iTunes Music Store – Japan

Again the news of a possible Apple’s, industry leading, iTunes Music Store for the Japanese market is in the news.

This rumor had been around for over a year now, each came with possible launch dates. The difference this time, is that the news is from the Asian recording company Avex (Chinese only site), which announced an agreement with Apple to distribute its holdings through Apple’s iTunes Music Store starting August of this year. Of course, true to Apple’s tradition, they have no comments on any unannounced product.

Given that Avex has one of the largest collection of works from Asian artists. The possibility of iTunes Music Stores exploding in the major Avex countries (Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan) is inevitable. I truly hope I am correct, since I have been waiting for iTMS to arrive in Hong Kong ever since iTMS was launched by Apple.

This is good news for all those music lovers (like myself) in Asia who want to and willing to purchase our music via the online medium.

It is not that there are not already legal downloads in Asia (for example EOLAsia), but the entry of the market leader into the area is definitely a significant indicator for all those record labels that are still on the fence.

While Asia is one of the most challenging market for companies like Apple to push legal downloads of content. I am sure all of Apple’s competitors are watching to see how well Apple can pull this off. Since everyone knows that IP pirating is a major problem for most Asian countries.

When I used to work for SPSS, the Sales & Marketing team used to joke about the fact that they “sell a million copies of SPSS worldwide, but one to Asia”.

Let’s hope that the theory of “most people are honest and good” prevail and Apple can make these new Asian versions of the iTMS as successful as they did in the US and Europe.

Tsunami of South West Asia

Yesterday the worst tragedy happened in Sumatra, Indonesia with an eathquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter Scale. This caused a tsunami that hit the coast of Sir Lanka, India, Maldives, Africa.

The devastation is only just being realized due to the poor communication to some of the remote area affected. Now the survivors are in danger of disease from decomposing bodies and contaminated water supply.

One way to help is to look at some of the pictures of the missing persons from the Tsunami disaster and see if you know the whereabouts of these individuals.

The other is to make donations to International Red Cross, Oxfam or UNICEF. Some of the other Aid Agencies may be found on CNN’s web page.

Red Cross Oxfam

If you have love ones or friends you’re trying to locate, you can use CNN’s web page for posting “Tsunami Tragedy Appeals”.

Update: Jan. 23, 2005
Current official death toll = 174,000

Different Working Styles

It has now been more than 5 and a half years since I’ve moved back to Hong Kong.

At first I was quite lucky and was sheltered from most of the typical working style of Hong Kong businesses. I worked for large corporations like “Hongkong Telecom”, “Arthur Andersen” and most recently “Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.”.

My immediate reports for the past 5 years had always been North Americans. To be specific, North Americans who had been working away from North America for a short while (less than 10 years). Also, they have worked in North America for many years prior to coming to Hong Kong or Asia.

You may ask, what is the difference between North American style and Asian style? Well, from my short experience here, I would say it is the objective or driving force behind a task or goal that the employees are trying to achieve.

What do I mean?

In a North American business, when it comes down to getting things done, achieving an objective, one would rarely say that they have to accomplish an objective because of so and so. It is always because it benefits the organization (company) that they are currently employed at.

Where as in Asia (at least in Hong Kong), employees frequently refer to an individual, who is higher up in the echelon, as the reason to achieve an objective.

Which is the better way to success for a company? Well that depends on the individual high up in the echelon who is making all the demands.

To further consider this question; just think of the most successful companies in the world and the cultures they come from.

I have come to my own conclusion, but I will leave it to you to find your own.