Market Charm and Design Challenges: Ben Tsiang
EVP Product Development, SINA.com
Ben Tsiang co-founded SINANET.com, the largest Chinese website in North America and the precursor of SINA.com. He has served as Vice President of Global Products, in charge of product integration and strategic planning with SINA's localized web sites worldwide; General Manager of SINA Taiwan; GM of SINA East China; and GM of SINA Mobile. Mr. Tsiang was appointed to his current role of Executive Vice President of Product Development and GM of SINA Online in November 2003. He graduated from National Taiwan University and received a master's degree from Stanford University.
Ben spoke of the Chinese market for design. He made a very interesting observation that one of the big challenges now in China is not rapid growth, but rational growth.
Social change is a big characteristic of the Internet there, since it is collapsing the gaps between Chinese regions and their distinctive and different cultures.
One of the interesting phenomenon is the “panda” culture—the fact that, since national policy limits families to one child, those children are considered very “precious” and are given everything.
Ben outlined big trends:
- From information centric to entertainment centric (technology)
- From the import killer to local content (software)
- From a geo-target to a generation-target (customer)
- From sales-driven to product-driven (marketing and innovation)
- From a single device to digital convergence
- From an international business model to a new paradigm
Ben offered some "rules of thumb" for participation in the Chinese market:
- Gear your designs toward upcoming fashions and pay attention to local context and symbols
- Catch the theme-based economy
- Develop content with locals
- Have great crisis handling talents
- Have a highly adaptive organization