Category Archives: Startup Asia

7 Secrets of Jack Ma Entrepreneurship Lesson Part 2

Continue of 7 Secrets of Jack Ma Entrepreneurship Lesson Part 1

This is a talk by Jack Ma, the former Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group. Jack Ma shared his experience to the aspiring entrepreneurs who are joining “Win In China” competition, a reality show for aspiring entrepreneurs to win 10 million RMB for their business startup. In the 1st season, 3000 participants were selected to join the interview session and 108 participants will be selected to join the competition officially.

Jack Ma – Win In China – Part 2

Jack Ma

4. Elephant Can’t Kill Ant
Jack Ma’s China Yellowpages business was competing with China Telecom. It was a very tough competition. His capital was 50,000 RMB and China Telecom’s capital was 240 million RMB.

“I think our competition with China Telecom was quite successful. Through the experience, I still believe that we shouldn’t afraid of giant company. Elephant won’t kill ant easily. You just need to hide smartly and having a good strategy. You will survive. After 8 months competition, China Telecom was unable to beat us while we also didn’t know how to beat them. After that, we had a joint venture.”

There were an interesting incident happened after the joint venture. It was actually a disaster. China Telecom invested 1.4million RMB in this deal and they have more members on board. During the board meeting, Jack’s suggestions were turned down by the board members.
“From my perspective, I can do so much with 1.4million RMB from China Telecom. However, from their perspective, they spent only 1.4million RMB to destroy Jack Ma’s venture. I got the fund, but I lost the most valuable thing, the venture that I execute well in the beginning.”, He mentioned.

jack ma5. Be The Role Model of Employee
Jack Ma founded his third company, Cofortune Information Technology. This is a successful company, making profit of 2.9 million RMB in 14 months. However, there was perception different among the leaders. Jack Ma’s believed that internet-based is the future of Ecommerce. However the other leader believed in EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).

“When your belief is different with the leader, remember, the leader is always right. If you cannot change him, you change yourself. Therefore, I decided to follow my belief and start over again. Although the company made 2.9 million RMB profit, I didn’t take any cent when I left.”

“I brought 6 people from Hangzhou to build Cofortune. The team has grown to 50 to 60 people. When I left, I didn’t get anyone to follow me. Remember, this is the rule of the game. When you decided the left the company that you have started, and you get the people in the company to follow you, one day later, your employee will do the same.”

“When I left Beijing to start over again, I met with the 6 people who followed me to Beijing in the beginning. I told them, if you are willing to follow me going back to our home (Hangzhou) to start a business again, I’ll give everyone only 500 RMB and everyone must rent a house nearby because I don’t have much fund for your transportation. We will work non-stop for 10 months. If we fail, we just look for a new job.”

Jack Ma offer 3 days to the team to think about the offer, but they came back after 3 minutes. They told Jack, “let’s go home, let’s start over again!”. Alibaba was started then, followed by and Alipay.

jack ma6. You Are The Parents and VC Is the Uncle of Your Business
Alibaba received investment from Son Masayoshi, who is also the 2nd richest man in Japan. Jack Ma mentioned that when dealing with Venture Capitalists, always show the respect in the eye.

“Both sides are equal, when VC asking you 100 questions, you should ask at least 99 questions too.”

“You must understand the belief of the VC when he/she investing and he / she investing in us. We should talk about the worst situation and understand each other’s role in this situation. However, many entrepreneurs only like to talk about how successful they can be.”

“Both side should write down the promise to each other. This is mutual, like a marriage agreement.”

“The communication with VC is very important. Don’t feel that VC is the grandfather. VC is always the uncle and you are the parents of your business. You know how to grow your child (business), and the uncle can offer you advice and money to buy powdered milk and clothes. The responsibility to grow the child is always in your hand. So, VC’s fund is to grow your business. It is not to save your business.”

“When should you raise fund from VC? Remember, it is not when you are poor, always raise fund when your company is having the best performance. One shouldn’t repair the rooftop during the raining day, but it should be done during sunshine day. Same goes to the company transformation, always do it when your company has the best circumstances”

jack-ma7. Hire Smart People Instead of The Master
“We should find the suitable people to join our team.” Jack Ma don’t like to invite popular business people to join the board of director because these big man seldom spending their time in your small company.

“I hired a vice president for first time. We had only USD$5million budget and the Vice President request for at least USD$1.5million. It was because the Vice President had the annual budget with at least USD$40million previously. When he came to our company, the amount was too little for him, but I felt that the amount can do so much advertising activities.”

“Different people have different perspective. Find the right people according to your level and needs. Always remember small company shouldn’t hire the master.”

“When your company is small like a tractor, and you hire the master who has Boeing 747’s engine, your tractor (company) will break when the engine start. Therefore, please do not ask for gorgeous (popular) one when getting people to join your team. Small company should hire smart people with the right mentality.”, He said

Besides these key points, of course, there are more that we can learn from this sharing. For example:
“What an entrepreneur wants is the experience of building the business. In our life, we seldom regret with the things that we have done, but we will regret with this things with haven’t done when we are old. From the first day starting the business, we should already know it is not an easy way, but the experience will be the most valuable asset in life.”

“The best negotiator is always the best listener.”

“One must have a big heart to compete with the competitor in business. Competition is fun. If you feel struggle when competing with the other companies, there must be something wrong with your strategy. Although we have competed with many companies such as eBay, but in my heart, I never see them as my competitors.”

“The most valuable thing between you (entrepreneur) and employee is trust. You must trust them and I never hide any good and bad things from the employees.”

“I have seen some employer who did not know how to criticize the employee. When meeting with employee, the employer praised the employee before criticizing. In the end, the employee didn’t know what is wrong and remains the same. In this situation, we should act fast when we have the decision in mind. This is also our responsibility to the employee.”

This Article is provided by Ray Beh! The Founder of Frambie

Source of the Lessons:

InvestHK launches StartmeupHK Venture Programme to boost Hong Kong’s position as world’s most promising start-up hub

Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) today (July 9) announced the launch of its StartmeupHK Venture Programme 2013 to attract local and overseas entrepreneur-led businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong.


The Venture Programme features a global competition for innovative and high-impact entrepreneurs. It will culminate in a week-long event in December 2013 in which 12 shortlisted finalists will be provided with access to business partners, financial capital, market knowledge and marketing opportunities. They will also compete to win prizes including free advisory services such as accounting, legal, design and branding services, plus free work/retail space provided by sponsors and programme partners.

Entries can be lodged until the closing date of August 26, 2013. First-time or serial entrepreneurs who have an interest in expanding globally via Hong Kong and lead an early to growth stage venture are eligible to enter.

An assessment based on the team’s vision and competency, the value proposition of the business, the business model and the potential benefits to Hong Kong will see the 12 overseas finalists flown to Hong Kong for the final stages of the competition between December 4 and 7. After pitching their businesses to a panel of judges and Hong Kong’s business community at a forum, six finalists will be selected to compete for three Grand Awards.

Judges and speakers at the forum on December 5 will include heavyweights in the local and global start-up and venture capital industry: the founder of global venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mr Timothy Draper; the Executive Vice President, Strategy, Schneider Electric, Mr Michel Crochon; the Chief Representative of Silicon Valley Bank, China, Mr Mike Yahng; the CEO of investment firm Golien, Mr Max Burger; the Vice President of Asia Pacific, China and Japan, Strategy and Business Development, for global health services provider IMS Health, Mr Andy Liu; the founder and CEO of digital solutions company Outblaze, Mr Yat Siu; the Executive Director and Group Chief Financial and Operating Officer of MF Jebsen, Mr Alvin Miu; the Publisher and CEO of WealthAsia Group, Ms Elsa Pau; and Co-Chair of the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s Venture Committee, Mr Marvin Lai.


The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, said, “Make no mistake, start-ups and entrepreneurs make significant contributions to Hong Kong. At a time when the world is facing ongoing economic uncertainty, we need new drivers to be able to generate economic growth, jobs and innovation in future.

“What InvestHK is doing to promote Hong Kong as a premier start-up destination in Asia and attract start-up entrepreneurs will help build the city’s start-up ecosystem – an ecosystem where overseas and local entrepreneurs can meet, exchange ideas, discover synergies and access markets, capital and talent together,” he said.

The Director-General of Investment Promotion, Mr Simon Galpin, said that in the past two to three years, InvestHK has seen a rising number of entrepreneurs setting up business in Hong Kong; the percentage of such projects in InvestHK’s portfolio has risen from less than 10 per cent to over 15 per cent in 2013.

“These businesses may start small and employ only a few people in the beginning, but they also create jobs through outsourcing some of their activities to local service providers. In fact, some of these businesses grow very quickly, employing 50 or more people within one to two years,” Mr Galpin said.

“And just as, if not more, important are the innovative business ideas and skills they bring to Hong Kong, which lend further competitive advantage to our economy in the long run,” he added.

Details and the online entry form for the StartmeupHK Venture Programme 2013 are available on InvestHK’s dedicated website The site offers a one-stop portal to the start-up community in the city, and is the first such Hong Kong Government portal on start-ups for entrepreneurs. It also lists the latest start-up events and signposts browsers to various government incentives and incubation schemes.

About InvestHK

InvestHK is the department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government established in July 2000 to take responsibility for Foreign Direct Investment and support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It provides free advice and customised services to help businesses succeed in Hong Kong’s vibrant economy. As at June 2013, InvestHK has completed over 2 900 investment projects creating more than 33 000 new jobs in the first year of operation or expansion and over HK$76 billion of investment. For more information, please visit

Lessons from Apple Founder Steve Jobs for Entrepreneurs

A special story dedicated to the late Apple Founder Steve Jobs and Most Renowned Innovator of our time, Steve Jobs, on his most genuine ways of becoming the legendary entrepreneur and ‘Lifestyle Designer’ that he is so associated with. This special report dissects the different strategies that were deployed by Steve Jobs in becoming the Genius that he is and will always be. Continue reading Lessons from Apple Founder Steve Jobs for Entrepreneurs

3 Things You Should Know about the Extreme Entrepreneur Peter Sage

In celebration of TEDxKL 2013, we have gotten the chance to research and do a scoop on the Extreme Entrepreneur himself, Peter Sage. One of the headline speakers for the annual TEDxKL this year, we will explore the origins of Peter Sage, an entrepreneur whose daring ventures had brought him to launch companies that harvest the energy potential of space, to becoming an advisor of a leading business school and ultimately inspiring thousands of entrepreneurs to live their potentials to succeed! Here are 3 things that you should know about the Extreme Entrepreneur himself. Continue reading 3 Things You Should Know about the Extreme Entrepreneur Peter Sage

Lean Startup Machine returns to Singapore – June 7-9, 2013!

Lean Startup Machine is Returning to Singapore – June 7-9, 2013!

Date: Friday, June 7, 2013 at 6:00 PM – Sunday, June 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM (SGT)

Location: 113 Somerset Rd., Singapore, 238165


Lean Startup – Fail Fast, Succeed FASTER.

Lean Startup Machine

Lean Startup Machine is an intensive three-day workshop which teaches entrepreneurs and innovators how to build products with huge market potential. It is a metrics-driven startup competition where teams learn to identify the key risks in their business model through hands-on mentorship and our framework of tools.

Event Schedule…

Friday you will show up, eat, meet mentors and network with fellow attendees. Those who come as individuals will pitch a problem they want to solve, the top problems will be crowdsourced and teams will be formed. At around 9pm you will start constructing your first experiment designed to test, empirically, your problem hypothesis and customer hypothesis. Teams will break for the night when they have a developed a provable hypothesis and have practiced their customer development skills with a mentor.

Saturday those assumptions will be tested with customers. Most of your assumptions will likely be WRONG, so you will iterate rapidly to validate a new set of assumptions. You will go through several Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), escalating from Exploration, to Pitch, to Concierge.

Finally, Sunday afternoon you will present your learnings to the other teams and to a judging panel. This is not just a learning exercise, you will actually be competing with other teams to win additional mentorship and support. You will leave the workshop with…

*The ability to run any idea through the Validation Board, and run experiments to test if your assumptions are actually valid.

*The ability to end ‘endless’ team “discussions” with actionable tests rather than debates.

*The ability to determine if your idea is a scale-able startup or a hobby.


Photo Credit:

Who’s this event for?

Any startup team that does not have Product/Market Fit, or any aspiring founder, innovator, or early startup employee that wants to learn Lean Startup methodologies from the ground up.

Executives, leaders and innovators in large, medium, and small businesses looking to innovate or create the next successful product or service.  Those who are inexperienced or experienced in Lean along with creatives, salespersons, marketers and decision makers can all be coached in the methodologies Lean Startup. This is an intensive educational workshop where you will learn the tools to develop any new business concept – NOT a hackathon.

Got an idea of your own? Great. You’ll have 50 seconds to give your elevator pitch at the kickoff. After voting, if your idea gets selected you will be able to form a team and start working. We strongly encourage everyone who comes to LSM to start fresh with a brand new concept.

No co-founders? No problem. You’ll meet many talented and smart people and have the opportunity to hear their new startup ideas.

We strongly encourage everyone who comes to LSM to start with a brand new concept. In the past, we have found that it is too difficult for participants to join a team that already possesses domain knowledge around an existing project.

If you plan to work on an existing project*, bring at least one co-founder with you to the event. If you have existing co-founders and none of them attend, you’ll have to work on a new startup idea. But don’t worry, you’ll still learn valuable skills that you can apply to your own business.

*An existing project is defined as one that already has mockups, prototypes or code associated with it. If that’s the case, you cannot recruit others to join you.

Space is limited – Tickets are now on sale now and going FAST!



Email [email protected]

Follow us and tweet @LeanSGP

10 Biggest Franchise Business Industries (Trends in the USA for 2010) for Asian Entrepreneurs

The most successful franchises are often looked and hunted upon by savvy entrepreneurs overseas, in order to be brought back to their respective local markets. Trends and research done in the United States, among its 100 million strong consumer markets on booming franchise industries and sectors would offer insights into Asian entrepreneurs who are quick to learn and adopt successful franchises abroad that can be done for their home markets. Continue reading 10 Biggest Franchise Business Industries (Trends in the USA for 2010) for Asian Entrepreneurs

The intense journey of a Woman Entrepreneur: Ping’s Fu – Inc. Entrepreneur of the Year

If you’re having a hard day, read Woman Entrepreneur Ping Fu’s story. She has had an intense journey from Chinese Exile to Inc Entrepreneur of the Year. She sold her 3D Printing Company, Geomagic, and has now been thrown into new headwinds.

Continue reading The intense journey of a Woman Entrepreneur: Ping’s Fu – Inc. Entrepreneur of the Year

Entrepreneurs and Startups in Malaysia to Benefit from new Silicon Valley’s BootstrapLabs Launch

Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, and Malaysia-based MAD Incubator today announce the formation of BootstrapAccelerator Asia. This will form the first Southeast Asia-focused Tech Startup Accelerator with a Silicon Valley Fast Track™ for promising Startups in Malaysia, with opportunities to gain access to incubation opportunities, funding and networking for business growth. Continue reading Entrepreneurs and Startups in Malaysia to Benefit from new Silicon Valley’s BootstrapLabs Launch