(Rant!) Generally speaking, that is. I’m sure there are some innovators in Hong Kong too, but from what I can see, Hong Kong people and businesses can be summarized in the following few points:
- Most people either work in (or want to work in) banks, insurance, or sales
- Most people only care finding a job that makes more money
- People would spend that money in foreign brand name goods
- Local goods are seen as “cheap” and therefore can only command a low price
- Businesses are either small retail shops, textile manufacturing in Chna, or cell phone / mobile phone, laptop covers (they have covers for everything!) (Sarcasm)
It’s really quite sad. Today, I went to meet with a company’s owner whom I thought may be a good local partner for future web development and retail supply logistic. However, I was disappointed to learn that he really doesn’t have a direction for this company. His main concern seems to be to just hang on to their biggest client, and continue to support their intranet, which they developed.
I don’t know if it’s a Chinese thing, but I get the feeling that as a race, we really need to learn some basic economics – “Supply & Demand”… It seems like all Chinese people know to do is to “be cheap”! Sell shit as cheap as possible!! Anyway, here in Hong Kong, designers really have it tough! My wife was a talented accessories designer in New York. She commanded a salary of US$ 70+K / year and could singlehandedly design an entire line of handbags for each season, from start to finish, including flying to Hong Kong to work with the manufacturers. Now however, even though the company she worked for wants her to continue to work for them after she moved to Hong Kong permanently, they don’t want to pay her a US salary anymore! The fact is, American companies are used to hiring people in Hong Kong for less than HKD 15000 a month (roughly US$1900 a month, or $23K a year!!) That’s the typical salary for an experienced designer in Hong Kong! So, even though my wife will be doing the same thing as she did in New York, those companies will not pay her the same salary, simply because the market rate is low like dirt! Why does it have to be this way? Why are untalented designers in New York getting paid as much as $90K a year, while designers in Hong Kong, which often have to come up with designs themselves, plus fix the sketches from New York designers to make them work, then travel to factories in China to do some of the tougher designs hands on, work late and work on Saturdays… only to get paid 1/4 or 1/5 of their New York counterpart?!
Before I leave Hong Kong, I hope to do something good for the locals. Hong Kong doesn’t have any big internet destination like the Amazon.com for shopping, or tripadvisor.com for travels… currently, I’m thinking of creating a good, Chinese / English bi-lingual travel & food community based on Drupal. (Drupal 6 possess that localization options, but the problem is most of the modules are not ready for D6 yet.) Chinese people are notorious for eating all sorts of shit, and personally, I am against people drinking Shark-fin soup. I hope to create a registry to take advantage of the current “environmentally conscious” market, to hopefully drive business to restaurants that complies to international conservation laws of efforts. Hopefully, I can create something meaningful and benefits our planet. That, to me, means so much more than just creating wealth for myself.