I will agree. Even Chinese work at the same hours we do. Company could afford 2-3 engineers with the same pay here, which is equivalent to 2 to 3x more work of the same pay. Innovation is only way to keep us ahead. Without innovation, we are doomed.
Great story Junko, and thanks for including the photos. The photos really give the sense that a startup in China isn't necessarily so different from one in California -- except perhaps for the sleeping bag!
Thanks, Frank. I actually really enjoyed visiting this company -- despite everyone spoke little English (Jiantang brought in a friend of his who speaks English), the company is full of energy and faith in "Huawei" way. Jiantang enthusiastically gave me the tour of the whole company (not big, but they just moved into a new office, which just happens to be across the street from ARM China). This reminded me how a startup CEO used to give me a tour in Silicon Valley.
Sleeping and work around the clock is not an odd story in China. Many companies, not only startups, are having 8 to 10 working hours and informally 6 days work week (although legally they should all be regarded as 5 day workweek).
Another great article Junko! My hats off to you. The interesting part about the Chinese is the customer service...or rather customer devotion. What western society would term as an abusive customer relationship is actually taken in as a customer right. Make no mistake of it, customer is #1 is a way of life for most and however crazy the request is, will be performed with minimal questioning or resistance. The key here is do everything to get the customer hooked on you and your products ASAP.
Hi Junko, surprisingly the customer devotion is not only with Awinic. You will see it in most companies there in China. Even multinational companies with headquarters in the US look into the local talent to give it somehow bridge the customer needs. I remember when I was in a meeting with my former company in China, from our office window one would see the customer building across the block. EVERYTIME our sales people would mention the customer name, they would all turn their gaze to the customer building like they were being watched. The basics is, you got the money and the business for us...you have all our attention...
Very illustrative story especially with pictures having sleeping bag behind. Lots of electronic companies in Asia having this culture. And it is a norm the bosses would expect engineers to stay back or come over during weekends without any extra compensation. I have heard stories of Huwei engineers committing suicide due to the imbalance in the work life.
The commitment to quality customer service around the clock is impressive - especially in an era in which too much customer service is deflected to useless online FAQ pages and uninformed "support" staff who promise to call back and never do. The one remaining step is to ensure employee quality of life and work-life balance. Perhaps rotating coverage schedules could help.
Great Story, Junko. I remember whenever I have to deal with companies in Asia, I have to work odd hours too. Work week typical starts from Sunday 6:00PM PST to Saturday 8:00AM PST. Talking to them on the phone, answering email so that they can move forward quicker instead of waiting for my decision for a while day. On the other hands, some of them do the same. They would respond to my email in the middle of the day California time. Your story confirms align my observation a couple years back. I believe the new Asian work style is efficiency and work life balance.
I think the notion of many Americans that Chinese are "Only hard work and no innovation" is slowly proving wrong. All the Asian countries -China and India included have people full of innovative ideas and they also implement those ideas - these things are called "Jugaads" in India and I do not know the Chinese word for it.
So never underestimate the hidden power.
The fanatical devotion to customer service comes as no surprise. I read an article in a business journal a while back dealing with doing business in China, and how Americans needed to adjust their thinking. Like, a US executive who wanted to do a joint venture with a Chinese company might find himself doing things like having tea with the Chinese CEO well before actual business was discussed, and bringing up business at that point would be a fatal error. The Chinese CEO was thinking long term about the relationship that would be involved, and wanted to know "Do I get along with this guy? Are our personalities compatible? Would I be comfortable entering into a long term business relationship with him?" Only if he decided the answer was "Yes", would he then be interested in discussing the specifics of the deal.
When I think of the number of US joint ventures and acquisitions that have foundered on incompatible personalities between principals and incompatible corporate cultures, I think the Chinese may have a point.
Awinic is devoted to building that long term relationship, and fanatical customer service as a way to do that.