JSF recently led a round table discussion at the SEP Program in Hong Kong with Fritz Demopoulos, CEO of Queens Road Capital and Dean Winter, Operations Director at Swire Hotels, to discuss about their business experience in Asia
Fritz Demopoulos, CEO of Queens Road Capital and Dean Winter, Operations Director at Swire Hotels in Hong Kong, joined a round table discussion at the SEP Program in Hong Kong on April 5th to discuss their business experiences in Asia and debate on China's appealing entrepreneurial spirit. The session was moderated by Philip Moscoso, IESE Business School Professor and SEP Academic Director.
Service and Experience is everything
"The most satisfying part of our business is internal promotion and how people grow with the organisation" Dean Winter, Operations Director, Swire Hotels
Swire Hotels have been one of the most successful Hong Kong hotel developers. They established themselves in 2007 as a hotel company and manage their own hotels. They have been able to create a space for discerning travellers that have become tired of international brands. Their differentiator is that employees are highly empowered to make decisions . Around 80% of its staff was born after 1980, therefore they are quite media savvy. They expect fast growth and promotions.
Winter explains "we like being small, we invest in a highly engaged level of service". Engaging with guests before and during stay is their top priority. They also minimise registration process at check in and there is no check out procedure at their hotels. Other perks for guests include complimentary mini bar and free high speed wifi.
Fritz Demopoulos and Dean Winter, discussing opportunities and challenges for businesses in Asia.
Using digital technology to make better decisions
"The market is changing and requires entrepreuneurs and investors to think carefully on how consumers groups are going to change", Fritz Demopoulos, Entrepreuneur in media and internet in China
Fritz Demopoulos has an extensive experience in China. In 2005, 80% of Chinese market was business travel, 90% came from 3 main cities and 90% of consumption was on domestic travel. According to Demopoulos, there is definitely a consumer shift in China: where before staying in hotels was for foreigners, now mainland visitors will stay at a hotel and luxury ones too.
Demopoulos believes using digital technology is what helps consumers to make better decisions. Applications such as Get your Guide helps consumers with local activities and that in turns helps to make decisions easier.
Philip Moscoso, IESE Business School Professor and SEP Academic Director moderating the round table session
Understanding Cultural Differences
"When a market is not transparent, people tend to think there is a magic key to enter. There is no magic key to be successful in China. There are multiple ways to solve problems, the market is much more complex and the only way to succeed is to understand and challenge people", Fritz Demopoulos, Entrepreuneur in media and internet in China
Travellers in China are now very aspirational. Chinese have money to spend, primarly in shopping with a slow shift towards services. In China it is very difficult to read people and pick up the cues. According to Demapoulos, "First you make mistakes, then you apply filters. The only way to understand people is to spend time with them".
What is next
A multicultural mind-set is required to set up a business in China. Multicultural leaders may relate better to team members from different cultures and resolve conflicts more easily. Their multiple talents can also be put to good use in international negotiations. The good news is, today the world is teeming with people who have learned to excel in business precisely because of the cultural dimension. To find them, all you need to do is start looking!