Jan 07

China Watch Blog has learnt that the US Senate has approved Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the US Federal Reserve by a vote of 56 to 26, something which comes as no surprise as the financial industry was abuzz with this news since last year. She’s the first woman to lead the US central bank in its century-long history.

Ms Yellen has long focused on fighting unemployment and backed the Federal Reserve’s recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and huge bond purchases.

She will begin her four-year term on February 1, replacing Ben Bernanke, who’s held the job for eight years. Janet Yellen has been Fed vice chair since 2010.

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Dec 16

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Jul 20

China Watch Blog has learnt that people’s fear of sales and marketing, which has long been viewed as a mysterious art, is unfounded.

According to Richard White, founder and Chief Executive Officer of WiseTech Global, if there’s one thing all companies struggle to measure, it’s the relationship between marketing and sales, and how these business units affect new revenue creation.

“We all know that there’s a connection, but actually tracking a prospect from the time they know nothing about you through to the point where they are a revenue-generating customer, who is happy to recommend your services, continues to be a challenge.

“Part of the problem is sales staff and their work methods,” White explains.

It’s in their interests to wave their hands mysteriously, and suggest their innate skills and talents are the secrets of their success, and the way most businesses operate ensures that it remains in their interest to behave in this way. Their success is measured based on how much new business each sales person wins, and little attention is paid to the amount of business they have lost, or failed to win on the way. Even less attention is paid to the contribution made by brand, the product itself, price or all the other inputs which ultimately affect the outcome.

Because we don’t ultimately know what contributes to success and failure, it becomes impossible to learn from what we’re already doing. It therefore also becomes impossible to improve. Failure is always put down to outside influences, while success is ascribed to the mysterious talents of the sales person.

The other part of the problem is the way most companies remunerate sales staff. They’re usually paid on a very narrow measure of personal success, with no reference to what the organization achieves overall. Little attempt is made to track their day-to-day activities, interactions with customers, or the correlation between marketing and sales. As a result, we lose the link between what they do, and what they achieve.

We understand that there are talented, successful sales people, but what makes them successful is routinely misunderstood or misinterpreted; and as a result, we create a situation where real improvement through learning is impossible.

Most companies manage this issue by employing sales staff based on what they say they’ve done, put them on trial, and fire them if they haven’t met expected sales goals. But this method does not provide any business insight into the steps involved in transforming a prospect from a complete stranger into a customer willing to pay for, and promote, your services.

The central problem, however, lies not with the sales people and their methods, or with the way they are remunerated, but with the way we think about the sales process itself.

We think of it as a process – as an ongoing flow rather than a series of discrete stages. We focus on the movement rather than the points of interaction. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand what happens at each of those points; how people change and what changes them.

If we were analyzing a factory process, we wouldn’t look at the conveyor belt which moves the goods, but at each of the points along the line when the good is changed or modified.

In marketing and sales, there is movement from one state to another, but it is perhaps more useful to consider it as a series of points rather than one long continuum – and here’s why:

There may be tens and perhaps even hundreds of tiny points of transition where the customer is ‘touched’ by either sales or marketing – so many in fact, that it may look like an impossible task to first quantify them and then measure their effect. Good sales people will personally make many attempts to ‘touch’ the customer, as they qualify, understand education, inspire, and ultimately create the confidence that converts a “lead” into a “customer”.
However, it is possible to identify and measure many of the small transitions that occur, and it’s well worth the while of each sales person to track them, because they are able then to plan for when they need extra inputs like an email, video, phone call, automated message, or detailed personal interaction.

The process may sound overwhelming, but when you begin to do this you will also be able to figure out that there are many small stages that can be skipped, and others which could do with more focus in order to properly manage the sales cycle.

Once you divide the activity into discrete stages, you can also begin to use software to track and manage the progress of leads into customers; you can design and target your skills toward particular customer types, and most importantly you can turn the sales process into something which is predictable and therefore scalable.

I can already see sales people all over the world lean in closer to the screen, narrow their eyes, and grow angry at the assertion that part of their magic can be clearly, logically deconstructed and managed by software.

However, it is possible to create a highly successful and scalable sales and marketing system that grows your business even in times of economic turbulence or downturn, assuming your base product and pricing is right.

By focusing on the points of transition rather than the movement, it is entirely possible to create a predictable, and measureable set of steps specifically targeted to your prospect no matter where they are in the sales cycle.

The ‘magic of sales’ is about giving people what they need, when they need it, so they can respond to the needs of the prospect as they develop into a customer … simple really.

Armed with such a tool marketing teams can create a succinct plan, and build content which boosts the effectiveness of the sales team, enhancing their confidence to respond to high-quality leads through a well-designed set of targeted stages.

Effective sales people can become more productive because they have access to all that they need, and weaker sales people can be stepped through the different stages without having to double-guess what is needed to advance the sales process, and when.

By Identifying, quantifying, tracking, measuring and training, you ignite the torch that brings light into the dark art of sales and marketing.

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Apr 22

China Watch Blog reports that Qantas and the NSW Government have announced a new $30 million partnership to promote Sydney and regional NSW to the world.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce signed the three-year agreement at Qantas’ facilities at Sydney Airport, marking the largest tourism and major events marketing partnership in the State’s history.


Premier O’Farrell said the deal involved Qantas matching the NSW Government dollar for dollar to attract more international visitors particularly from the United States, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, China, South-East Asia, Japan and New Zealand.

“Nothing says Australia more than the unmistakeable red tail with the flying kangaroo and the home of Qantas is right here in Sydney,” O’Farrell said.

“This partnership with Qantas is the cornerstone of our strategy to increase tourism to NSW, providing a boost to our economy and helping to create more jobs.

“We will be aggressively targeting big spending leisure and business travellers from overseas which will be a boon for our hotels, restaurants and retail sector.

“This will build on our standing as the nation’s leader for international visitation and expenditure and the preferred destination for key emerging markets.

“We understand the importance of tourism to the State’s economy – that’s why we’re building a new convention and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour and investing in partnerships like this with iconic brands like Qantas.”

Joyce said the time was right to elevate the partnership between Qantas and Destination NSW to a higher level.

“Qantas is Australia’s national airline, flying from Sydney to every continent on earth and to every corner of Australia,” Joyce said.

“Sydney is the gateway to Australia with more than 50 per cent of all international visitors to Australia arriving at Sydney Airport so it’s fitting this is the largest partnership we have ever entered into with a State Government.

“We have seen a fantastic and tangible response to work we have done with Destination NSW in the past and we think working more closely will result in more people visiting NSW and flying Qantas.”

The partnership – which sees both the NSW Government and Qantas invest $15 million each over the three years – will include international advertising and marketing campaigns, marketing activities around major events and joint public relations activities. There will be a strong focus on digital
platforms including online and social media.

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Oct 30

China Watch Blog has learnt that China’s national civil servant examination wrapped up its registration process on Wednesday at 5 pm. The six vacancies for Ningbo Customs Supervision have attracted more than 6,270 qualified applicants.

As the position does not have many prerequisites to hold applicants back, the post has become the most-sought-after position in this year’s national civil servant examination in Ningbo.

Students majoring in economics, chemical engineering, physics, mechanics, textiles and management can apply for the vacancies. Importantly, the post requires no academic qualifications beyond a bachelor’s degree.

The number of civil servants recruited in Ningbo will double to 357 in 2013. Ningbo Customs will offer 10 posts with 69 job vacancies. Apart from the Ningbo Customs Supervision vacancies, the post of Ningbo Customs Comprehensive Secretary also saw 2,402 qualified applicants.

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Oct 25

China Watch Blog has learnt that Hong Kong experienced a 23% decrease in the number of financial services job opportunities in Q3 of 2012 compared to Q3 of 2011.

According to the latest quarterly Job Barometer from eFinancialCareers, a leading global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries, the overall APAC region experienced a less dramatic decline (-16%) over the period with average job postings decreasing from 2,876 in Q3 of 2011 to 2,408 in Q3 of 2012. Singapore and Australia recorded decreases of -5% and -34% respectively.

Despite the slowdown, churn and a small amount of conservative expansion has kept the job market afloat in the last quarter. Comparing Q3 of 2012 with Q2 of 2012, APAC job opportunities fell only slightly (-2%). Singapore was the only market registering growth, with a modest 1% increase over the period. In comparison, job opportunities in Hong Kong and Australia decreased by 5% and 6% respectively.

“The last 12 months have taught us that even with the support of China as a major growth engine, Hong Kong is not immune to the redundancies that have swept through global financial services,” said George McFerran, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers. “With a slowdown in economic growth and a transition of political leadership expected for Mainland China, Hong Kong firms are taking a conservative approach to hiring with a focus on highly specialized positions in growth sectors such as capital markets, insurance and risk management.”

Asia Pacific Top Performing Sectors in Q3

Capital markets, insurance and risk management were the top performing sectors in the regions, with quarter-on-quarter growth of 30%, 23% and 19% respectively.

Capital markets – Capital markets saw quarter-on-quarter growth across APAC of 30%, with ongoing demand happening outside the front office – in risk, compliance, quantitative analytics and IT.

Insurance – The insurance sector remains a bright spot of hiring driven largely by growth recruitment, especially for labor-intensive agent, claims and underwriting positions. Recruitment plans for large insurance companies are ambitious in a region where growing prosperity is resulting in an expanding demand for insurance products. Recent natural disasters in the APAC region over the last two years have also reinforced the need for insurance professionals.

Risk management – As banks continue to come under scrutiny from shareholders and regulators, the operational risk job function is broadening in scope and job specifications are becoming more vigorous. Local talent shortages and internationally transferable skills mean overseas-based candidates are sometimes hired for these roles. Liquidity risk professionals are also in demand as banks strive to meet Basel III milestones and come under pressure from ratings agencies.

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Aug 10

China Watch Blog wishes to point out an big irony in China, which has one fifth the population in the world, with 1.35 billion people, but still hundreds and thousands of mall businesses in Guangzhou city, Guangdong Province cannot find workers, and jobs are going a-begging.

China Daily published two photos of CFP which illustrates this. See below.

Note the red job vacancy signs of small businesses in Guangzhou

Job recruiters, but few takers

Thousands of workers left for home before the Chinese Lunar New Year this year, and they decided to permanently stay at home instead of returning to uncertain fates in Guangzhou, where many thousand factories have closed down as orders were not forthcoming from the weak US economy and Europe which was embroiled in the Eurozone crisis.

Many factory owners have decided to either retire, sell of their businesses or simply close them down, as the original equipment manufacturers businesses were becoming scarce.

Those OEM businesses which progressed to original design manufacturing with their own brands and even own retail shops, or supplying to wholesalers are thriving.

Factory owners interviewed say that innovation is the key to survival, otherwise, the traditional OEM business that required little skill is slowly shrinking. Many such businesses have moved to neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

China is moving towards more value added industries, and developing more skilled services industries. Others are turning to information technology and businesses involving IT.

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Jul 26

China Watch Blog has learnt that China’s economic growth will likely pick up in the second half of 2012 as a raft of policies rolled out to boost economic activity gain traction, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Shanghai International Airport

However, it warned the economy still faces severe challenges at home and abroad and that authorities should not underestimate the impact on the corporate sector from slowing demand.

China also revealed that its urban jobless rate held steady for the eighth straight quarter at 4.1 percent at the end of June

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Jul 18

China Watch Blog has learnt that Marissa Mayer, one of the top executives at Google, will be the next C.E.O. of Yahoo, making her one of the most prominent women in Silicon Valley and corporate America.

The appointment of Ms. Mayer, who was employee No. 20 at Google and was one of the few public faces of the company, is considered a surprising coup for Yahoo, which has struggled in recent years to attract top flight talent in its battle with competitors like Google and Facebook.

Ms. Mayer, 37, had for years been responsible for the look and feel of Google’s most popular products: the famously unadorned white search homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images.

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Jun 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that a Queensland father has offered 50 cases of beer to anyone who will employ his son as an apprentice, ABC News wire reported. For more, go to this link.


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