大不相同,但他们却在争相影响大众。其中,互联网和互联网企业是重点,但它们亦非代表全部。总的来说,它们的跳跃式增长和澎湃的创业和创新力量对中国是有深刻的影响的。当然,不是所有的民营企业家都是“有才之士”,也有不少并不突出,甚至一部分更是“浑水摸鱼”。但中国的特点是它的基数庞大,一个大数目的小百分比还是一个大数目。一些比较优秀的企业家能成为后来者的追随对象和模范。

中国民营经济的崛起除了对中国以及全球的商业社会正在产生根本性的改变之外,它还在带来一种更深层次上的影响。自从第一代的互联网公司在中国诞生之后,中国的政经系统就开始了一种不可逆转的改变。互联网公司总的来说是师承美国硅谷公司的制度、文化和治理的。当然,中国的互联网公司还不是百分之百与美国硅谷公司在各方面是一模一样的,亦不需要如此,它们或多或少还存在中国传统的基因和惯性的烙印。可是在重要的基本点上,中国创业公司与美国创业公司是互通的。同时,中国的政经系统正在从计划经济转型至市场经济,许多“传统”的体制、结构和文化还在政府和国有企业之间存在。这两方面是有矛盾的,但同时亦在互相影响。这相互的渗透将会对中国的整体发展产生良性的影响。这种影响将非同凡响,对国内外将会有很大的贡献。

谢祖墀 高风咨询公司创始人、首席执行官,是全球最具经验和知名度的华人战略和组织咨询顾问,与全球五百强以及中国百强之中的多家企业有长期深度合作。他的著作包括《方向:中国企业应该学习什么》、《中国战略:驾驭全球发展最快的经济体》、《跨越:中国企业的下一个十年》,最新著作《中国的商业颠覆者》已于今年7 月正式发行。

Caixin | Starbucks Sips Up to Beijing’s Elder Care Agenda

Apr 12, 2017 BUSINESS & TECH
By Yang Ge

(Beijing) – The elderly in China are getting a pick-me-up from the world’s biggest coffee chain, with the announcement that Starbucks will extend health insurance to parents of its employees for critical illness.

Analysts said the move should bring positive publicity to Starbucks Coffee Co., in a country where the elderly traditionally command a high degree of respect. The move also comes as Beijing and local officials plead with younger Chinese to take better care of their parents, many of whom survive on modest pensions and live in distant villages from the big cities where their children work.

Starbucks said its new program will provide insurance for up to 10,000 of its employees’ parents if they become critically ill.

It said the new coverage is designed to supplement China’s national health plan, and is an outgrowth of a broader program the company launched in 2010 to provide financial assistance to its workers. An analysis of data from that program showed that 70% of employees were concerned about the health of their parents as they aged.

China is in the midst of overhauling its health system to provide basic care to all of the nation’s more than 1.3 billion people. Many of those have fallen through the cracks in the country’s transformation from a planned economy, where health care was provided by state-run employers, to a market-based system where such coverage isn’t always guaranteed.

“The active participation by the private sector is critical to China’s efforts to further enhance the social security system to support our aging population,” said Jiang Chongguang, deputy secretary-general of the Insurance Society of China. “Starbucks has responded positively to the government’s call to elevate the commercial health insurance industry, our social security network and to promote a ‘healthy China.’”

Starbucks has been one of the stronger advocates of such corporate social responsibility (CSR) in China, alongside other big multinationals like The Coca-Cola Co. and Apple Inc., said Edward Tse a corporate strategist and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Co. Programs like the latest one from Starbucks are particularly important in China, where big multinationals can sometimes get criticized for generating big sales in the country without giving back through investment and other social contributions.

“This is a great move by Starbucks in China as it sends a strong signal to its China employees that ‘We care,’” said Tse. “Taking care of the elderly is a core value of the Chinese culture. With the employer taking a proactive initiative to help, it sends the right goodwill message to its staff. This will bode well for Starbucks in China and sets a benchmark for other western companies operating in China.”

Tse added that Starbucks is probably also being motivated by recent calls by Beijing and local governments for young people to do more to support their parents, leading some observers to say that filial piety can’t be legislated.

A law passed in 2013 required children to pay frequent visits and ensure the spiritual and financial needs of parents older than 60. The law also allowed parents to sue their children if they are negligent, but did not specify penalties in cases of guilty children. In cases where parents sue, some judges have ordered children to make specified numbers of visits each month and provide support. But experts have pointed out the law and verdicts from ensuing lawsuits could be difficult to enforce.

Shanghai also made related headlines last year when it said children who violated the law could have their credit ratings reduced.

 

香港经济日报 | 双创助港青上流 争未来主动权

文 | 谢祖墀 博士

过去数年里香港年轻人的挫折感与日俱增,这是不言而喻的。占领中环,农历新年暴动,反对水货,香港「独立」运动,以及有关横洲公屋计划的争议,清楚反映了我们年轻一代的挫折感。
创新创业 提供社会流动机遇

这些现象背后的原因是什么?这个问题可能无法从单一方面去阐释,它是一系列政治、社会和经济因素的结果。现在的香港年轻人生活在一个与他们父母成长环境非常不同的城市。香港在70年代和80年代是艰难的,但城市正在增长,对年轻人来说有很多机会,社会有足够的向上流动的潜力,年轻人努力工作可以为自己建立更美好的生活。

我们对年轻人上流没有足够的鼓励:
然而,今天的年轻人正面临窘境。香港的经济结构已变得非常狭窄,虽然还有一些可以提供向上流动性的好工作,例如在高端金融服务行业,但与大陆或海外的竞争对手相比,我们的年轻人没有任何明显的优势。

那么,香港年轻人如何找到新的社会流动的机会?我相信答案在于创新和创业。

「创新」是通过新的想法创造现实价值的过程,这些「新想法」可能来自现有的概念、工具或技术,它与「发明」不同,发明通常指创造一个全新的产品或引入全新的过程。因此,在商业中,创新的形式包括产品创新、服务创新和商业模式创新。一些情况下,创新来源于新技术的引进;另一些情况下,创新来源于现有技术的应用;还有一些情况下,创新与技术没有任何关系,而只是一种新的做事方式。

香港巨大贫富差距是可能诱发革命的导火索:
在上世纪90年代末的第一个互联网时代,香港的创业家精神相当活跃,涌现出为数不少的创业家,其中一部分人更取得了相当的成就,然而很可惜,这个传统并未得到巩固。互联网泡沫破裂后,香港的创新和创业浪潮消失,城市的经济结构变成了由地产发展、金融服务、观光、旅游和零售推动,在这个过程中,我们提供给年轻人的向上流动性减弱。
商业创新迅速 内地可成平台

与此同时,中国大陆的创新和创业却正在蓬勃发展,创业家愈来愈年轻(很多是80后或90后),他们不仅仅在北京、深圳和上海等大城市,也在杭州、成都和重庆,或者说他们已经在整个中国遍地开花。

从20世纪90年代末,中国的非国营经济在整体收入和利润方面的增长都超过了国营经济,其中许多值得关注的创业公司都来自互联网领域,但还有很大一部分在互联网外的其他科技领域、金融服务、车联网、零售和医疗保健领域。它们中的一部分是技术创新驱动,但很多是商业模式创新驱动。

使中国成为孕育商业创新主要基地的原因有很多,从计划经济逐渐向市场经济过渡的过程製造了许多非连续性,社会的「痛点」被暴露,这为善于观察的企业家提供了许多机会,同时,技术特别是无綫互联网的普及成为了重要的助推器,另外中国市场的巨大体量使得商业创新迅速规模化成为可能,最后,非常重要的一点是通过资金充足的风险投资和天使投资所保证的资本的充裕性。

中国大陆可以为那些看到机会并有创业追求的香港年轻人提供真正的机会。中国大陆正在对知识的价值愈来愈重视,同时还提供对试错高容忍度的环境。本质上,香港的年轻人与大陆的年轻人之间没有太大区别。中国企业的经营环境有许多缺点,但是那些成功的人正是在不完美中亦能实现目标的人。香港的年轻人需要去尝试,事实上,大陆可以为香港年轻人提供在自己所专注的领域成为世界顶尖地位的平台。
专注学习新知 为创业奠基础

一些香港人在中国大陆取得成功的例子,包括腾讯总裁刘炽平(Martin Lau Chi-ping),以及热门视频服务优酷网的创始人古永锵(Victor Koo Wing-cheung)。

今天,指数式(exponential)的价值创造愈来愈多地来自企业家对知识的运用,当然,在大陆和香港,仍然有人可以用其他方式创造财富。然而,随着技术和其他因素对人为障碍的消除,知识在价值创造中变得愈来愈重要,创新和创业只是捕捉和利用知识的手段。香港的年轻人必须专注于学习新知,并且将其用于创新和创业,以创造价值。创业一定是困难的,只有很少的一部分能够成功,然而,这个成功的少数可以获取相当大的价值,并且成为榜样。

应让城市环境更有利港年轻人承担商业风险:
香港特区政府成立创新及科技局是一个正面举措,它是一种自上而下驱动创新和创业的模式,然而,这还不够。成功需要公私营部门之间的合作,以及香港与大陆的合作,深圳和邻近的广东省城市,由于靠近香港,应成为最自然的合作伙伴。
中港公私营合作 製成功案例

这个要成功,其实只需要几个香港年轻人成就的案例作为下一代企业家的榜样,这种乘数效应可以为香港青年带来可观的向上流动性,这也是他们真正收回对未来主动权的一种方式。

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

 

TECHINASIA | What happened to Xiaomi?

By Dr. Edward Tse
1:39 PM at Oct 25, 2016

Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics company founded in 2010, is often regarded as the Apple of China. It became the world’s most valuable “unicorn” in 2014, with a private valuation of more than US$46 billion.

Though it is best known for low-cost, value-for-money smartphones, Xiaomi is not merely a smartphone manufacturer. It has been aggressively building an ecosystem of smart connected devices, including: smart TVs, air purifiers, sports cameras, VR devices, drones, and even smart rice cookers.

Xiaomi became China’s largest smartphone brand in 2014. It attracted a lot of first-time, young, tech-savvy consumers due to its inexpensive pricing, highly customizable smartphone, and fan-based marketing. It rejected brick and mortar retail stores, traditional distribution channels, and conventional advertising.

Instead, Xiaomi utilized a unique and innovative way to engage its consumers with its “geeky” brand positioning. It leveraged online user communities, social media, flash sales, and online-to-offline (O2O) events which hyped consumer expectations.

The company ensured customer satisfaction by incorporating user feedback to make frequent software and features updates. As a result, Xiaomi created a sticky fan base, known as “Mi-fans.”

However, it didn’t take long before Xiaomi’s sales began to slow down. Its sales dropped by 5 percent in Q1 of 2016 and 38 percent in Q2 of the same year.

It also fell out of the global top 5 brands in terms of smartphone sales. So what exactly happened?

Reasons behind recent struggles
Xiaomi’s mission statement is to offer affordable smart devices so people can enjoy the benefits of technology and connectivity at a lower price.

However, Xiaomi’s core initial customers now have a desire for more premium products. Despite clear evidence that Chinese customers are willing to trade up, the company continues to focus on the budget end of the market.

Photo credit: Maurizio Pesce.

Xiaomi has also been focused on its young, tech-savvy consumers, marketing heavily through social media and online word-of-mouth. Consequently, its marketing efforts do not reach beyond its core fan base.

In addition, the majority of its customers are not devout Mi-fans. They buy its products based on their value without really embracing Xiaomi’s ecosystem. The company’s limited content has also failed to make return customers.

Chinese consumers have a broad range of brands to choose from and flock to whomever can offer them better value for money. Xiaomi has only had a few smartphone models on shelves for a very long time, which gives direct Chinese competitors like Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei room to steal the show.

To add to this, customers are increasingly frustrated by the company’s flash sales, hunger marketing tactics, and its inability to innovate independently. Its consistent mimicking of Apple’s image has become proof of its lack of innovation.

While Xiaomi has stuck to its non-traditional techniques, other Chinese competitors have leveraged traditional strategies to full effect. These competitors have offered better product features, stronger offline marketing, and a wider distribution channel. This allows them to grab a larger share of the Chinese consumer’s wallet.

Essentially, Xiaomi has been too slow to match its products with the fast-changing value propositions of young Chinese consumers, who aspire for a more individualistic and personalized lifestyle.

While Xiaomi has continued to expand its product portfolio, the brand has failed to maintain its hype and has become overly diversified. General consumers have begun to lose track of what the company stands for and the benefits of joining their ecosystem.

With the company’s recent expansion to emerging markets comes a new set of problems. Factors such as supply constraints, limited local market understanding, and legal issues have hampered their efforts overseas.

What did other Chinese players do?
Local competitors like Huawei, Vivo, and Oppo are focused on establishing premium brands. For example, Vivo focuses on high-end devices with leading technologies such as high resolution phones, fingerprint readers, and extra software features. The same can be said of Huawei, but more in the mid-end products range.

As Chinese consumers begin to trade up, these competitors are much better equipped to capture the market.

Xiaomi has traditionally sold its devices online to bypass costs of offline marketing, retail stores, and dealerships. In comparison, rivals such as Vivo and Oppo have heavily invested in traditional retail and distribution channels and expanded their dealership network.

These competitors have also managed to offer more effective and differentiated marketing. This includes product placement, out-of-home advertisement, brand ambassadors, and sponsorships for popular TV shows. For example, Oppo is the official phone partner of America’s Next Top Model.

Xiaomi is left in the unenviable position of trying to reestablish relevance amidst a highly competitive market.

Implications to Xiaomi and beyond
Xiaomi’s customer-centric, crowd-sourcing, community-driven approach and its founder’s mindset was once very well received among Chinese startups and even multinational companies. However, the initial hype seems to have faded, replaced by questions of the company’s value and long-term sustainability.

In a way, Xiaomi’s story demonstrates the speed, complexity, and dynamism of the Chinese context. The changing consumer landscape, hyper-intensive competition, and rapid technology development require companies to be alert at all times and to create sustainable competitive advantages.

Xiaomi needs to re-examine its strategy with a flexible mindset in order to avoid further market decline or even death.

With this story, many questions arise. Does this ecosystem approach work for every company? Could every industry take a lifestyle-driven, customer-centric business approach? How do you build a sustainable business in the new economy?

It is time for brands with Xiaomi-esque tactics to re-evaluate the sustainability of their consumer engagement approaches. ( Editing by Jaclyn Teng)

Dr. Edward Tse is founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Co., a global strategy and management consulting company, and the author of “China’s Disruptors” (Portfolio, 2015).

 

Tech Crunch | Can Foreign Tech Companies Win in China?

Posted Aug 28, 2016
By Dr. Edward Tse

People have often referred to Google, Facebook and Twitter as cases where foreign tech companies are blocked in China. In reality, while Facebook and Twitter were indeed blocked, Google chose to withdraw because they didn’t want to comply with Chinese censorship regulations.

It’s important to note that most foreign tech companies were not blocked, and companies like eBay, Amazon, Viadeo and, of course, Apple and Samsung all entered and competed in China.

EBay was beaten by Alibaba more than a decade ago. Amazon entered China throughthe acquisition of a local company, Joyo, in 2004, but was never able to build a commanding position in China the way they did in the U.S. Viadeo withdrew in 2015 due to a lack of market traction mostly because of the entry of LinkedIn.

On the other hand, Apple and Samsung have done well in China, despite increasing competition from the Chinese who are chipping off pieces of their pies. More recently, UberChina and Didi Chuxing reached a mutually beneficial deal, though some see it as Uber essentially surrendering the China market to Didi Chuxing.

This all seems to beg the question: Can foreign tech companies win in China?

Clearly, China’s regulatory regime regarding the internet, in particular social media, isfar more restrictive than that of the U.S. and many other western countries in general. The “Great Firewall” has proven itself repeatedly to be a thorn in the side of foreign companies, and not all have been able to overcome this hurdle. Most have tried, but with varying degrees of success.

It all comes down to the company’s mindset and willingness to adapt. Some firms decidedthey didn’t want to play in such a context, like Google, and withdrew their operations. Some want to play but got blocked, like Facebook, yet continue to lobby the government for access. Some were allowed to play but couldn’t quite get their act together (for whatever reason), like Amazon, Viadeo and perhaps even Airbnb. There was also Yihaodian, which was Walmart’s online business, but eventually Walmart sold it to JD.com in exchange for some of JD’s shares.

China is not easy. It’s tough for everyone, no matter if one is foreign or not.

But there are some who seem to “get it,” like LinkedIn (at least for now). They entered the China market in 2014 with a dedicated Chinese site, Lingying, andwithin two years grew their user base to 20 million subscribers and counting. How did they manage such a feat where several others failed? They adapted to the Chinacontext. Not only did they localize by conforming to restrictions on content, they partnered with local firms Sequoia China and China Broadband Capital to further understand the China market.

LinkedIn also created local leadership by hiring a president for LinkedIn China, giving the team more autonomy to integrate and cater to local needs. Examples include collaborating with Tencent’s WeChat so users could link profiles, launching a Chinese business social networking app “Chitu” and planning to release a Chinese version of its Pulse news reader app.

Another such example is Evernote. They, too, found success through a focus on meaningful localization. Not only did they hire locally, they employed localized marketing strategies by leveraging local social media like Weibo and WeChat, and had localized customer service, which supports real-time customer support on the mentioned platforms. They did thorough market research before entering in 2012, and looked to solve the “pain points” of the Chinese consumer, mainly security and privacy. Lastly, they had an easy-to-recall Chinese name (Yinxiang Biji) with a memorable pun. This strategy paid off; within the first year after launch they had 4 million users in China, and by 2015 their user base reached 17 million.

The notion that lower-quality clones sprung up because of foreign tech companies being blocked is only partially right. One could argue that the major Chinese social websites of Baidu, Ren Ren, Sina Weibo and Youku Toudu are clones of Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, respectively. While the likes of Ren Ren weren’t able to replicate Facebook-like success in China, others have evolved beyond being clones to having their own unique, innovative ecosystems.

One such example is WeChat. Though it was originally inspired by Kik, and had similar features to WhatsApp, it evolved from mere messaging to becoming an integral part of the Chinese connected lifestyle. WeChat users can now link their bank cards to WeChat Pay, make in-store payments, transfer money to peers, buy movie tickets, hail taxis, pay for utility bills and so on. In fact, the list is practically endless, and shows how WeChat’s business model has become so powerful, and has grown from being a simple messaging app like WhatsApp (which, incidentally is also not blocked in China, but cannot hope to compete on WeChat’s scale).

Foreign tech players tend not to be as extensive in ecosystem building.

Importantly, Chinese innovators are developing new intellectual capital. They are crafting innovative business models and reaching new frontiers of business strategy and organization. Prime examples include Alibaba and LeEco. Jack Ma has built Alibaba into a sprawling internet business through “multiple jumping” from one business area to another, while building its capabilities along the way through a combination of self-built and collaborative partnerships. This disrupted the conventional “core competence” approach that has ruled modern business for the past 30-odd years.

LeEco is, broadly speaking, a “lifestyle” company, with a diverse ecosystem of infotainment content, smart devices and internet-connected mobility. Many commentators by now have pointed out that Chinese innovators are fast, agile and adaptive. However, these are merely phenomenological observations. At heart, the best and brightest of these innovators are deeply reflective on what the new frontiers of business are, focusing on “how can we get it right and do it well?”

Of course, China’s market for tech companies has evolved significantly for over a decade and a half. When Alibaba was competing with eBay more than a decade ago, China’stech market was pretty primitive. Alibaba merely used guerrilla warfare tactics based on its grit to defeat a major foreign player. Today, both the market and the players are much more sophisticated and their business approaches are much more refined. The leading Chinese innovators are digital ecosystem players building scale and creating customer stickiness through their entire ecosystem. Foreign tech players tend not to be as extensive in ecosystem building.

To “win,” foreign tech companies need to adapt to the China context and deeply understand the key factors of success. Local leadership is critical and appropriate empowerment by the global headquarters to the local leadership to do the right things is essential. While for some, the market is not open or they are not welcome, for many, the opportunities are right there. China is not easy, but why should it be? It’s tough for everyone, no matter if one isforeign or not. And no one can be sustainably successful if they don’t observe, learn and adapt.

LinkedIn China’s Chitu, for instance, is struggling to get market traction. Evernote, while achieving early success in China, seems to be facing some challenges forsustainable growth, mainly due to lack of premium paid users and growing competition from Chinese startups. In fact, drawing a line on “who’s Chinese and who’s not” is also somewhat artificial, given that Alibaba’s and Tencent’s largest respective shareholdersare not Chinese, and some of LinkedIn China’s and Uber China’s key shareholders are Chinese.(Sequoia China, whose parent is a Silicon Valley-headquartered VC fund, has its operations led by Chinese venture capitalist Neil Shen, who has a deep understanding of the China context.)

As China’s digital business grows, it’s going to provide more opportunities for many players. Who “gets it” and who doesn’t will certainly not only be a function of “being blocked or not,” but equally (or even more importantly) those who have the right mindset and approach to the China context (and for that matter, China for the world). To this end, it’s a real test of the leadership and capabilities of the companies, as well as the capital behind them.

Dr. Edward Tse is the founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, a consulting firm that advises corporations, startups and VC funds on business strategies in China.

 

谢祖墀 | 连续跳跃战略:企业发展的第三条路

连续跳跃战略:企业发展的第三条路
作者:谢祖墀 张钊谦 陈英麟 发表于《商业评论》6月刊

过去十几年里,一部分中国企业迅速崛起。它们当中有一些能够在复杂、动态和不确定的商业环境中,一次又一次抓住时代的契机,取得一波又一波的增长,比如阿里巴巴、乐视、腾讯、小米、滴滴出行等。纵观这些企业的发展历程,可见它们的领导者的思维是非线性、多维、跳跃性的。他们擅于捕捉市场机会,并理解社会发展中产生的新规律,在不知不觉中摸索了一条新的战略发展方法,形成了一套从中国实践出发的新的管理战略思想。我们将这种新的管理战略思想称作“连续跳跃”战略思维。它有别于我们熟知的两种主流管理战略理论——集团多元化经营和核心竞争力,我们又称之为企业管理战略思想的“第三条路”。

从定义上说,连续跳跃战略思维是指,企业面临新的(往往是非线性的)发展机会时,不再囿于核心竞争力所限定的范围,而是通过自身建立或外部获取来弥补能力空缺,进而抓住新的机会实现延续性的跳跃式发展。

企业在建立初始业务时,会打造一些相应的能力或核心竞争力。随着市场出现新的机会,而且这些机会往往以非线性的S形出现(在互联网时代尤为明显),企业当前的能力可能未必满足新业务的需求,但面对新机会,企业必须做出抉择。有的企业会选择跳跃,可能成功,也可能不成功。对于不成功的企业,需要以动态思维继续审视内外部环境的变化,并持续提升自身能力的空缺,以期未来的发展与跳跃。而有的企业可能选择不跳,因其尚不具备跳跃所需的能力体系,亦或在自身业务的时空范围内尚有发展的潜力,它们往往选择在自己领域内继续打造和提升核心竞争力。这些决定都取决于企业领导和班子对外部环境变化的判断,以及对弥补自身能力空缺进而实现跳跃的信心。

企业在跳跃之余,必须尽快弥补原有的能力空缺。企业可以在内部通过人才的培养、组织的重塑、流程的梳理等建立所需能力,也可以从外部来获取,包括并购其他企业,或建立联盟和合作关系,即构建生态系统。构建生态系统是近年来中国商业环境下中国企业家的一个主要思想。从外部来看,当今环境变化多维、剧烈且快速,这意味着企业把握新机会的时间窗口远比传统时代要短;从内部来看,企业实现跳跃发展所需的能力体系空缺很大,通过自身发展来填补,难度较大且需要较长过程。因此,生态系统的构建越发重要。

当然,企业要实施连续跳跃战略,也存在一些风险。首先,有些企业被逼跳跃。对于它们而言,万一误判契机而跳空,可能一去不返,同时对本身的核心业务产生严重影响。因此,在选择跳跃之前,企业是否应该考虑好后路? 第二,跳跃是要在旧有的基础上创新,建立动态能力体系,意识到机会的时机和突破点。跳还是不跳,跳不过怎么办,这些都关系到跳跃的机会成本。而跳跃后所造成的能力空缺也会带来不稳定性,企业要把握跳跃的节奏并及时填补能力空缺,避免风险。第三,与内部组织有关。在跳跃过程中,如何与中低管理层和员工沟通,传播跳跃战略思维,树立共同愿景,达到言行一致。最后,在跳跃过程中,要注意保持适当的弹性而非故步自封。

连续跳跃战略思维是集团多元化经营和核心竞争力之外的第三条路。这条路如果走得太快,就容易变为集团多元化经营而不受控制;反之,若停滞不前,就可能局限于核心竞争力的范围。归根结底,这体现了一种跳跃式思维,更考验企业领导者的能力。如果看不到外部市场环境的大趋势,只是简单囿于西方管理战略理论,最终导致的结果很可能是失去企业发展的黄金时代。

摘自《商业评论》(2016年6月刊)并保留所有权利

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。

张钊谦博士( Robert Zhang)是高风咨询公司高级项目经理,常驻北京。他曾在西门子中国有限公司担任多年高级经理,领导整个集团层面的渠道战略变革项目,同时具有丰富的管理咨询经验,行业领域包括工业品、能源和汽车,涉及公司战略、销售渠道、本地生产和投资模式。

陈英麟 (Alan Chan) 是高风咨询公司的高级咨询顾问,常驻上海。他是高风数字业务部门核心成员,专注于中国商业模式创新,企业数字战略和车联网。他拥有在中国大陆、香港和英国与跨国企业及互联网初创企业工作的经验。

 

Forbes | The Merger Of Uber China And Didi Chuxing

Aug 5, 2016 @ 06:13 AM
By Dr. Edward Tse and Bill Russo

Disrupting The Disruptors: The Merger Of Uber China And Didi Chuxing

On August 1st, Didi Chuxing and Uber China announced a plan to merge their businesses in China, effectively putting Didi in control of their combined ride-hailing business for the China market. The deal has attracted a great deal of attention since the announcement and a number of critical questions have been raised. We would like to share our perspective on some of these questions.

What does the merger mean to anti-trust?
While the China government is typically very actively involved in industrial policy and development, they have actually resisted getting in front of developments related to mobility services. This is mainly resulting from the very favorable public response and popularity of these services. Ride-hailing, or On-Demand Mobility (ODM), services address “pain points” associated with the expanding demand for mobility in an increasingly urbanized China, and are empowering both users and drivers. Services such as Didi Chuxing, Yidao, UCar, and Uber China have until now gone unregulated. New draft regulations have recently been circulated, but this is notably after the emergence of the services and there’s been no attempt to curtail them in any way.
Can foreign tech companies compete in China?
Of course they can, but it won’t be easy. Tech companies such as Apple AAPL +1.49% have had success in China, but foreign companies must be prepared to adapt their approach to the China context. The usual cause for failure is when the companies are either unaware of the local context or unwilling to seriously consider it. Unlike traditional manufactured products, Chinese tech players – especially the tech giants like Baidu BIDU +3.05%, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT) and their ecosystem partners – are very well embraced by Chinese consumers. This success comes not as a result of favored treatment by the government, but rather from their ability to tailor solutions that are relevant to the “pain points” experienced in the market. This is certainly the case for the mobility solutions players. Didi has over 85% share because they simply were faster and smarter at delivering a solution to the market than other local and foreign competitors – not because they were given any favorable treatment by the government or by policies (which, as noted earlier, did not exist in the early stage of development).

If foreign companies want to join the game, they need to think and act like the entrepreneurial Chinese companies like Didi who are rapidly emerging and growing exponentially. They must learn to compete in or cooperate with the BAT ecosystem players or other tech companies who are often open to local or global collaborations with foreign tech firms.

Did Uber China win or lose? Could Uber China ever become the dominant player in the country if it decided to press ahead?
Win or Lose is a judgment call. We think they both get something which they can call a win. Didi has more than 85% share of China’s ride-hailing market and over 7,000 employees. Uber could not possibly match that without enormous investment and heavy discounting. The merger was a way forward that at least makes Uber Technologies a large shareholder of Didi. They have a seat at the table and can collaborate with Didi locally and globally.

Internet companies can make as much or more money from licensing IP as they can from being the brand that commercializes the technology. Uber gets a big share of a huge Chinese start-up that will go up in value and now has the option of licensing them advanced technology for transportation systems. In return, Didi gets a global mobility solutions partner that can help them expand internationally. Didi is also well positioned as the mobility company that can commercialize offline services related to mobility (because they have access to a digital ecosystem from their BAT partners, which Uber lacks in China).

What does the merger mean to anti-trust?
It depends on the how the boundary of the relevant market is defined. In terms of the ride-hailing service market, Didi is the dominant player. But if we are talking about the broader transportation market (which also includes bus, metro, train, etc.), Didi is not dominant. Looking back to 2009, China’s Ministry of Commerce rejected Coca-Cola ’s acquisition of Huiyuan, a Chinese juice-maker, stating that the deal would give Coca-Cola a dominant position in the market. Coca-Cola argued, unsuccessfully, that the position would not be as dominant when contrasted with the larger FMCG beverages market. Clearly, every case is different and up till now, it is unclear how the Ministry will view the Didi-Uber case.

What will this deal mean to Uber and Didi’s global strategies?
So far, the focus of this transaction is on China, but it is interesting to consider how Didi and Uber’s strategies will be impacted elsewhere. Didi and Uber could expand their collaboration and become a global ODM services partnership, where each offers branded services for specific regional markets, with Didi dominating China and Asia and Uber leading in the US and Europe.

They may also choose to leverage complementary capabilities from each party where Uber focuses on advanced transportation technologies and development of algorithms for movement of people and things, while Didi delivers the actual mobility service to the consumer. Apple’s recent US$1Bn investment in Didi also raises an interesting question of what role they may eventually play in this alliance.

In any case, both companies can now better focus their resources in building a profitable business in their respective markets. Didi can work to cement its dominant position domestically in a bid to further distance itself from other local rivals in China. Uber can now invest in expanding its own services, while pivoting from low-end ride-hailing to more sophisticated transportation and perhaps building out its autonomous transportation capabilities. It is clear that other companies will start feeling the heat, especially Lyft in the US, should Uber decide to redouble its efforts on its home turf.

The global implications of the relationship remain to be seen, especially among the stakeholders of the respective companies. This raises the core question: how will this rapidly evolving landscape of partnerships reshape the future of mobility? And for sure, we can look forward to even more exciting developments in the future.

About the Authors:
Dr. Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).
Bill Russo, Managing Director and Auto Practice Leader at Gao Feng Advisory Company.

Forbes | When Big Apple Meets Didi’s Little Orange

MAY 23, 2016 @ 09:35 PM | FORBES.COM
Co-authored by Edward Tse, Bill Russo and Alan Chan

On May 13, Apple announced a USD 1 billion investment in China’s leading on-demand mobility (ODM) service, Didi Chuxing (Didi). Didi’s legal name in Chinese means “little orange”, and an internal announcement made to Didi’s employees literally welcomed the apple to the orange family.

To understand the logic of this investment, it is important to first understand the popularity and explosive growth of such services in China – along with the role that Didi plays inside the expanding ecosystems of its largest investors, Tencent and Alibaba.

Originating from separate taxi-hailing services in 2012, Didi is now a one-stop mobility solutions provider that provides a variety of services including taxi-hailing, private-car hailing, on-demand bus, peer-to-peer ride-sharing, designated driver and test driving. Didi currently has 14 million registered drivers, completing over 11 million rides per day in over 400 cities across China. With over 87 percent share of the Chinese private car-hailing market, Didi is far larger than all the other ODM service providers in China, including Uber.

As a global leader in smart connected device technology, Apple has been exploring opportunities to expand the reach of its iOS ecosystem. It is an “open secret” that Apple is working on its own vehicle program, code-named Project Titan, investing billions in R&D and poaching talent from leading automakers including Tesla, General Motors and Ford. As a manufacturer of intelligent devices, Apple is a “serial disruptor” of industries ranging from media to telecommunications, and views smart transportation as a key target.

The logic of this collaboration is quite evident: the premier global smart device maker (Apple) has set its sights on disrupting transportation in partnership with the dominant mobility services platform (Didi) in the world’s largest car market with the largest number of mobile internet users. Through this partnership, Apple and Didi will have the opportunity to shape the connected mobility ecosystem for China as well as the rest of the world.

A Collaboration Model for Connected Mobility Innovation
The traditional owner-centric business model of the car industry is being disrupted by shared ODM services. As a result, we have witnessed the rapid emergence of a user-centric business model served by mobility services platforms dominated by Uber and Didi. Apple’s investment in Didi will ensure that they will be able to access China’s dynamic internet and mobility ecosystem.

Apple gains a Chinese partner not only with a strong mobility services brand, but also with a proven market sensing capability and keen understanding of how to address mobility pain points. Apple can leverage this to launch a car that delivers the perfect connected mobility user experience, and this can be leveraged both inside and outside of China. Didi will benefit from being affiliated with the world’s premier smart device company, and also gains a major global strategic partner to help penetrate into overseas markets and compete globally with Uber.

While not the primary motivation, Apple’s investment in Didi can also help foster goodwill in China, signaling a willingness on the part of Apple to collaborate with leading Chinese companies. The importance of maintaining such goodwill was underscored recently when Chinese regulators shut down access to some of Apple’s online media stores, triggering concerns among investors. In addition, Didi expects to turn a profit next year and eventually list their shares, which could provide Apple with a fast return on their capital investment.

The recent loss of momentum in Apple’s profit growth and share price performance has raised concerns among investors that the Apple may not be able to recover its shine. The deal with Didi brings hope that Apple can disrupt the auto industry in the world’s largest auto market.

From Connected Mobility to Connected Lifestyle
However, connected mobility is just one segment of the larger “connected lifestyle” opportunity. The convergence of disruptive technologies such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and virtual reality will have the power to transform our everyday lives. The implications of this go far beyond mobility, which is just one of the spaces where we will be connected through a smart device or platform.

Cars will increasingly become smart, connected, electronic and autonomous – and increasingly accessed through a mobility service. A logical interpretation of Apple’s strategy is that it views the car as a “third place” after home and office where people are connected to the internet. Its investment in Didi should be viewed as a strategic opportunity for Apple to capture a larger share of a mobility user’s time online, thereby generating recurring revenue. By creating a more personalized mobility solution, Apple also hopes that the users of such a mobility service would eventually prefer an Apple hardware platform when they are on wheels.

More than just a taxi-hailing service, Didi is a technology-enabled platform. With advanced algorithms to match supply and demand, surge pricing and real-time route optimization, Didi is efficiently moving people and things by maximizing the utilization rate of vehicles. More importantly, with big data and machine learning capabilities, Didi’s competitive advantages are constantly evolving and being reinforced.

Like WeChat and Alipay, Didi has emerged as one of the few “Super Apps” holding a vital part of Chinese consumers’ daily connected lifestyle. These Super Apps typically start by addressing a major pain point and eventually evolve into ecosystems of connected lifestyle services for potentially billions of users. They possess valuable “big data” on a user’s mobility patterns that are of high commercial value.

“Apple + Didi” vs. “LeEco + Yidao”
In fact, the “Apple + Didi” model is already being experimented by LeEco, a leading Chinese internet media company founded (as LeTV) in 2004. Last year, LeEco purchased a 70 percent stake in another Chinese car-hailing app Yidao Yongche. LeEco is also the principal investor in Faraday Future, a U.S.-based electric vehicle startup that is featuring a “subscription model” where users can enjoy the flexibility and convenience of mobility on-demand without having to own the vehicle. Apple’s recent monthly paid iPhone subscription program indicates that they may already be considering such a business model for other smart devices.

The usage-based model effectively eliminates the problem of up-selling features to individual owners by allowing the businesses that generate revenue from the device to cover the cost for adding the technology.

LeEco’s vision is to cover all aspects of consumer’s connected lifestyle by establishing an extensive business portfolio with mobile internet, e-commerce, sports, internet finance, entertainment and others. It is rapidly building a vertically-integrated ecosystem comprised of “Content, Devices, Platforms and Applications” offering premium user experience across multiple screens (i.e. mobile, tablet, computer, cinema, TV and cars).

Disrupt or Be Disrupted
Going forward, we expect to see increasing levels of coopetition, and more cross-border, cross-industry collaborations:

Coopetition: Google is an early investor in Uber while Baidu is a strategic investor in Uber China. Alibaba is a major investor in Didi. Meanwhile, Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s affiliate that runs Alipay and other financial services, has partnered with Uber to enable Alipay globally. Apple’s deal with Didi could potentially challenge both Uber and Google. In addition, Didi is a member of an “anti-Uber alliance” including Lyft in the U.S., Grab (formerly GrabTaxi) in Southeast Asia, and Ola in India. With Didi’s aspiration to become a global company, Apple could eventually extend strategic partnerships to other companies in the alliance as well.

Cross-border: China (Beijing) and U.S. (Silicon Valley) will be the leading innovation hubs for connected mobility and beyond. The Chinese government is keen to promote electric vehicles adoption and digital transformation to improve urban mobility and address environmental issues. China could leapfrog and become the epicenter for connected mobility innovation on a global scale, with its massive population serving as a fertile ground for technology commercialization, as well as connected lifestyle. Permutations and combinations of cross-border alliances for connected lifestyle will create tremendous value for Chinese internet users as they trade-up for better products and services.

Cross-industry: The boundary between automotive and internet technology industries will become increasingly blurred. General Motors, as one of the most forward-looking incumbents, has formed a strategic partnership with Lyft, acquired self-driving start-up Cruise Automation and established a new business division named Maven to experiment with new mobility services. Other automakers are also catching up by piloting ODM services, including Daimler’s Car2Go, Ford’s Go!Drive and Ford Pass, BMW’s DriveNow, and Audi On-Demand. We have already seen emerging “disruption clusters” in China, including (1) LeEco, Faraday Future, Aston Martin and Yidao Yongche, (2) Future Mobility, Tencent and Foxconn, (3) NextEV, Tencent and JD.com, and (4) Alibaba and SAIC.

A Partnership to Reimagine Mobility
China is at the epicenter of a disruptive wave of automotive innovation and beyond. The mobility experience is being redefined with innovative usage-based business models. Incumbents and new players must re-evaluate their connected mobility strategies with a new lens for delivering the perfect connected mobility experience. Past success in the old automotive game is not a guarantee for future success. In fact, one would surmise that past legacy could often become a barrier for swift and innovative moves going forward. It is time for the leading companies from China and Silicon Valley to join forces to re-imagine mobility and the marriage between Apple and Didi could offer the promise of doing just that.

About the Authors:
Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).
Bill Russo, Managing Director at Gao Feng Advisory Company and Alan Chan, Senior Consultant.

 

Forbes | Foreign Firms Need New Strategies For China’s ‘New Normal’

May 16, 2016 @ 01:55 AM | Forbes
By Edward Tse

Multinational corporations (MNCs) started making significant investments in China back in the early 1990s in particular after Deng Xiaoping made his now famous “visit to the south” in 1992. Over a couple of decades of investing in China, MNCs’ attitude on China has evolved. Broadly speaking, there are now three distinct groups of companies we can classify according to their market views. The first group includes MNCs who have come to China, made investments and being unsuccessful, decided that China is not their cup of tea. They generally found it difficult to be profitable and some have withdrawn from China. Examples of these include Home Depot HD +0.31%, Best Buy BBY +0.32%, Media Markt, and Mattel MAT +1.36%. The second group of companies are those belonging to sectors with overcapacity – often quite significant ones – in China. These companies include the cement sector, steel, aluminum and the like. These companies are typically in a wait-and-see mode, waiting to see if and when the overcapacity may be managed away. The final group of companies are those who have found China to be a major, and often highly profitable market. For them, China is one of their largest, if not the largest market in the world. Prime examples are the car makers such as VW/Audi , BMW, Daimler, General Motors and Ford. But this group also include others like Starbucks, Nike and Honeywell. Recently, Apple reported a drop of its quarterly earnings by 13% and China contributed to 26% of that drop.

The Chinese government continues to open more sectors for non-state capital to participate in and it is also visibly applying more stringent laws and policies such as those in anti-trust and anti-corruption. In the open sectors in China, competition is extremely intensive, often the most intensive in the world. In addition to their usual MNC competitors, MNCs will also have to deal with local Chinese competitors, some state-owned and some privately-owned. While MNCs are somewhat used to how other MNCs compete, the ways that the Chinese companies compete are often quite different and hence surprising. The leading Chinese private companies have become increasingly more competitive and in many cases innovative across a wide range of industries. The leading private companies are disrupting traditional businesses with incredible speed and intensity. The rapidly changing, complicated and ambiguous operating environment in China is catching MNCs off guard. Increasingly, MNCs now realize they cannot just apply their cookie cutter ways from the rest of the world to China and that they need to adapt. The question is how and when and all this will need to be aligned and accepted at headquarters.

Though economic growth in China has slowed (off a larger base), the growth of some sectors continues to be very strong. Demand for innovations in the healthcare and environmental sectors is very strong. China became the world’s largest robotics market with purchases making up 25% of the global total. The on-demand mobility app Didi Chuxing totaled 1.43 billion rides in 2015 alone, in contrast to Uber, which took six years to hit 1 billion rides worldwide. Chinese travelers spent US$184B abroad, making them one of the largest tourist segments globally by spending. While there are some structural problems in China’s economy, the growth that is cast within the context of a complicated and fast changing environment will bring a variety of leapfrogging phenomena and is filled with both tremendous opportunities as well as challenges for everyone, MNCs included. The key for MNCs is to know how to strategically anticipate and capture these opportunities and handle the challenges properly. Those MNCs who see the opportunities coming from China, will stay and continue to invest, and if they manage to build the right capabilities on the ground – both tangible and intangible – they will be able to compete effectively.

Years ago, when MNCs started pouring into China, they were the dream employers for China’s youths. Compared to other options at the time, MNCs’ salaries were higher and they provided better training, often accompanied by opportunities to go abroad. Using English daily gave the young Chinese people a sense of glamor and cosmopolitism. If the company they worked for was an elite brand like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble or Microsoft, just mentioning this to others would bring them a sense of pride and accomplishment. At that point of time, employment at MNCs was without a doubt the goal of China’s best and brightest.

In the wake of their operations in China, foreign MNCs find their standing with China’s youth in a constant state of flux. For the past couple of decades, many MNCs would often claim that China is their (most) important and strategic market, and that in China they need to “localize.” However, for many, “localization” simply means hiring some token Chinese managers or in some cases, expatriates who have lived in China for a long time. These roles would have nice sounding titles like “China Chairman” or “China CEO” but they often lack full business authority or decision making capabilities. In almost all cases, these local executives are not placed at the core of thought leadership generation at the largest levels of the company for driving China’s strategy, organizations or business models, and for that matter, those for defining China’s role in the company’s global strategy. These considerations and decisions are, typically, in the realm of the global or regional headquarters. In most cases, the so-called “local management” is only for execution and has little real authority.

Many local talents who work for MNCs after a while would find their jobs unfulfilling. Some of them query the MNC employers’ lack of “higher-order purpose” while others find the relatively slow speed of decision making coupled with a general feeling that “the HQ people just don’t get China” a real source of frustration. To be fair, there are many MNCs that are genuine in their desire to hire and groom local talents. Some even make it a strategic imperative. And, at least some MNCs really want their best Chinese managers to eventually make it to the top echelon of their global organizations. However, some MNCs are also frustrated by the locals’ inability to transform themselves into real business thought leaders and by their seeming lack of loyalty. For a handful of MNCs who have had the good fortune of recruiting some real outstanding Chinese talent, their CEOs or HQ senior executives often become defensive after the Chinese executives repeatedly tell them that “China is different.” For the very best Chinese, the opportunities in China today are just overwhelming. As innovation and entrepreneurship are becoming the mainstream in China, career opportunities with significant upside potential are being made available to many young people. MNCs are no longer the best employment option. Creating new ways to win the human capital battle in China will be key for MNCs.

As China continues to evolve, opportunities and risks will inevitably surface and so the context for developing China’s strategy will also evolve. MNCs must understand the context better and leverage that into their strategies, organizations and capabilities.

About the Author
Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).

 

香港经济日报 | 创业前仆后继,中国进新年代

撰文: 谢祖墀 高风管理咨询公司创始人兼首席执行官
栏名: 中国经纬

中国是否具有创新的能力?这是一个相当具争议性的议题。不少人特别是西方人士对中国创新能力相当怀疑,不少中国人亦抱负面的态度,他们甚至经常对中国的创新能力进行嘲讽。

当然,中国是著名的“山寨大国”。长时间而来,中国企业是以抄袭闻名于世。几乎到了什么都可以抄的地步,知识产权意识非常薄弱。

配合时势快速变化获国际肯定

2014年5月,美国副总统乔‧拜登(Joe Biden)向一批空军学员演讲时这样说道:“我要提一个问题来挑战一下你们,请告诉我,真正源自中国的一项新计划、一次创造性的变革,或者是一件创新性的产品。”早在这次演讲的两个月之前,《哈佛商业评论》还先发表过一篇文章,标题为“为什么中国无缘创新”(Why China Can’t Innovate)。

文章的作者是沃顿商学院教授雷影娜(Regina M. Abrami),以及哈佛商学院教授柯伟林(William C. Kirby)和麦克法兰(F. Warren McFarlan),3位作者在文中大胆断言:“如今……很多人更加坚信西方国家才是商业创新思想,创新者的沃土,而中国在很大程度上仍是墨守成规,生搬硬套的邯郸学步者,虽然中国人在研发方面一直不懈努力,却鲜有突破性发展。”

前美国惠普公司CEO卡莉‧菲奥莉娜(Carly Fiorina)在她去年的新书里提到:“虽然中国人有些天才,但创新和创业并不是他们的长处。他们的社会和教育系统是太过单一化和具有太大的控制而并不鼓励想象能力和冒险精神。”

于2014年春季时,我在欧洲一份刊物《欧洲的世界》(Europe’s World)发表了一篇名为《不要看低中国创新的潜力》(Don’t Belittle the Potential of China’s Innovation)的文章,阐述了我对中国创新潜力的看法。

于2015年10月的《经济学人》熊彼得专栏里,该专栏作者承认了中国在“某些方面”的确有创新的能力,而这”某些方面”是指在快速变化环境中作出敏捷反应的业务模式创新。于专栏中,作者亦引了敝作《China’s Disruptors》(中译本《创业家精神》)的论据。这次的肯定是破天荒的,可以说是西方主流媒体里首次正面肯定中国的创新能力。

Uber CEO料华未来创新超硅谷

到最近,接二连番的西方报道把中国创新的能力更推上更高的台阶。去年12月份美国的《连线》杂志(Wired)发表了一篇名为《一个抄袭技术的国家如何成为创新的枢纽》(Howa Nation of Tech Copycats Transfer into a Hub for Innovation)。

在文章里,《连线》的记者提出了中国在科技,特别是互联网技术方面应用的创新和年轻的创业者的涌现。今年1月份,Uber(优步)的CEO卡兰尼克(Travis Kalanick)在北京的一场演讲里预测,未来5年,在中国出现的创新、发明和创业将较美国硅谷更多,这将令中国企业开始走向国际,认为硅谷同业要留神,方可保持最高水平。

追赶意识弥漫民企崛起助发展

《连线》、优步CEO等都不是等闲之辈,他们对于美国以及全球科技的发展有着敏锐的触觉。他们对于中国创新的看法,值得大家注意。为什么在此时此刻,中国在创新方面好像向前踏出了一大步,受到起码一部分有识之士的认可?我认为有以下几个原因:

1. 追赶心理。中国人在70年代末开始改革开放时发现他们在经济方面比全球较发达国家都要落后,而且差距非常庞大。这对于一个长时间自认为自己是一个理想国度中而且背靠数千年历史文化的国民来说,形成了无比的自卑和莫名感。但这种感觉却造成了巨大的追赶意识,“我要超越你”,“假如李嘉诚、比尔盖茨可以致富,为什么不可以是我?”虽然改革开放已经近40年,这种心理仍然不断在神州大地上弥漫着。

2. 国有经济给予的空间。长时间以来,中国的经济是以国有经济为主的,国有企业有它们的作用,但亦有它们的短板。在面对快速市场变化、充分竞争,以创新为手段的情况里,国企是没有特别优势可言的。这恰恰给予了一批民营企业的一个巨大的发展空间。不少创新型的民企掌握了这个机会,而迅速崛起。

3. 转型的高度竞争。中国从计划经济逐渐走向市场经济是一循序渐进的过程。转型中产生了不少市场区隔的开放,同时亦带来新的市场参与者。因中国市场规模的巨大吸引力,往往带来大数目的竞争者和高度的竞争程度。竞争促使企业进步和增强竞争力,而创新往往就是建立优势的最佳手段。

4. 社会中存在许多痛点。中国在进行经济转型过程里,社会上许多”痛点”被暴露出来了。这些痛点固然为国民带来不少痛苦和无助,但同时它们却为创新者、创业家提供了无尽的创新的机会。不少创新其实就是为解决或改善社会中的痛苦而所驱动的。

网络盛行资本充足创业机会大

5. 移动互联网的掘起。当然这是一个重大的驱动因素。当移动互联网、智能终端和社交媒介已经成为大部分国民生活核心的一部分的时候,互联网的应用提供了无限的创新和颠覆的机会。

6. 中国市场的庞大规模。中国市场的规模和快速演变容许许多创业公司快速的扩张。同时亦给予不少空间让创业者可以试错,调整学习,再调整。同时创新公司的估值主要是看未来的,中国市场的潜力让不少初创公司得到较大的估值,因之而来的融资额度让它们可以较有弹药维持高速的增长。

7. 资本的能力。经过近20年的发展,不少风投公司和天使投资者已经尝到在中国投资的盛宴。无论是国外来到中国投资或在内地自我发展的投资者为创业者提供了大量的资金。

中国已经进入一个新的时代。创新者的年轻化、普及化和指数级的发展为中国社会注入了无比的新力量。在创新和创业过程中,不少人会失败或不会第一次尝试就会成功。也许在某些情况里,政府亦会干预,但只要不是违法,装空作假的,当下中国社会是容许试错的。创新者和创业者的前仆后继,这种现象在中国的几千年的历史中是划时代的。

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

Forbes | The Rise of Entrepreneurship in China

By Edward Tse

APR 5, 2016 @ 05:32 AM

Over the past two decades, entrepreneurship in China has grown at an exponential rate. It is bringing forth disruptive changes not only to China but increasingly also to the rest of the world.

In 2000, total revenues earned by Chinese state-owned industrial enterprises and those in the non-state-owned sector Chinese private enterprises were roughly the same at about 4 trillion yuan each. By 2013, while total revenues at state-owned companies had risen just over six fold, revenues in the non-state sector had risen by more than 18 times. Profits in the same period showed an even more remarkable difference, with state-owned companies showing a sevenfold increase but profits at non-state-owned ones increasing nearly 23 times.

China’s entrepreneurial spirit runs deeper than just in business. It manifests itself in the government and in the desires of ordinary people. Premier Li Keqiang called for “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” and made it the leading agenda of China’s national economic strategy. In his work report speech at this year’s National People’s Congress, Premier Li mentioned the word “innovation” 59 times and “entrepreneurship” 22 times. Other popular phrases such as “Internet Plus”, “sharing economy”, “big data” and “Internet of Things” also appeared in the report multiple times.

In July 2015, my book China’s Disruptors was published and in last December, a Chinese version was also released. The conception of this book started over a couple of decades ago, when China’s private-owned enterprises and the culture of entrepreneurship were still in its infancy; though many people were already operating their own businesses. At that time, many business people in China were opportunistic, trying their luck to bank on the opportunities that China’s rapid economic development brought about. Many of them did not have much knowledge or experience in running companies, certainly not on a sustainable basis. Over the years, I have come across many different entrepreneurs. Despite coming from a diverse range of backgrounds, industries and demographics, they seemed to share some underlying common characteristics: tremendous ambitions and forward-looking optimism coupled with an almost insatiable curiosity. Many sought my expertise to gain a deeper understanding of business strategy and management, and to broaden their knowledge of “international best management practices.” This was also around the time of the rapid growth of China’s Internet industry, and many entrepreneurial minds saw the opportunity to incorporate internet technology into their businesses.

Yet during this same period, the rest of the world (especially the mainstream western media), perceived China in a different light. China was portrayed as a predominantly state-owned economy driven by large-scale enterprises, some of which held (near-) monopoly advantages in industries that were (largely) closed to non-state companies. In their view, at the core of China’s economy was the controlling one-party leadership fueling unfair (or sometimes even non-existent) competition. Some called this phenomenon “State Capitalism” which carried somewhat negative connotations. For sure, the state economy played, and continues to play, a critical role in the Chinese economy. But the western media had for a long time almost completely ignored the other side of the Chinese economy, the growing private sector and rising group of entrepreneurs.

The first wave of reforms and opening up of China’s economy under Deng Xiaoping spurred the vanguard generation of entrepreneurs in the 1980s. These entrepreneurs typically had little to no access to knowledge of modern business management. Some even lacked post-secondary education. At the time, they were pioneers who were remarkably bold to start their own businesses. In the early 90s, a number of government officials inspired by Deng’s “Southern SO +0.10% Visit” left their government roles and ventured into businesses. This was a rather speculative move that required great courage. If they failed, the “iron rice bowl” they had abandoned would not welcome them back with open arms. At this time, these people were considered foolish by many for leaving these highly desired positions of stability and prosperity. The majority of this “Gang of 1992” were quite successful in their entrepreneurial pursuits and some of them eventually became industry leaders.

Internet entrepreneurs started to emerge in the mid to late 1990. Contemporary giants Alibaba , Tencent and Baidu were formed shortly thereafter. The bursting of the first internet bubble took out a fair number of Chinese internet companies, but soon thereafter, the growth of internet industry resumed and gained momentum. The number of entrepreneurs grew again throughout the 2000s. Leaders from Xiaomi, JD.com and Qihoo 360 are all prime examples of China’s internet entrepreneurs that arose during this period. Apart from the internet and mobile technology sectors, many entrepreneurs started appearing in other industries: energy, healthcare, financial services, consumer, retail among others, where businesses were increasingly intertwined with the rapid growth of science and technology.

Today in China, we see numerous young people who were born in the 1980’s and 1990’s with entrepreneurial aspirations. They come from not only the metropolis like Beijing, Shenzhen or Shanghai, but also from second-tier or even smaller cities.

Undoubtedly, a fair number, or perhaps the majority of them will not succeed or at least not on their first attempt, but a few may. China is large and even a small percentage of a large base is still a significant number. Unlike their predecessors, these youngsters are not afraid of failure. For them, “trial and error” is an inevitable part of the process. The outcome, whether positive or not, adds to their experience and opens up even more opportunities in the future.

To be sure, many business people in China are still trying to take short cuts and may not abide by rules and ethics. However, we do see an increasingly growing number of entrepreneurs who are genuinely trying to grow their business and be successful in legitimate ways. We are living in an era where entrepreneurship is spreading fast, entrepreneurs are getting younger, and growth is often exponential. This new generation of China’s entrepreneurs illustrates the vitality, creativity and increased productivity that are the core driving forces propelling China’s next stage of development.

China is now the world’s second largest producer of “unicorns,” i.e., non-listed companies valued at over US$1Bn. The most representative ones are Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, China Internet Plus (recent merger of Meituan and Dianping) and DJI. In addition, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi are on the world’s 50 smartest companies list presented by MIT Technology Review in 2015. Furthermore, by the count of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, there are 115 university science parks and over 1,600 technology business incubators in the country providing mentorship, legal advice and office space to dreamers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

A majority of these Chinese innovators excel in business model innovation. As they move on to acquire new capabilities by building ecosystems through strategic partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, we expect to see more China-rooted technology innovators on the global stage. At the heart of China’s disruptors are the entrepreneurs with a shared dream for success, a pursuit of objectives brimming with creativity and a relentless drive to realize their goals. These goals will ultimately rewrite the rules of business for China and increasingly for the rest of the world.

A unique phenomenon is taking place in China today. While its political system is inherited from a top-down planned economy hierarchy, its leading entrepreneurial companies, especially the younger, more dynamic ones found in the Internet industry, adopt much of their mindset, culture and organizational principles from Silicon Valley. In fact, many are closer to Silicon Valley than they are to Beijing. For these companies, China’s political and economic structure is mixed with Silicon Valley culture, each influencing the other and creating something new. This osmosis is changing China in a way that we have not seen before and would lead China into a new era.

Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).

 

Forbes | What Drives China’s Innovation?

Author: Edward Tse
Mar 8, 2016 @ 08:25 PM

Is China capable of innovating? This is a controversial question. Plenty of people, especially those in the West are doubtful of China’s innovative capabilities. But it’s not just outside of China where you find non-believers, many Chinese also mock the concept of “Chinese innovation”. To be fair, China is famous (or should I say infamous) as the “Empire of Shanzhai” (counterfeits).

In May, 2015, the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gave aspeech to a group of cadets at the US Air Force Academy where he said, “… I challenge you, name me one innovative project, one innovative change, oneinnovative product that has come out of China.” Two months earlier, the Harvard Business Review published an article entitled “Why China Can’t Innovate”. The authors, Regina M. Abrami, a Wharton Business School professor, F. Warren McFarlan and William C. Kirby, two professors from Harvard Business School stated, “Today, though, many believe that the West is home to creative business thinkers and innovators, and that China is largely a land of rule-bound rotelearners—a place where R&D is diligently pursued but breakthroughs are rare.” Former Hewlett Packard’s CEO, Carly Fiorina, echoed this view in a bookshe published last year, “Although the Chinese are a gifted people, innovation and entrepreneurship are not their strong suits. Their society, as well astheir educational system, is too homogenized and controlled to encourage imagination and risk taking.”

In the spring of 2014, I published in Europe’s World an article entitled “Don’t Belittle the Potential of China’s Innovation”. In this article, I described my perspective on China’s innovation potential. In October, 2015, in the Schumpeter column of The Economist, China was acknowledged as capable of innovation in certain areas. These “certain areas”were referring to China’s capability to create highly adaptive and responsive business model innovations in a fast changing environment. The column’s writer quoted the thesis of my book China’s Disruptors. That was ground breaking because it was the first time ever that mainstream, western media openly recognized China’s innovation capabilities. Recently, more western media are talking about China’s innovation capabilities. Last year, the December edition of Wired published an article entitled “How a Nation of Tech Copycats Transformed into a Hub for Innovation”. The article discussed the large surge in number of young tech entrepreneurs, especially internet entrepreneurs, in China. The cover of Wired’s March issue showed a complete reversal on how the west is now viewing China’s innovation capabilities. Placed beneath the face of Xiaomi founder LeiJun are the headlines, “It’s Time to Copy China. What You Can Learn From Its Most Inventive Startups.” In January, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick gave a talk inB eijing where he forecasted that in the next five years, China’s innovationwill surpass that of Silicon Valley. He also warned his colleagues in Silicon Valley that they need to be aware of this paradigm shift and cannot become complacent. Wired, Travis Kalanick, and The Economist are not marginal players. They all have their fingers on the pulse of global business and technology.Their views on China’s innovation are worth taking note of. So why is China’s innovation apparently taking a giant leap forward forcing industry and opinion leaders to finally taking note. I think it’s because of the following reasons:

“Why not me?”: At the end of the 1970s during the onset of China’s era of reform and opening to the world, the Chinese discovered that not only was their economy backwards and undeveloped compared to the economies of the developed nations,but the gap between the Chinese economy and those economies was vast. For a nation that had believed they were living in an utopian state stemming from acivilization with a rich history going back thousands of years, this dose of reality created a sense of inferiority and complete shock. Against this background spurred a new sense of purpose among Chinese entrepreneurs. The desire to strive for success and show the world that they too can succeed. They thought to themselves, if Li Ka-shing and Bill Gates can become men of great wealth, why not me? Although it’s been 40 years since the opening of China, this question of “Why not me?” is still the key engine that drives the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit.

Market opportunity provided by the state economy: For a very long time, China’seconomy was dominated by the state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SOEs have theirrole to play in the Chinese economy, but they also have shortcomings. In a market defined by fast changes, intense competition, and need for innovation,SOEs are slow to react. Many innovative companies have taken advantage of this market gap and have seen extra ordinary growth.

Transformative and intense competition: China’s process of shifting from a planned economy toa market economy is gradual. It’s taken several decades already and wouldlikely take another couple of decades more, if ever to completely transition.During this shift over time, a range of sectors were opened up. The allure ofthe China market’s massive scale continues to attract numerous players and ignites intense competition. The hyper competition spurs companies to enhance their competitiveness and innovation is the best way for companies to stay ahead.

Chinese society’s pain points: In Chinese society’s process of transformation, painpoints that had been hidden from sight are increasingly being exposed out in the open. While these pain points are part of the imperfect environment, they provide entrepreneurs opportunities for innovation. Many innovations came about for the sake of solving societal ills or easing the pressure created by societal pain points.

The rise of mobile internet: This of course is a key driving factor. With the internet, smart devices, and social media becoming a core part of the everyday life of Chinese consumers, this provides tremendous disruption opportunities forinnovators and entrepreneurs alike.

The massive scale of the Chinese market: The size and fast changing nature of China’s market allow companies to rapidly scale up. At the same time, it provides plenty of room for innovators and entrepreneurs to learn via trial anderror. Leading Chinese companies are also benefitting from high valuations that are based on favorable forward looking expectations of China’s market potential. This gives them the needed capital ammunition to support their growth.

Capital resources: Over the past 20 years of China’s development, many venture capital firms and angel investors have benefitted from exceptional returns from theirinvestments in China. Regardless of whether these investors came from abroad or were homegrown, Chinese companies have also greatly benefited from the vastsums of capital these investors have provided over time.

China has entered new era. A new generation of entrepreneurs defined by their youth and exponential growth nature has generated new energy and vigor into the country. Of course, in the process of innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits, only a few would succeed or succeed at the first try. Perhaps incertain situations the government would interfere. But as long as these entrepreneurs do not break laws or defraud consumers, China’s society now allows and welcomes trials and errors. This era — the era of China’s entrepreneurs — is bringing forth real ground breaking times in China’s long history.

About the Author:

Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).

 

企业战略丨马云在外企能生存吗

文 | 谢祖墀 高风咨询创始人兼首席执行官
2015年11月发表于《管理学家》杂志

马云,当今已是中国家喻户晓的人物,几乎无人不知,无人不晓。在国际上,他的名声亦越来越响,堪称是国外元首见面最多的中国企业家。马云在十几年前开始创办了阿里巴巴,从零开始,到今天已是国际最具规模的互联网公司之一,2014年在美国上市时创造了美国有史以来最大IPO的记录。阿里巴巴以互联网为基础现已涉猎了为数不少的业务领域。马云本人已经进身中国富豪榜前列。毫无疑问,马云有其超群的能力,能带领企业进行飞快的发展,是一位出色的领导者。
另一方面,源于国外的跨国企业长期以来对中国这个发展快速、潜力庞大的市场都拥有很大的兴趣。特别是在邓小平先生1992年的南方讲话之后,许多外资大举而进。当时,他们都抱着一个简单的憧憬,那就是“如果每个中国人需要买一支牙刷,我们的市场就有13亿支牙刷”。当然,事后看来,这种简单的假设和看法是非常粗糙和幼稚的。不过,的确当时有不少外资是以这种思维方式进入中国的。当然亦有不少所谓的咨询公司在当时也是采用类似的简单、粗糙思维方式来忽悠这些公司的。
外资企业,特别是规模较大,历史较悠久和国际市场上较成功的跨国企业,对中国所抱的态度一般是比较傲慢的。这亦很难责怪他们,因为当时中国刚从一场风波中慢慢苏醒过来,在之前四十年的计划经济机制下,中国的整个经济体系和西方完全脱节。邓小平先生所提的“有中国特色的社会主义市场经济”让许多外资高管们都搞不清楚是怎么一回事。
这段时间来华的外企一般都是比较财大气粗的,他们的CEO 知道中国是一“新兴市场”,发展潜力很大,但他们亦知道中国与他们已有的经营在许多方面有所不同,甚至有巨大的不同。当然他们亦会聘请一些所谓的咨询公司或市场调研公司来帮助他们了解中国市场的情况。但总的来说,外国跨国公司的中国进入战略比较简单,那就是“我们在其他市场是如何做的,我们在中国就照搬一样做吧”。
当然这种做法是可以理解的,一家公司倘若熟悉了某一种做事的方法,那为什么要迁就某个市场来改变呢?历史越长、成就越光辉、行业中领导地位越高的企业,这种倾向越明显。
当然中国给予许多跨国公司很大的惊讶。谁都知道中国人口多(但较贫穷)、幅员辽阔、经济发展很快。这几点老外是明白和可接受的。但外企往往忽略的是中国的历史文化(和文明),在庞大计划经济下快速萌芽的私营经济,渐进但不断的市场开放和改革,和人力资源许多快速以及根本性的改变。
跨国公司刚大举进入中国时,他们成为当时中国年青人梦寐以求的雇主。相对当时的其他选择,外企的工资较高,培训较好,又有机会出国,经常以英语交谈很有洋味。假如公司的品牌较响,如可口可乐、宝洁、微软等,在说出来的时候,更会增添一些虚荣感。于当时,跨国公司的确在中国人才争夺战上占有鳌头。
随着外资在中国的发展,他们的遭遇和中国年青人对他们的看法亦不断的产生变化。首先对不少外资来说,中国市场的发展往往并不像他们原本想象的那么容易、简单。造成这种情况的原因很多,不能简单以一两句话概括。但总的来说是因为外企一般比较自大,自以为在中国亦可成功;对于中国独特性的了解不够深入,缺乏深入的反省来研究和发展一套与全球模式稍有不同但适合中国市场的产品、服务或商业模式。
多年来,在西方媒体和欧美商会的迎合之下,外企都在不断的抱怨中国的经营环境不理想以致他们在华的成绩不能彰显。当然,中国的经营环境还不是非常理想,但在过去20多年来,在同一时空、相同的市场里我们总能看到一些表现较良好的外资企业,同时亦能看到一些表现相当不如人意的外企。可以说,每家企业都看到一样的市场信息,亦可能聘请了类似的咨询公司来协助,但他们做出的决定和后来出现的结果却会南辕北辙,为什么?
相对本土的竞争对手,特别是近十多年来不断涌现出来的快速成长的中国民营企业,成为了外资企业的竞争对手。这些对手相对传统的跨国公司竞争对手来说,一般比较敏捷、快速,有高度的应变能力和学习能力。相对而言,外资企业,特别是大型和历史悠久的跨国企业在这些方面就显得比较迟钝和缓慢。造成这样情况的原因是由于跨国公司对中国业务的“信不过”,没有充分授权给当地管理者去做关键的商业决定。
在过去20 多年,跨国公司一直口口声声的说“中国是我们(最)重要的战略市场”,还继续说,“在中国,我们要‘本土化’”,可是他们的所谓本土化往往只是停留在“找几个中国人来担任某些‘职位’的局面”,包括没有实际权力的所谓“中国主席或总裁”。但这些人并没有被总部亦即全球CEO,赋予思想领导者(thought leadership) 的责任。这些企业在中国的战略、组织形态和商业模式还是由远距离的全球总部来决定,所谓本土化的经理人只能是按命令来执行的执行者。
假如国外跨国公司在15 年前遇到当时的马云,而马云亦进入跨国公司工作,我想在工作一段时间后,马云是不会留下来的。

谢祖墀 高风咨询公司创始人、首席执行官,是全球最具经验和知名度的华人战略和组织咨询顾问,与全球五百强以及中国百强之中的多家企业有长期深度合作。他的著作包括《方向:中国企业应该学习什么》、《中国战略:驾驭全球发展最快的经济体》、《跨越:中国企业的下一个十年》,最新著作 China’s Disruptors (中文版为:《创业家精神》),已于今年7 月在美国和英国同时正式发行。

 

企业战略丨论战略(下)

文 | 谢祖墀 高风咨询创始人兼首席执行官
2015年10月发表于《管理学家》杂志

上次的文章我谈了什么是战略,和提出了战略定义的头六条原则。这次我继续讨论此议题和提出余下的定义原则。

第七,战略是从核心能力出发的。核心能力(core competence) 是一种基于组织内部的能力。这种能力是透过技能、知识、流程和技术的综合学习及运用获得的。核心能力是企业的内功,它与透过政策保护、资金和规模等方法被赋予的“结构定位优势”(structural positional advantages)不一样。前者是内功,是可持续的;后者是外界赋予。当赋予的条件不存在,这种优势便会消失。注意我用的关键词是“出发”,即是说一家企业的核心能力应是战略规划时的考虑点(之一),但不是完全的考虑点。我于这方面的观点与西方传统的“核心能力论”有所不一样。

第八,战略在于选择。每个企业都在一系列限制条件下进行经营,而战略其实就是在特定限制条件下进行选择,并在有限的资源下,作出最优化选择。孟子曰:“人有不为也,而后可以有为”就是此意思。举例来说,顺丰快递的战略选择就是立足于自身能力,定位和设计出来的简单便捷服务。顺丰创始人王卫提出来他们“只做小件,不做重货”。顺丰内部人士亦提出来“重货成本大、利润薄,也不是我们的强项。”故此,顺丰的战略定位是中高端。与四大国际快递重叠的高端不做,与低端的同城竞争也不做,而且服务简单便捷,500克内收不超过20元的邮费,上门送货,全国联网和36小时到达。

第九,战略是理性的,但也必须是非理性的。从理性层面来说,战略必须透过严谨的逻辑分析,有效的研究工具和合理的理论框架来进行剖析,推断和归纳。但战略建立和执行同时亦需要在精神上的追求和价值理念认同等方面的非理性层面兼顾。举例来说,苹果公司战略上的成功是建基在乔布斯的美满主义的理念。他要“制造世界上最伟大的科技产品”。而任正非先生的警觉性和危机感帮助了他和华为公司寻求了文化和体制的“道术合一”的平衡和自我突破。

第十,战略有时是竞争,但有时亦是合作。在行业便捷不断重构的情况之下,企业的战略选择也可以和需要更为灵活。越来越模糊的竞争边界,既会影响行业发展趋势,打乱行业竞争格局,也在不断改变着多方便利益相关者之间的“合纵连横”关系。在如今的“无边界竞争”时代,企业之间为什么合作以及如何合作,显然是许多企业必须思考的问题。

第十一,战略的结果是可衡量的。当你看到好结果时,那就是好的战略。正如温斯顿•邱吉尔所说的“不管战略多美妙,偶尔看看结果如何很重要。”我们都知道,诸如柯达、摩托罗拉、诺基亚等公司从光辉到没落我们都能看得出其结果。反的来说,华为公司的业绩从20多年前的几乎是零的结果不断发展到今天近三千亿元的收入,就是不断发展走上成功之路的结果。

其实企业所处于的经营环境正在不断地变化,企业高管在战略认知上必须与时俱进,在思维和方法论上进行不断的调整。在过去很长一段时间里,管理界的其中一条坚定信念就是企业能在竞争环境里取得胜利是凭借于它的“持续竞争优势”(sustainable competitive advantages),关键词是“持续”,亦既是说优秀企业的竞争优势是可“持续”的。可是在今天瞬息万变的时代里,可以说没有什么竞争优势是可以持续,竞争优势只能是短暂。今天某方面可能是你的优势,明天可能已经不是。因为市场调整的很快,今天你赖于成功的因素,在明天很可能已经不是。同时,行业的边界正在被不断的重新定义。过往的行业定义,今天可能已经不同,而明天亦可以不一样。跨界竞争(和合作)比比皆是,对许多企业带来不少惊喜。传统的战略竞争理论正被从根本上挑战。企业与企业之间的生态系统正在形成。在生态系统与生态系统之间形成无穷的竞合状态,竞争趋势从单维快速进入多维的情况。企业们需要以正确的步调、节奏和规模来重新定义自我。同时组织需要适时地重新设计、调整,以适应业务和战略的变革。对企业高管而言,关键的问题往往就是:“我如何更加敏捷、灵活并贴近我的客户?”

高风咨询公司所提倡的“在边缘上竞争”(Competing on the Edge)就是在这种大环境的背景上所倡议的战略管理理论。第一,因竞争优势只能是短暂的,要持续成功的企业必须不断建立新的竞争优势。“改变”(change)不应被视为对于现有业务的威胁,更应被视为新增长机会的泉源。第二,因为竞争优势是短暂的,企业的战略必须是多方面和不断演变的,不能以简单的概括来描绘。企业们必须同时考虑广泛的一系列选项,而选择的选项很可能会包含了多种、多方面的貌似松散地联系着的行动举措。而这些行动举措所显示的整体方向必然好像只会是“部分协调” (semi-coherent) 而已。企业必须按市场环境带来的机遇和约束不断的调整他们的目标和计划。第三,“重新改变自我”(re-invention)应是企业理念和行动的核心。在追求新的增值方法,在流程、产品和商业模式上的创新将是最为关键。亦即是说,企业必须适时调整它们如何运营和它们创造什么。相对企业在建立和测试新的想法方面,企业的效率往往已经变得不那么重要。当然,企业不能随便浪费资源,特别因为可靠的、长期的利润来源将会匮乏。

在今天和明天,战略的思考和执行对企业越来越重要,但企业必须建立正确的理念,适时调整,在混沌和控制之间取得动态的平衡。

谢祖墀 高风咨询公司创始人、首席执行官,是全球最具经验和知名度的华人战略和组织咨询顾问,与全球五百强以及中国百强之中的多家企业有长期深度合作。他的著作包括《方向:中国企业应该学习什么》、《中国战略:驾驭全球发展最快的经济体》、《跨越:中国企业的下一个十年》,最新著作China’s Disruptors (中文版为:《创业家精神》),已于今年7 月在美国和英国同时正式发行。

 

企业战略丨论战略(上)

文 | 谢祖墀 高风咨询创始人兼首席执行官
2015年9月发表于《管理学家》杂志

20 世纪90年代初我刚回国的时候,中国大陆好像是无人用“战略”(strategy)这个词的,就算有用也不是在企业界,因为当时的中国还没有所谓“公司”的概念,公司正刚出台而已,为“公司股东创造利益”的概念还未萌芽。当时的华人社会里,香港的企业家们是知道所谓“战略”的,只是当时普遍的中文翻译是“策略”,香港人认为“策略”更多是代表思考,而“战略”有点像在打仗。后来中国大陆在商业上开始采用“战略”一词,香港人亦随之而为。

经过三十多年的改革开放,现在“战略”已经成为中国大陆企业界、学术界、专业界甚至政府官员和媒体都带在嘴边的一个词。大家提到“战略”一词及其演绎时琅琅上口,许多人都在讨论他们企业的战略是怎样做的,不少人亦权充老师试图去指导其他人战略究竟应该如何去做。从有几十年企业管理经验的高管到某些80后甚至很少经营经验的90后,都在分享“战略”应该如何去做。在“互联网思维”的覆盖下,不少人更是大胆到去颠覆所谓传统的战略思想,据他们说“老的一套已不成,新的一套才管用”。

其实在互联网时代,一些人提出来的所谓新的战略概念并不怎样新,不少可以说是“新瓶装旧酒”。比如,“以客户为本”,这当然是商业的101金科玉律。20多年前,如何建立“以客户为中心的组织”(customer-centric organization)已经是企业界的主要命题,不少企业都对此目标梦寐以求。又比如,“去中心化”这概念,博斯公司(Booz& Company)的前身博思艾伦公司(Booz Allen Hamilton)的高级合伙人布鲁斯·帕斯特纳克先生(Bruce Pasternack)也在至少20年前就已经提了出来。当时此概念是相当超前的,因绝大部分的企业高管、咨询公司和商学院教授都认为企业,特别是大企业,必须有一强而有力的“公司总部”。帕斯特纳克先生当时提出来的此概念在今天的互联网时代看起来更为适宜。

当然,互联网尤其是移动互联网的出现和快速普及,加速和扩大了这些原有的管理理念的应用。在某些领域上,它们的应用可能亦出现了某些重要的改变或调整。同时互联网亦的确孕育了一些新的概念和做法。社交媒介容许了消费者社区的建立,很多的资源共享,大数据和云计算让企业对消费者的了解更加个性化,企业的产品或服务或综合性的商业模式也更能针对个别消费者的需要,而且其速度也比互联网之前的时代快上许多倍。

尽管如此,企业的战略还是有根可寻,无论是否身处互联网时代,企业战略的建设和考量是有一些基本的原则可以而且必须遵循的。当然,在此一短短的文章里,我较难将这些原则详细的描述。我想先把一些简单的原理先作介绍,将来在以后的文章里可以陆续补充。

每一个企业的战略都要回答三个基本的问题,那就是“我在哪里玩?(Where to play?)”,“我如何去玩?(How to play?)”和“我在什么时间去玩?(When to play?)”。无论是否身处互联网时代,这三个问题都是企业战略里最关键的问题,过去如此,今天如此,将来亦必如此。

什么是战略?

第一,战略当然是要给出方向。比如通用电气(General Electric)在杰克·韦尔奇(Jack Welch)年代,它们的战略方向就是给出了一个“数一数二”的战略以指导它们多元化的方向。又比如,华为在“活下去”的最高战略指导下,要不断打造自身的核心动力,同时以客户为中心。

第二,战略是分步走的。尽管战略必须给出整体的方向,成功的战略又必须是分步走的,战略给予企业的是长跑而不是短跑,战略不是一张一成不变的导航图。在变化越来越快的市场上,即便是最好的战略也不能给企业一个确定的路线。故此,企业必须有分段的战略。长期战略一般路径较模糊,它只提供一个大的方向。中期战略较少一点模糊,但亦不是完全清晰,它提供了一个大致的路径。短期战略则应相对清晰和具高度的操作性。举例来说,阿里巴巴集团在这方面的战略思考就是“十年畅想、三年战略、一年运营”。

第三,战略的本质其实是思维。战略规划不仅仅是一个规划过程,更重要的是一种意识,是一种思维方式。战略是持续非连续性环境下的应对手段。好的战略家能够更多掌握经营环境的非线性改变,同时能够在多维度上来考虑问题,把创意带到战略中,并坚持贯彻落实战略的实施。

第四,战略必须顺势而为,亦即一些企业家琅琅上口的“找到台风口”。顺势而为即未雨绸缪地掌握和顺应发展趋势,有所为,有所不为。战略家必须具有前瞻性地把握和发展大方向,能洞察市场契机和警惕不符合大方向的风险。

第五,战略是要找清楚你的定位,但也必须适当地调整定位。战略是从你的优势出发,即明确与竞争对手相比的优势所在。对于已经处于“结构定位优势”的企业来说,只有过度到“核心竞争力”的建设上来,才能让自己在未来的市场竞争中处于优势地位。我认为适合中国和全球市场特点的战略思想需要能够在迅速变化的环境中寻求建立竞争优势,即“在边缘上竞争”(Competing on the Edge)。

第六,战略不但是看得见、摸得着的,更是看不见、摸不着的。许多企业高管在考虑战略往往只是聚焦于看得见的因素或能力,比如产品、品牌、价格、渠道等。当然,这些因素都很重要,但往往一些看不见的因素或能力同样甚至更为重要,比如企业的弹性、韧力、适应性、节奏等。

谢祖墀 高风咨询公司创始人、首席执行官,是全球最具经验和知名度的华人战略和组织咨询顾问,与全球五百强以及中国百强之中的多家企业有长期深度合作。他的著作包括《方向:中国企业应该学习什么》、《中国战略:驾驭全球发展最快的经济体》、《跨越:中国企业的下一个十年》,最新著作China’s Disruptors (中文版为:《创业家精神》),已于今年7 月在美国和英国同时正式发行。

 

7 startup tips from the rise of Chinese innovators

China’s disruptors: 7 startup tips from the rise of Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and other innovations

MADANMOHAN RAO
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015

Emerging digital companies from China such as Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Tencent are not just shaking up business in China but are reaching out across the world as well through their self-assurance, speed, agility, and energy.

Insights, tips and lessons from these innovators are offered in the new book, ‘China’s Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies are Changing the Rules of Business,’ by Edward Tse, Founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, and author of ‘The China Strategy.’ See also my reviews of the related books ‘startup Asia'(by Rebecca Fanin) and‘ China Fast Forward ‘ (by Bill Dodson), and YouStory’s curation of quotes by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

The 256-page book is a good mix of storytelling, case studies, economic history and business tips. Despite the current economic downturn in China, entrepreneurship will remain a strong force and the leading digital players will continue to have a powerful influence overseas as well.

Four decades of entrepreneurship in China

Tse divides the history of entrepreneurship in China into four decades. The economic liberalisation of the 1980s led to the birth of Huawei, Haier, Legend (now Lenovo), Geely, Broad Group and Wanda; many of the founders had no prior experience or even a high school education, but built global brands.

In the 1990s, further economic liberalisation led to more entrepreneurship by the so-called Gang of 1992 or well-educated founders from government and academia (eg. Vantone Holdings in real estate). In the early 2000s, WTO membership along with the rise of the Internet spurred the growth of digital giants with internationally-minded founders: Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Sina, Youku, Qihoo, DHgate and JD.com.

Over the last decade, founders who grew up in the reform era have created startups riding the mobile Internet wave, such as Xiaomi, VIPshop, Meituan, and Yihaodian. The GDP contribution of the private sector accounts for around three quarters of China’s economic output, far outstripping the incumbent government and public sector. Entrepreneurship is booming in Beijing’s Zhongguancun, Wenzhou, Dalian, and beyond.

Players to watch

Jack Ma’s Alibaba dominates e-commerce and electronic payments in China, and its $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest to date. Its various sites account for around 80 per cent of e-commerce in China, and are worth more than those of eBay and Amazon combined. On November 11, 2014 (‘Singles’ Day), its transactions were three times bigger than CyberMonday in the US (the first Monday after Thanksgiving). Alibaba has also launched TMall, an online shopping mall.

Pony Ma’s Tencent dominates messaging (WeChat) and online games. Robin Li’s Baidu accounts for over 60 per cent of Chinese search engine activity. Together, these three companies are sometimes referred to as the ‘BAT’ companies.

Ren Zhengfei’s Huawai is the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile and fixed-line telecom network equipment, competing against Ericsson and Cisco. Lei Jun’s smartphone company Xiaomi is taking on Samsung.

Yu Gang, formerly with Dell, founded online supermarket Yihaodian. Geely Auto, founded by Li Shufu, acquired Volvo in 2011. Xu Lianjie’s Hengan International competes with P&G and Kimberly-Clark in diapers, tissues and sanitary napkins. Diane Wang launched and sold online bookstore Joyo.com to Amazon, and then launched B2B website DHgate.

Chen Haibin has launched a chain of private medical labs, and Wang Jingbo launched private firm Noah Wealth Management. Zhang Yue branched out from air-conditioners to pre-fab homes and wants to construct the world’s highest building in Changsha, Hunan province.

These players offer useful tips to other startups and growing companies with respect to quality, focus, growth and innovation. Here are my seven takeways from the book, on what other startups and entrepreneurs can gather from their Chinese counterparts.
Focus on quality
Zhang Ruimin is the founder of Haier, the world’s largest maker of washing machines, air conditioners and other appliances. He has set a high bar for quality by once famously smashing a faulty refrigerator with a sledgehammer, and then asking his employees to do the same. ‘Good enough’ products also have to be ‘good’ products, and many Chinese companies are moving up the quality and value chain.
Continuous reinvention
Successful entrepreneurs don’t bank on just one good idea, but a steady pipeline of transformative ideas. Haier has an eye for innovation, via small refrigerators for cramped homes, extra-tough cabling to be rat resistant, and freezers that could stay cool even when electricity was cut off for 100 hours. Haier is now reinventing itself for the Internet age via e-commerce, and fires employees who do not contribute to performance or innovation.

At age 26, Wang Xing sold his first startup, social media site Xiaonei (later renamed as Renren) and then launched message service Fanfou, followed by group discount site Meituan.com. Lei Jun joined Chinese word processor giant KingSoft, then launched a series of startups, including Joyo.com and video sharing platform YY – and eventually created Xiaomi with former Google engineer Lin Bin.
Treat challenges as opportunities to innovate
A challenge should not be seen as a reason to lose market share. For example, when eBay entered China, Alibaba’s B2B network was only five years old. To combat eBay, Alibaba launched Taobao, a C2C site (but without transaction fees) and the Alipay online payment network. Today Alipay processes half of all online transactions in China. By converting a challenge into opportunity, Alibaba innovated in new ways to its long-term advantage.

Go global
It’s not just Chinese government firms which are going global, but entrepreneurs as well – via geographical presence and investments. For example, Mindray Medical has bought US firm Datascope Corporation; Geely bought Volvo from Ford; Hanergy acquired Alta Devices and Global Solar Energy in the US; and Fosun bought Portuguese insurance group Caixa Seguros.

Lenovo has set up dual headquarters in Beijing and North Carolina. Tencent has bought US video game publisher Riot Games. Alibaba has taken stakes in US messaging firm Shoprunner, luxury e-commerce site 1stDibs and travel sharing service Lyft. Many Chinese firms are also targeting other emerging economies in Asia and Africa and then moving into Western markets, using their deep experience in dealing with complexity and hyper-competitive changing environments.
Aim for Number One
“We don’t want to be Number One in China. We want to be Number One in the world,” Jack Ma told the South China Morning Post during the early years. His vision and marketing skills have attracted a number of investors, including Goldman Sachs and Softbank. In addition to e-commerce and payments, the company offers consumer finance products like Yu’e Bao (‘extra treasure’).
The ‘Jump’ strategy
Mobile and the Internet connect a number of diverse firms, industries and ecosystems together, thus allowing companies to ‘jump’ into other sectors. Chinese companies use the ‘jump’ strategy to enter markets beyond their industry and even geography.

For example, Lenovo used to sell only one product, the PC, in China. It saw an opportunity in buying IBM’s money-losing PC division, and vaulted into the global league. It also moved into the server business. Its first mobile foray did not work so well, but it bounced back with new products like the Yoga IdeaPad.
Challenge incumbents
Even in sectors which are dominated by heavyweights, nimble players with creative business models can disrupt the status quo. Xiaomi, founded by Lei Jun (the ‘Chinese Steve Jobs’), competes with the mobile handset giants; it makes most of its sales online in batches, and crowdsources product ideas.

The Road Ahead

“At the heart of China’s entrepreneurial spirit lie three core elements: pride, ambition and a shared cultural heritage,” Tse explains. Chinese are proud of their ancient history of innovation, which includes papermaking, printing, the compass and gunpowder. Many Chinese companies are now moving away from just ‘copycat’ mode, and innovating beyond ‘derivative’ offerings across the chain: product, service, practice and process.

The government is also increasing R&D spending (overall and as a percentage of GDP), and China is now the world’s second largest investor in R&D (over $200 billion annually). China’sscale,speed,digital infrastructure and talent make it ripe for international players as a local market as well as base to launch new global products, though many analysts have concerns over media control, loose IP laws, corruption, and political controls.

For international players to succeed in China, they will need to find the right local talent as well as groom managers from overseas in the local ecosystem. Local acquisitions and equity stakes are another option, as shown by WalMart (invested in Yihaodian), Hershey (buying Golden Monkey) and Nestle (buying Yinhu). They can also sell products on Chinese e-commerce sites, eg. Nike and Adidas on TMall.

Many entrepreneurs are now addressing issues of environmental sustainability as well, and while they do have suggestions to politicians for better governance, they do not want to get involved in politics. Some sectors like telecom service and healthcare, however, are still dominated by government.

Trends to watch include the new wave of disruption via mobile apps (which are now blurring the earlier demarcation between the BAT players), manufacturing innovations like 3D printing (eg. airline parts by CACC) and the rise of innovation incubators and funds (eg. Innovation Works incubator; China Smart Device Innovation Fund).

“China has embarked on a renaissance that could rival its greatest era in history – the Tang dynasty of 618 to 907,” concludes Tse.

About the author: Edward Tse is Founder and CEO of Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy consulting firm. His previous book was ‘The China Strategy: Harnessing the Power of the World’s Fastest-Growing Economy,’ and Tse has also written for Harvard Business Review and South China Morning Post. He lives in Hong Kong and Shanghai, can be followed on Twitter at @Edward_Tse.

 

企业战略 |《中国商业颠覆者》路演见闻

在 7 月 16 日至 24 日的八天期间,我在伦敦和纽约市进行了有关我的新书 China’s Disruptors(中文书名暂译为:《中国商业颠覆者》)的路演,以配合在美国出版发行的宣传需要。

路演共进行了 17 场次的访谈和讨论,其中5 次在首站伦敦;12 次在次站纽约市。形式包括了电视、电台访问和讨论会,有直播亦有录播。绝大部分访问机构和访问者都是“老外”,但亦有三次是与纽约当地的华人媒介见面,其中包括凤凰卫视、腾讯的 QQ.com 和美国的中文电视(Sinovision)。

媒介中不乏有相当著名的机构,如英国的BBC(英国广播公司),Monocle(《单眼镜》杂志),World Finance(世界财经),Bloomberg(彭博新闻社),Forbes(福布斯),Yahoo Finance(雅虎财经)等等,另外也包括著名的英国 ChathamHouse(查塔姆研究所)和美国的 Asia Society(亚洲协会)。其中最难忘的是与 CNBC(美国国家广播公司财经频道)于 7 月 20 日做的访谈,该访谈在纽约证券交易所(NYSE)的交易大厅上直播。当天是交易日,当地时间下午 4 时 30 分交易结束,访谈是 4 时 45 分左右开始。由于存在 12 个小时的时差,于我正是生理时钟的肉体疲惫期。我只能尽力抖擞精神坚持,将大约六七分钟的访问做完后才能松一口气。现在回头一想,还是一额大汗。

这次路演同时也给了我一些启示。这些访问者的态度和他们的问题在相当程度上反映了英美 (或西方)人士对于中国的普遍看法和他们对中国的了解程度。

总体来说,这次的访问者对于中国的态度是比较友善的,他们没有一位在访谈的时候带着强烈的预设立场。这是一件好事,相对数年前有许多的进步。2010年,我亦曾到美国(和其他地方)为当时我的新书《中国战略》(The China Strategy)进行了类似的路演。但是有数位访问者很明显具有既定的立场,而其立场可以说是反华的。无论我在访谈中如何阐述我的立场,他们都不为所动。可以说,他们并不客观。在这次路演中,我没有遇上任何一位持相反意见的既定立场者。可能这是出版社安排时进行了筛选的原因,亦可能是由于这几年的发展让许多外国观察者改变了对中国的看法,起码对《中国商业颠覆者》的主要内容的看法有所认同,这是一个进步。

《中国商业颠覆者》的主旨是中国民营经济的崛起以及中国企业家的企业家精神和创业、创新的能力。同时亦指出了私营经济和国有经济的此消彼长。这次的访问者普遍接受我的看法,同时亦相当赞同此书的timing(出版时间)非常合适。

一部分人引用了阿里巴巴在美国成功上市作为中国民企能“走出去”的重要案例;另有一些访问者在私下里亦向我反映了他们对于阿里巴巴和马云的仰慕或欣赏。

不少访问者都提出了中国民企是否或能否创新的问题。一部分亦提出了中国企业长期以来以“抄袭”(copycat)起家的现象。我的回答基本上承认了中国企业抄袭上的陋习,但亦提出了中国的环境飞速变化,让一部分企业能够培养和发挥创新的能力。中国企业的创新主要在商业模式的创新。面对中国社会在消费上的痛点,中国的 创新企业往往能够在较短的时间里发展出新的商业模式,有时它们首先将西方相关模式拷贝到中国市场,然后再改进或优化;有时它们之间发展 出独特的商业模式。有成功亦有失败,林林总总。 但总的来说,中国民营企业的创新能力在过去数年间有着长足的进步。在科技创新上,中国民企 相对落后,但逐渐地亦能看到一点:诸如大疆科 技、华大基因等领先的科技公司已经取得了不少的成就。

中国民营企业和中国政府相互关系亦是绝大部分访问者给与我的问题。我的回答是,总的来 说中国政府是支持民营企业的。我亦引述了李克强总理的“大众创业、万众创新”的话来说明此观点。同时总体来说,当民营企业,特别是互联网企业,进入了监督的灰色地带时,政府的态度还是比较宽松。这一点,外国人有点惊讶,因他们普遍还认为中国政府是比较专权的,但在我解释之后,他们都比较能接受。

因最近中国股市的巨大波动,中国股市的问题和它对中国私营企业有否影响几乎是每个访问者都会提到的问题。我想这亦是他们的观众或者读者们最关心的问题。我的回答是,此次中国股市的大起大跌,是许多综合和复杂的原因造成的。 总的来说作为监管者,中国政府的处理有它不完善之处,亦反映出了它们对资本市场监管能力的经验不足。作为投资者的许多中国老百姓和一些金融机构亦有其不成熟之处。中国股票市场的下跌对一些短期之内需要进行融资 /IPO 的民营企业将会有不小的影响。但中长期来说,假设股票市 场能较健康地发展的话,对中国民营企业应有正 面的帮助。

在一部分的访问里,我提出来我的核心观点,那就是:中国民营经济对中国政经和社会的长远 影响和对全球议程(global order)的可能影响。中国的民营企业特别是互联网企业是比较年轻的,BAT 都是大约 15 年左右的历史,其他大部分的更年轻。它们创立的时候比较倾向于效仿美国硅谷的企业。当然它们其中有不少,甚至全部,是具有中国华夏的基因的,亦不可能完全学习到硅谷的精神和文化。但相较于传统的国有企业的体制和企业文化,它们是比较贴近硅谷的。这反映在 它们的领导风格、组织形态、企业文化和决策权等方面。较传统和较非传统的力量一方面在角力; 另一方面,双方都不能没有对方。在一正在进行大幅度改革开放的文明古国里,我认为这种博弈将把中国带到更文明更先进的境界。此路将有波折,但长远来看无疑是正面的。

谢祖墀高风咨询公司创始人、首席执行官,是全球最具经验和知名度的华人战略和组织咨询顾问,与全球五百强以及中国百强之中的多家企业有长期深度合作。他的著作包括《方向:中国企业应该学习什么》、《中国战略:驾驭全球发展最快的经济体》、《跨越:中国企业的下一个十年》,最新著作China’s Disruptors (中文版暂译为:《中国的商业颠覆者》),已于今年 7 月在美国和英国同时正式发行。

 

《中国的商业颠覆者》:看阿里巴巴,小米,腾讯及其他公司如何改变着商业规则

Updated July 15 2015 丨 Policy Innovations
By Edward Tse
(Reprinted fromChina’s Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies Are Changing the Rules of Businessby Edward Tse with permission of Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright (c) Edward Tse, 2015.)

Since the early 1990s, China has consistently been the world’s fastest-growing economy. It has opened its economy and its population to the outside world with a speed and success that is unprecedented not just for China but for any country. In the process, China has also acquired a large number of critics, especially in the United States. These include politicians, among them members of the Obama administration and other key figures in both the Republican and Democratic parties; leading economists such as Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman and Peter Navarro of the University of California, Irvine; and analysts such as Gordon Chang, author of the 2001 book The Coming Collapse of China. These critics argue that China’s economic success is due, in good part, to unfair practices by the Chinese government: its mercantilist trade regime, its currency manipulation that keeps the value of the yuan artificially low, its high-pressure efforts to open external markets to its businesses, its subsidies for manufacturers, and its widespread pirating of foreign goods and technology. The main beneficiaries of these policies, they say, have been Chinese export manufacturers—those who produce inexpensive smartphones, computers, toys, clothes, and other consumer goods, sucking in jobs from the rest of the world and dumping their products into Europe and America to drive competitors out of business.

Another factor frequently cited by overseas critics is the prevalence and influence of state-owned enterprises in China. The country’s biggest companies—its banks and insurers, oil and energy companies, telecom operators and airlines, leading steel, auto, and construction firms—are all government-owned or government-controlled. The Chinese members of the Fortune Global 500, which ranks the world’s top companies by revenue, would seem to confirm this view. In mid-2014, some 92 companies on the list were Chinese, but just 10 of these were privately owned enterprises. Using money from China’s $4 trillion of foreign exchange reserves, many of these businesses have been investing heavily overseas—been “buying the world,” as various book titles and headlines have suggested. Since the early 2000s, Chinese state-owned firms, backed by state-owned banks, have been striking multibillion-dollar deals in Africa, South America, and other regions, gaining access to energy supplies, raw materials, and even land for farming. Wherever these companies have gone, Chinese construction firms, also state-owned, have accompanied them, building ports, roads, and other infrastructure both to make sure that goods can be shipped back to China and to support the development of their host nations. But this view of the Chinese economy as a mercantile juggernaut, driven by a single-minded government, does not tell the most dramatic part of the Chinese story, the part with the greatest potential impact on the rest of the world.

That is the emergence of a new group of entrepreneurial business leaders, all from the private sector, most of them operating with little direct government influence or support, and all of them transforming their industries. These entrepreneurial disruptors are among the most successful and powerful individuals in China today. Many are billionaires, and some are multibillionaires. They are the reason that (as of August 2014) China hosts the world’s second-largest concentration of billionaires after the United States—152 out of the total 1,645, according to Forbes magazine.

The rise of these disruptive entrepreneurs is all the more noteworthy because, at the time of Mao Zedong’s death in 1976, China had no private businesses. All of the country’s industry and agriculture was publicly owned, run either by the central government, by local governments, or through collectives. Today, thanks to the economic reforms of the last 35 years, the private sector accounts for at least three-quarters of China’s economic output.

The Chinese government, despite having long since abandoned central planning, continues to regard itself as playing a key role in managing the overall direction of the Chinese economy. China remains home to approximately 2.3 million state-owned companies. That number, however, is dwarfed by its other businesses. As early as 2004, China had about 3.3 million privately held companies—many owned by investors with shares traded on public exchanges—and 24 million proprietorships—individually or family-run operations. By 2013, the country had nearly 12 million private companies and more than 42 million proprietorships (see Figure 1). Moreover, the government is firmly committed to increasing these totals. In the first seven months of 2014, thanks to regulatory reforms abolishing registered capital requirements, 1.5 million new private companies were set up—double the number during the same period the year before.

The number of state-owned companies, meanwhile, has fallen by almost half since 2004. And though these companies are far more productive than they were a decade ago, their increase in output is a fraction of that of the private sector. In 2000, total revenues earned by state-owned and non-state-owned industrial companies were roughly the same, at about 4 trillion yuan each. By 2013, while total revenues at state-owned companies had risen just over sixfold, those in the non-state sector had risen more than 18 times (see Figure 2). Profits jumped even more over the same period, up nearly seven times for state-owned companies, but up nearly 23‑fold for non-state ones.

The Chinese entrepreneurs have thrived, in part, because they created companies able to change as China changed. Many of them first set up businesses when the economy was still dominated by the state, which set most prices and appointed most company leaders. They survived the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. They fought off competition from the flood of foreign companies that arrived after China entered the World Trade Organization in the 2000s. And they rode out the worldwide downturn that followed the global financial crisis during the late 2000s and early 2010s. Throughout all of this, China’s entrepreneurs created an economy largely outside the direct control of the government. They are answerable primarily to the customers who consume the products and services their companies offer. As with their counterparts around the world, they are typically energetic, imaginative, and often idiosyncratic. They are extraordinary individuals in their own right, especially when you consider that they have created successful businesses with little official backing within a traditionally risk-averse culture that reveres authority and conformity.

These entrepreneurs come in all forms imaginable. They are old and young; some with no formal education beyond high school, others with doctorates; some from China’s richest and largest cities, others from remote country towns. Most, of course, run small companies, but others lead industry giants that employ tens of thousands of people. Some are highly influential, with access to the highest ranks of government. Others suffer from sustained official prejudice that favors state-owned firms, a factor that can make matters of everyday business, such as securing a bank loan, a nightmare.

Many of today’s most successful Chinese entrepreneurs, most of them now in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, had no experience in business when they started their companies. They had to learn things as they went along through a continual process of trial and error. They were “crossing the river by feeling the stones,” as Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader from 1978 to 1998, characterized his approach to economic reform.

Among those who started businesses in the period from the 1980s through the early 2000s, not one could have foreseen the China of 2014. Yet these are the people who have played the single biggest role in creating the wealth that exists in China today. Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at Washington, DC-based Peterson Institute for International Economics and one of the world’s leading academic experts on the Chinese economy, estimates that privately controlled companies now account for two-thirds of all urban employment—meaning that almost all of the growth in urban employment since 1978 can be attributed to the private sector.

Chinese entrepreneurs are sometimes compared to the Russian oligarchs of the early 2000s. But the oligarchs built their fortunes by taking advantage of the privatization of industry that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, often using their connections and positions to amass huge holdings in resource companies. The Chinese entrepreneurs we’re looking at in this book, in contrast, have almost all developed their businesses from the ground up, in many instances starting from an apartment or a market stall, or raising a few thousand dollars from friends and relatives. They built their companies by meeting the needs of their customers, often in businesses that no one else saw as feasible.

These business leaders know that they are riding and contributing to a historic wave of economic activity. As creators of the fastest-growing enterprises in the fastest-growing economy in the world, they recognize that they have immense potential influence. Running companies that have grown even faster than the Chinese economy, they are establishing the rules that all companies in China will have to follow. Despite having had almost no formal business training, they are moving rapidly to compete with the same companies from whom they were drawing inspiration just a few years ago, both in China and internationally. In the process, they will rewrite the rules of global management.

 

企业战略 | 数字化机会:传统企业如何适应

文 | 谢祖墀 高风咨询创始人兼首席执行官 2015年6月发表于《管理学家》杂志

不少融合了数字技术和新型商业模式的企业,业务蒸蒸日上,在短时间之内,价值就超过了历史悠久的传统企业。不少这些企业打入了传统行业,而且往往在很短的时间内就影响了整个行业的生态系统。传统企业应该向他们学习什么?

一部分传统的企业试图摆脱缘之已久的组织风格和结构,延揽合适的人才,在快速塑型、快速决策和快速变化的环境中不断磨练他们,让他们能与新兴的“数字化商业颠覆者们”竞争。

快速演变的消费者需求为企业家们带来了新的商机,传统的商业模式往往不再适用于日益复杂多变的市场动态,就算知名的公司亦需要自我改革。很多公司追随潮流,引入了数字化能力和解决方案,如设置“首席数字化官”,推出新的公司网站或是开始利用社交平台。

然而,成功的数字化企业采用的方法并非如此,而是首要注重商业模式。技术是推动力,但并非成功的关键。初创公司和小公司在起始时处于有利地位,因为它们无须摆脱成规或是再造。企业传统的空白使它们更加灵敏快速地响应外界变化。相比之下,很多传统的公司需要克服组织惰性,市场策略和决策需要更加敏捷迅速。快速原型法将成为主要手段,通过与商业假设试验、迭代产品发行和验证性学习相结合,缩短产品开发的周期。除了数字化变革,真正颠覆性的创新产生于对消费者需求变化的理解、利用和快速准确的把握。

活跃的互联网企业有能力在短期内将既存的价值链破坏,而且在抢占主要的市场份额之前,这个过程往往很隐蔽。

同硅谷的模式类似,中国也孵化了不少类似的数字化企业。百度、阿里巴巴和腾讯等较大型的企业形成了各自互助的生态系统。它们利用相互的能力互补,将业务扩展到各类产业并拓宽了它们的范围。这类平台试图通过形成协同的关系和共同的价值,产生额外的价值。

当上述的商业模式和产业共存于同一生态环境时,这些公司会形成很高的行业准入门槛,其他公司难以对它们产生干扰。这些数字化企业往往具有轻资产、信息量大的特征,运用大数据分析技术,在其核心业务周围不断建立其他与之互补的业务。另一做得不错的公司是小米。众所周知,它不仅是手机生产商,还是创新型的互联网企业。它正在构筑覆盖各种智能设备的全球物联网生态系统。

不同于五年前名不见经传的小米,知名公司在数字化转变的过程中面临着更为严峻的挑战,老牌家电零售业巨头苏宁电器就是例子。2009 年,苏宁意识到了零售业数字化的重要性,开展电商业务。与此同时,小型的创业公司京东也开始了网上零售业务。2010 年,苏宁电器在中国零售业排名第一,销售额达800 亿元,京东同期的销售额仅为100 亿元,相形见绌。2014 年,苏宁的销售额增长至1090 亿元,京东则超过苏宁达到1150亿元。如果计算第三方交易,京东的实际销售额为2600 亿元。

既然制定了正确的战略,是什么导致了苏宁的落后?首先,等级森严的公司结构很难改变,而数字化企业要求全新的结构和企业文化。在“砖头时代”,军事式的管理方式或许可以让企业获得成绩,但在数字经济里它却会阻碍公司的改革发展。此外,新型业务和传统业务在文化、方法和标准各方面的统一相当困难。员工的参与方式和激励方式也需要改变。这就是苏宁遇到的鸿沟。

数字化商务还扩展到B2B 领域,影响着供货商和服务提供者之间的关系。合同开始采用按使用次数付费的灵活模式,取代固定年限的合同。从外部角度,企业与合作伙伴、供应商、顾客和其他股东的信息交换更加深入综合,包括商业计划和生产数据、作用于供应链、减少浪费并使资源协调更加高效。从内部角度,“共享式经济”使数字化经济更加灵活,与顾客以及其他公司的联系更加紧密。功能互补的企业相互合作,即时的人员配置和资产利用带来了更高的运营效率。

在数字时代里,企业最关键的因素是拥有人才和正确的思维模式。大胆授权、摒弃等级意识同样重要。创业公司在这方面有天然的优势,这方面成功的企业往往全体人员都具有主人翁意识,主动承担责任。

对于大企业,设置分散的实体是摆脱大企业组织结构的一种方式。大型企业设立派生公司成为趋势。海尔鼓励雇员创立自治的微组织,快速应对消费者的需求。小米则通过投资新型初创公司进行能力互补,推广物联网生态系统。这些做法不一定成功,但却规避了在传统架构下的一些毛病。

很多行业出现了颠覆的现象。在汽车业,福特和大众之类的生产商正受到“即时交通”软件的挑战,比如优步打车、快的打车、滴滴打车。它们顺应分享式经济的潮流,充分利用了车辆。出版业也是另一个受到很大影响的行业,数字化版本的报纸和社交媒体正在替代印刷的出版物。博客使文本的出版和传播变得简单,智能手机的用户滑动手指就可以使用社交媒体。大学也在推动数字化商业模型。如哈佛和斯坦福之类的顶尖学府将更多的课程放在Coursera和Edx 之类的开放式网络课程平台上,以满足不断增长的网络学习者的需求。

总的来说,数字化并非暂时的现象,它将会影响甚至颠覆整个行业,传统企业有必要对数字化行为进行由内到外的重新定位。事实上,所谓传统企业和新兴企业的界别将会越来越模糊,所有企业都要向数字化方向转型。

通过数字化技术,建立以客户为中心的商业模式,增加与生态系统内的所有合作伙伴间的亲密度,缩短彼此之间的距离,将会为传统产业带来根本性的变化。最好的创业方式是找到合适的人才和正确的思维模式,给他们权利去实施自己的理念,去打破一些看似神圣不可侵犯的成规——即便这会给企业带来暂时的疼痛。

谢祖墀 高风咨询公司创始人、首席执行官,是全球最具经验和知名度的华人战略和组织咨询顾问,与全球五百强以及中国百强之中的多家企业有长期深度合作。他的著作包括《方向:中国企业应该学习什么》、《中国战略:驾驭全球发展最快的经济体》、《跨越:中国企业的下一个十年》,最新著作《中国的商业颠覆者》将于今年7 月正式发行

 

出海系列 | 十年再回首,中国企业到底应该如何“走出去”?

本内容转自慎思行,由慎思行和高风咨询联合推出
文章来源:谢祖墀博士 & 慎思行

中国企业国际化的全新背景

关于“走出去”这个命题,在过去十多年中,很多不同的企业,包括中国企业、跨国企业都对此进行了探讨,我个人也帮助过一些企业具体走出去。从我个人的观察来看,在过去十几年中,中国的企业家、领导者对于“走出去”这个问题的理解、需求和看法已经有很大的改变。早期时候,中国企业比较粗放,很多企业走出去仅仅是为了获取资源,包括石油、矿产、天然气等,因为中国需要资源。虽然当时很多企业也提出“我们也走出去,我们也是有国际性的公司”,但是他们做的只是将自己的产品通过手工业的方式进行出口,主要为国外的品牌公司从事代加工工作,虽然他们的产品在全世界很多地方都能见到,但是那并不是国际品牌,企业全球化的意识也比较薄弱,因此这只能被称之为中国企业走出去的初级阶段。

转眼之间,经过十多年的发展,整个中国社会已经发展到了一个新的阶段。在产业层面,这个阶段可以用不同的方式来描述,有人说这是互联网时代,也有人说是这是新的信息时代。而在产业之上,现在的“走出去”或国际化,更多的代表着在中国政治和经济上的真正崛起。最近,尤其是习近平、李克强的一系列行动都表明中国已经进入了一个全新的阶段,这个新阶段最有代表性的一个行动就是一带一路。这是中国走出去的一个全新的战略部署,也是中国企业走出去的宏观背景。习近平在博鳌论坛所提到的他个人关于一带一路的思想,以及他对于中国通过一带一路的方式与周边国家和很多其他国家形成一种共同合作的观点。从地缘政治的角度来看,标志着中国已经正式进入影响力的全球化阶段。一带一路以及其他相关行动,包括亚洲基础设施投资银行,以及早些时候中国和其他金砖国家共同成立的金砖国家开发银行以及丝路基金,都是中国推进整体的对外开放以及谋求与邻近国家更多合作的多样化手段。

亚投行在成立之后,国际上出现了很多不同的反应,总体来说较为正面。可以看出,在过去的十几二十年中,我们的重点都是FDI即吸引外资投资到中国的这样一个模式,当然FDI对于过去十几二十年的发展来说是一个很重要的支撑,同时在过去十几年中,ODI是中国到外面的投资,它发展的速度也很快,而在2014年,中国整体进入了一个新的历史阶段。这个中国对外国投资(ODI)超过了外国对中国投资(FDI),这个是一个历史的转折点。

中国企业国际化全新阶段的核心问题

在这个大的背景之下,当然很多中国企业就要走出去,国际化,拥有更多的国际客户。我从很多国企了解到,国际化是他们今年或未来几年最重要的一个举措,因为国家要求他们这样做。但是怎么做,还是有待考虑,要探索怎么去做。甚至有一家国有企业的高管提到,说他们提到已经准备好走出去的时候付一点学费。

当然从整体来说,整个中国企业走出去国际化的过程中需要考虑以下三点:

•愿景与定位:为什么走出去、我们走出去的愿景是什么、企业定位是什么?过去十几年中,很多企业都在说我们在走出去,但是对于“走出去”,几乎每一家公司的定义都不太一样,可能很多人对于这个“走出去”国际化的理念还是比较肤浅的 ,因此在未来在国际化的过程里面,必须要把自身企业的定位和愿景想清楚。

•国际化战略:我们如何去进行国际化的战略部署,我们为什么去做以及在从战略方面有哪些具体的地方可以把国际化融入其中,达到我们的需求。

•国际化发展路径:我们要怎么去具体做,发展路径、具体的规划是什么,今天到最近一年甚至三年五年应该做什么,大概的路径是什么,我们的里程碑是什么,如何衡量自己的进步?这种战略性的考虑在现在和未来越来越重要,这意味着以前那种粗放式的思考以及那种粗放式的业务模式在这个时代已经是过去式了。

构建全球单一市场 – 中国企业国际化的成功案例

▶ 国企推进国际化的案例

光明集团的案例就很值得大家去思考。在中国企业走出去,尤其是国有企业走出去这个问题中,他们的想法比较超前,有一种较为战略性的考虑,而且这种战略性的考虑不是现在提出的,而是在好几年前就有这样一个构想。他如何去实现这一构想呢?其实源于2011年的时候,他们收购了在澳大利亚的一家公司叫玛纳森(Manassen),这是澳大利亚的一家食品公司。其实澳大利亚自身的食品的消费市场并不是很大,但是其产品质量非常好,而玛纳森公司本来是一个家族公司,主营食品类产品,有较多的产品线包括面包、糖果、饼干、杂货等,同时除了产品之外,他们也在澳大利亚建立了一个较为完善的分销物流网络,在全世界许多地区和国家也有供应商和当地的物流的服务。

玛纳森五十年代在澳大利亚成立,后来卖给一家食品公司,再后来被先后转卖给两家私募基金KKR和CHAMP。最后在2011年才卖给光明,对于PE公司来说,这个过程里自然得到了丰厚的利润。而从光明角度来看,一方面玛纳森可以为光明在中国庞大的零售的网络增加很大的一批优质产品供应。另一方面,光明也更需要建立一个国际的平台,能够让他们在国际上成立一家“光明国际”公司,成为光明集团未来全球化的真正载体。而玛纳森恰好有比较好的业务条件方便光明去实现这个目标。而玛纳森虽然希望通过中国市场快速的扩大规模,但是自身的力量无法打入中国市场,所以必须依赖一个在中国本地强有力的合作伙伴才能实现这一目标。因此最终收购获得成功的主要原因就是光明与玛纳森在战略观点方面非常吻合。

“光明集团将国际化发展作为长期战略,海外并购近年对集团的销售、利润增长贡献很大。中国企业的国际化一定是品牌的国际化、团队的国际化和资源配置的国际化。光明集团全球化并购要转向全球化经营、全球化融合和全球化协同。”
——葛俊杰,光明集团副总裁

在并购了玛纳森之后,双方面进行了很多不同的整合,最后使这个平台有了良好的效力:一方面,玛纳森通过这样一个基石已经在澳大利亚、加州、香港做了一些并购,其规模由于托管并购得到很快的增长,另一方面,玛纳森也吸引到不少其他澳大利亚食品公司主动接触正在国际化的中国国有企业。另一方面对于光明而言,其中一个很大的动机是他们希望能够在海外上市,但并不是把光明在海外上市,而是把光明的海外资产在海外上市、在香港上市,从平台体系等方面与中国市场实现协同发展。现在玛纳森或者Bright International在香港上市,已经吸引了不少投行的关注,目前正紧锣密鼓的进行;而可以通过香港上市,将光明的国际业务真正拓展到其他的海外地区包括澳大利亚、新西兰等地区以及欧洲,甚至到美洲等。

光明的发展和很多中国企业走出去的发展历程也有它的相似地方,因为“走出去”并不是一条平坦的路,整个过程中他们也尝试了不少收购,在海外的收购,有成功的也有不成功的案例(红色的是他们不成功的),而且有几个案例都是输给一些国际上著名的跨国企业,最近几年,也有不少成功案例。

从管理为什么做这个事情,到其背后从战略性角度来考虑,葛总觉得中国企业未来无论是在中国继续取得成功还是在国际上取得成功,

•首先是要有全球性的眼光视角,不能把自己作为一个纯粹的中国企业来看待,也不能把我们固步自封的框在中国市场里,我们需要以一个全球的眼光来看待,我们需要把整个海外市场看做一个单一市场,不是说所有的地方一样,也是说我们对于其他国际的市场跟我们中国的市场是一种同样的重要程度。

•而另一点是:中国企业在走出去的过程中,其实我们是在做两件事情,一个是把全球的资源掌握到我们的平台上。以光明集团的眼光来说,玛纳森的收购只是平台的一块,其他相关的国际资源都可以这样去收购,最后整合到光明集团里。另一个则是,将国外企业引入中国市场,为他们提供在中国发展的更好机会。这样才能真正做到互惠互利,通过并购真正实现共赢。

除了光明之外,在食品粮食这个行业来讲,另外的几家国企在过去几年的海外发展都比较积极,中粮就有两个大的收购或者是并购,都是跟国际著名的同行业的大型化工企业,一个是尼德拉,另外一个是来宝,这两家公司在其本身的行业中都处于较为领先的地位。中粮的思想其实和光明有点相似,他们认为要把全球都看成同一个市场以及产地,这样建立的企业不仅仅是一个中国企业,而是一个由中国人参与的国际化企业,因此收购米德拉和蓝宝是中粮在全球打造一个全产业链的两个重要布局。

“把全球都看成自己的市场和产地,他建立的企业不仅是一个中国企业,而是一个中国人参与的国际化的企业。”
——宁高宁,中粮集团前总裁

▶ 私企推进国际化案例

复星在走出去,在海外投资方面也较为积极,举例来说,地中海俱乐部(Club MED)在欧洲非常优秀,在美国也非常不错,但是我们从全球的眼光来讲,其产业主要只是集中在欧美的旅游市场,其实增长空间并不很大,不过他们注意到了中国的崛起,注意到我们中国人的收入越来越高,经济越来越好。中国人走出去的很多,而且我们中国人在全球旅游的游客也越来越多,但是一直以来在中国,我们并不了解地中海俱乐部这种优质的供应商或服务商。所以复星就提出了一个概念,把地中海俱乐部引进到中国来。与光明案例非常相似,地中海同样希望能够打入中国本土的旅游市场,参与到中国本土市场的市场竞争,但是不知道怎么去做,因为他们不了解中国的国情。所以复星有两点价值主张:第一是带地中海俱乐部到中国来,帮助其拓展中国市场;第二点是中国旅客,不论自由行还是团体旅行,尤其是到欧洲,地中海俱乐部也需要建立适合中国旅客的设计。这是一个潮流。这种事在十年前或者二十年前基本上不可思议的,以为当时时机还没有到,中国人还没有“走出去”,旅游规模较小,中国人对于旅游的需求比较基本。而现在越来越多的中国游客对旅游的要求越来越高。随着科技发展尤其是互联网发展,我们的能力越来越强,所以复星现在可以做到他想做的事。这种“走出去”的全球化的战略性、国际眼光,以及究竟“走出去”要做什么,复星在这方面的做法很有道理。

“再以本国、本市、本地的市场为限的企业是没有前途的。中国经济融入全球,中国企业融入全球,这应该变成各位企业家生活的一个常态。”
——郭广昌 复星集团 董事长

另外一个私营企业的案例是双汇,双汇是猪肉生产商,13年的时候收购了美国的史密斯菲尔德,同样是最大的一家猪肉生产商,当时双汇以71亿美元收购史密斯菲尔德的时候,在美国形成了很大的反响,因为这是美国最大的猪肉生产企业,居然被一家中国企业收购了,这对于很多美国人来说是不可思议的,而且美国人对于双汇这家公司几乎前所未闻,而且在中国也不是很多人听过,因为他不是在上海,他不是在北上广,他是河南,而且在河南也不是在郑州,而在一个很小的城市漯河。收购之后,消费者更希望更好的两方面的市场,无论是中国的市场,还是美国的市场,实现优势互补,这是最重要的一个战略部署。

“用好两个市场,实现优势互补,是当前的首要任务。”
——万隆,双汇集团董事长

华为的国际化理念是发展的比较早的,在大概十年前他们就已经意识到要把全球市场视为一个单一的市场,并且在这个单一市场里面构建全球的价值链,然后把全球的优质资源都整合到这个价值链上来,使得一个单一节点上能够创造的价值,可以在全球范围内的进行分享,这是华为全球化的思想的定义。

“全球化不仅仅意味着运营的全球化、投资的全球化,更需要建立一种新的商业理念。这种理念是将全球市场视为一个单一市场,像在单一市场一样构建全球的价值链,并将全球的优质资源都整合到这个价值链里面,使每一个单一节点上创造的价值都有可能在全球范围内被分享。”
——胡厚昆 华为副董事长兼轮值CEO

马云在上市之后讲过,未来我们国际化的目的是希望能够打造全世界中小企业的微生态,有一天在网上能够进行全世界消费者的买卖,这是他对于阿里巴巴在全球发展的一个认知。

“目前为止我们主要是想为三年五年以后的全面的国际化做准备,我希望能够让中国的农村、让农民能够有机会享受城镇的生活。国际化的目的,我们希望能够全世界的小企业有一天都能够在网上进行买卖,全世界的消费者的买卖。平台化的核心想法,我们希望线上线下各种各样的商业机构,各个生态系统企业都能参加到双11。”
——马云,阿里巴巴集团创始人

从产业的国际化到价值观的国际化

所以,在过去十几年的发展过程中,我们从一个很封闭的国家,到逐渐的开放,习近平甚至提到了一带一路、亚投行这种动作,其实也代表了我们已经不仅仅是一个亚洲区的大国,更是一个欧亚、甚至在全球中都有一定影响力的大国。在这个阶段里,中国企业家也在不断地思考,究竟如何发展,当然不少还是十分注重中国市场的,但也有不少逐渐去考虑到参与国际化究竟应该如何做,我们对于国际化的理解究竟有多少,我们对国际化的定义究竟是什么。我们逐渐的看到不少的企业家已经意识到我们应该更全面,以全球战略眼光来看这个问题。

总结一下,国际化的问题我们已经研究了很长时间,很多国际企业,包括中国的、欧洲的、日韩的企业。在他们走出去的过程中都有不同的阶段:

•第一阶段是不知名的、国际上不了解的;

•第二阶段是看到机会了、但是不知道怎么去做、先尝试,即put your toes in the water;

•第三阶段是在国际上已经有很多不同的定位,在各个城市成了公民,但没有完全国际化,所在不同地方的据点没有完全联系起来;

•第四阶段我们称之为全球明星(global star),这些公司首先是国际性的,全球性的,用网络联系起来,并且能够进行全球整合,同时也对全球的产业形成影响。

同时最优秀的企业不但能够整合硬件,还能把软件推到全球层面上,软件不单是规模、资金,还包括软实力,即一个企业的价值观、文化、思维方式。最成功的国际化公司的成功之道、基业长青的秘诀不在于产品特别好、服务特别好、商业模式特别好,虽然这些是必须的。最重要的是他们的价值观,有一套全球的跨国的价值观,是不论你在什么国家、什么市场,你的员工以及你的股东、相关利益者都会奉行这家企业的价值观。中国企业在这方面有很长的路要走,中国企业在看得见摸得到的方面已经做得很好了,但是这些看不到摸不着的东西、这些关键的东西中国企业还有很多要做。所以希望大家在考虑国际化问题的时候不仅要考虑有形的东西,还要考虑这些无形的摸不着的东西。▲

 

企业战略 | 如何建立能力体系

当许多企业家提到要为他们的企业建立能力(即所谓“核心竞争力”)时,传统的管理理论只是将能力定义为单独的个体,是孤立的。但事实上,在企业里真正运作的却是“能力的体系”。亦即是说,单独的能力实际上是被串起来的,这是通过内部的流程、组织、管理模式、系统和人等不同元素而建立起来的。设计好这种体系,一方面是要依靠方法论,另一方面却是艺术。在此,我希望能与各位探讨建立能力体系的方法论。

你的战略是什么?

在新信息时代里,企业领导者必须对于外部环境的改变,经常警觉地观察和检讨其对于企业发展方向的影响。你所处的行业边界有什么改变?你的业务需要如何调整?你的业务模式将会变成什么?你的竞争对手将会是谁,而他们的竞争行为将会是怎么样的?你的可能合作者又将会是谁?而你需要打造的生态系统亦将会如何?你的发展战略将是怎样的?你需要在哪里经营,如何经营?从实践来看,如何分阶段去发展你的经营步伐?

对企业来说,其发展战略有时是微调,有时都需要大刀阔斧的大幅度改变。在此瞬息万变的新信息时代里,我们看到更多的是后者,在我们的术语来说,是“改变游戏规则的战略”(Game-Changing Strategy)。

企业的战略当然需要它的愿景和追求衔接并取得一致。战略的重要性在于它定义了企业究竟需要什么关键能力。

你的战略的重要成功因素是什么?

一般来说我们可以将一家企业的发展战略分解到一些所谓主要的成功因素(Key Success Factors)。有时我们称为“一定要做到的事”(Must Have’s)。

一家跨国公司原本从事快速消费品业务、专注于洗涤用品的,在部署战略性的转型成为一家消费健康公司,到2020 年时它在中国的业务收入要在2013 年的基础上增长十倍,那么,在此过程中它要做到几个方面的成功:在产品方面,OTC、消费健康和卫生类别;在渠道方面,零售药房,电子商务和现代渠道;另外,在自身发展以外,同时进行一系列的并购。这家公司若要达到它的2020 年目标,它必须要在以上的范畴内“做得到”或“做成功”。

你的关键能力应该是什么,能力差距又在哪里?

要支撑“关键成功因素”或“一定要做到的事”要依赖一系列的关键能力(或核心竞争力)。能力是什么?它是源自于企业里的一股力量,而这股力量是要支撑企业在发展之中的竞争优势的。所以它必须是在企业内充分内在化的。不能无端的从外部人为地加入企业内。而能力的产生是通过一系列精心的计划和运行的内部流程,而透过这些流程企业内部建立了不断的集体学习能力。这些学习的成果最后形成出来的就是企业的能力或核心竞争力。

从战略“关键成功因素”出发,我们可以帮助企业去定义它所需的关键能力是什么。一般来说,企业管理者都会推举他们认为的关键能力是什么,而一般来说,出来的往往是一条较长的“长名单”。举例来说,在上述的消费健康企业里,经过几轮的内部讨论,他们得出的能力长名单就有15 条,包括“业务发展”、“政府关系”、“营销商管理”、“多渠道管理”、“人才管理和领导力开发”等等,林林总总,包罗万有。

企业不能管理长名单,所以必须将长名单缩短为短名单。在建立能力体系这个过程中,这是最关键的一点。就是在初选的能力长名单内挑选数个最关键的能力。最关键的能力的数目因企业而异。一般以我们的经验来看,对大部分的企业和其业务单位来说,一概是五至六个最重要、最关键的能力,这个筛选的过程必须要有足够的逻辑和理论基础,不能随意。

在以上的消费健康公司里,管理者们利用了两个重要的筛选标准:①对业务的影响;②和本土情况的结合。通过这两个标准,他们挑选了6个关键的能力。

下一步就是要研究在这些关键能力里,企业的能力差距有多大?这样的工作首先需要在每一个关键能力上建立一套能衡量的标准。亦即是说,可以将每项能力分为数个水平阶段,最初级的是水平一,而最高级的可以是水平五。在进行严谨的度量和分析后,企业可以知道在每个关键能力上,它与“最佳实践”的差距究竟有多少。

你的组织和管控模式是什么?

要将这些关键的能力建立出来,你需要怎样的组织和管控模式?广义来说,组织包括了较为具体的元素,如架构、过程、系统、人等;它亦包括一些“软性” 的因素,如文化、思维方式等。后者对一个企业的重要性往往并不比前者低。企业必须建立一套行之有效的组织和管控模式来发展其需要的关键能力,而其设计中的第一步,也是最重要的一步,就是设计的原则。在我们的经验里,企业会面临数个选择方案,而在方案与方案之间进行理性的分析和选择并不容易,需要逻辑、经验和好的判断。

在涉及组织和流程时,组织内不同单位的职责要划分得非常明确。亦即是所谓 RASIC 的设计。“R”即“Responsible”(责任 );“A”即“Approve 批准)”;“S”即“Support(支持)”;“I” 即“Inform(通报)”;而“C”即“Consult(咨询)”。

当然一个企业成功的运作脱离不了它给管理层和员工的衡量标准和激励机制。良好的激励机制激发员工的行为,使既定组织、流程和RASIC顺利执行,建立和发展持之有效的能力和能力体系,从而支持战略的良好执行。从能力到能力体系就是如此。

 

企业战略 | 从能力到能力体系

自从1990 年,两个芝加哥大学商学院学者普拉哈拉德(C. K. Prahalad)和加里 · 哈默尔(GaryHamel)在《哈佛商业评论》发表了经典文章《公司的核心竞争力》(The Core Competence of the Corporation )和1992 年波士顿咨询公司(BCG)三位合伙人斯托克(George Stalk),埃文斯(Philip Evans)和舒尔曼(Lawrence Shulman)在同一刊物发表了文章《以能力来竞争:企业战略的新法则》(Competing on Capabilities: The New Rules of Corporate Strategy)之后,核心竞争力或能力理论支配西方商界超过了20 年。此理论的基本观点是:企业的成功源自它们的核心竞争力(即能力)。从此观点引申出来的另一重要观点是:企业的战略定位必须建基于它的能力,亦即是说,在业务层面上必须聚焦而不应多样化。

这两篇文章发表以后,在过去20 年内,企业界掀起了“寻找我的能力”的活动,企业都在思索和寻找自己的能力。结果企业都说,我们的能力是我们的产品、品牌、渠道、生产、成本控制、等等。经过一轮运动之后,许多企业却发现大家列出来的能力都差不多,很难找到绝对的差异性;同时,所列出来的能力都倾向于一些能看得到、摸得着的“有形能力”,而这些能力在定义上却都是单独的、没有关联起来的概念。

在整整20 年之后,另一家咨询公司——博斯公司在2010 年提出了“能力驱动战略”(Capability-Driven Strategy)的概念,重申了芝大两位教授和BCG 三位合伙人的理念,就是企业成功的根本在于他们的能力。非常有趣,20 年过去了,在所谓领先的咨询公司里的战略理念还是原地踏步。况且,博斯对能力的定义相当有意思。在它们看来,一家公司做得好的任何事情都是该公司的能力。这种定义有点像“阿妈是女人”。这种说法当然是对的,但它说明不了所谓“能力”特别的地方在哪里。

尽管如此,博斯的理论做出了一项贡献,就是提出了“能力体系”(Capabilities System)的概念。这样的提法弥补了“能力是单独个体”的原始观念,“能力体系”理念指出了企业要成功的话,必须将他的少数关键能力(博斯建议3~6 个)通过公司的人、知识、系统、工具和流程关联起来,形成一种“体系”;当这体系舒畅地运作起来,企业就能制胜。

此理念相当好,但博斯并没有具体说明这种关联究竟如何做出来。而且它们提出来的所需的手段亦较多,具体如何着手却不太清晰。其实在芝大和BCG 的文章里已经提了相当类似的概念,只是没有提出“能力体系”一词,所以被一般读者忽略了。那两篇文章其实都提出了能力(即核心竞争力)是在公司内部通过流程和综合性学习达到跨部门效益的深层动力。这在理念上, 20 年前已经超越了博斯。

但无论是芝大,BCG 或是博斯,提出的理论的最大缺点是,它们本质上是静态的,也是从后视镜来看问题的——将以往的成功因素无限延伸作为同样的未来的成功因素。在一个静态、不变的环境里,此观点或许还可以说得过去。但在今天瞬息万变、快速变化的环境里,这种观念显然不合时宜。同时,检验某企业能力所在,和它的所谓能力体系,就是要从过往来看未来。这种思想和做法在今天充满非线性和非连续性发展的商业社会里,从逻辑的角度看亦是不对的。

故此,我们目前面临的挑战就是如何在目前和将来的经营环境里,提出一套合适的企业能力和能力体系的概念、框架和操作方法。

我们认为,今天已经在很大程度上颠覆了一些基本的战略和竞争的理念。就如上面所说,我们的经营理念已从静态转变到动态,而战略的根本已经不是在静态寻找一个最“优胜”的定位就可一劳永逸,而更多地是在动态中不断的在控制和混沌之间取得平衡。这不容易,但必须做得到。同时,行业的边界不断的改变,跨界竞争已经非常普遍。竞争态势亦不断调整,竞合时代已经来临,竞争已经不仅仅是企业之间的竞争,它更多是生态系统之间的竞争。

在此大前提之下,企业必须深入的反省究竟我们的未来应当如何,我们将是谁?我们要做什么?我们的追求和梦想是什么?我们将如何去做?这些问题都是前瞻性的,面向未来的,而未来往往是模糊的,不确定的,非线性的和多维的。对未来做出可靠判断必须始于从过往和当下的回顾,但更重要的是要深入地洞察未来的发展。在这个过程中,企业必须考虑未来它最佳的组织形态应该是什么?组织形态可以以不同的形式出现:可以是传统工业时代的垂直式、自上而下的;或是某种权利分布式的业务单位组织架构,或是以所谓的“互联网思维”方式来组织的平台式或网络式组织;甚至于所谓自组织的“亚米巴”组织形态。可以说组织形态没有绝对的对,亦没有绝对的错,但它必须匹配企业的追求、目标和战略。关键词是“匹配”。

在新信息时代里,我们发现了一批快速增长的企业,它们的发展轨迹往往是非线性、向上加速的,我们称这种企业为“指数级组织”(Exponential Organizations)(相对而言,许多传统企业都只是线性组织,二者处于截然不同的轨道)。我们发现这些指数级组织的组织形态有它们的特征。它们一般比较有柔性、扁平、透明、民主、分散和平台化。同时它们擅长利用杠杆(Leverage)和科技,尤其是社交科技的力量。它们善于利用他人资源,在人力资源、资产和主要的客户或顾客资源等方面发挥杠杆作用。还有,它们的骨子里就是有一种不断创新的力量。

企业要取胜必须回归根本。在回顾过去和当下之余,亦要在新的信息时代里思考未来。未来的目标、追求和战略是什么,最适合我们的组织形态是什么,而在该组织形态下,所需的能力是什么,相关的能力体系又是什么以及如何打造该体系。没有经历这样的思考过程,而随便的在静态和昨天的基础上谈能力和能力体系是解决不了问题的。

企业战略 | 在动态环境中创新

在竞争环境日趋激烈和变幻莫测的今天,移动互联网让不同行业都或多或少地受到冲击,行业内的竞争格局和生态系统的变化也变得明显。在这种动态的环境中,我们发现了几个典型现象:第一,企业的竞争优势变得很短暂。宝洁(P&G)曾在中国市场独占鳌头,但近几年的销售额增速一再放缓,竞争优势被本土品牌和其他外资品牌削弱。第二,行业的边界被重新定义。互联网金融就是一个很明显的例子。由互联网公司和基金公司推出的货币基金,比如阿里巴巴和天弘基金推出的余额宝,以及近两年迅速升温的P2P 网贷,都将金融产品零售和融资领域重新定义,使我们很难界定这些互联网公司到底应该划分在互联网行业还是在金融行业。第三,行业生态系统不断变化。小米手机在由研发、采购、生产、营销与销售所组成的整个上下游环节中颠覆了传统手机产业的模式,开创了全新的生态系统,其估值也遥遥领先于国内其他手机生产商。第四,有生命力的企业始终保持着适当的节奏和速度对自身进行调整。阿里巴巴从推出淘宝网和聚划算,到拆分淘宝网,再到重组25 个事业部以及进军移动端,始终很好地掌握着节奏并及时甚至是有预见性地做出调整,也因此为现在的成功埋下伏笔。第五,企业组织结构与业务、战略的调整相适应。很多企业,比如海尔、联想、华为等都在调整老的企业组织结构来适应新的业务模式和企业发展战略。在这些现象出现的大背景下,越来越多的企业问自己:如何能够灵活、迅速并且紧密地与终端客户联系起来?

我们看到,已经有很多新兴企业和不少传统行业龙头都在进行着创新和塑造创业精神的工作,而这种创新和创业精神正是他们在当前动态竞争环境下获得立足和发展的关键。小米在短短的几年内迅速发展,2014 年间估值已上升至400 亿美元。小米在产品、服务、品牌和销售的每一个环节都建立起与消费者的互动,营造消费者参与感。我们看到的小米粉丝群就是基于消费者参与形成的庞大社群,由小米员工和消费者共同构筑并保持利益一致。这不仅创造了口碑效应,也为小米带来了巨大价值。同时,小米的组织结构灵活,执行力敏捷、有效,使得小米对产品和服务能够进行快速迭代,从而提高了消费者的满意度并保持了良好口碑。同样是在新产业方面,腾讯的微信是获得巨大成功的另一个典型案例。腾讯长期浸淫在互联网社交领域,对消费者有非常深入和准确的认识,而微信就是在对消费者需求的了解中孕育而生。我们知道,微信从投入使用开始,至今一直在更新细节,强化功能,这种逐步的演进既基于需求又很好地满足需求。在组织结构方面,微信战略并不是源自于腾讯的深圳总部,而是由广州研发部的张小龙在了解市场、研发并试运行成功的基础下演变为整个腾讯公司的企业战略。而且,腾讯简单、灵活的组织结构为微信战略的高效执行提供了基础。

在传统行业中,家电行业的龙头企业海尔清楚地知道,在当前的竞争环境下变革时不我待。张瑞敏远见又有危机感,所以他不是固步自封,而是始终保持与趋势同步,甚至希望引领趋势。他的领导,为海尔带来的不仅是传统意义上对员工的管理,更是在搭建让员工发挥创业精神的海尔企业平台。海尔现在正在进行一场历史性的变革,企业的组织流程简单化,将员工变“在岗”为“在册”,以此激发创业精神并实现企业内部的若干小创业单位,使得整个海尔能够紧密地联系动态变化中的市场并迅速作出应对,保持竞争力。

那么,我们如何进行创新和塑造创业精神?从企业领导来讲,应该要有居安思危的意识。比方说海尔的张瑞敏,尽管海尔是家电行业的龙头,但张瑞敏着眼未来,并预见倘若不及时调整很可能会遇到巨大的危机。同样,领导要致力于将企业与员工的利益联系起来,能够激发并且团结员工。企业领导一方面要保持企业员工的凝聚力和大方向的决策正确,另一方面要把组织结构简单化、灵活化。因为企业如果要贴近市场并对市场的变化作出迅速反应,必须有一个相适应的组织结构。同时,也需要调整KPI 系统,建立明确、简单的绩效评价和奖惩体系。企业的文化应该是鼓励创新的,只有保持创新才能使企业保持生命力。阿里巴巴的合伙人制度使得马云和蔡崇信牢牢把握企业控制权,使企业在创业家精神下始终保持活力,走在正确的道路上。贯穿企业上上下下的创业精神则是激发员工,培育创新的助推器。万科的合伙人制度要求项目一线管理者投资成为“合伙人”,旨在激励员工,培养创业精神,使一线管理者更紧密地把个人利益与企业利益联系在一起。

但当我们谈到创新、创业精神的时候,我们需要考虑清楚,企业需要具备什么条件,以及需要解决哪些问题。第一,我们是否准备好了接受改变。也就是说我们是不是非变不可,而不改变的话我们会走向何方。第二,我们是否具备了进行改变的要素。我们的领导力是否能够支持企业的变革,我们是否有明确的愿景和为了这个愿景进行变革的决心。第三,我们如何去改变。我们是否考虑清楚进行变革的路径和方法,我们是否知道如何正确地评估变革的成败,这些先决条件都是需要经过我们的深思熟虑。只有将这些考虑清楚,才能实现创新和塑造创业精神,进而在动态的竞争环境下站稳脚跟。

企业战略 | 移动互联是中国汽车工业的一条新跑道

近年来,移动通信、大数据和社交网络等科技在飞速发展,今天,移动互联网科技已经渗透到传统的汽车行业里,成为全球技术的前沿领域。这种“移动互联”促进着导航、分析、驾驶员安全、驾驶辅助与信息虚拟化等领域的科技发展。对于想要成为全球移动互联领域领导者的传统汽车生产厂商以及新兴竞争者而言,理解这个行业所面临的机会和威胁将是新竞争环境中的挑战。

与此同时,作为全球规模最大和发展最快速的市场,中国改变了21 世纪全球汽车工业的竞争格局,同时,中国有望建立将前沿科技商业化的汽车工业道路。中国移动设备用户对移动互联设备需求的快速增长和中国互联网巨头的积极商业战略将为智能联网汽车技术的快速商业化创造条件。车联网(Internet of Vehicles)的出现,也使得中国将有机会革新全球的汽车工业。

在过去100 年中,汽车工业的创新主要依靠工程技术。今天,以工程技术为基础的数字和移动互联技术已经成为新的创新点。与此同时,传统的挑战却继续存在,包括成本压力、不断变化的市场以及行业格局。

另外,越来越多的人开始意识到汽车生产商不可以再简单地套用传统的模式。他们需要重新审视和调整自己的战略重点,部署适当的投资和资源,并开发新技术去实现这些战略目标。因此我们看到汽车工业比以往任何时候更注重创新。根据BCG 2013 的调查,在全世界前50 名最具创新能力公司中有十四家是汽车制造商,而他们都注重于以下四个方面的创新:动力传动系统、轻质材料、互联汽车以及主动安全/ 辅助驾驶系统。

我们也看到汽车生产商正着力于建设开放式创新模式来驱动外部创意和内部孵化。通过使用开放创新平台,它们可以提高其创新能力并积极利用企业外部人才。这种创新方式帮助汽车生产商识别现有市场需求,以及新的和潜在的需求,同时实现创新解决方案,包括新技术、新服务或对现有技术的新应用。

汽车生产商将要面临的挑战是如何以用户需求为核心地有效设计流程,从而将技术应用到产品线上,并借此在市场上获得竞争优势。这也将激发对支持新商业模式和车辆所有制趋势的需求(比如车辆租赁或车辆共享计划)。现在我们看到的一个市场大趋势是互联汽车技术的发展,这项技术已经使汽车工业产生了巨大的变革,同时也可能是预见未来汽车工业中差异化的关键因素。

互联汽车正在改变着我们对驾驶体验的感知。互联汽车技术四个重要的领域将塑造行业未来,催生新的商业模式并创造新的科技格局。

导航和泊车 如今车辆导航技术已成为汽车标准配置,驾驶员间和用户间的交互性也日趋普遍,并将成为未来新车型的一个标准配置。在国外,手机应用Waze 拥有一个由7 万多名会员组成的社区,这些会员帮助Waze 编辑地图和添加一些细节信息,如特定加油站的汽油价格,或是驾驶员在何处应留心超速监视区和避免发生交通事故等。谷歌近期以10 亿美元收购Waze 并将其与谷歌地图整合,以向世界各地的人们提供众包信息。互联技术也在改变着人们泊车的选择,许多新兴公司正在使用智能计算实时预测泊车行为并同时提供给驾驶员和居民时效地图。而在导航和泊车领域一个重大的挑战是如何使这些服务产生经济效益。

汽车分析系统 车载分析系统(In-vehicleanalytics)对于技术提供者来说同样创造了众多的机会。这项技术最初是用于大型商船舰队中,它使实时管理船只驾驶情况与诊断船只成为可能,并帮助提高舰队安全性,显著降低维护成本。这项技术在大众消费市场的定位还未明确,但我们可以预见它将改变汽车的维护和保险方式,并提供监测家庭成员驾驶行为和模式的功能。

可穿戴设备 互联汽车领域另一个重要元素是可穿戴设备及从中获得信息,它将帮助创建更广泛的网络,短期内即可以实现连接在尚未联网汽车中的司机。例如,在安装平视显示器或者虚拟投影前,智能眼镜可以提供增强的真实场景导航。使用可穿戴移动设备中的数据可以提供丰富的个性化数据,使得车辆实现环境认知,从而更好地应对驾驶员的各种具体需求。

驾驶安全和自动驾驶 在传感器和驾驶员安全的领域我们可以看到已有公司使用各种技术,包括激光、摄像头、夜视系统和雷达等,建立智能驾驶员辅助和防撞系统。虽然现在这些系统只是应用于高档车中的泊车辅助和防撞功能,但我们可以期待这些系统未来的广泛应用,并逐渐实现全自动驾驶。这一领域处于法规和政府政策的高度控制中,因此全自动驾驶将在限定范围内逐步实现。

这四个趋势包含了移动互联领域的各种机会。正值互联汽车逐渐进入全球汽车行业之际,中国汽车业和三大互联网公司已经有不少动作。阿里巴巴与上汽集团正研发“互联网汽车”。据报道,该车将于两年后亮相;腾讯推出了车联网整体解决方案趣驾WeDrive,打造一套车载互联网的解决方案;百度正在研发自己的无人驾驶汽车,据报道还与德国宝马合作。过去,中国汽车厂商一直希望能发展自主品牌汽车与跨国品牌分庭抗礼,可是在旧的报道上一直没法追上。移动互联为本土厂商提供了一条新的跑道,有机会产生颠覆式创新。。不过要取得成功,汽车厂商们必须接受崭新的思想和做法,亦就是所谓的互联网思维的积极基因。这将是一个不少的挑战。

如果您对这篇文章的内容有任何反馈,欢迎与我们联系:insights@gaofengadv.com。

【来源】《管理学家》杂志2014年11月刊

 

瓦解國企壟斷 華成創新沃土

撰文:謝祖墀 策略發展委員會委員
欄名:中國經緯
中國是創新的沃土?恐怕國際上大多數人不會認同這一觀點,因為中國經常與山寨、缺乏言論自由、知識產權保護不力、填鴨式教育和國營領域過於傲慢等負面形象聯繫在一起。

或多或少地出於上述原因,外界包括許多香港人通常認為中國缺乏創新成功的基礎。但這一觀點過於簡單和膚淺。不妨讓我們在這些所謂的原因中擷取兩條開展深入研究。

保知識產權乏力 創新仍不斷

知識產權保護不力確實是一個現實的問題,但其並不能阻礙創新的步伐。在過去10年裏,源自中國的創新案例不勝枚舉,包括產品技術創新和業務模式創新。

中國的知識產權保護盡管進展緩慢,但確實在不斷改善,並且在近年來也有外國企業成功起訴中國企業侵權的案例。

國有經濟的壟斷地位也是經常被詬病的原因之一,但即使是國營領域也能帶來創新。大型的創新案例不勝枚舉且在不斷湧現,其中就包括中國的航天計劃、不斷擴充的高鐵網絡、世界上海拔最高的鐵路(進藏鐵路)和運算速度最快的超級計算機。這些創新都是在國家主持下得以完成。

盡管有許多人抨擊中國抄襲甚至竊取他國的技術,但對於上述如此複雜的項目而言,創新是無可否認的,且國有經濟的統治地位,能夠為科技的進步提供充足的資金支持。

經過20餘載的發展,中國的市場經濟目前仍在不斷完善。新中國建立以來,在30年的時間裏一直奉行全面計劃經濟,而從計劃經濟到市場經濟的根本轉型,在中國的歷史長河中只是滄海一粟,過去20年中我們的所見所聞也無論如何稱不上完美。但是我們需要全面了解這些主導未來變革的力量,並且領會這些變革的方向和速度。

盡管國營領域迄今為止發揮了重要的作用,但中國未來大多數的創新並非來自於此,而會來自於在日益開放的經濟下開展競爭的企業甚至是個人,其中既包括國有企業也包括國內外的私營企業。

經濟領域續開放 迎市場競爭

為了應對市場競爭的要求,愈來愈多的混合所有制企業將隨之出現,而不同種類企業間的界綫也會因此而愈來愈模糊。中國正在有計劃、明確地放開各個領域的監管,盡管不是所有的經濟領域都將全面放開,但這一趨勢已經非常明顯。

鑑於中國市場的規模和盈利潛力,當政府放開一個領域後,其將成為全球競爭最為激烈的市場之一。這迫使企業不得不具備創新精神,憑藉最好的產品、服務和業務模式來獲得成功。而在中國企業家中也瀰漫着一股「非我莫屬」的心態,一旦機遇浮現,他們通常會放手一博。他們中有些人(也許是大部分人)會失敗,但在龐大的人口基數下,即使是小概率的成功也值得注目,並不斷鼓勵更多的企業家大膽嘗試。簡而言之,不斷湧現的中國企業家將推進更大範圍的試驗和更多的創新。

「小米」傾聽用戶 「海爾」以客為中心

作為中國領先的智能手機生產商之一的小米,就是競爭激烈的行業中創新型企業的傑出代表。小米的掌舵人雷軍深諳互聯網的力量,將企業的業務模式定位於通過社交媒體「傾聽用戶」,即所謂的「眾包」概念。這一戰略發揮了奇效:小米自2010年從零開始,收入在2013年就達到了50億美元,公司估值更是達到100億美元。

蘋果公司的領導人史蒂夫.喬布斯認為自己最了解用戶,因此並不相信焦點小組,但雷軍反其道而行,深信用戶才是決定產品設計方案和服務模式開發的最佳人選。雷軍目前擁有數百萬的粉絲,宣稱其業務模式的盈利點並非來自硬件,而是來自於服務。

在更基本的創新層面上,中國白色家電製造商海爾則通過推出既能洗衣服、又能洗土豆的洗衣機迅速獲得市場知名度和市場份額。這一產品源自於某位用戶的要求,充分反映了海爾「以客戶為中心」的管理理念。雖然並不是每家中國企業都會如此,但在瞬息萬變的市場中,靈活、敏銳和具有創新精神的中國企業將會獲得巨大的回報。

為了成功培育創新,一個國家必須能夠容忍錯誤和失敗。此類失敗包括短命的創新,但這類創新是創新歷程中的一部分,也為創新如何能在中國持續下去提供了例證。騰訊QQ是微信的先驅,而後者是一種類似於推特/WhatsApp的平台,成長迅速,在國內外非常受歡迎。盡管微信推出僅有兩年的時間,但註冊用戶數量已逾6億,其中活躍用戶數量達到2.7億,且這兩個數字還在不斷增長。微信先於WhatsApp推出了語音服務,並且其最近推出的支付業務正在撼動阿里巴巴支付寶的統治地位。

電信運營商將微信和新浪微博視為競爭對手,因為後兩者蠶食了其短信業務,而互聯網尤其是無綫互聯網的普及,正在迅速打亂傳統的分配方式。僅僅在幾年前,國美和蘇寧還在憑藉傳統的實體門店在零售領域內佔據着主導地位,但如今的蘇寧正迅速轉型為O2O(Online to Offline)零售商。海爾等企業也在朝着這一方向發展,而許多零售商(尤其是國有企業)正在研究如何改善其業務戰略,從而保持競爭力。

隨着中國經濟轉型的深入,愈來愈多的壟斷壁壘將土崩瓦解。盡管中國在短期內不大會完全放開所有監管,但中國正朝着正確的方向發展,而且新一屆政府在去年十一月召開的十八屆三中全會上再次重申了這一發展軌迹,強調市場機制將在中國的經濟發展過程中起到「決定性作用」,非國有資本將能進入更多領域。國有企業將繼續保持其重要的地位,而非國有企業則第一次能夠與國有企業平起平坐。諸如上海自貿區的試驗型自由貿易區將在中國多個城市中推廣,建設有利於創業型外資企業和國有企業開展創新的經濟環境。

錯綜復雜和幅員遼闊是中國的獨特之處。即使是小概率的成功,放在全球商業的大環境下看來,也意義重大。香港應該密切關注中國的創新動向,因為它帶來的不僅僅是威脅,也伴隨着更大的機遇。

(謝祖墀博士是高風管理諮詢公司創始人)

来源:《经济日报》

 

【海鑫应该跟沙钢学什么】

谢祖墀

近来海鑫的故事被社会热议,但纵观其过程其实并不新奇。因为中国改革开放后的这几十年间,大型企业陷入危机的例子屡见不鲜,早有前车之鉴,如德隆、顺驰、巨人等等。每家企业出现困境时的境况各不相同,有其偶然性也有其必然性,也是中国企业从粗陋走向成熟的必要过程。

海鑫钢铁的问题首先在于其创业人及董事长李海仓离开后,企业缺少一个能够在关键时刻拍板和控制局面的人。这是海鑫命运最直观的转折点,这不光是一个关乎人事的问题,更是关乎该企业之后的管理体系、组织架构的问题,从而全盘影响到企业的发展。李兆会虽是董事长,却很少过问实际运营,实业部分的领导层都由李氏家族的亲戚集体领导。对于中国企业而言,集体领导往往会导致无人用心经营,而海鑫的家族型非现代化管理方式显然跟不上时代发展的节奏,导致企业长期无战略方向,无过硬的制度来保障运营。

2008年钢铁行业的下行对本身存在问题的海鑫更加不利。海鑫原本的渠道、产品较为稳定,但对于工业品而言,越是在大环境趋弱的情况下,越是需要核心产品的突破与创新。而海鑫至今生产的还是如螺纹钢筋等较为普通、技术含量较低的产品,在任何市场和渠道都是竞争激烈,并难以形成优势的。

相较于海鑫的主业钢铁生产,董事长李兆会显然更痴迷于投资与资本运作,但并不成功。所以李兆会治下的状况便是其拥有支配资产的权力却并不运营公司的实际业务,在这种情况下,其用于与实业无关的资本运作的资金势必会吞噬占用其钢铁业务所需资金,造成钢铁业务资金的匮乏。也就是说海鑫的战略方向在某种程度上从一家从事钢铁业务的公司变成了一家资本公司,而其这十年来资本运作的不成功,也势必拖累本就处于低迷大环境下的钢铁业务的发展。

在海鑫鼎盛时期,业界常将其与沙钢集团相比较,而在2008年之后所谓的“钢铁业寒冬”,沙钢一改以往的激进战略,转而开始潜心修炼、蓄势待发,让我们看看这些年沙钢做了些什么:在管理方面,沙钢从信息化着手,对内优化管理制度,将流程规范化、标准化,对外加强市场信息分析、精确掌握产品在市场上的动态;在产品方面,沙钢致力于技术创新,开发低成本、高性能产品,在市场低迷时期发展产品的核心价值;在市场方面,沙钢努力构建其全球营销网络体系,全面开拓国际市场;同时沙钢在各高校设立其“产学研”基地,在吸引高端人才的同时,提升了企业的科研能力;与外部合作方面,其与宝钢的合作也为其提升技术与管理提供了不小的帮助。种种积极的革新使沙钢成为了业界津津乐道的典范,同时与海鑫的消极经营形成了鲜明的对比。

许多中国商人在企业实际运营的过程中做决定较为随意,目光短浅且不计后果,毫无战略可言,因为他们相信与他们关系良好的企业及银行在他们困难的时候会鼎力相助。然而,当前中国市场的竞争形势日趋激烈,政府鼓励更多的放松管制的同时,政府其自身角色也在悄然发生变化,这一类企业原有的建立在关系基础上的优势就迅速衰退了。企业战略的制定对于一家大型企业而言是必不可少的,而其关键在于构建核心能力以体现差异化,这才是一家企业真正的优势。如何构建公司的核心能力,并使公司在平稳运转的同时可以从竞争者中脱颖而出是一家大型企业的管理者需要考虑的最基本问题。这个问题的本质其实在于如何精心设计内部流程,使企业自主、高效地运转,并且可以将所积累的经验转化成优势,相信海鑫在这方面并没有下太多功夫。

经营企业的本质其实是相同且没有捷径的,需要投入资源以建立可持续发展的能力。对于眼下的钢铁企业,在市场不景气的情况下更需要像沙钢一样,从内部的管理和流程着手,继而掌握产品和市场,由内而外提升企业竞争力。这种竞争力不会迅速在业绩表面上体现,而是企业自身的“硬功夫”。作为一家大型企业,海鑫首先没有设定公司战略及长期路线,在这种情况下公司缺少的是抵御风险和危机的能力;一家大型企业在内部管理资源及能力不足、且无明确战略的情况下,可以引入外部管理资源对企业所缺乏的能力进行弥补,而海鑫的家族企业的特性决定了外部资源难以进入,抑制了海鑫内部发展管理能力。一家企业无论大小,如果不考虑长期战略、能力得不到提升、无法从外部获得发展资源、发展的资金被占用,势必会被突如其来的危机所击垮。

来源:经济观察报

 

Europe’s World | Don’t belittle China’s innovation potential

Ed Tse 2014-09-25

Is China a breeding ground for innovation? Most people wouldn’t say so, as China is so often associated with copycats, restricted freedom of speech, poor protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), rote-learning education and an overbearing state sector. For some or all of these reasons, outsiders tend to see China as lacking the fundamentals for successful innovation.

But this view is simplistic and superficial. Let’s look at two of these so-called reasons in more detail. Lack of IPR protection is a real issue, but it hasn’t stopped innovation from taking place. Over the past decade, there have been many examples of innovation originating from China, both product and technology innovations as well as business model innovations. One can argue that change is still at a snail’s pace, but China’s IPR protection is improving and in recent years there have been cases where foreign companies successfully sued Chinese companies for IPR infringements.

The dominance of the state economy is another often-cited reason inhibiting innovation in China. Yet even the state sector can create innovations. Large scale examples include China’s space programme, its expanding high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-elevation railway (to Tibet), and the world’s fastest supercomputer. The list goes on and is lengthening. These were all developed under the auspices of the state sector. Regardless of what many people say about the Chinese copying or even stealing technology from others, for projects as complex as these, real innovations clearly do exist, and the dominance of the state economy was able to provide ample funding for these advances.

“Despite the state sector’s role so far, most of China’sinnovation will not be coming from there. It will come from the companies oreven individuals who compete in China’s increasingly open economy”

China’s market economy is still developing, and is now slightly over two decades old. This fundamental transformation away from the fully planned economy so deeply ingrained during the Chinese People’s Republic’s first 30 years is still just a small blip in China’s long history, and nothing that we have seen during the last 20 years is by any means perfect. But the forces shaping the future change need to be fully understood, and the direction and speed of their change recognised and appreciated.

Despite the state sector’s role so far, most of China’s innovation will not be coming from there. It will come from the companies or even individuals who compete in China’s increasingly open economy. And that includes both Chinese and foreign private companies as well as state companies. And as more mixed equity enterprises are formed in response to the needs of a competitive market, the lines separating these different kinds of companies will become more blurred than ever. China is undergoing a measured but definite process of deregulation, sector by sector. Not all sectors of the economy will ever be fully deregulated, but the trend is clear.

The size of China’s market and the potential for profits mean that when the government opens up a sector it becomes an arena for some of the world’s most intense competition. This forces companies to be innovative and to create the best products, services and business models to achieve success. There’s also a strong “why not me?” mentality among Chinese entrepreneurs, so when an opportunity arises they tend to give it a try. Some – maybe even most – may fail, but with a population of 1.4bn, even a small percentage of successes is noteworthy and these are going to encourage many others to try their luck. In short, waves of new entrepreneurs in China will be pushing for greater experimentation and more innovation.

Xiaomi, one of China’s leading smartphone players, is an excellent example of an innovative company in a highly competitive industry. Xiaomi’s leader, Lei Jun, understood the power of the Internet and built his company’s business model by “listening to customers” through social media – the concept known as “crowd-sourcing”. Its strategy is working so well that Xiaomi’s revenues grew from zero in 2010 to $5bn in 2013, with the company now reportedly valued at $10bn. The late Steve Jobs at Xiaomi’s U.S. counterpart, Apple, didn’t believe in focus groups because he felt he knew best, but Lei Jun takes the opposite approach, and is convinced that customers will be the best ones to tell him how his products should be designed and how its service model developed. With millions of fans, Lei Jun claims his business model is not to make money from the hardware, but from services.

At a more basic level of innovation, Haier, a leading Chinese white goods manufacturer, quickly gained market awareness and share by introducing a washer capable not only of cleaning clothes but also potatoes. This sprang from a customer claim and is an example of Haier’s “customer centric” management philosophy. Not every Chinese company will be like this, but the market is changing so rapidly that there are major incentives for Chinese companies to be agile, nimble and innovative.

“There’s also a strong “why not me?” mentality among Chineseentrepreneurs, so when an opportunity arises they tend to give it a try”

To successfully breed innovation, a country must be tolerant of mistakes and failures. These failures will include short-lived innovations, but they are part of the process and in fact often further examples of how innovation will be sustained in China. Tencent’s QQ, for example, was a precursor to WeChat, a fast-growing Twitter/WhatsApp type of platform very popular not only in China but internationally too. Although only two years old, WeChat already has over 600m registered subscribers and over 270m active users and the numbers are growing fast. It introduced voice capability before WhatsApp, along with a more recent payment capability that is undercutting China’s dominant incumbent, Alipay of Alibaba.

Telecom operators see WeChat and Sina’s Weibo as competitors because they eat into their own text messaging businesses and the prevalence of the Internet, in particular wireless internet, is fast cutting out traditional distribution methods. Only a few years ago, Gome and Sunning were the dominant retailers through their “bricks-and-mortar” retail stores and today, Sunning is having to quickly transform itself into an “O2O” (Offline to Online) retailer. The same goes for companies like Haier, while many retailers, especially state-owned ones, are looking at how they must revamp their business strategies to remain competitive.

As China’s economic transformation continues, more and more monopolies will be broken down. It’s unlikely that China will become completely deregulated in the near future, but it’s heading in the right direction, and the new government re-affirmed this trajectory at its recent Third Plenum when it was emphasised that market forces will play a “decisive role” in China’s economic development and non-state capital will gain access to more sectors. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are set to remain important, but non-state companies were for the first time put on an equal footing with the SOEs. Experimental free trade zones like that of Shanghai are to be established in more cities across China, and an effort will be made to create economic conditions that are conductive to innovation by entrepreneurial companies, both foreign and state-owned.

China’s unique qualities are its complexity and size. Even a small percentage of successes can be significant in the context of global commerce. Europe and the rest of the world will need to keep a close eye on China’s innovations because as well as threats they will bring with them opportunities.

CEO应是企业文化的直接倡导者

谢祖墀 高风咨询GaoFengAdvisory 2014-09-17

星巴克公司CEO 霍华德 “舒尔茨(Howard Schultz)在他的著作《一路向前:奋力拼搏,并未迷失信仰》中曾有这样的描述:创造一种动人的、谦恭的、互相信任的企业文化并不能一蹴而就,就如同调制一杯最完美的咖啡一样。它融合了目标、过程,以及用心,是一曲必须精心谱写的三重奏。舒尔茨认为,星巴克之所以能够取得如今的成就,与企业员工以及他们培育出的企业文化密不可分。

企业在重塑及应对文化挑战的过程中,CEO应该扮演怎样的角色?我在对不少中国企业进行咨询时,发现企业家们对企业文化建设往往持不同见解。任正非在华为内部一直倡导危机意识,而马云则喜欢向员工描绘美好的“远景”,藉此激发员工的想象力和创造力。透过纷繁的表象,我们不难看到企业家都在结合自身情况,打造相适应的企业文化,使其服务于企业战略目标的实现,进而改变千千万万人的生活。

塑造企业文化的做法和原则归纳起来有四点:一是营造具有积极影响的危机感;二是选取少数关键行为,同时企业家以身作则宣扬正确的行为理念;三是利用“标准从严、与人从宽”的理性和感性影响力,将公司带向新的方向;四是对关键元素保持警觉,以让公司的文化特质得以长期传承。

■ 营造积极影响的危机感

管理者常常认为危机可以刺激高效的企业文化,这个观点背后的逻辑是安于现状的公司只有面对危机才能奋进;但此逻辑与经验和常识相悖。试想人们在真正面对危机的时候会怎样做?他们会逃避。在公司经营中,逃避的方式包括:停止营业、关闭工厂、应付媒体和投资者,或者其他止损方式。

其实,CEO应当营造真实的危机感,而不仅仅是基于逻辑上认为必须改变而创造的危机感。因此,他们应该营造的是一种聚焦在企业整体非常看重的价值上的、情感上的危机感。这些价值包括服务客户的方式,对成长和成功的渴望,对集体的积极影响,以及员工们在入职之初就能感受到的吸引力和热情欢迎。很多优秀的企业都已经把危机意识作为了企业文化的一部分,以鞭策企业员工不断追求卓越。例如海尔创始人张瑞敏形容自己“如履薄冰”,鞭策自己勤奋和葆有制定战略的警惕性;比尔 “盖茨多次提出“微软离破产永远只有18个月”来告诫自己的管理层。

■ 企业家以身作则树立榜样

为了使员工能真正消化企业所提倡的文化精髓,CEO需要选取能彰显企业和企业文化最佳之处的少数关键行为。这些行为一般很微小,但显而易见且重复性高,它们标志着公司当前的动向。例如,四季酒店一直宣传一个故事:一名客人在酒店就餐时寄存了一件衣服,服务人员发现衣服少了一颗纽扣;当客人就餐完时,发现衣服已经钉好了纽扣。通过对正确行为的宣传,能有效促进员工消化文化精髓。

需要强调的是,CEO作为企业的领导者必须以身作则。员工们不仅会留意CEO的言语,还会格外关注他们的举手投足。您最好能协同其他高层领导人,带头向全新的行为方式转变,在保存现有文化元素的同时彰显出文化调整中的关键变化。金宝汤(Campbell Soup)公司CEO道格拉斯 “科南特(Douglas Conant)虽然不善言辞,却通过每天坚持在公司总部园区跑步的方式,在员工中倡导健康生活的文化理念,这就是用实际行动潜移默化地影响企业文化。另外一些企业家,他们是很好的演说家,为企业描绘美好的前景,激发员工的创造激情。没有一种做法是绝对完美的,领导者应建立适合自己的领导风格。

■ 理性和感性影响力

在建构经营战略或行动实例时,将高层领导的理性观点和令人信服的个人层面感性诉求结合是非常重要的。任何一方的缺失都无法维持企业文化与之相辅相成。企业高层一方面应该建立良好的工作标准和绩效激励机制保证所倡导文化的有效执行,另一方面还必须充分利用情感力量把公司带入新的方向。

对大多数商业领袖而言,建立令人信服的理性观点通常比建立令人信服的感性诉求要容易。但因为人们直观的视角与同事的社交支持,感性能量能在私人关系网和常规渠道外的跨组织互动中传播的力量强大。在之前金宝汤公司启动的全面改革中,道格拉斯 “科南特意识到不得不将350名公司高管中缺乏必要技能的300多名替换掉。经过多次讨论和私下谈话,他依然坚持执行这个决定。但他给予那些离开的员工高度的尊重,并为他们提供公司力所能及的帮助。“就算是在那段可怕的时期,”他事后回忆时说道,“我们的员工敬业度评分反而上升了。”

■ 恒久保持警觉延续企业文化

在许多伟大的组织中,文化警惕的接力棒在各届CEO间传承。优秀的公司非常重视文化精髓的代代传承。3M公司在过去40年间平均每五年更换一次CEO,却保留了公司创新文化的精髓:“雇佣最好的员工,让他们以自己的方式工作,并容忍错误。”每位首席执行官都会慎重地保持公司的基础文化特质完整稳定,同时辅助企业应对竞争与市场环境的新动态。联想公司创始人柳传志提出“新人入联想必须入模子,不能有人不遵守”。保持文化特质是企业核心竞争力的一部分。

从担任CEO的第一天,你作为文化领导人的角色就开始了,直至卸任为止。即使在离任后,CEO对正确文化行为的长期强调还是会长久地发挥影响力。这也是为什么许多CEO将建立企业文化作为他们的首要任务,企业文化将成为他们本身在企业中最佳的延续。

【来源】《管理学家》杂志2014年04月刊

 

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中国真的失去魅力了吗?

谢祖墀 高风咨询GaoFengAdvisory 2014-09-17

《经济学人》2014年1月25日杂志的封面故事是《中国失去了魅力》(China Loses ItsAllure)。该文章的主题是:在过去三十年里,大量外资跨国公司来到中国进行投资,在2008 年金融危机之后,不少跨国公司甚至将中国看成救世主,但现在这个淘金热可能已成过去。
这篇文章列举了跨国公司在中国面临问题的几个主要原因。第一是中国经济的放缓和成本的不断上升,尤其是年轻员工的工资。第二是不少行业仍对外资不完全开放,外资很难进入;加之近期中国政府的一些举措诸如反腐、信息安全等都对一些外资公司构成了很多不便和不快。第三是竞争的白热化;本土企业的崛起对许多外资企业构成了新的竞争威胁。这些原因引致一些外资企业决定退出中国市场,另一些仍然留在中国市场的外资企业则发现他们的业绩出现了明显的倒退。此外,该文章指出,跨国公司已经发现不该将中国看作单一市场。中国幅员辽阔,地域之间差异甚大,所以往往需要根据不同市场的需要来发展适当的战略和具体操作方式。文章总结说,中国仍然蕴含着巨大的机会,但中国市场的黄金时代已经过去。外国公司必须提高他们的生产力,改善治理,以及满足本土市场的“口味”和需求。这篇文章受到了不少外资企业高管、中国政府官员和其他市场从业者的关注,在互联网上也被大量转发。对外资而言,中国市场是否已经失去吸引力?我认为,这主要得看对什么类型的企业而言,以及企业的发展战略如何。我更相信,对一些跨国企业来说,中国是越来越有魅力!
自从1992年邓小平先生南巡讲话之后,中国对外开放的速度快速增加且规模大幅增大。外资在中国进行的投资不断增加,对中国经济的重要性亦逐渐越来越重要。外资普遍带来了资金、技术、管理方法、商业模式和人力培训方式等。在改革初期,外资普遍认为中国是一个潜力庞大的市场,但需要时间和精力来开发,大部分外资都愿意在中国市场进行投资。
经过了二十多年的发展,外资跨国公司在中国的发展已经开始壁垒分明。对不少跨国公司来说,中国已经成为他们全球最重要的市场,或最重要市场之一。最经典的例子应该是肯德基,该公司全球超过一半的营业额和利润都来自于中国。其他类似的例子包括苹果公司、通用汽车、大众、宝马等。同时,亦有不少企业来过中国,在中国尝试了,而最后他们决定退出中国;较著名的例子包括百思买、美泰、MediaMart、eBay 等。外资企业在中国发展的结果如此悬殊,其原因何在?
一些外资公司来中国最大的问题,就是以为中国与他们国际上其他的市场是一样的。他们认为在全球其他市场能站稳脚跟,所以在中国应该同样能够做到。所以他们一般都会倾向将他们的全球业务模式直接带到中国来,用英语来说,这就是所谓的plugand play。吊诡的是,越是在其他市场成功的企业,他们越有信心将他们惯用的业务模式带到中国来。可是许多外资来了之后就发现,原来中国市场环境比其他国际市场更为复杂,本来的业务模式最多只能进入中国整个市场的一小部分,一般只是客户群或产品金字塔的顶端,与许多企业CEO本来预期的中国14亿人口的市场规模有很大的差距。更甚者,一些在国外可行的业务模式来到中国根本行不通,最经典的案例就是美国家得宝(HomeDepot)。家得宝的商业模式是依赖顾客自己亲手在家里组装家具,就是所谓DIY(Do it yourself)。可是一般的中国家居消费者都没此习惯,家得宝在中国的业务当然就裹足不前。
我认为跨国公司失误的原因是他们的“傲慢”DNA。他们在全球发展的时候,不少企业相当顺利,他们的产品、服务、品牌和业务模式往往在许多国家都能占领有利的阵地。不少这样的企业就逐渐形成了一种自信心,以为他们到什么国家、在什么市场都有较大成功的机率。可是中国的市场给许多这样的企业上了一课。中国一方面于过去二十多年来有着极快的经济发展,另一方面却展示了极为复杂、快速改变和经常模棱两可的经营环境。这种环境缘于四个原因:市场经济和计划经济的交错;有长远历史文明同时却只有60年共和国历史及只有20多年的市场经济;同时兼备了国有经济、私营经济、外资企业和混合制经济的经济体系:原本固步自封的政治体,逐渐与全球政治结合。再加上中国本身幅员广阔、人口众多、地方差距庞大使得许多外资企业没法轻易适应。在经历五年、十年甚至更长的时间尝试之后,一部分外资企业才开始意识到,要在中国市场取得成功,他们必须改变原有的对待中国市场的态度,从傲慢转为谦虚,愿意接受中国的差异之处并虚心学习。只有具备了适当的态度和思维方式,一些跨国公司才能发展出一套适合中国市场的战略并有效地将它落地。没有这样的洗礼,跨国公司在中国要取得持续成功是比较困难的。
中国真的失去魅力了吗?对一些已经尝试了失败并决定退出中国市场的跨国公司来说,这可能是说对了。但是对于在中国市场已经找对了方向,制定了有效的发展战略和组织、人才,更重要的是已经具备了适当的心态和思维方式的跨国公司,中国将能提供更多、甚至于无限的机会。巨大的市场、快速的发展、逐步放宽的管制、技术的进步、移动互联网的普及、创意的涌现、激烈的竞争和井喷的企业家数量和精神将会使中国更有魅力,更能成为孕育新一代企业领袖的沃土。
【来源】《管理学家》杂志2014年03月刊

传统战略理论已经过时

读完MBA课程的人都修读过一些企业战略理论,这些理论的发明至今远则三、四十年前,近则十多年。应该说,每一种理论的出现都有其背景,当这些背景情况已经改变的时候,我们需要重新审视这些理论的可行性。

在诸多战略理论中,迈克尔·波特(Michael Porter)的五力模型可能是最经典和广为人接受的。波特认为,一家企业如要取得持续成功,必须在所处行业中寻找到最有利的地位,而当你找到有利地位之后,你的竞争对手就不会战胜你了。波特的理论风靡一时,因为他是第一个将主宰行业竞争状况系统性地描述出来的第一人。他的理论不但影响了大量企业CEO们和他们制定战略的思考方法,同时在全球各MBA课程里,波特教授的理论更是必修课。波特理论有其前瞻性和系统性,但它是建基于几个重要的假设:每一个企业都是处于某一个行业的;该行业的界定是清晰的;同时行业的界定是不会改变的,包括它内面的竞争对手;企业战略是简单的,只有三种类型,成本领先战略、差异性战略和聚焦战略。简单来说波特的理论是“定位论”的鼻祖。

1960年代是企业战略发展的新时代。波士顿咨询公司(BCG)创始人布鲁斯·亨德森(Bruce Henderson)发表了几篇对企业引起了巨大震撼力的文章,在其中一篇里他提出了现在人们称为BCG矩阵的理论。他利用行业的增长速度和企业于该行业的相对市场占用率来将企业的业务组合进行了识别,将业务分为四种类型:现金牛、小狗、明星和问题点。BCG矩阵于六十年代在西方企业界产生了巨大回响,这种新观念亦同时为BCG业务提供了极快的增长,将传统的咨询对手杀了个措手不及。不过,正如波特理论,BCG矩阵亦是建基于一个简单的假设:行业、企业、竞争对手都是静态的,业务的吸引力和竞争力用行业增长速度和相对市场占用率两个简单维度便能充分描述这个业务对企业的重要性。

1990年,两个芝加哥大学管理学教授加里.哈默尔(Gary Hamel)和普拉哈拉德C.K Prahalad在《哈佛商业评论》发表了《公司的核心竞争力》(The Core Competence of the Corporation)。作者提出了核心竞争力的概念,认为企业的成功来自于其核心竞争力。他们对核心竞争力的定义有三个要素:能够为公司进入多个市场提供方便;应当对最终商品为客户带来的可感知价值有重大贡献;竞争对难以模仿。在差不多同一时间,BCG的两位合伙人斯托克(George Stalk)和埃文斯(Philip Evans)发表了《以能力来竞争》(Competing on Capabilities)。作者的概念与哈默和普拉哈拉德的“核心竞争力”雷同,认为企业的持续成功来自企业已建立的内部能力,而战略的精华在于它能否以动应变,从而确立并形成一种他人难以仿效的组织能力。他们提出来了基于能力竞争的四项基本原则:企业战略的基本因素不是产品和市场而是业务流程;要竞争成功就须将公司的主要业务流程化为战略能力,能够不断为顾客提供超值服务;公司获取这些能力是要靠对其基础设施投资,以将传统的战略业务单位及其功能联系起来;由于这种能力是跨职能的,所以基于能力的战略需要得到CEO的全力支持。斯托克和埃文斯以沃尔玛为案列来阐述了企业能力的重要性。按他们的分析,沃尔玛之所以能够做到“每天低价”,是缘于他们有效的供应链管理能力,而这套能力的背后是其IT信息系统能力。这个案例成为经典管理案例,被许多人经常引用来说明能力的重要性。

在过去20多年里,“核心竞争力”抑或“能力”理论几乎支配了整个企业界,尤其是欧美国家企业界。从这理论衍生出的一个重要推论是:企业应该聚焦(focus),不应做太多不相关的业务。这种聚焦观点在当时欧美社会产生了很大的回响。之前不少企业集团式经营(conglomerate),几乎什么都做,业绩各有优劣,但往往当集团规模超过了某个临界点时,集团业绩就会有问题。在能力理论出现之后,不少集团开始进行重组,将业务分析、整合、整顿,成为1990年代欧美企业发展的重要趋势。

到今天,能力理论在企业界还有很大市场。当许多学者和管理顾问还在大力推销能力理论的同时,全球的商业社会正在快速地转变。随着全球一体化的形成,移动互联网的高速发展和普及,和个人认为最重要的因素 ——中国的崛起——已经大大改变了商业世界。在快速增长的市场里,诸如中国或美国硅谷,企业家们和创业家们不断地涌现。他们擅长于在看到(或预测到)未来的市场机会时,在考虑是否应该在目前企业的能力基础上,做适当的伸展(stretch)来争取这些新的机会。在快速增长的市场里,新的市场机会往往是以非线性、突破性出现的。要抓住这些新的机会,企业很少已经会具备所有所需的能力。成功的企业家往往能够做出适当的判断,尝试在目前能力的基础上伸展,以及跳过去。阿里巴巴在这方面就是佼佼者,在过去15年的发展过程中,马云和他的支持者能在不同的折点上,做出此种选择,以及成功地跳跃过去。从B2B到C2C,到淘宝、天猫、支付宝等等都是依赖这种思维和做法赖以成功的。

在中国许多企业家都经历了这些实践的发展路径,在不知不觉中其实他们已经实践了一套新的企业战略理念,比传统西方的静态定位论和能力理论优胜得多。可是目前还没有人将这些不同的实践经验归纳成一套信的管理理论。这需要企业界与学者、咨询界共同探讨。

【来源】《管理学家》杂志2014年05月刊

 

雾霾吓跑人才?

谢祖墀 高风咨询GaoFengAdvisory 2014-09-11

作为世界第二大经济体,中国取得了公认的成就并创造出大量机会。2013年,中国GDP增速达7.8%,虽然较2012年稍有回落,但依然在世界几大经济体中名列第一。近年来多家中国国有企业公开招聘海外高管,吸引了众多海外人才,其中除了华人以外还有外籍人士。中国主权投资基金中投公司成立之初,便在全球招聘人才,世界各地的应聘者络绎不绝。相比国企,民营企业决策灵活,为高管开出的薪酬更具吸引力,因此不少海内外高级人才投靠到民企帐下,这也为民企在近几年来的爆发式成长提供了优秀的智力支持。值得一提的是,伴随着当今移动通讯和互联网的热潮,中国涌现出一批创业者。与以前那些做投机生意或者靠政府关系创业的人不同的是,如今的创业者很多都是懂技术、懂管理的优秀人才,其中不少人有海外留学、工作背景,甚至还有在海外担任高管。在这些中国创业者中不乏外籍人士。

但是,在经济高速发展的同时,中国的环境问题日益严峻。空气污染严重,空气中有害物质远远高于国际健康标准,与国际上同类城市相比,中国城市的空气质量确实糟糕。以北京为代表的中国北方地区是空气污染的重灾区。中国社科院发布的首部《全球环境竞争力报告(2013)》显示,在2012年环境竞争力排行上,中国在133个国家中位列第87位。其中,在生态环境竞争力方面中国排名第124;在空气质量方面中国排名第132。衡量空气污染程度的关键指标,即细颗粒物(PM2.5)、氮氧化物和二氧化硫排放量,中国排名分别为129,132,131位。以PM2.5为例:世卫组织(WTO)PM2.5国际标准为24小时小于25微克,而北京PM2.5长期在24小时100微克以上,顶峰时值超过500微克。污染不仅给国家形象带来负面影响,还削弱了中国的国家竞争力。近一两年来出现了一些因环境污染导致的人才流失现象。一些高学历、高技术、高净值的本土以及海外人才离开中国。同时,我们也看到国外一些人才因为担心污染而不愿意来中国。

面对环境的恶化以及人才的流失趋势,政府已经意识到环境污染的严重性和改善环境的迫切性,并且已经采取了很多措施。今年三月份,李克强总理在政府工作报告中提出“向污染宣战”,表明了政府在解决环境问题上的决心。这是一方面的努力,同时,多数外国企业和个人还是选择在中国把握发展的机遇。根据国家外国专家局的数据,2003年全年来到中国的外国专家约有613,000人,其中有超过60%的专家在中国大陆工作时间超过三个月。美国皮尤研究中心的一项调查表明,绝大多数外国人认可中国在经济方面不断提升的领导地位,以及中国对跨国企业和全球人才的吸引力。尽管中国目前劳动力成本和其他生产成本都有明显上升,但是跨国企业在中国的利润率依然较其他地区高。更重要的是,面对中国独一无二的市场容量和巨大需求,无论是中国本土企业,还是跨国企业都面临很多机会。奥迪汽车从1986年开始进入中国与中国一汽进行合作,在2005年成为奥迪在德国以外的全球第三大市场,2007年成为中国市场上首个实现年销量超过十万辆的高档汽车品牌,奥迪在中国获得了巨大的成功和影响力。诸如此类的案例比比皆是。

我们认为能不能吸引人才、留住人才,关键还是跨国企业自身是不是具备足够的吸引力。

首先要看企业所处的行业景气度和企业在该行业领域里的影响力。如今,在全球范围内互联网和高科技行业具备很高的成长性、行业景气度高、企业利润率高,这类企业正在吸引着全球大量的人才,而行业中的领头羊,诸如谷歌(Google),亚马逊(Amazon),思科(Cisco)等更是人才争先进入的理想企业。2013年,小米成功招揽谷歌(Google)全球副总裁,Android产品部门副总裁雨果·巴拉(Hugo Barra)。相反,传统的制造和加工业对人才的吸引力显得弱了很多。

其次,企业的战略是否清晰、合理。企业战略清晰、合理能够使人们看清楚公司的发展前景以及员工的职业前景,从而提供一个明确可见又可实现的未来蓝图。

第三,领导者的素质和领导力水平影响人才决定是否为其效力。领导者要在工作设计上赋予人才更多的权利,让其充分发挥。传统的领导者,尤其是亚洲领导者倾向于规则、层级以及领导的权威和下级的服从,而如今的领导力水平更应体现在鼓励和引导参与,注重内部共识、团队建设和沟通。

第四,跨国企业全球总部对中国公司的重视程度和支持力度决定了中国公司的发展希望和管理者们的职业前途。中国公司在跨国企业全球布局中的重要地位吸引海内外的人才聚集,而企业总部在中国公司的大量管理投入、资金投入、研发投入等势必会为中国公司的员工提供良好的职业发展空间和机会。以戴姆勒(Daimler)为例,旗下的梅赛德斯奔驰于1986年就进入中国,2006年将地区总部搬至北京,标志着其进一步强化中国业务,如今中国市场在不断投入下成为其全球最大市场和利润来源。在中国的十多年来吸引了众多本土以及海外人才加盟,同时通过中国这块跳板获得更好的职业机会的高级管理人员数不胜数,现任戴姆勒股份公司董事长兼CEO、梅赛德斯奔驰汽车集团总裁的蔡澈(Dieter Zetsche)就是出自其中国市场。i

【来源】《管理学家》杂志2014年07月刊