Friday, May 19, 2006

News cencorship in China??

Everyday when you flip through pages of newspapers. If you ever encounter news about China, or at least with reference to China, almost certainly you can see some negative references to this country. This has become common and in fact habit of the media, not limited to western media. No doubt we all agree China has a lot to improve, be it economy, social and politics. What about the positive sides of China?

 

People like to talk about censored news by the communist government, abuse of falun gong apprentices, bribe of power broker, etc. Anything you can imagine what an evil can do and the media will apply this template to their news, and never forget to point their fingers to this “Middle Kingdom”.

 

Why censor news? That’s definitely not a good practice, and for sure you’ll be blamed for not giving freedom of speech to your people. But has anyone thought of the other side of the story? Because a lot of the foreign news tends to be bias and always make false claims. Education is not widely common in China yet, people who have access to foreign media though the internet could easily spread a rumour to the remote area where education and common infrastructure is either not accessible or limited. This could potentially sparks a widespread fear and unsettle situation, in turn lead to breakout chaos. In China about 1 billion people live in out of city, and tend to believe rumours. Imagine a society with 1 billion unsettling people that could easily disrupt community order and peace, and that is what we call RIOT.

 

If you live at the other end of the world, you can choose not to worry (unless you have significant investment in China), but some politicians at the other end of the world might enjoy it. Well, I am not arguing the government is definitely right practicing news censorship, and I do oppose it. But I understand why they choose to do it, and could only hope things will improve, and hopefully effective measures to be taken to resolve this. But I guess it would be a huge challenge.

 

Let’s talk about the abuse of falun gong apprentice next time. But I would like to say abusing is definitely unacceptable, by the way, what is the evidence?

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lenovo to cut jobs worldwide

News from a China website has confirmed Lenovo will make 1000 employees redundant mainly from Asia-Pacific, America & Europe. This is part of the restructure plan going through rigorously in Lenovo. The aim of the restructure is to cut expenses and improve efficiency.

 

Lenovo has about 21,400 employees around the world, cutting 1000 jobs represent 5% of its human resources. It is worth to note the jobs cutting don¿t come cheap, with an estimated price tag of USD100mil. But Lenovo could save up to USD250mil per year after the restructure. Of the 21,400 employees working for Lenovo, about 10,000 came from the IBM PC division when Lenovo bought the business off IBM.

 

It vendors worldwide have pricing pressure. Cost cutting exercise becomes a common strategy to ease the pressure while improving margin.

 

Lenovo has been the IT sponsor of the Turin Winter Olympics. They claimed to have zero fault rate.

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Strategy 2: Solve ones problem by creating opponent a problem

The original quote of this strategy is �Surround Wei to rescue Zhao�.

Some thousand years ago, China was split into several states. Two of the states, Wei and Zhao were in war. Wei has launched a major invasion on Zhao in a situation where Wei has absolute advantage in the size of army and cutting-edge weapons. This had left the state of Zhao in no chance to survive and defending herself. While a request for rescue signal arrives another state called Chu, the generals of Chu clearly aware the power of the army of Wei. The wise men in Chu decided not to face the invading army of Wei directly. Instead, army of Chu has been sent to surround the land of Wei. In the end, the invading army of Wei gave up the plan to attack Zhao, and turn back to protect its own land being surrounded by Chu.

So what was the lesson? Wei asked Chu to help defending Zhao�s invasion. Chu has helped by invading Zhao instead of sending defensive forces to Wei directly. The result was Chu had rescued Zhao without sacrificing her army in the face of strong Wei. The logic behind Chu solving the problem of Zhao (in this case, invasion by Zhao) is to create a problem for opponent (in this case, surround land of Wei with army).

The pre-requisite to this strategy is to identify the weakness of opponents or what matters most to opponent. In previous example, because Wei launched a massive invasion on Zhao, leaving her own land guarded with thin defensive force. Chu had been very smart to realize this weakness and fully utilize it to solve the crisis.

I guess what we could learn from here is when you have a tough competitor, instead of fighting your competitor�s stronghold, seek alternative battlefield. The new battlefield will be critical but not heavily guarded. The same principle applies to the modern business world. There will always be an organization putting a lot of resources focusing a particular market. This could be a product market or geographical market. Tackling an alternative to competitor�s focus always yield better result with less effort. A lot of companies could not avoid competing in the core market eventually leads to rigorous price-cutting war.

 



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IT job in China: Test Engineer in demand

The latest report released by relevant authority reveal China is in great demand of test engineers. Skill shortage of 200,000 test engineers has started to take toll on the industry. The shortage is expected to persist for at least 5 to 10 years. Organizations in China currently at 1:1 ratio of test against R&D engineers. Overseas IT industry usually has more test engineers than R&D engineers. Most test engineers with one or two years experience in China currently paid between RMB6000 and RMB8000.

 

According to the report, a lot of job seekers apply for the role of software test engineers but hiring body expressed the concern of applicants not qualifying criteria. In fact, China is still experiencing a shortage of highly skilled engineers.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Strategy 1: Act in openness with your actual intention hidden

The original quote is "Deceive the sky to cross the ocean". But it doesn't give much meaning in direct translation.

If used in military, this strategy usually toggles a strike attack. In the event of military actions, strike attack proves to be extremely effective in quickly demolishing opponent¿s possible defense ability. Needless to say, the pre-requisite to an absolute surprising strike attack is to ensure opponent is not prepared to defense your attack. Here is where this strategy plays a role in.

One who uses this strategy to launch a surprising attack will still need to make an effort to act in openness. Many neglected the importance of "deceiving". For example, one could pretend no interest or plan of launching an attack, misleading opponent to drop their guard. When opportunity comes, secretly gather force and launch a major attack on thin defense. It might be too late by the time opponent is aware of the severe situation.

This is very common in the modern business world. A lot of companies have their own secret R&D lab, constantly come out with new products that could startle competitors. By the time competitors started to realize the profitable opportunity of this product, the only thing they can do is catching up instead of leading the industry. It's worthwhile to note that before these pioneers really come out with its profitable products, they often compete in a different area of the business. A company could openly compete in an industry with price-cutting and aggressive marketing while its R&D working frantically to come out with products or services that could forever change the rules of game in the industry.

An investment arm could openly talk about the property bubble about to burst in Shanghai , on the other hand putting out truckloads of money to grab a huge share of property portfolio while property owner is under-pricing in a bid to quickly sell off their properties before the bubble burst. Eventually, the intention to grab a huge share a bargain price is nicely hidden.

While this strategy is similar to strategy 6, the fundamental difference of strategy 1 is you could act openly not to do it but in fact doing it secretly. Strategy 6 users usually display to do in a way while actually doing it in another way. More will be discussed later.

Hope you are not confused :-)

List of 36 Strategies

Strategy 1: Act in openness with your actual intention hidden

Strategy 2: Solve ones problem by creating opponent a problem

Strategy 3: Execute a decision using others’ hands

Strategy 4: Exhaust opponents while conserving energy

Strategy 5: Take advantage from chaos

Strategy 6: Pretend and hide your real intention

Strategy 7: Insult with false claims

Strategy 8: Reveal minor to disguise major plan

Strategy 9: Stay away from troubles and observe carefully

Strategy 10: Easing opponent’s alert by expressing friendliness

Strategy 11: Willing to make small sacrifice in exchange of huge benefits

Strategy 12: Benefit yourself at the expense of others quietly

Strategy 13: Prevent from raising or toggling opponent’s alert or protection

Strategy 14: Make a return using others’ strength

Strategy 15: Divert the attention of a strong opponent

Strategy 16: Demoralize opponents by encouraging escape

Strategy 17: Disguise the small cost to entice opponent’s big cost.

Strategy 18: Focus to defeat the leader instead of the whole army

Strategy 19: Shaky foundation reduces opponent’s strength

Strategy 20: Gain advantage without opponent’s notice

Strategy 21: Disguise the intention to retreat

Strategy 22: Completely remove opponent’s strength if possible

Strategy 23: Focus on the immediate opponent instead of taking all at a time

Strategy 24: Form an ally that will further strengthen your way to success

Strategy 25: Make opponent’s advantage into a weakness

Strategy 26: Don’t insult strong opponent directly

Strategy 27: Mask your ability and motivation, allow opponent to underestimate you.

Strategy 28: Leave no trace for others to follow your success formula

Strategy 29: Fully utilize ally’s strength

Strategy 39: Strive to gain decision-making power at the expense of current decision maker

Strategy 31: Entice opponent’s greed

Strategy 32: Pretend you have a trap setup

Strategy 33: Setup a trap for opponent’s spy

Strategy 34: Self-injure to gain opponent’s trust or reduce opponent’s alert

Strategy 35: Spread negative effect to inflexible opponents’ allies

Strategy 36: Leave the game while you can

 

The Art of 36 Strategy

The art of 36 strategy forms part of the wisdom of ancient Chinese. Some have thought this is Sun Tzu¿s Art of War. Indeed some of the stories in this ancient collection of strategy actually happened hundred of years after Sun Tzu¿s era.

Regardless, anyone who is interested to know more about ancient Chinese wisdom in strategy wouldn¿t want to miss this piece of collection too. As indicated by its name, the art of 36 strategy has 36 chapters. A lot of publication comes out with 36 direct translations of its titles, making it hard to understand and deter the motivation to explore further. Therefore, I have included interpreted title on every translated title, in the hope to make it more accessible to native English speaker.

Please note this is not just the art of war, but it requires understanding to be applicable to modern society and your daily life. In the subsequent writing I will try to explain each and every strategy in plain language.

I would also like to stress my purpose to write these topics. I spent so much of my time learning English language, indirectly absorbing the western culture, undeniably differs from the oriental culture. Personally, I perceive this to be an enriching process, expanding the scope of knowledge would definitely do no harm to oneself. Along this enriching process, I respect and appreciate the differences between cultures, and indeed benefit from it. Regrettably, given the improved utility an accessibility of internet and communication technology, some has misused the tool and spread harmful arguments against others. For example, Sun Tzu is a respected figure inChina, writing a book with an insulting title on Sun Tzu is an absolutely shameful action. Insulting others is no different to self-insulting. We respect others because we self-respect, we don¿t insult others because we are not in the stupidity of self-insult. Ultimately, my purpose of presenting these articles is to promote mutual respect and understanding. I would highly appreciate if you could agree with me on this.Technorati Tags : , , , ,

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

China Yuan Appreciates!

The Chinese currency Monday strengthened to below 8 against the US dollar for the first time since last July's revaluation.Technorati Tags : , ,