Settled down in Macau | Working on something new …

After weeks and most propably months of settling down in Macau, I have found new work and a new project to conclude in Macau. The above photo is just one of many I had to take in the past weeks for construction progress on the new Porsche Showroom in Macau.

Without telling too much, I can recommend everyone to have a look at the LinkedIn profile of my present employer Icon Projects.


Poverty in India: New Delhi Slum / Training is a mandatory MUST

Slum, btw New Delhi, originally uploaded by Azchael.

With 41.6% of the population of India falling below the international poverty line (as of 2005), the above is a typical picture of what most of the poorer part of New Delhi looks like.

This extreme poverty, the slums and the overpopulation are also challenging factors for every project conducted on the India subcontinent. Especially on the civils side, be it railways, highways, buildings or other structures, most onsite manpower will be peons, recruited on the street or at the border of slums.

These people herein usually have not graduated from secondary school if alone primary school and lived their life in the slum as can be seen above. From my personal experience I noticed the following thing:

Quality of work cannot be expected from workers without explicit training because the standard expected from norms and from our own Western experience has never been part of the life of these people. Take a close look at the photo above and imagine that these living conditions are what you have experienced your whole life over. Hence for you, bricks do not necessarily be of the same shape and precise size. In contrary, 2nd hand bricks are more common for you and a normal part of construction. Re-using of material for purposes not intended to in the first place becomes commonplace and most of the people you can see rather believe in making a jugaad than in completing a work in the – mostly effort-involving – standard way.

Taken this into account, it is of imminent importance that a profound site training, site supervision and quality control is installed. Taking this a step further, site supervisors in the first instance should always come from other construction works outside of India until you as a project manager are sure that the people you have employed for your work can live up to the standard required.

Working conditions in India

Much has been said about the upcoming nation of India and its potential. In the wake of the last two decades more and more foreign companies entered the Indian market anticipating a thriving business situation. What most had not anticipated and what came as a surprised for most expats who entered India (in contrast to China) is the situation on ground.

Take this video as an example of how the working conditions can be:

Situation: Hill-side road prone to landslides, no demarkations on the road, no guiding rails at the road side. Extensive heavy rains caused landslides and a working vehicle is trying to clear the road.

Except for the missing safety features available (hill-side fortifications to avoid landslides, guiding landslide tunnels, road guiding rails and closing of the road), also the actual response to the situation is not ideal: only one vehicle working without preventing others to cross the work section, no additional protection towards the hill-side for the worker, and also no additional protection towards the down-hill side. One additional landslide of the magnitude of the rumble to the left and the small machine would be gone.

Similar situations (on an abstract way) have to be expected throughout the Indian subcontinent: lack of preventive measures, lack of adequate response measures, low concert of safety on site.

The Basics of setting up your business in Asia

Expansion is a necessary step in business survival before the competition is getting ahead of you. Setting up your business in Asia is a step undertaken by many a business world-wide over every day. Business consultancies and agents have discovered this expansion strategy as their own business opportunity and are provided a range of services to those in need (and with enough money to pay it).

Just like in the picture above, a business requires foundations and the basic groundwork for small- and medium-sized enterprises have to be laid out precisely to avoid everything crumbling to dust after the polishing. As such the following checklist should serve as a first reminder on the complexity of the task and what should be the minimum effort involved. For the country of China some further detailing links are included for your reference.

Stepping in the plane …

-> Understand the visa needs (business / work visa), see the visa guideline for China
-> Understand the taxation
-> Know where to go (city / country)
-> Plan the trip

Buying that first patch of land

-> Understand where you put the shovel down
–> Accessibility to airports / seaports
–> Closeness to manpower / universities
–> Logistics and transportation
-> Get an office (rental vs. purchase), see this example eGuide on renting office space in Beijing
-> Get bank support (overseas / local)

Filling the rooms with laughter and life

-> Secretarial services and translation, e.g. as provided by The Executive Center in Beijing.
-> Registration, licensing and permits (A more detailed list tailored to the registration process of setting up a business in China is available with more details.)
-> Understanding the job market (Check out this white paper about finding the right talents in China)
-> Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting
–> Utilize professional job hunters for executive stuff, delegate them or make use of one of the many HR job databases in China.
-> Training! Either overseas or locally
–> Understand the need for training, what is available, what is required. Get MS Office known to your staff.

Bring out the drawing board

-> Structure the first ten weeks
–> What do you need? What is your aim? What do you need to fulfill it?
–> Whom do you need to contact?
-> Where? What? Who?

Irrespective of whether each task is being completed by yourself or entrusted agents, it is always of advantage to have people on ground in the country being able to help you. Want to know more? Contact me at MLVONSCHAPER AT YAHOO DOT DE.