Hi GFA community, this week I’m doing a little something different and will be introducing another business I recently partnered with my good friend David Ho on – NowShenzhen.com.
I thought it would be of interest to the community as many of you are already friends and have experience with Shenzhen.
As I’m a partner myself in the business, I’ll be letting Aubrey interview David and Myself”
Now Let’s Tune in!
Topics Covered in this Episode
About NowShenzhen (Formally ShenzhenParty)
NowShenzhen.com has been a pillar of Shenzhen’s online community for over 2 decades providing a variety of useful and authoritative online resources and tools for expats, travelers, businessmen, families and interested eyeballs the world over. That’s where Mike and Dave come in. They’ve been members of the Shenzhen community since the mid-2000s. They’ve grown and evolved along with NowShenzhen.com, in their respective fields of expertise, over the past decade and a half. Brent has been a personal friend of ours for most of that time – from the early days of social networking through the wine and cheese years and now looking into the future beyond Covid-19.
About David Ho
Dave has owned several Shenzhen based service businesses in the online and printed circuit industries including event organization, web development and marketing, software development, sourcing, and procurement services. In all his endeavors he has gravitated towards building strong connections with the humans he conducts business with. Sales, business development, management and investor relations are naturally fitting roles for him. Dave aims to build deeper connections in the communities he operates in as well as develop more effective and efficient solutions for NowShenzhen customers in the coming months.
About Mike Michelini
Mike Michelini brings a deep understanding of SEO and online marketing paired with a local network second to none – there are few expats in the city that do not know his name or haven’t heard of the brands he’s developed. He’s owned and operated various businesses in service industries throughout his career in China. Above all, in each of his endeavors, he has excelled at creating value for his audiences, friends and customers alike. Leveraging his unique set of experiences, his creative passion for developing value, and the robust collection of professionals within his reach – Mike aims to dramatically improve the usefulness of NowShenzhen.com for our users as well as grow the site’s already impressive online footprint.
About previous Owners
The brand and its related domains have been owned and keenly operated by Brent Deverman and a capable bicultural team since its inception. In recent years his life has pulled him towards a more permanent anchoring in Hong Kong and away from focusing on NowShenzhen.com. As a result, he began conversing within his network seeking new owners that had the experience, resources, and passion to continue growing the brand and serve the Shenzhen community. Brent has been on this very Global From Asia podcast in the past as a guest!
Announcement of Transferring The Business
We’re pleased to announce the business is currently under new ownership and has plans to bring the site to new heights to better serve the Shenzhen expat community and enhance the collective experience of Shenzhen’s fast-paced, vibrant, and fascinating city.
How did the deal happen?
What is the story and the juice?
Where is the Site and Business, NowShenzhen now?
How is the business operating now in late 2021?
Future Plans for NowShenzhen?
What’s in store for the future of NowShenzhen.com (formerly ShenzhenParty.com)
How can people tuning in today participate?
Get involved in the collective effort to move to the next level! There is a survey right?
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
√ David Ho’s VIP Profile
√ NowShenzhen.com media site
√ NowShenzhen.com survey page
√ Brent Deverman on Global From Asia podcasts:
1. Leveraging Wechat Chinese Social Media For Your Business with Brent Deverman
2. Coronavirus Impact: 28 Business Experts Weigh In On How The Coronavirus Is Affecting The E-commerce Industry
Episode Length 13:20
Thanks Dave, for sharing, I’m really happy to be working with you on this. It is going to be an amazing asset, even more for the community and thank you, Aubrey and everyone for watching. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com.
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[00:00:00] Hi GFA community, thanks for tuning in for this interview – introduction of Nowshenzhen.com. Joining us today are our fearless leader, Mike Michelini, and his partner in the business, David Ho. Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice.
[00:00:22] And now your host, Michael Michelini. We’ll begin by introducing David and then exploring the story behind Nowshenzhen.com. We’ll cover some follow up questions and close with some information about how you can get involved. So hi guys. What’s up? Great job Aubrey!
[00:00:43] So David, I think many in the community already know you. But for those that don’t, can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background? Yeah, sure. Thanks Aubrey. I guess at this point in my life, I’m basically a local Shenzhen expat. I grew up in the US in Massachusetts. I moved here in 2008.
[00:01:04] I run a number of businesses in sourcing, printed circuit software and website development over the years. I’ve always kinda been the guy that is really interested in meeting new people, building really strong connections and helping them solve their problems. So I kind of naturally gravitate towards, sales, service and business development roles in pretty much everything I do.
[00:01:24] And that’s what I’m bringing to the table with Nowshenzhen.com. So, yeah. Thanks for that David. So Mike, we all know and love you, but for those that are tuning in for the first time, could you share a bit about your background too? Do I have to, Dave? Do I have to Aubrey? Yes. David told me beforehand to give you a chance or choice right now. I did. That’s true. Here we go.
[00:01:50] All right. Sorry. I, well, I’m usually on the other side of the table here, you know, usually I’m hosting this show Global From Asia and I hope there are some regular listeners and some new listeners for today’s episode. But for those maybe that don’t know me, I am Mike Michelini. Came here in Shenzhen in 2007 for sourcing products for my e-commerce business and to expand the online, online marketing, online team, and was always blogging, always creating content.
[00:02:19] That’s what I love to do. And David’s recognized that we, we are we’re close friends since we’ve both came to China, came back here at the same time, came here at same time and became really good friends and, and we really loved the community here in Shenzhen. You know, the events, expats, the foreign and local Chinese and all entrepreneurs.
[00:02:36] And for me with this business opportunity and this business venture is really to just recognize this, this monumental website, because it was one of the first sites that I came to to help me find people that I hired and apartments and other opportunities. So it’s great. Great to be, involved in this in the next chapter.
[00:02:56] That’s it. Oh, thanks Mike. Thank you. So now let me briefly introduce Nowshenzhen.com. NowShenzhen.com has been a pillar of Shenzhen’s online community for over 2 decades. For most of its life it has been known by its original name Shenzhenparty.com.
[00:03:19] The site provides a variety of useful and authoritative online resources and tools for expats, travelers, businessmen, families and interested eyeballs the world over. So I’m just curious, Mike, could you explain a bit more about the brand story? Sure. I mean, we’ve been practicing for this in our prerecording.
[00:03:45] I still call it Shenzhen Party to be honest. You did mention it in the intro, but basically as far as the brand where we rebrand it’s in a rebranding to Now Shenzhen. Because it’s really, in a Chinese name we’re trying to use as Shen’s eye, which is now, and then Shenzhen is of course Shenzhen. So Now Shenzhen. And Now Shenzhen is more than just parties.
[00:04:04] We love partying here, but it’s really about news, apartments, jobs and events is the core of this brand and this business, and many of our friends, David and I, and probably some of you have used this to do those things, to learn what was happening here. Well for events and news, as well as find an apartment, find a job.
[00:04:23] And of course we’re gonna have some evergreen content about how to get back to China, but long form contents. And of course, adapting to this new changing, changing world post COVID. As far as the brand also has been owned by a mutual friend of ours, Brent Everman. He started this with others in 2001, as he’s actually been on the Global From Asia podcasts, at least once or twice, we’ll link those up in the show notes.
[00:04:45] If you want to hear Brent talking about some Wechat marketing and other things about some valuable insights, I’m sure he’s watching or listening to this right now. But for brands, you know, we’ve, we’ve met many times. He’s, he’s been in Hong Kong and of course, with COVID and a border closing, and he’s growing in the corporate corporate world, he has not been able to
[00:05:05] attend to this as much as he’d like to, and was looking for a new set of hands. It’s actually a lot of hands. We need a lot of people to help build this site to run it. But we’re really appreciative of what he’s built so far. And we really want to carry the torch and help with the passion of Schenzhen and a community here.
[00:05:24] And that’s where David and I come into this story. Ooh, that sounds pretty exciting. Ah, so what is it that made you guys decide to pick up the torch and take over Now Shenzhen. So you want to take that one, David? They sure, sure. I’ve been waiting for that question. I think it’s, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to join forces with Mike.
[00:05:46] For quite some time, we kind of have a complementary skillsets. I kind of viewed us as like a potentially good team looking for a suitable project over the last handful of years. So when, Nowshenzhen.com came up, it seemed kind of serendipitous if you will. And it seemed to fit very well with what we were looking for.
[00:06:04] You know, I think Mike and I, we both share a passion for Shinzhen. We’ve collectively been here for almost 30 years. We’ve been fans of the brand and personal friends of Brent for most of that time. We both know the business and I’ve experienced in all aspects of it both technically and on the business side.
[00:06:19] So when Brent started talking about moving on and selling the business, it felt like it was a natural fit for me and Mike. I think Mike and I, we, we share a common vision about what should be for our users and the. We also see pretty eye-to-eye when it comes to the value we intend to offer to our advertisers.
[00:06:38] So basically, you know, in a nutshell, I think Mike and I thought it was a good business opportunity as well as a means to bring us together on a project we both cared about and felt we had the experience, skills and motivation to really knock out. So, wow. This all sounds really exciting. So what are plans for the future of the site? I think that’s one for you, Mike.
[00:06:57] Oh boy. Yeah. Like it’s been in progress, you know, already for, for quite some time in months now. So we’re breaking it down into the short term and the medium term development plans and we kind of code named them 1.5 and version 2.0, we’ve already been working hard and hopefully by the end, Next week we’re getting into December.
[00:07:20] I think early December, we should be mostly done with 1.5. Right. And you can check it out right now. Hope whenever you’re watching this, hopefully it’s even better. But the goal of the 1.5 version is to kind of clean up and organize all of this contents over the years to make it more easy to navigate and while also preserving.
[00:07:40] SEO juice for the, you know, for the users to find it and also make it navigatable, and also streamlining the backend processes because, when we took over the site in late August, we had a site that we felt was not so easy to navigate. It has some different technical legacy issues and a lack of course of people, which was one
[00:08:05] Real big issue with Silas. We need more people, so we made a big push and to make it a much more well-organized in our opinion, a site that will also rank well in the search and,and for the users to find, as, as well as for you, the user to actually find what you’re looking for to, to find as well as to submit and publish content.
[00:08:27] Going into version 2.0, it’s a bigger updates. Dave and I are just discussing when, but looking for maybe mid Q1, 2022 sometime next year or earlier next year. And we are building out a second. Different specifics, but they, maybe the UI, of course the UI will be further improved. The servicing flow, the functional updates still bring the site closer to a modern edge of what’s available.
[00:08:54] So things like the integration of restaurant reviews from authoritative resources and optimized events, calendar with Ajax powered filtering, and some other advanced features on the docket that I’m really excited to share. What do you think, Dave? I’m also excited. Great. Great. Sounds like you guys really have your work cut out of you.
[00:09:16] So is there anything you’d like to ask our community? How can people tuning in today participate? That’s a good question, Aubrey. I think, you know, first and foremost, we’d love to hear from anyone that has interest via the survey on the website. You can navigate directly by going to my.nowshenzen.com/survey.
[00:09:37] I personally read all those survey results. We also have a newsletter, which I encourage anyone that’s interested to sign up for. I also review all the replies to the newsletter so the, you know, again, in my mind, the site really belongs to and relies upon its community for guidance on how to better serve it.
[00:09:53] So collecting the voice of the users is very important to us and me. Well, thanks for sharing all of that David. So is there anything else, is there anything else either of you would like to add before we conclude this interview. I guess I can jump in first. I think we both share some points, but you know, obviously I’m on the content and internet marketing side and.
[00:10:17] Content is king. If you have content you’d like to contribute, we’re looking for quality content. I think that’s another upgrade. You know, we’re not going to auto-post everything that people submit, but if you have a quality news article or apartment or job or events or other, you know, guide that you’d like to share with this amazing community, it will be it’ll, it’ll go.
[00:10:37] Not just on a website. We also have a pretty big Wechat official account that has been built up over the many years. So it should get some far reach. And maybe even not just a one-time thing, if you want to be a regular, this is a, if you look on a team, there was, there was a really big team in the past and we’re rebuilding the team.
[00:10:54] So if you actually want to consider actually being more active contributor on regular basis, we would love to have you, consider that, for that, I mean, but basically content, content submissions and creation would be amazing. Yeah. I mean, I guess I would just like to reiterate like, like I’ve said already that we really, at this point would love to hear back from anybody in the community.
[00:11:17] ’cause you know, we’re, you know, 2.0 is a really big update and we’re still figuring out what we want to put into that. And a lot of how we’re deciding is based on what the people that actually use the site and care about the site are telling us. So really, I mean, the survey or replying to the newsletter, or even if you’re able to get in touch with us individually, if you have ideas that you’d like to share about how you think that it can be a better, more useful site for the users, we really would like to hear from you.
[00:11:43] So, thank you guys. I’m really honored to interview the two of you. And it’s so great to have you here at GFA, David, thank you for joining us here. Oh, sorry. I also wanted to say thank you to the GFA community for taking the time to watch our little video spiel about Nowshenzhen.com. Forgot that. Sure. Yeah.
[00:12:03] I mean, I hope people enjoyed this. I, it’s gonna, we’ll probably have some more progress updates with this. Of course, GFA podcasts will continue. We’re actually going to be, Aubrey has been really growing. We’re gonna have more hosts. We might even have more regular shows even more often. We, we did a great member call where we have more people that want to be hosts and there’s tons of people who want to be on the show and hopefully, maybe there’s even more ways we could, you know, cross promote the GFA
[00:12:30] and NowShenzhen. There always was this collaboration with it over the years. And I’m sure that will continue to grow even more. But yeah, Thanks Dave, for sharing, I’m really happy to be working with you on this. And I, I think it’s going to be an amazing asset, even more for the community. And maybe we’ll bring somebody over to China.
[00:12:47] You know, when this border opens, you know, when the border opens, maybe you can use this site to help you get a job and apartment learn about the latest news and guides. But yeah, I thank you, Dave. Thank you, Aubrey and everyone for watching. Thanks. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com.
[00:13:10] That’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.