We have an interesting topic today, we will talk about the PPE wave. We discuss stories that are really insane, really crazy. A lot of crazy people around the world and they see opportunities to scam people and our guest, Mo deals with a lot of it. Let’s tune in.
Topics Covered in this Episode
We’ve known each other for a few years now – thanks for supporting Cross Border Summit where we first met! Can you introduce yourself to listeners today?
So you’ve been in China the whole COVID-19 nightmare
When was the last time you were “outside” of China?
When did this “start” in your eyes?
For me, I remember hearing news a bit about some virus while I was still in China in early Jan, but it didn’t seem too serious (I left to Manila on Jan 8 with no idea the virus was anything to worry about)
Being inside China during the spread
So we chatted a bit while you were going through the COVID-19 spreading in China in Jan/Feb – how was that.
Chinese friends asking you to help source PPE from overseas
During those times, Chinese were desperate to buy masks and PPE from overseas, how was that?
Prices you were seeing before, and what are the phases?
So you had seen the prices and market change, can you share some insights of what you saw?
Then the transition from China importing, to China exporting
I remember having dinner with a group of friends – Andy Li from FBAulous, Alex and Alexa from Alpha Rock – in Manila in early March – and we had no idea what was coming just a week later. So when did the frenzy for exporting masks from China start?
Price changes one this export mania happened
That is when all of these masks and everything started to go sky high?
Share some more insights on prices before, China COVID, and Global COVID
Let’s chat more on the prices, and the market of various products.
People want to buy mask making machines overseas
Why that is a hard one to get from China as of now.
What you are doing for business these days.
I know you have also shifted your business and angle, I’d love to hear more
How people can connect with you and learn more about what you are doing
Can listeners know how to find you.
Thank you Mohammed for sharing.
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
√ Crossbordersummit.com – Where Mike met Mo
√ Loadpipe.com – group buying website kicked off in the community
√ Mo’s product – Smart Boards, May 2020 ready and launch EC-electronic.com
√ Mo’s VIP Experts Page
√ Mo’s Linkedin
Episode Length 44:51
Thank you Mo for sharing your experiences, I learned some new insights and I hope everybody listening did too. I wish you and everyone else the best. Hope everyone is safe and all of us can make it through this calamity stronger and better than before.
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[00:00:00] Episode 305 of the Global From Asia podcast talking more PPE trading. Is it the new crypto? Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice. And now your host, Michael Michelini. Thank you everybody for choosing to download and listen to Global from Asia podcast up to episode 305 here and early May of 2020.
[00:00:38] Hopefully you’re still enjoying this many years from now, and it’s, you know, it’s been almost over a month now. I’ve been back in my wife’s hometown, Shenyang of course was, first couple of weeks and the hotel quarantine, and now I’m in the in-laws. So still keeping these content, keeping this podcast going weekly.
[00:01:01] It’s something we try to keep our best, to keep going here this week is talking about PPE wave. You know, just this insane day. I said, Oh, intro clip, you know, is it a new crypto? I talked to a lot of media people and writers in the Wall Street Journal. I talked to people, all these different, different journalists in China, around the world all the time.
[00:01:25] They’re finding me online and asking me, and some of them said. This seems like the same kind of people that were doing ICO and crypto. So I don’t know. What do you think of that? But today’s guest, we have Mo or Mohammed is his full name, but I know him as Mo. He’s come to our Cross Border Summit back in 2016 I believe, or 17 and in many other events and in our community.
[00:01:49] Really nice guy. Really, really amazing guy from Holland. And he’s, him and I are on similar wavelength a lot. So we’ve been chatting, you know, during this pandemic nightmare. And he was in China the whole time. He’s been in China many, many years, but he hasn’t even left mainland China since last almost summer, maybe, I think September.
[00:02:07] And he’s also in the import export game. He’s a part of a factory in Guangzhou. So he’s ridden the wave of this PPA trading. That’s what I call today’s show. And we have this interesting conversation. We still keep in touch even after the interview. I will also share some other stories in our blahblahblah session after the interview.
[00:02:28] So if you want to hear some more stories that he and I have been talking about as well as others that are really insane, like really crazy. It feels like it’s gotta be scams, a lot of these, so. We really got to remember this stuff. This PPE is meant to get to hospitals and doctors and nurses, people on the front lines, right?
[00:02:50] But we’re talking to crazy people all around the world, but I don’t know, maybe they’re just, don’t have a job, don’t have anything to do, and they’re there. They’re seeing opportunities to trade this stuff. But Mohammed deals with a lot of it. He’s, he’sin his factory. He started doing thermometers. So he gets a lot of insights of people contacting him.
[00:03:09] I’ll share some other stories he told me after. So without further ado, let’s get into the show. Also you know, we have Loadpipe and we started in this PPE stuff. So if you want to do group buys with us as well as webinars and others. Sign up for a closed beta at loadpipe.com and we’re working hard to make that a way to organize these kinds of chaotic times.
[00:03:30] Let’s go into the interview now. All right, everybody. We are having some more and more of these gfavip.com private calls. It’s, it’s a, it’s great. I mean, honestly, we’re just focusing on private, small groups of people on calls, talking about specific topics. We’re getting some of our podcast guests coming back for our, like an Encore session to talk about their topic more to our private members.
[00:03:54] And it supports this community. You know, if you enjoy this show, if you enjoy what you’re doing and you want to connect with more people in a smaller environment, I’d love to have you join. It’s application only. We don’t want to just let anybody in, but go to gfavip.com and check it out. I’d love to see you there.
[00:04:12] All right. Thank you everybody for choosing to listen to another Global From Asia podcast and excited to get our guests today on lock on. We’ve, we’ve got to know each other through the community over the last few years, and we’ve met quite a few times and we’ve been in touch on, you know, throughout the years.
[00:04:28] So it’s, it’s my pleasure to invite Mohammed Berrekal onto the show. And thanks for coming on, Mohammed. Yeah, no, thank you for inviting me. Glad to be here. So, a little bit of background, you know, you’re, you’re in, I believe Foshan City or went down into Guangzhou. Okay. I live in Foshan, but my company is in Guangzhou, so I commute between Foshan and Guangzhou on a daily basis.
[00:04:58] I’m like, my company isn’t in Guangzhou. I don’t know what else you want me to tell here. Yeah, so of course people know. I’m assuming, you know, those are cities in the South China. Of course. I think most people know Guangzhou and Foshan City also right next door. So you’ve been in, how long have you been in China now?
[00:05:18] You’re originally from Holland originally, right, and yeah, exactly. I’m from Amsterdam. I first came to China in 2012 but I’ve been living in China since 2015 so about five years now. Okay. Exciting then, and a lot has changed today. There’s so much we should talk about. Honestly, maybe we hear a little bit about your own business experiences and.
[00:05:42] Uh, well, hopefully we can touch on that today. But, you know, we, we’re, we’re, uh, we’re in touch often and, and today I thought it would be interesting to have you, you’ve been in China since this whole pandemic started and, uh, through the whole thing. And, so I kind of titled this topic, you know, riding the wave of this PPE market mania. From your perspective, living in China as a foreigner, a business owner
[00:06:09] A business person and we were going to say before I started recording, but when have, how long, when was the last time you were out of China? Maybe we’ll start with that. You know, you moved here in 2015. You’ve been there? Yeah, I’ve been, the last time I moved out of China was in September. September. I went to, I think it was Malaysia also.
[00:06:31] I’ve been in China since September. Wow. So that’s, that’s, there’s no question. So I think no matter what article or politician or news media you listened to, that was all before any of this coven. I think maybe some people said September, but I don’t think any, I don’t think most people say is maybe early as October, but I don’t think anybody said anything.
[00:06:55] Yeah. The first time, no, the first time I read something about it was in December, but by then it was just like some, some virus in some animals. They found it just something very small and uh, no one really paid attention to it, including myself. Just like, Oh, I mean, this happens all the time. And then in a January, first time I read is like, they say it can be like, you know, transmitted from animals to humans.
[00:07:21] And, so I was, I was like, okay, so this is starting to get a bit scary. So I asked my friends in Wuhan and they were like, no, don’t, no, don’t read fake news. Nothing’s going on. Everything’s fine. People like to exaggerate things. And that’s also kind of what I thought about. It’s just like, just being a bit exaggerated and then slowly things start to get more intense and more heated.
[00:07:48] But it was still a, there was like say Hubei and Wuhan is far away it’s, it’s still okay and then everything exploded. Yeah, I know. So I’ll put my, my spot too and like I remember, like you, I think you and I are similar. I remember December hearing reading about it somewhere very vaguely because I had come back to China from Thailand in the end of December.
[00:08:14] Very like December 22nd I came back to my wife’s hometown here. And I remember reading it in some kind of news articles. Like you said, nobody said it was a big deal. And then January I flew out of China, January 8th I think. And there was nothing. Nobody was talking. I think it’s like you, like everybody said, it’s not a big deal.
[00:08:35] Don’t worry. So I went down to the Philippines so it’s. But I think it was. Yeah. And so you stuck around for Chinese new year. A lot of times, especially as foreigners, we get out of here cause it’s so quiet. But you were applying to stick around for Chinese New Year. Yeah. Well, what happened actually is my sister-in-law was about to get married, in Chinese new year.
[00:08:57] So that’s why we stuck around. And, I actually traveled to Yunnan and I was on the road when the lockdown happened. So like, when we left, we thought, it’s still okay. It’s not that bad. And then I drove the car to Yunnan and like, on the way, all of a sudden, like, you know, the panic broke out and Wuhan was in lockdown and we were like busy driving.
[00:09:23] And then we arrived in Yunnan for the wedding. And the wedding was supposed to be like, in two or three days. And then the government says, no weddings allowed. And then basically, you know, all of China got into lockdown and then I was stuck in Yunnan for a month. Oh, you were? I didn’t even know that.
[00:09:42] So you couldn’t even travel right when you would go back. Yeah. And foreigners were not allowed to stay in a hotel. So I had to stay in the house with my in-laws for one month. Oh yeah. Well, it’s okay now. Yeah. That’s similar. Wow. So Yunnan for a month in in-laws, like we have very similar situations then.
[00:10:07] And so then I guess that must have been, I think January two we had other, we had another interview with Hugh Bell. He’s, he’s not a foreigner, he’s in Chengdu, Chengdu and he was, he says, it was like right at Chinese new year dinner, like right around the actual, like. Right? 23rd, I think exactly like the time of Chinese new year.
[00:10:31] It’s tough. I remember being in the Philippines and reading, maybe it’s YouTube videos, but they were saying it’s going to get crazy because all these Chinese people, it’s going to be like the biggest amount of traveling in the world, right. To Chinese new year holidays. And that’s right when the virus was spreading.
[00:10:47] So all of these people brought it everywhere. That’s what I remember reading about. So what do you have? I don’t know the exact number, but I read that like around 5 million people left Wuhan. Like they’re traveling out of Wuhan in that time. I mean, that’s a lot. Yeah. You know, I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories.
[00:11:09] I’m not a fan of conspiracy, but obviously if it was spread of virus, he put it in one of the very popular areas right before a major travel season. It’s the timing is just horrible. Absolutely. It’s unbelievable how it, so it’s so a month. So then you were like, so I guess mid like January, like most of February, you were also in your wife’s hometown.
[00:11:36] Um, almost the end of February. Oh, go ahead. You couldn’t stay in a hotel cause you’re a foreigner like that was, was that China or is that just your like that small? It seems like a smaller area or less. It’s a big city. I mean for us it’s a big city for China. Maybe not that big for many people, but no, it was in many places in China, like from what I recall.
[00:12:04] But for coming, I know for sure. But other places I’ve heard, but I’m not sure. And that’s also like one of the reasons, like, eventually when like Foshan opened up again. I had to drive back and, uh, it’s like a 1500 kilometer drive. And I just drove it in one go because there’s nowhere else to stay.
[00:12:26] And I was still afraid to stop anywhere. And also if I got out of the highway, maybe I would be quarantined or not allowed in, or I can’t stay in a hotel. So I just left early in the morning and arrived late at night. Okay. And so let’s talk about this whole PPE mania, cause you know, so you. You, uh, you are honestly, I know you do quite a few different things like us, like me and any other listeners, but you were also into manufacturing.
[00:12:55] You’re in the manufacturing world, right? And dong, you’re right in Foshan, Guangzhou, it’s like a manufacturing capital of the world of China and the world. So what, what started happening with this whole manufacturing industry. Cause I remember being in talking to people about not being able to make products in China because of the virus.
[00:13:13] So that one month there was no, I guess two, but what was happening with manufacturing at that time? Yeah. So, well, uh, our factory is not allowed to open until March 1st. So like we had like back then, the rest of the world wasn’t affected yet. I had like, customers get pushing because they want to get the orders, but the factories closed.
[00:13:38] There’s nothing we could do. I was stuck in another province. Also a lot of our workers were stuck as well, so there was like nothing we could do. And then when we came, I came back and our factory opened like March 1st. But then we had the problem that a lot of our suppliers, they couldn’t open yet because a lot of the workers were from, uh, from Wuhan or from Hubei.
[00:14:03] Yep. So then we had two problems. First of all, our supplies became a lot more expensive, and a lot of our factories or our suppliers, they couldn’t deliver it in time, or they couldn’t deliver it at all. Because they didn’t have enough workers or the fact you can open yet, or they just had orders, but not enough workers to finish it all in time.
[00:14:29] So we had to cancel the orders we had basically because we couldn’t deliver. And then when everything started to get back to normal, the rest of the world started to get infected. And. No more orders, almost no more, like almost 80% of our orders were canceled. So that’s when we, I don’t know if I share what kind of product or category were you making?
[00:14:56] Oh, yeah. So, so we make digital displays, like advertising displays, like, I don’t know, the screens you see at the airport bus stations, outside on the roads. Also, like you see them in the KFC. Interactive, the interactive whiteboards, you see them, like the companies for the conference rooms are for teaching.
[00:15:16] So those are the products that we,that we make you. Okay. So I could see that not being so, so needed and his nightmare. Nightmare. I mean, of course, a lot of, a lot of products. So I’m trying to, so this whole transition, like you’re, you’re leading towards in this talk, right? So. You originally, like many others, manufacturing in China had all of the foreigners or Westerners or people from around the world pushing you and other factories to make the product quick cause they need it for their markets.
[00:15:44] But then the virus goes global and then the whole world kind of flipped upside down. So I also wanna make sure I ask, cause we’re talking about PPE. So I remember when we were chatting and you said you actually were helping Chinese companies import PPE or like masks into China when it was in China.
[00:16:07] Maybe we could share with that. So, yeah, so when the, when the whole virus thing broke out, I mean, there were like two problems. The first problem is like everyone needed a mask in China. And the second problem was, is all the most factories were closed. So they didn’t have enough supplies. And a lot of the factories who make PPE are in Hubei, you know, so that’s another problem.
[00:16:32] So it was very hard to get masks. So actually I had like, a lot of friends are Chinese. I know they would, they would literally just fly to Malaysia, fly to Thailand, fly to Korea, fly to Japan, and just come back with suitcases filled with, uh, with masks. I mean, it’s, I’m talking about that just like people who sell on weekends and things.
[00:16:50] But it was, it was really crazy to me to had to get massive at times. Then the prices, I mean, a box of the 3 ply masks was like 10 or 20 RMB. I was like a box of 50 pieces. And then with the virus broke out, like people were paying 5 RMB a mask, you know. For one, it was absolutely crazy. And then like some then like slowly a company starts to open up, especially like in the medical field.
[00:17:18] And they were trying to source the non woven fabric, sourcing masks and also the, especially normal from fabric to make it here in China. And it was just helping them to source some from Russia, Turkey, and other places. And it was just absolutely crazy how fast those, like those prices or, uh, going up at that time.
[00:17:40] I mean, now it’s even more crazy. But like prices are like doubling almost every day. It was absolutely insane. Yeah. So I’ll just recap here. What I, well, I took some notes too, but honestly, I don’t even know how much mask costs before this wasn’t obviously like many wasn’t looking or involved. So you’re saying it’s like 10 to 20 RMB.
[00:18:03] A box of how many? Like three ply, those pieces, 50 pieces. There’s cheap ones, you know? Yeah, that’s disposable. They were like super cheap. Unbelievable. But then probably probably starting into mid, mid January, late January, they started going crazy in China. Right. So now in probably was in January when you were like at your in-laws, you were helping people import?
[00:18:31] Well, at first I just, I was just looking for myself, me and my phone number cause I couldn’t find them anywhere cause it was sold out everywhere and I was like, absolutely impossible to get any masks. So it was just like, first of all, just looking for myself. And then I found a lot of people who were just like flying them in.
[00:18:50] Just the prices were crazy. And then after that, people started to contact me if I could help them source from Europe or other places. Got it. And I don’t know, I’m thinking of listening to even myself. How, how, where people, are anybody able to fly in and out at that time? That’s kind of what it’s crossing my mind as you’re saying.
[00:19:11] Well at that time it wasn’t, it wasn’t a, there wasn’t a lockdown yet. The basically only, it was only Hubei, but the rest of China, it was still, everyone was just traveling in and out. Oh, I see. Now I understand. Yeah, it was, it was at the beginning, which, I mean, the restrictions were, were much, much later, and it was like end of January, like, okay, January 24 – 30th or something.
[00:19:39] Yeah. Yeah. I wasn’t in China at the time, so I’m not, I was also mostly talking to my wife at the time, but so lockdowns only was in Wuhan starting from like the 23rd I think of January. It was first, you know, it’s first Wuhan and then Hubei and then also like around Hubei. And then it was after that, it just started to go super fast.
[00:20:02] I see. Interesting. And so. So now let’s make this transition. I guess the lockdowns in China. New Year ended. Opening, factories are reopening and then everybody starts manufacturing. PPE in China are selling and trading PPE, which isn’t how, like even your factory made a pivot. So, um, yeah, we, we still try to stay in the field of electronics.
[00:20:26] Like we make thermometers or, facial recognition display with thermometer inside of it. So like the products we make are still a little bit in line with our business because I’m still electronics, you know, because the thermometer is still used like LCD display and a main board. And, uh, the facial recognition, they’re more scanner.
[00:20:48] It’s still like a display, but just with facial recognition software. But we just added the thermal scanner on it. So it’s still a bit in line. I mean, it’s not like we make face mask as well now, but I know like a lot of, competitors of ours. They just literally like move their production license side and put the face mask machines in their factories.
[00:21:11] And like a lot of our competitors, like when I check their websites, I can just see like the whole PPE section. Yep. And I think, let’s just make sure we other listeners, I think probably I’ve learned what PPE means is personal protective equipment, I think, right? Like which technically means it kind of, of course everybody talks about masks, but it can also be the clothing, you know, anything about.
[00:21:34] Yeah, the face shield, the goggles, stick gloves. Yeah. All this insanity. So yeah. So you guys started, yeah, it was good. He at least kept your core competency within the newer world of supply to mask. Yeah. We had to, I mean, because like our costs, of course, keep running. We need to pay the rent, we need to pay our workers, but our normal business just stop, you know?
[00:22:00] So at least now with the thermometers and the facial recognition that they’re more scanners, at least we still have some business going on and we’re able to keep our business alive. Sure. So, I don’t know. It’s hard to always talk about pricing, but, um. You gave some pricing earlier? No, I don’t know if you want, I could also put some of my insights of what I see in the market.
[00:22:23] What kind of pricing? I guess I’m just trying to give people an idea of how this like chart of price changed, so we’ll probably won’t even hire. We went global, right? Like it was. Maybe just maybe like, kind of like what your feeling was with the cost of a mask when it was only in China versus cost of a mask when it was overseas or global.
[00:22:44] I’m sure away a lot more. I dunno if kind of give us, I can give, you can give an exempt, for example, the thermometers, uh, I mean like a thermometer, like before the whole virus thing. I mean, I’m talking about, uh, the wholesale price, uh, for the finished good was around five to $7. Whereas now it’s 25 to $30.
[00:23:06] You know? That’s, that’s a huge difference. Yeah. It’s really nuts. Yeah. It’s, it’s really, uh, it’s really a lot. Yeah. And like I said, also the three ply mask, I mean, it used to be just, uh, I’m talking retail prices now, uh, for the. Put a face mask like in China, like 10 to 20 RMB kind of depends which type you bought.
[00:23:28] So let’s say 20 R&B for 50 pieces. Whereas now you tell price keep are paying, I don’t know, three to five and before one. Yeah, I think I see it in the stores for like a hundred RMB, a box of 50 which is like, yeah, now, now, now, because it’s like government. Sponsored and like this in China, it’s okay. Now it’s like a hundred in my pharmacist, 150 RMB.
[00:23:54] Okay. How about 50 RMB for 50 pieces, which comes to how much? That’s still like three RMB for one. It’s three RMB for one, which is like 50 cents US yeah, about, no, which is roughly seven, seven and a half times more than it used to be, but it makes sense. I mean, if you look at the cloth, the nonwoven fabric they use, I mean like prevent virus, I don’t know exactly.
[00:24:22] The thing was just like two and a half thousand dollars per ton, whereas now the prices are up to $50,000 a ton. You know? [00:24:30] It’s ludicrous. It’s crazy. Yeah. I mean, we have to, we had to realize it’s like, yeah, it’s good. He brought that up. It’s not just about, I guess there’s a lot to of price, but you know, whether it’s this PPE nightmare or anything in the world, like.
[00:24:42] Raw material, oil costs, transportation costs, labor costs, you know, all of that. Yeah. The best rotation is much more expensive. The raw materials, a lot more expensive. And a lot of factories, they had to hire new workers because their workers were stuck in Hubei. But still, of course, the factories are making a lot of money.
[00:25:02] We can’t deny that. Yeah, for sure. Of course, they have their margin. You know, like, let me, I’m just trying less. I’m trying to make a date for when it really went nuts. I was in the Philippines. I remember having a nice dinner with somebody else in the community, Andy Lee, you might’ve met him in the community, but he was visiting from Singapore.
[00:25:18] We were having a nice dinner in Manila with some of my colleagues at Alpha Rock, and it was literally like March 10th or something like that, like, I don’t know exact date, but it was like the second week of March, and we were not talking about this at all, like maybe it was like eighth or 9th of March, something like this.
[00:25:37] I’m looking at the calendar. Maybe it was like Monday or Tuesday. We were not talking about any of this, like we we were not thinking we were working before he travels. He was traveling back to Singapore in a couple of days, other people were traveling late soon. Somebody else is going to Sweden soon.
[00:25:54] Like there was no, no, nobody, nobody was thinking that the world was going to be shut down. And that was like the second week of March. I went on the 13th that later that week on Friday the 13th to no 12th just a couple of days after that, I went to an Island, called Bohol, like a small little Island you might know in Philippines for retreat for team and everything shut down.
[00:26:19] Literally like it was like the middle of March when my world just shut down, like nothing could work anymore. So I don’t know if that was when the pricing went crazy. I don’t know if you can remember. As clearly as I can, because that was when I remember the virus being like taken seriously about middle of March.
[00:26:39] Well, okay, so basically are two separate things. The first thing is like, yeah, in the middle of the March, it’s about when the whole world went crazy. Like in our experience at the beginning of March, we were finally like, okay, it’s over. We can get back to business. Everything’s going back to normal again.
[00:26:55] We started talking with customers again about orders and things. And then all of a sudden we started to hear about Italy and Spain getting affected, especially the situation. It was very bad. And then after that, at the whole world has exploded. But the prices actually, uh, got crazy already. Um, before that, um, when it was in, uh, uh, in China and that time, the prices were already like really, really high because I mean.
[00:27:25] If you look at it, China has worth 1.4 billion people. I mean, even if we take all of Europe and the USA combined, their demand is still smaller than all of China, you know? So when it exploded in China, I mean, the demand from China was just absolutely crazy. So I think that’s what skyrocketed the prices.
[00:27:44] And after that, the gap was very short. So, I mean, I think the price is, maybe I’ve increased even more now.
[00:27:57] Yeah. The demand in China is still here, but, I think it was the middle of March that, yeah, it’s like second round in my opinion. Like first for the first round was China and second round’s like the rest of the world. Yeah. Yeah. It feels like it. I also think, yeah, I, I, I’ve, I’ve checked like a lot of factories and I could see.
[00:28:17] it’s like, like a lot of factories were registered, like, you know, third or fourth week of March. Just right after I started to go crazy, you know? So it was like, I dunno how many tens of thousands of new businesses opened up for PPE. And a lot of them, if you check their business license, like March 20th March 24th et cetera, you know, and then it’s like, I don’t know.
[00:28:41] Yeah. Like someone mentioned before, they were like 40,000 new factories in China. Just registered just to make face mask. It’s crazy. Okay, well try. These are good at one thing. Finding opportunity, right? And moving fast. Anybody will question those, those points, right? Oh, absolutely. Um, so I’m looking at my notes here.
[00:29:06] Yeah, like you’ve also helped with some machines. I know people, a lot of people around the world want to make their own. Sometimes they can even buy overseas in the countries, or governments won’t let them import, so people really want to start to make it themselves. But even those are expensive and hard to get right for overseas.
[00:29:23] Because you were talking about me, you can explain why. Yeah. Well, first of all, they’re a little bit hard to get is because just the demand is so high. Like everyone is trying to, to buy them. Uh, and yeah, and the machine, of course, it takes more time to make them. Just a mask. And it’s also a bit harder. I mean, like the three PMs.
[00:29:47] I mean, you just buy a machine, you just need the fabric and you can start making it. But to make a machine, you need a much bigger factory and you need a mold and a much bigger investment. So they’re not that manufacturers who are capable of, uh, uh, building the machines. So I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s harder to, to buy.
[00:30:06] And of course, also buying a machine. I mean, buying one machine is usually not enough. I mean, if you really want to mass produce, you need several machines and the machine is anywhere between like 50 to $500,000 yeah. So that’s, so you need a quite a big investment to start doing that. Totally agree. I mean, but there are some people I talked to in the community network that are willing to buy it later when it gets normal, but they think for longterm, they don’t want to have to like.
[00:30:38] Have their community or their country or their people like, you know, stranded specifically. I’m thinking of Philippines. I have a lot of people, friends and colleagues in the Philippines and things like that, so it’s just crazy. Yeah, I think that’s one thing that will change for sure. I mean like you see it happening now.
[00:30:58] When the virus broke out, every country is trying to protect itself. And, uh, then limiting the exports and even USA to have a tree and factory in China, but they can get their own goods because China had limited the export at that time. And even in the US, like different countries are confiscating, uh, uh, shipments and things like this.
[00:31:16] So I think after this whole thing is done, like every country, at least the bigger countries would have like a small. Actually, you know, uh, some, a small factory to make this basic PPE equipment. Like if anything ever happens again, that at least they have some supply there so they won’t be like a hundred percent completely dependent on import.
[00:31:38] Agreed. Alright. Well this is, this has been a fascinating conversation. Thanks for sharing and maybe a little bit more about, about you and what you’re doing and how if people can find you or connect with you in your business. Uh, yeah, of course. So yeah, as I mentioned before, like we’re in the, into the digital signage.
[00:32:00] And our main product actually is the interactive whiteboards or Smartboards or however you want to call them. And we were actually already busy developing like a new type, a new model before the virus, because we want to focus more on this product. Uh, but due to the virus, we see that actually, uh, the board production is actually.
[00:32:20] much higher, uh, or will be much higher than it is right now. Uh, but what we’ve seen is that for a lot of countries, a lot of people that it’s a bit expensive. Um, because if you want to have a decent expect of why, but it costs you a couple of thousand dollars, and let’s say you have a company or a school and you want to put one in every classroom or in every meeting room, I mean, if you have 50 to $50,000 or more.
[00:32:49] Uh, so we did a lot of research, uh, and we’ve made our own design and we’ve made now like kind of a, a budget interactive. Which will probably be under a $500 for our selling price. So yeah, so we hope to be able to contribute. It contributes with that, especially to the lesser developed areas who can’t afford buying a 5,000 or $10,000 interactive whiteboard.
[00:33:17] Uh, so we’re busy with that. And, um, it will be ready, probably may and I’ll probably, when the virus is over, we can launch it and start pushing, uh, pushing it. Okay. I’ll just put some notes if maybe.So me, how many people can connect with you, like LinkedIn or something? I can put in a show yet. They can, uh, they can find me on LinkedIn.
[00:33:36] So Mohammed Berrekal, or they can go to our website at bc-electronic.com. So that’s B, C hyphen, electronic.com or they can just connect with me on LinkedIn or send me a message. Okay, great. Got it. I’m putting it in the notes now so people can check it out. Thanks so much. Thanks so much, Mohammed.
[00:33:59] Really appreciate. Yeah, it’s a pleasure. It’s even on my list. And then, you know, you’ve been in the, in the, uh, I don’t know what to say anymore. Chaos. I guess we all have what you’ve been in, like you’ve witnessed it on both sides and you’ve been steadily trying to the whole time. So also another question, I guess I didn’t bring it up.
[00:34:19] I sneak it in here, but. We had another guest, Hugh bell, a couple of weeks ago, sharing about the top of his fight or flight, like he was considering. He’s a Irish and he was considering taking it. He has a Hong Kong, his wife and children, and he was thinking about going back to Europe. Um, he decided not to.
[00:34:37] So you were not, did you ever consider leaving Holland or getting out of China at any time? Yeah, well, actually I have a lot of friends who left China at that time and everyone was also pushing me to leave, but me and my wife, we refuse to leave.Mainly because, what if I’m infected or my wife is infected and we go visit my family and my friends, and then we infect them as well.
[00:35:02] So, yeah. So we just decided it’s, I mean, that’s not us. I believe that’s the main cause for all of this chaos is everyone just starting to travel. I know a lot of Chinese, a lot of Chinese left China and a lot of foreigners left. China makes sense, right? They all spread it everywhere. Yeah. So we, we, yeah, no, we, we made the decision not to leave, so we really wanted to stay.
[00:35:27] I mean, it also, I mean, if we stay, I mean, it’s, I’m inside my home. That’s okay. But if I fly, I mean airplane with 300 people. Now, I don’t know. And who might be infected as well, so it’s more risk for us. It’s more risk for my family back home if I go back to Holland. So agreed. We didn’t think it was wise to, uh, to travel, so we should decide to stay.
[00:35:48] Agreed. Yeah. For me, when I flew back and, uh, I’m wearing a mask and like, there was everybody in suits. It was nuts. It was people with the face shields, the goggles, masks, and the suits. I felt like it was movies. Yeah, exactly. It really felt like a, like a movie. Alright buddy. Well, I hope, I hope, I hope, uh, things to run for all of us and uh, we can all get back on track and always talking about that privately as well.
[00:36:16] So, um, thanks for sharing your, your experiences and let’s wish you and everyone else the best. Yeah, I wish everyone the best and everyone and the families are safe and that everyone can make it through this calamity stronger and better than before. Definitely. We are considering online version of cross border summit.com but I’m getting mixed feedback from people that want to keep the brand as an offline in person event because it’s just so valuable for the networking.
[00:36:48] It’s not like a massive event where thousands of people come, but we always want to keep it on a more small. All are higher level, higher value networking opportunity for people doing a cross border trade. But definitely keep the thing on your calendar. You know, we don’t know when this lockdown will end, but where we have November 19th and 20th in Thailand on the calendar is this pencil that in there, it would be great to see you and uh, we are working hard to keep this community.
[00:37:13] Thank you so much Mo. Mohammed for sharing. I learned some new insights there and I hope everybody, you know, the year 2020 has been nuts. You know, I told you I came to Manila. I didn’t know anything. Well, I think I heard about this virus, but it didn’t seem like a big deal when I was going to the airport to Manila in early January, 2020 but this year then it hit the volcano.
[00:37:37] Now all of this insanity of this virus from the China side to the international side. It’s really rocked, I guess everybody, but especially this whole cross border trading world that we’re in, still deciding when to do this cross border summit. We might skip 2020 but if anything, it’s November. So we got some time, although we usually start planning more by now.
[00:37:57] It takes many, many months to plan those things. Butso I said it would talk about in a blahblahblah session, but I think, well mentioned to any interview, but. He’s, you know, he’s, he’s in a factory works, he’s a part of a factory. I mentioned a neighbor, they had, he said an interview. They pivoted or temporarily do these digital thermometers in the PPE world.
[00:38:20] And he’s saying he’s gotten people adding them on Wechat asking for 50 million thermometers for like, say the Europe market or a government. They say they’re an agent of a government and a 50 million. So how much is that. 50 million times or the price of a thermometer. You know, we’re talking about billions of US dollars.
[00:38:42] So you know, more like many of us are getting kind of tired of these because you know, anybody knows import, export trading is B to B sales or sales, business development. A lot of it is a lot of relationship building and talking and getting to know each other. And a lot of times the deals don’t get through, but I think a lot of people in the last month or so have been just really getting overloaded with people.
[00:39:01] With these crazy requests and the, uh, by the time he finished answering all their questions, they’re there when it’s time to actually make deal. That’s when they kind of disappear. So a lot of people are getting sick and tired of it because maybe these people are just, I don’t know, they’re just trying to make deals.
[00:39:16] They’re trying to get in the middle of their, you know, their government they’re, they’re living in, is looking for thermometers. So then they start going online looking for thermometer factories. They’re trying to kind of be in the middle of trying to make some money. You know, I understand that. I do. I do.
[00:39:30] Honestly, we’re all, we’re all entrepreneurs and business owners and, but you know, to, to go so far. So what’s happening with, like, many of these factors are asking for LOI, letter of intent. They’re asking for POF or proof of funds. They’re just really sick and tired of these people all over the internet.
[00:39:46] Finding them and adding them and asking them for millions and millions of products for millions or billions of dollars. So it’s just been insanity. Same with me saying, I see this all the time. People saying they want a million multimillions of dollars, like 800 million masks and stuff like this. It’s just seems insane.
[00:40:02] And then it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s nice cause then sometimes the factor lasts for payment upfront. You know, bank money in the bank before they can go to the factory. Do a video call, see if there’s even stock. It’s, it’s really insane times and it just seems like there’s gotta be a lot of scams, you know, even governments we’ve heard in the news have gotten scammed because there’s some smart, fast talking sales style people that can maybe convince a factory and, and say that they have this stock, pay me in his bank account, paying the money.
[00:40:37] Then also in the disappears. It’s really horrible. But I. Really scared because sometimes it uses our, you know, our reputations, you know, where, where are these connectors, where are these people in the community? And things are happening so fast and there is some truth to not having time. You know, if you do gotta move, make moves fast.
[00:40:55] But I think we should all just be careful. I hope none of you have gotten into bad deals and I just wish everybody the best in this. But you know, Mo, Mohammad, I, I hope your factory gets a 50 million with her mom and her order. It seems, uh, I wonder what these people are, are thinking. I mean, how many thermometers would a country need?
[00:41:16] I mean, even in the, even in the U S there’s what, 300 million people population. So let’s just do the math. 300 divided by 50. That means one out of six people would need a thermometer. That seems like pretty high penetration for thermometers that you would scan when somebody enters a restaurant. So I hope there’s not too many scammers.
[00:41:39] I hope these people go away. I mean, it’s made our lives all nightmares because the export on the China side, important. The other con countries, just those legitimate people trying to do business. And then there’s a lot of people trying to just scam the system, which is especially sad in this pandemic nightmare.
[00:41:54] Um. So I hope that people can find something else to do. Maybe they don’t have anything else to do, and trying to rip people off. Maybe that reporters, right. You know, in terms of Roy, I shouldn’t say which company, but it was a reporter that was talking to me off for an hour on a call. And then honestly, I should record those as podcasts, but.
[00:42:15] She was going on and on and saying, she feels like there’s so many people just trying to jump in the middle of this, making some money. Opportunists, similar to ICO rush, similar to like the fidget spinners, similar to these other trends that pop in and out. Maybe I honestly feel like that is, there is some truth to that, but, um, I was also laughing with Mo on the call.
[00:42:38] Afterwards, we’re just saying we gotta have a nice steak dinner and some nice, really nice restaurants after all this nightmare and just talk about all of this insanity. He says he sent a whole bunch of thermometers from his factory to the, to the export, you know, to the customs and China to export to a customer.
[00:42:57] And then they said the policy changed and there’s some kind of new regulations and paperwork and procedures and they need to descend thermometers back to his country. Company is factory to do some new testing on it, and then by the time it got back to the factory, he says the customs and China says, Oh, sorry, sorry, I forget that.
[00:43:14] No need to do that. Just bring it back. So they’re just trucking back and forth. These products, things are changing daily here. It’s really nuts. It’s technically, it’s the last day, April. I record our intro and outro, but we’ll get into may and all these countries are just changing policies. It’s almost.
[00:43:32] There’s political reasons, there’s press issues. You know, China doesn’t want to keep getting bad press about bad quality. So they’re making it harder. It’s, it’s really, uh, not nuts. It’s people I talked to of Shambhala gained a lot of weight, lost a lot of weight, you know, cause everybody’s stuck at home. Let’s all just stay safe and to go back to listen to the last couple of shows with the transformation or the, you know, the search for Shambhala, I’m, I’m honestly looking forward to coming.
[00:44:02] Things down soon. But right now there’s PPE mania and wave riding is nuts. If any, anybody in import export world must be seeing this in their emails and on their communities. So stay safe. Don’t lose your reputation. Think about the longterm, but you can also get some pretty good relationships in this time, right?
[00:44:20] So make the most of it. Also, check out loadpipe.com if you want to get it in our community, it’s private. Um, application only, but it would be cool to see you as some of our webinars. Thank you so much for listening and uh, be safe out there. Bye bye. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com that’s www.globalfromasia.com also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed.
[00:44:47] Thanks for tuning in.