Lessons we learned from working in China
Afternaut got our start in China and 4 years on, we're grateful for all the opportunities we've had to create some of our favourite work. The fast pace, strength of relationships and the resourcefulness we've had to build add up to our experiences working in China.
Since then we've applied what we've learned to projects in Singapore too. Afternaut’s co-founders Berlin Lee, Kokyong Chew and Chong Zhe Wei share what they learnt about building a harmonious, constructive working relationship in the competitive Chinese market.
1. Be Sincere
Be sincere. When our co-founder Berlin first went to China, he put forward the best version of himself. He was genuine and sold his vision, values and his conviction to get the job done.
Three years later, from conceptualising man-less convenience stores to erecting an entire first-of-its-kind tech fest, China is truly a place where innovation can flourish and firms like Afternaut could do good work. As far as exciting opportunities go, they show no signs of stopping. We’ve been given all kinds of opportunities to bring our crazy ideas to life in China.
2. Be ethical
Chinese working culture is unlike any other. They have different limitations, which might lead them to compromise on certain values that you might not agree with. Therefore, it is crucial for both parties to set the groundwork on ethics and principle before proceeding with the deal.
“We stand firm so they can understand that there is no shortcut. There’s a need to work with integrity. It makes all the difference. ” - Berlin
3. Be committed
“Like any other business or industry, there are always pros and cons. One of the cons with China is the constant to and fro travelling. However, it is a commitment we are willing to make because our work excites us every single day. Passion is one of Afternaut’s core values, it drives us to stay committed.” - Kok Yong
Relationships can’t survive solely on Zoom meetings. Physical encounters can do more than strengthening rapport. Back in 2018, Afternaut undertook ZeroOne Tech Fest. The project took them a year to plan. It ended with Kok Yong leading a FormWerkz team of 20 to Shenzhen, to ensure the successful implementation of the festival. The experience allowed the team to watch, learn and adapt the Chinese work better.
4. A new definition of Cheap, Fast, and Good