Monday, August 16, 2004

The Chinese Way

One of the more prominent communities in the Philippines (in the Metro Manila area at the very least) known for their good business sense are the Chinese (second only to the Muslims).

Not that all Chinese are experts when it comes to business (or else me and El would have been filthy rich by now), but we do have a "knack" for it. Well, at least some of us are.

The most common explanation many people give is that Chinese would choose little profit from large quantities over large profit from smaller quantities. take Jollibee, for example. It's a fast-food chain and while there's little profit in the food they sell, it serves millions of Filipinos everyday.

Another common reason is that we have foresight and patience. Take SM and Jollibee. The former started out selling shoes and they now own one of the most popular chain of malls. The latter started out as an ice-cream parlor and now it's the leading Filipino fast food chain. It took quite some time in order for those two to gain a foothold in the market but the investment was well worth it.

In practice, we Chinese also learned how to save in small quantities. For example, whereas other people would give away their spare change, we hoard it as if our very lives depended on it. A peso saved every day is better than spending money once a week to buy a lottery ticket in the hopes of winning it big (not that Chinese aren't suspectible to gambling).

Another talent I see that some Chinese entrepreneurs have is their ability to sense where they can profit. For example, there's this one business that may seem to many people insignificant, but is in fact a very profitable enterprise. It's so commonplace that most of you take it for granted. I'm talking about napkins/tissue. Yes, the ones that are provided at restaurants and diners. More specifically, those that have the logo of the restaurant. Providing napkins may seem insignificant, but when you look at the bigger picture, it's an example of how you can really profit. If you provide napkin, for say, Starbucks, you're already providing for an entire franchise! And many tissues are consumed by a single outlet every single day. Multiply that by all the branches available, and you have the start of a thriving business. More so when you cater to other similar places.


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