War Stories of Business Owners During the Pandemic With CBM 2021 Panel 1: Sourcing Experts

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast0 Comments

Today’s episode is all about war stories but on the business level. We have our sourcing experts share about business war stories for the past year during Covid and they share their knowledge, tips, and insights. Let’s tune in.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Question 1

    Many of us are weary about putting up a business due to forced limitations this pandemic has caused. Based on your experience, how would you rate the chance of a business to scale during the pandemic, with all these uncertainties and limitations?

  • Question 2

    Being experts in the sourcing world, and having years of experience in this field, what would you say are the skill set and qualities a start-up business should focus on to ensure success in this field?

  • Question 3

    We see that you founded Importano Sourcing Group at the height of the pandemic in May 2020. Can you share with us the experience of putting it all together, what were the major struggles, and how did you go about it?

  • Question 4

    What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?

  • Question 5

    What have you changed in your business due to COVID?

  • Question 6

    If providing sourcing services – what have you seen change in the ecosystem?

  • Question 7

    How the PPE craze affected import/exports from 2020 to now

  • Question 8

    How travel restrictions have forced clients/sourcing companies like mine to rely more on my China team and partners

LOGISTICS – any tips for logistics?!

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Ino’s VIP Page
Simon’s VIP Page
Ash’s VIP Page
Rico’s VIP Page
Meghla’s VIP Page
Cristian’s VIP Page
Chris’ VIP Page
CBM signup for future events
Mike’s vlog on the lockdown in Bohol
The GFA podcast “lockdown”
√ Visit our GFA partner – Mercury – for US banking solutons for your ecommerce businesss
Goremit for cross border payments form HonG Kong to Asia locations
eComm Universe for training for sellers in SE Asia, and Goremit for cross border payments form HonG Kong to Asia locations
GFA VIP Mastermind

Episode Length 01:04:32

Those were indeed some war stories that could have gone for hours. We appreciate our panelists for sharing their knowledge and expertise!

Looking forward to other stories from our sourcing experts on our next online Cross Border Matchmaker!

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Show Transcript


[00:00:00] Okay, thank you everybody for tuning in another Global from Asia podcast, war stories in a pandemic. You ready for this, Jan? Yeah, I am Mike. All right, let’s do this. Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice.

[00:00:21] And now your host, Michael Michelini. Welcome to the GFA podcast, war stories. What do you think of that Jan? Yeah, I’ve heard many war stories, Mike. But this time, we’re going to take it to the business level. Yeah, for sure. I mean, we’ve been, all of us have been through it – the team, the community, everybody, especially in the cross border business world, you know, with the borders closed. We just had the CBM 2021 and we called it the Broken Border series.

[00:00:50] So, you know, I think it’s been over a year and a lot of our, a lot of us have been through a lot. So this is the episode I think people have been waiting for. Absolutely Mike. I really think so too. Yeah. So, so actually it’s also, we just mentioned the CBM Cross Border Matchmaker. This is actually, today’s content is panel 1 and we had some really amazing people helping make this happen.

[00:01:15] Especially our team. I’m really happy. Jan, you’ve been helping a lot with the community, Camille LJ, Stephenie, Manly, and just so many others in the community, right? Oh, also we have our GFAVIPs on the panel. We have Catherine Qian, Simon de Raadt, John Cavendish, Rose, Ino Topalovic, Davide Nicolucci, Chris Thomas, Luciano Drehmer.

[00:01:38] Andy Lee and of course the list goes on. We have a lot in panel 1 actually and not every one of them had the chance to speak for a long time. But I hope next time we can work on that. Yeah. I think, I think we’re so blessed with amazing experts in the community, you know, that have amazing knowledge

[00:01:59] to share. I think next time, we’ll just have to give. I’m thinking we will have to have multiple sessions, more sessions over multiple days, I think is a solution to that. But there’s amazing stuff on top of our, you know, our team, our community, our members, also our sponsors. We had three great sponsors there, mercury.com, the US banking solution for international sellers.

[00:02:21] They’ve been an ongoing GFA partner sponsor. You know, as many of you have probably been hearing them in our content over the last months and also some events. But sponsors, we have Goremit.hk,  cross border payment in Hong Kong to Southeast Asia and China. And we also had E-commerce Universe, which is Andy Lee’s training center for sellers in Southeast Asia, which has been, he’s so supportive of me.

[00:02:46] He, he shared his knowledge, he’s in our membership and community, and he’s also a sponsor. So thank you, Andy, for that. Yeah, thank you very much to our sponsors. Mercury for US bank account for international sellers, E-commerce universe for training for sellers in Southeast Asia, and GoRemit for cross border payments from Hong Kong to Asia locations.

[00:03:07] Thank you so much. Yeah, so I think, we will get into the meat of the episode and we have our first panel as the sourcing experts. Do you want to share who these we have? We’ll link on the show notes here  at globalfromasia.com/warstories. You can check their profiles. We have GFAVIP profiles for them in our VIP network.

[00:03:29] And there’s a great group here. Jan, do you want to just tell everybody who these great people are on this session today? Yes. Let’s hear our stories from sourcing experts, Ino Topalovic, Simon de Raadt, Ash Monga, Rico Ngoma, Meghla Bhardwaj, Cristian Gallardo

[00:03:46] and of course Chris Thomas. Yeah. Chris, the Australian seller. Appreciate. I said they’re all around the world, really. I mean, they’re represented all around the world and I think. Let’s just jump into the main meat of the episode, and then we call it our blah-blah-blah session. We can hear some of these other stories and the reason why Jan and others and the team have some of my stuff in their place.

[00:04:08] What do you think? All right. Yeah, we’ll talk about that later. Gotcha. Okay. So let’s get into the show now. Let’s go. Let’s do it. And of course thank you to our ongoing sponsor, mercury.com. They also sponsored this event at cross-border matchmaker. It’s great service, right, Jan? Yeah. I agree Mike, even you use it, right? True.

[00:04:30] Yeah, we use it. Yeah. Or Amazon or e-commerce joint venture. I, I couldn’t have got an account without them because I know I’m an American, but our business partner in this joint venture and our major investor is not a US citizen. So, traditional banks told me because I have a non US partner. I need to come in person with him. And, you know, we can’t go to the US. I could barely get back to China.

[00:04:55] I, you know, we’re all locked down. So yeah. Thank you, mercury. I like to support, of course they did support the show, but I also like to promote the services that we actually use and can put our checkbox on. So thank you, mercury. We also have a bonus for people that use our link at globalfromasia.com/mercury.

[00:05:15] Cool. Very happy to be here. Hope everything is okay with everyone all over the world. My name is Simon. I’ve been based in China for the last 10 years mostly helping international European companies to localize the services, finding suppliers, helping them with the logistics and making sure that we are facilitating trade.

[00:05:35] Recently last year I joined HyperSKU, which is helping online sellers with their sourcing and shipping from China, which is mainly drop shipping related. So if you’re a drop shipper out there and you are looking for a good supplier, just leave me a message. So, if you need any help with that just, or, or tips or advice, just reach out to me, happy to support and grateful to be part of this GFA community.

[00:05:57] So, yeah. Thanks Mike. Thank you Simon. And thank you so much and I appreciate it. You’re also our member too. So appreciate your support for that. It’s really appreciated. Cristian, do you want to give an intro, would be great to hear from you? Yeah. Hi to everyone. I’m now in, connected from Chile. It’s far away, 12 hour difference, I think.

[00:06:21] So here’s six something in the morning. It’s quite early.

[00:06:29] I’ve been working in, connected for e-commerce for more than 10 years. I live in Czech Republic in Prague. But for the reason of the pandemic situation, I came to my country. I was supporting more tech company.  Different company came to Latin America. I was running the go local strategy. My expertise is connected with e-commerce, online sales and how you can roll out your services in Latin America, across from Mexico to Argentina.

[00:07:00] Awesome. Nice, nice to connect. Yeah, it’s been a lot. We’ve all been adjusting a lot with the pandemic. Awesome. My name is Rico. I run Source Find Asia, lived in China for five years, from 2014 to 2020. And I currently live in Manila in the Philippines. I planned on being half in China, half in the Philippines. But obviously COVID happened last year. But yeah, we, my business partner, Mike Schierhorn, Mike Michelini he originally started the company in 2008 and I joined and restarted the company as a CEO.

[00:07:37] And we’ve grown from what we were doing before working out of my apartment in Guangzhou to having an office with a team all over China and expanding to the Philippines now. So yeah, that’s all about me. We deal with a lot of Amazon sellers, a lot of crowdfunding. So a lot of original design, longer term projects.

[00:07:58] Also kind of switching over to a little bit of digital services, like, taking a page out of Michael Michelini’s book. So that’s a little bit of all. Thanks. Bye. Great. Yeah. I mean, we’ve watched you grow over the years. It’s really, it’s really great. You’re always working so hard. Thanks for that Rico.

[00:08:14] Ino, I’m just trying to see who’s ready with technical and audio, but it looks like, Ino is ready. Ino, you want to come up and just give us a quick intro? Yeah, sure. No problem. My name is Ino Topalovic. I come from small country in Eastern Europe. Bosnia-Herzegovina. I’ve been in China since 2014.

[00:08:34] Well, all that time in Yiwu where it is not a famous wholesale market for commodities. And, since last year in the past I have been working in a QC company. And, since last year I started my own business sourcing, trading. So that’s about it. Okay. Yeah, we want to talk more about that too. You need to go through a lot.

[00:09:07] You know, the PPE and everything too. So it’s been a lot for you. We still have a couple of intros. Okay. So thanks a lot, Mike, for inviting me here. My name is Meghla. I have been in the sourcing industry for almost 20 years. Most of my career, I worked with B2B sourcing platform, global sources, and more recently I’ve been focused on helping Amazon and e-commerce sellers source products from India.

[00:09:35] I organized a sourcing trip to India, as Mike mentioned in the introduction India sourcing trip. And I also have a Facebook group where I provide information and resources for people to source products from India. So, and I’m currently based in Singapore. So that’s about me. Okay, thank you Meghla.

[00:09:58] Mike can’t hear you.  I’m a little bit jealous. Meghla was getting like thumbs ups and high fives.

[00:10:17] Okay. I mean, we’re just trying to get the intros. I think Chris is here. Is Chris able to come up? I’m not seeing him, but I hope it works. Again, this is our first matchmaker and our first online event. So everybody thank you for your patience, but I think it’s already pretty amazing. We’ve got really great people here and, you know, that’s what it’s all about. It’s making some connections, making some, making some new ideas.

[00:10:41] And so we have this Google doc and we have some people with questions. Let’s start with the first question I see on the list is from Meghla and Simon. Looks like they’re interested to answer this. So many of us are worried about putting up a business due to the pandemic right now. We’re afraid to get started.

[00:11:01] You know, based on your experiences, how do you rate, um, how would you decide to do a business or not in this time of uncertainty and go for it? You want me to go? Sure. For me, I think this is, this time is actually a great opportunity. And that’s actually because whether you are now a service provider, an online seller or supplier, many companies need to make the switch to selling online and communicating online.

[00:11:32] And this for a lot of companies is not the normal, a lot of large companies. They’re not able to make that switch that quickly because suddenly they have to go from offline the main stream of revenue to an online situation. So the niche has become a mainstream, and that has a huge impact, not only on operations, but also on consumer behaviors, obviously.

[00:11:53] And I think as we are our SMEs, small, medium sized enterprises looking for opportunities, this is a great opportunity to grab your advantage because there are from our PR from a opportunity from a business point of view, but also from operational point of view. When you look at structuring your own business, it is important to realize that when your colleagues are working from home, it doesn’t really matter anymore where they’re located, especially when you look at Southeast Asia, tons of opportunities for people that are, have language skills and availability and flexibility, to be able to bring your business also to the next level and, and grab the opportunity.

[00:12:31] So, for me, I know there’s a lot of difficulties. There’s a lot of, for, for people struggling for small, medium sized entrepreneurs. Like we all are, this is a great opportunity to grab, and you can actually make use of the momentum by just making use of what’s available, resources, opportunities, and tap into them.

[00:12:50] So my suggestion is really make yourself visible so that other people can find you because people are in need of companies like ourselves to be able to bridge the gap. Yeah, totally agree with Simon. Yeah. I think with big change comes great opportunities. Right? Maybe it’s a little bit of a variation, but yeah.

[00:13:10] Yeah. So I totally think this is. I totally agree with Simon. This is a great opportunity. I mean, the pandemic has actually given us so many new opportunities that we didn’t really think about. And especially e-commerce, it has been booming and it’s not only Amazon, but there are so many other different channels and marketplaces that have come up.

[00:13:27] Walmart is really pumping in a lot of money into their marketplace as well. And then a lot of the others like Shopify and there’s so many opportunities in e-commerce that are emerging. So I think if you’re in the right business, if you can identify where the opportunity is, where the specific need is, then this is a great time to start a business.

[00:13:46] Of course you don’t want to start like a physical business at this time or, you know, events or conference business. But, you know, personally for me, for example, I used to host conferences and sourcing trips, but now I’ve pivoted to virtual events and I’m doing workshops and I’m doing, you know, all sorts of different virtual events that is more difficult to monetize than, you know, physical in-person events. But there are different ways to monetize it.

[00:14:13] So I think you have to be very creative in terms of identifying where the opportunity is, and also think differently about how you can monetize those opportunities. Cool. Thank you, Meghla. Back to you Mike, you summarize. I put the question in the chat for Ino, but I see Ash here again. I don’t know if Ash is able to. Thanks Mike for having me you know, it’s great to be here.

[00:14:37] My name is Ash. I’ve been based in China for the last almost, almost 11 years now. In fact, I run a sourcing company called IMEX sourcing. Like a lot of the other speakers here, you know, have people, uh, import product from China. So it’s a fully outsourced supply chain solution. We work with a lot of e-commerce sellers, so that’s, that’s been a core focus over the last 10 years.

[00:15:01] And unlike a lot of other speakers have been stuck out of China for the last almost year and a half now. So I’m at the moment in the UK, looking for an opportunity to somehow get back to China, but that’s not happening for now because I think I need two shots of the Chinese vaccine before I can apply for a new visa.

[00:15:20] So, yeah. So, but it’s, it’s been interesting times and yeah, very happy to share my experiences of how things are working out during this period. Okay, great Ash. Thanks for, thanks for sharing. I know you’ve been through a lot. I mean, we’ve been talking through through this whole period, you know, been in India and London.

[00:15:42] I wish you, wish you the best with everything. I know. We’ve all been through a lot this year. Yeah. Okay. Chris you want to come up? Is it going to work? Yeah, I hope so. Hello, Mike. Thanks. Thank you very much for inviting me along to tonight’s session. So I’m Chris Thomas. I run a podcast called the Australian seller podcast that I also consult to a lot of companies and brands and individuals as well about how to sell on Amazon, both domestically here in Australia, on Amazon local marketplace here, but also internationally as well on other Amazon marketplaces.

[00:16:19] And then I’ll do a bit of e-commerce consulting too. And just on that previous sort of points that Meghla and I’m sorry, the other speaker, it was, Simon, sorry, Simon. Sorry. I’ve just been doing some consulting, in the last couple of months, actually with a company here that does a gift with purchase type.

[00:16:37] But that’s their business. So they work with high-end perfume companies and makeup companies, and who else, uh, like spirit, you know, alcohol spirit companies. And they do like really high-end gifts with the you know, with the purchase of these products to add this extra value. And last year their business completely collapsed.

[00:16:56] And so I’ve been helping them to pivot to Meghla’s point. So now what they want to do is have an offering with a gift with purchase type offer with e-commerce because they’re saying that e-commerce is really the way to go. So they’re actually branching out. So you’re saying a lot of businesses at the moment, which were traditionally fixed on traditional bricks and mortar who are now mainstream going straight into e-commerce and trying to diversify their business as quickly as they can.

[00:17:19] So, yeah, totally agree with everything that’s been said previously. Awesome. Thanks, Chris. Yeah, it’s really a pleasure to have you. I know it’s a little bit late for you in Australia now in Melbourne, so that’s really appreciated. I’ll just do an intro as well as make a point there. Sorry. Sorry about that.

[00:17:33] No, that’s good. Yeah, no, we, we have such an amazing group here. It’s we’re really, we’re really honored to have you and others amazing people here. I think let’s move to a question I posted in here, Ino started his business right in the middle of the pandemic. We’re kind of talking about that earlier about starting or not. Ino, you started your sourcing business in May

[00:17:56] 2020. Officially May and to start may 21 exactly. On the same day, like today. Oh, happy birthday.

[00:18:09] Well, the, the question question there is how was it to start the business in the pandemic while just registering the companies. Same procedure online at any time? I will, I’m always thinking is the pandemic happened like 30 years ago when there was no so much developed online business. We can be thankful that we have so many internet things, and technology at this level.

[00:18:40] So it doesn’t really disturb so much like we, in the past, when you put only source things physically, when you go to find supply arrows and, use yellow pages to find companies, for now it’s mainly people are more like nervous than it actually had some impact. It can impact more on the companies that do retail, brick and mortar, then that didn’t switch to.

[00:19:16] So for me, it was, because I understood that in USA, so I didn’t have experience how to do it. I found the online agent registering my own name, send my information. That was all done, but the next step was, getting the tax number in USA. And I’m not US citizen then getting the bank account. It was a little bit of challenging.

[00:19:45] So I. Wasted wasted like three or four months to have the company operational with a bank account and everything. So I can start charging, charging for the services. But, I was doing sourcing also in the past. So I had some clients that I worked with before. So it was not actually, like I started from zero, like a registered company then serve for the clients.

[00:20:17] I had experience, I had contacts. I was doing business when I was in Europe. Yeah and so it’s easier when you have one extra bill for somebody that was their job.

[00:20:41] thank you for that. So we’ll also have a round table session after, so everyone in the audience can join to talk more details with, you know, or other panelists because, you know, we have amazing people here. So we’re going to just try to try to share the stage a bit more. So I want to hear from Cristian again, Cristian, if you’re ready, I’ll put the question in the box. But maybe I think Rico has this too, but, how has travel restrictions for your dealer clients and sourcing to rely more on your people in China?

[00:21:19] I don’t know if you’re ready for that or if you see that question, is that something you’d like to answer? I’m just trying to try to involve working with more. I see Rico can move with this question and it’s a better fit for the question or I can. Okay. Okay. Yeah. If you’d like to give them, and then we can have Rico come after if you’d like to answer this.

[00:21:42] Yeah. I will start to think of how I connected with a Latin American situation today. Yeah, please, and you could share about that. Would love to hear that. Yeah, I mean, I think that the Latin America, the opportunity here is basically we have now hundreds of millions of people, potential clients.

[00:22:03] I see. This is what happened in Latin America today. What happened? Because before COVID, the people were kind of afraid to use the credit card to purchase online. Okay. But during the pandemic, what happened now that everyone had to purchase everything from home? And now you can see the numbers that they, you can anticipate the move, the rear.

[00:22:24] They can two years ahead, basically. The conversion, if you want to buy something online is a way better, before, COVID situation. What is the opportunity here? Basically? All was the many company was hesitating of the, the power of Latin America and e-commerce side because the combustion was quite poor because usually when they take to analyze the data, Latin America was the average data, put everything kind of the same books, right.

[00:22:51] But now, every single country leads the top countries, Latin America have improved a lot and they’re more results. If you want to sell there. Internalization if you came to Latin America, or we have to put focus in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Columbia, and Peru. I mean, all those countries making around 80% of the business in Latin America.

[00:23:13] I think this is a good opportunity for you, everyone. Who’s kind of being, you know, making some products, for example, for China moving to potential new markets. I think that the Americans there is booming now in e-commerce I’ve seen it’s the, you have to wait more time. I think that the, there are many and in the expert, or as in a more, people here in the, in the thinking where to sell the for China, bring it to chile to south America, to Latin America.

[00:23:40] I see now is the way, if you want to sell everything online, Latin America is a perfect market today. I can get it better and better. I think that the, the potential is here. The conversion for any kind of purchase online is getting better and better. Yes to think about it. And from the local perspective, not from a global one and be super careful about how you can localize your strategy and LATAM.

[00:24:09] If you, if you decide it’s okay. I went to move the products through China, to Latin America. Let’s go look at this kind of basically what I have been doing the last 10 years. You have to differentiate, uh, the top countries, uh, are not put, uh, everything like on the Latin America umbrella. If we want to succeed a lot in America, you have to go first.

[00:24:30] But I seal on Mexico for, to his country and his Spanish speaking countries. And then roll out your services country by country. I see. Basically they keep. That’s great Cristian. And then you’ll also be in the round table after the panel. So people can also talk to you at the tables after now we have a question for Cristian, from Catherine Qian, what type of product category do well in Latin America?

[00:24:58] Today, anything that you can purchase online is a great moment to sell. That is the, basically the region, because our, before it was,with a pandemic with some kind of, a little bit complicated for the logistics, right? If you want to move something, but I believe that the Chinese company that matter in this the last 10 years, and today’s not a problem, basically you can purchase everything from China.

[00:25:24] I’ve been to Latin America in a kind of a decent time and couple of weeks in a week, depending on how you pay the series. Right. I think it’s not kind of a friction for any products. Can be software because easy, right? You don’t need to move something to that to America. And then any products I seen is the connectivity, beauty technology, everything.

[00:25:46] Okay. Cristian, thank you so much.I just want to make sure we have enough for everybody. We only have 15 minutes left for the panel, but if we all also have the round tables where each speaker here will have a table and people can talk to Cristian or Chris or, or you know, or any, any of these amazing people after.

[00:26:04] So also if, if we didn’t get to ask people, you can go to their table afterwards. and Irving, we see your question. We can save that to the end. I think we want to move to Rico next about travel restrictions. I know you’ve been stuck in Manila. Like you said, you were planning to go between China and Philippines for your business.

[00:26:26] We even did that on a podcast. How, how has this all changed your plans and strategy and, and for others to, you know, Hey. yeah, I think with, with regards to me, I mean, obviously I had, I had plans to go back and forth between China and the Philippines, but on top of that, I wanted to expand and go to sell the, some of the other Southeast Asian countries.

[00:26:47] So if I talk about it from a business perspective, it’s, it was a little bit concerning because we’ve had some really major projects in the last year or so starting with the PPE craze. But beyond that, we’ve had clients that were really successful during this COVID period and that have decided to actually expand their operations or, start producing new products or larger orders.

[00:27:11] And what that’s done for me is I it’s really stress tested my relationships with my team. So one of my, my longest employees who was working with me in my apartment before we got an office, she’s been with me for four years and she’s actually a senior project manager who would probably become a COO.

[00:27:31] She, as we speak right now, she’s in Chengdu. I’m going between three, four different suppliers, hiring employees that we’re going to have working in these factories on a daily basis. So any, any other situation I would be there, I would be physically with her managing, monitoring what was going on, problem solving in real time in the factories.

[00:27:54] And I’ve really had to rely on, on my staff. So on one aspect, it’s a little bit scary, but another aspect she’s impressed me a lot. So, you know, there’s a positive there. And then, with regards to, you know, just even the logistics and, and QC companies and all the other partners that we work with on a typical basis, I really have to rely on them to do their job, to the best of their ability.

[00:28:15] So I think that’s one aspect. And then on the client side of things, a lot of our clients who may be, prior to the pandemic were the kind of clients who would be in China when they had a big order, they would be in China, they would come for the trade shows. They would be here three or four in China, three, four times a year.

[00:28:33] They will also have to not rely on companies like mine and our partners more and more. A lot of our clients obviously expanding and wanting to hire their own employees, but they can’t physically spend that much time in China where they can’t go to China unless they get a vaccine or, you know, do a three week quarantine.

[00:28:49] So I think from the client’s perspective, there’s just a lot of reliance on having good partners in mainland, I think is one of the biggest things for me. We were a little bit lucky because we, we started doing remote work systems in 2019, just because I was traveling a lot like I spent half a year outside of China during that time period.

[00:29:10] And then we just kind of implemented remote work. So from the internal work system, it hasn’t really changed, but it’s definitely been. It’s it’s stress tested those, those systems a lot because we, you know, obviously we live more in technologies, zoom, and, you know, we always talk through slack and stuff like that.

[00:29:26] So it’s just been a little bit more of that than making sure that everything is structured. So that’d be fine. Yeah. I know, man. You all, it’s almost been a chance to step up these leaders in the company, right? Like you originally were like maybe mentoring them or with them, like you said, but now they have to kind of lead in on their own and your China operation.

[00:29:47] So hopefully that’ll grow your company, you know, long-term, I mean, seem for me, it really, I mean, Jan and Camille are stepping up, you know, we’re trying to step up leaders, you know, we can’t, we can’t be involved in as much as, as leaders,as business owners. Right. That’s great. Okay. Again, this is action packed.

[00:30:06] You know, we have amazing people. We only have 10. 10 minutes left for the panel, but we will have table mode where I believe most of these panelists will be at a table. So you hopefully get an idea of some of these amazing people and you can network with them, maybe Cristian, about Latin America, Meghla, Indian sourcing.

[00:30:22] You know, I think we can connect with that’s the whole point. We want you to get a little taste of the people at the panel and then follow up with these amazing people in the table mode. So let’s look at the questions, you know, this is about sourcing and how people have changed in the, in the times I’m trying to hear a little bit more from Ash, or maybe Meghla about sourcing.

[00:30:45] How, how have you seen sourcing change? If, if, if Ash, if you’re here, I’d love to hear, especially you, you guys, so Ash can, you know, if you have, you don’t want to answer yeah. Some insights that you could share. Yeah.I guess you can. Yeah, you can go ahead. Great. Yeah. So just, just to summarize the question I believe was, uh, you know, uh, what, firstly, how has sourcing changed during this time, but also, uh, you know, uh, I think one of the, your questions that we discussed was.

[00:31:19] Like in the ecosystem itself, what has changed? And I think more importantly, what ideally should change. So supposedly, for us, what we have found is, you know, in terms of the sourcing itself, not a lot has changed. I mean, of course, people relying more on online channels, even the Canton fair, for example, you know, as a business, their focus shift from offline to online, they’re trying to redirect a lot of their traffic to their online channels and stuff.

[00:31:49] But other than that, uh, you know, I think there’s a lot of potential for improvement in the ecosystem as a whole. Uh, for example, I think one of the biggest barriers to trade routes from China has been like trade finance, you know, banks as still. I know, very, very traditional in how they do business and, and that, that’s actually one of the biggest barriers to scale because they’re very bureaucratic.

[00:32:15] So, so what we have found from our clients during this time, is there a lot of opportunities for scaling quickly? For example, you know, the sales on the e-commerce side have increased a lot and then there was demand for PPE and stuff. So they asked it all the opportunities, but a lot of the times it also requires, especially for the really large orders, it required trade, finance support and stuff.

[00:32:37] And that’s where the traditional banks have been very slow and bureaucratic. So to change that has worked is there are FinTech companies that have come up and they’ve done really well. And they’ve enabled that trade growth, but I think banks could do more there. But other than that, you know, personally COVID has had a very little impact in how we do things, because what I’ve found is the initial first couple of months, uh, you know, there was a shock effect and people stopped placing orders and everything was in whole, but gradually people realized that this is the new normal and people adapted to that very quickly.

[00:33:16] And, you know, that’s, that’s one thing about small and medium-sized businesses, especially the largest businesses tend to struggle a little bit more, but, but they adapt and an overall for most of our clients. If anything, you know, they’ve grown as businesses because I think one reason could be because you work with a lot of e-commerce sellers and generally the pandemic has actually kind of healthy conversations because, you know, the, the moment from offline to online has been accelerated even more.

[00:33:45] But, but also in terms of the new opportunities with like PPE and stuff, uh it’s uh, you know, it’s, it’s, It’s grown a lot. But challenge has been more on the supply side as well. So that’s, that’s another point with PPE. The biggest challenge has been, the suppliers have had the suppliers who have all the certifications have been very challenging to deal with because they’ve been imposing their own terms.

[00:34:11] I remember when it first started, you know, if you wanted to source ventilators. People asking for like $10,000 just to visit the factory. They’re like, Hey, you have to pay $10,000 in advance. I’m going to give you a meeting at the factory so you can see what we have. And, and there was a lot of fraud going on.

[00:34:27] That’s changed. But even yesterday we placed an order for testing kits which was actually for the Denmark government and the sector by his attitude was like, everything has to be done on their terms. Their contract, their delivery time. And even the inspection, you know, it was like, we were really, really limited, but it’s because the supplies are in that position.

[00:34:49] So, so thing has been challenging from that aspect until we have enough to us with the right set of certifications is pretty much a supplier’s market at the moment. You know? So yeah. Was saying I think one of the things that we noticed is that certain product categories were definitely in high, higher demand than others.

[00:35:09] So we saw people switching from one category to another, for example, especially for, you know, sourcing from India. There was a lot of demand for home products, home decor. And furnishings those kinds of product categories were in high demand. Whereas there was less demand for a parallel or evening wear or bags, those kinds of things.

[00:35:28] So that was one big change that we saw that there was a shift in categories. And then the other thing is that, I’m, I’m sort of related and tied to the exhibitions industry. And it was, uh, unimaginable, I think two years ago, you know, before the pandemic, it was kind of an unimaginable to do sourcing without cancel unfair without the global sources fairs in Hong Kong.

[00:35:50] And you had to like all the major buyers they have to visit. Hong Kong and China twice a year to do their sourcing. So it is completely changed the way that, you know, a lot of these people, a lot of these bigger buyers source, they’re not dependent on exhibitions and meeting suppliers face to face. And, of course we, you know, doing a lot of online sourcing and, and online shows as Ash mentioned as well.

[00:36:13] Another thing I’ve realized is that people have diversified their sourcing. And this, we heard a lot at the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic started and there was the supply chains were kind of disrupted in China at that time. People were diversifying and looking at alternative sources, especially India.

[00:36:29] And, you know, now there’s disruption in India and now people are looking at other markets as well. So I think it’s really, brought home the point. And, and, you reiterated that you’ve got to have supply chain diversification. That’s really important. Okay, I’m done. Mike, can you see me, Mike, Meghla’s done.

[00:36:53] Jan’s here. Jan, I think the next question is logistics. I’d love to hear about logistics. I think it’s a big problem right now. You know, people are paying two, three, four times higher, so I’d love to get any tips. I think a lot of people today need help with logistics for their business. Awesome.

[00:37:12] Yeah, let me, so I’ve been doing, crossmodal logistics for the last 10 years, more or less, and it’s been a nightmare the last year for a lot of people involved. But it’s also been a kind of as I think this is really a changing point when it comes to obviously a lot of boats are, there are less boats in circulation and that’s also because nobody wants to carry any empty containers back.

[00:37:37] They only want full containers. So there’s still a lack, a lot of power with logistic companies, particularly the ones, the fault. They’re not the forwarders, but actually the, the ones that owning the planes and owning the boats and all those kinds of stuff. And so the sea freight is an issue. Air freight definitely is an issue because there are no commercial flights.

[00:37:55] It’s all need to be cargo flights. So you see companies actually buying charter flights just to be able to sustain their existing business. I’m dealing mostly with Europe and China. And what has been really been a game changer has been the train. The train has been more popular than ever. And now there’s also tracking solutions tracking from China to Europe, which takes three weeks.

[00:38:17] And I have two drivers in that truck that just drives. And it’s been in very high demands just because there’s not a lot of other options. And that’s been, a lot of people are not aware about, uh, there are truck option, most are whereabouts the train option, but, the truck has been a little bit less exposed when it comes to deliveries from China to Europe.

[00:38:40] So I think that’s good to mention that that’s, that you need to be aware of the availability of this solution. Yeah, Simon, what’s the cost of the container at the moment. Say a 40 foot container from China through to the US or in date into Europe. What do you average price? I think now. And so before, before COVID was like, maybe 1500 US dollar, and now it’s actually four to 5,000 US dollar to Europe.

[00:39:09] Yeah. Cause I’m hearing prices like going up as high as $15,000 for a country, China to the U S you know? Yeah, it’s ridiculous. I also heard 8,000 then more and a lot of my customers are just keeping the stock any warehouse, because it’s just, it doesn’t add up. They just keep it in China. They’re not shipping out.

[00:39:29] I think Ash can maybe chime in as well. What do you think? Yeah, I was just going to say we got quoted at almost $20,000 for a 40 HQ to, uh, to Europe, uh, last week. So that was, that was probably the highest court I’ve ever seen in my, you know, last 10, 11 years in the industry that was just completely blew my mind.

[00:39:51] So Ash went, you’re going to get better when it, when are we going to say process start to ease? Do you think, I think it’s also about what we’re finding is if you’re willing to wait three to four weeks, you get slightly better prices. That’s that’s, you know, one of the hacks now, what if you’re really wanting to ship it like straight away?

[00:40:08] There’s a lot of these clients also want everything urgently, especially because of the, you know, on the PPE. Uh, so they’re willing to pay that premium, but I think in terms of when it’s going to ease, uh, I think it depends on when the borders start to open. And when the trade from Europe to China also starts picking up, I think like Simon mentioned, you know, I think because if a lot of these containers are going empty, that means they’re factoring in their return costs into their pricing as well.

[00:40:32] So that, that, that’s also a huge factor. Another factor just to add there was, you know, one of the friends who works in supply chain mentioned was a lot of the bigger logistics companies over the last five, 10 years have kind of the industry has consolidated. So there are fewer players and a lot of the bigger vessels have gone out of service.

[00:40:50] And that’s also, in, in the last six months itself, quite a few vessels have gone out of service and that’s impacted the cost as well. I bet it has my, um, I was going to ask, are you saying that when you actually put a, a container or shipment, it’s better to try and get your freight forwarder to book something a little bit further in advance.

[00:41:07] If you can afford to, if you can afford to wait, then you might get a better rate. Is that what you’re saying? Is that a TA? Is that the hack. Absolutely. We normally, you know, when you’re two weeks away from production completion, we kind of started the conversation and get coats in and even try and get a booking if he can.

[00:41:22] But sometimes that itself can be harder because they want a more confirmed booking because, you know, they’re, they’re under pressure from different clients as well. So yeah, just to add to Ashley’s point. Yeah, I totally agree with that. Like with us when we’ve gotten some of the higher quotes in spin, if we wanted to ship out goods immediately, but if we were able to wait a couple of weeks, um, then the quotes sort of normalized.

[00:41:45] So I think that, um, a big part is if you can just find out and an issue, a lot of times with clients is like, they’ll wait until the last minute to, to place an order. But if they can order a little bit in advance and give themselves a little bit of leeway and time and space, then you’ll get favorable rates.

[00:42:02] That’s awesome tips right there. That’s well worth the price of admission. Thank you. Remember that right back to you, Mike, with the weather, weather is, it is getting warm here. I don’t have to wear a jacket anymore. I’ve been wearing a jacket up until middle of May here. I only need to wear my father-in-law’s jacket.

[00:42:24] So that’s my weather report in Shenyang, China. And I think for the weather report for panel one, I think we’re mostly on time. I know, I know there was a lot of amazing people and it was a little bit rushed, but the point is to get a little taste of some knowledge and some information insights from these experts.

[00:42:40] I think it was really amazing. So we’ve already wrapped up. That went really fast, honestly, that was already 45 minutes. I see Peter’s question about mercury. Mercury is in San Francisco. So he’ll be on at the, panel three. Travels will be here, from mercury. So that will be later, but are going to move into table mode.

[00:43:00] Now, I just want to say thank you to all these amazing speakers and, but I think this is even more fun. You’re going to get to go into tables now. So make sure when we end this session, go to the lounge tab. If it doesn’t take you there automatically, and then you should see different tables, it might not work on mobile.

[00:43:18] If you’re on mobile, it might not work. So hopefully you’re on a laptop mode or your laptop. And then you can double click into that table and this’ll be another 45 minutes. And then we’ll come back to panel two after that at about, 7:45, China time. So this’ll be a good chance for you to talk to all these amazing people.

[00:43:39] Hopefully you can connect there’s eight people max per table. So if you can’t get into the table, hopefully you can find another one and ask me or Jan or Camille or others on the team, if you need any technical or, or connection help. And of course there’s a chat, right, Jan? Yes. Thank you, Mike. All of you people, if you want to follow a specific person like Cristian, for example, if you are into Latin America, just just sit on his table.

[00:44:06] Okay. Let’s go to the round tables. So thank you. Thank you guys. All right. That was panel one of cross-border matchmaker and May, 2021. Thank you again for our amazing experts and members in the community. And like Jan said, at the beginning, there was so many amazing people there. And we tried our best to, you know, that could have been hours and hours long.

[00:44:29] Right. But, you know, I think still people got a lot of tips, knowledge of hopelessness today did too. Yeah, there were a lot of favorites from the speaker list that we had. So we did a survey after the CBM event and we had overwhelming responses. So we are sharing that of course, to our social media channels and make sure to check out the link that we have for the surveys and testimonials for the CBM event.

[00:44:58] Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great point. Thanks Jan. I know you’ve been helping out, making sure we collect all the feedback from this first online cross-border matchmaker and, and I it’s been great feedback so far and I hope people enjoy this. So I said at the beginning, we were going to talk about, I think you have a bunch of stuff of mine or the companies maybe

[00:45:24] Yeah. I mean, a lot of this stuff from my workstation is from Mike’s right. Oh man. At least it’s going to good you as it was sitting in a box. So you know what? I’m so happy, Jan, again, I hope you know that you’re, you’re helping me with this show and, you know, coming on and, and then I don’t know if it was before or after the luggage, but I was like, you need a microphone.

[00:45:48] And then I was like, We have a microphone it’s in a box in Gauthier. He’s a listener. I’m pretty sure he listened to almost all of our shows. So thank you Gauthier. He helped me out. Honestly, he helped me. He and, I think his girlfriend, or I don’t know who helped move out of my apartment in BGC Manila, because I had to literally evacuate from Bohol to Cebu and I couldn’t get back to Manila.

[00:46:10] It was March, 2020. Yeah. This happened in March. Stress, money spent. It’s funny when you been for a retreat in Bohol right? Yeah. You never got to come back to Manila to pack your things and you, you fly straight back to China. Yeah. I mean, there’s obviously, I’m trying to feel how long to make this, but.

[00:46:33] I, I tried multiple times and I kept going to the empty airport. Like I went to Cebu airport. I bought like an expensive, last minute flight and I was staying in like, you know, hotels in Cebu. And I went to an airport and a grab and I get to the airport and it was totally empty, like closed on like a Tuesday morning or something.

[00:46:50] I think it was like May 20th or something, March 20th or something, the grab drivers driving up. And I’m like, there’s no people here. And then I go to the security and they’re like, did you watch the TV, sir? I’m like TV. They’re like, oh, the presidents said, yeah, cause you were too busy, too busy with the retreat with them.

[00:47:15] That’s why you have no idea. Honestly, I, the president said like that morning, like 8:00 AM, 7:00 AM. And I had like an 11:00 AM flight. So I don’t watch TV. I don’t watch TV. So I took a grab at like 9:00 AM, 9:30. I had like 11:00 AM flight in an hour, but they decided at the morning of, they closed the airport that morning.

[00:47:39] Well, I’m still glad you were able to fly back to the time, because if not, then you’ll be stuck here. I barely made it, but basically there were multiple attempts. So it was that one that was empty. And then I, I came to the empty airport, like two or three times I stayed at friend’s place. I was staying in hotels.

[00:47:56] I was getting kicked out of apartments for, because of lockdowns. And it was most crazy, like one week, but I could barely mail the key. I couldn’t mail the key to my apartment, Jan. I left the key at my friend’s, Josh, his apartment, I was staying in, in Cebu because there was no mail, no LBC or no, no mil. I couldn’t mail my key to Manila.

[00:48:19] I couldn’t go to Manila. I had to leave a key in Cebu and then I just caught a last minute flight after like three or four attempts. So finally Josh mailed my key to Gauthier. That was like a month or two later. I was like, May last year and my landlord was all upset because I wasn’t paying the rent and I was all my stuff was there and I’m like, man, please just don’t steal.

[00:48:41] I told him like, please don’t throw away my stuff. Like, please, can you just not throw away all my things like that? Microphone, everything. He’s like, he was trying to get me to pay rent. I’m like, man, I’m not going to pay rent if I have, can’t even go there. So Gauthier went, finally got the key and then he moved all my stuff.

[00:49:00] Like, I don’t know, I haven’t asked him, but I left dirty clothes in my apartment. You know, like I had laundry that was there for a month. And like literally I thought I was going to, you know, like me, LJ and Stephanie and our amazing team Alvin and my others on our team. And I was like, I’ll be back.

[00:49:19] I’ll be back in a couple of days. I’ll just wash the clothes when I get back.

[00:49:27] I dunno. I hope there’s no dirty clothes in there. I know. Oh no. Yeah. I can imagine the experience you had and thinking about it right now. It’s very crazy, were you able to catch up to the experience on blog? I mean, I think there’s seven or eight over the time. Like Alvin, you know, Alvin is amazing. He was helping me edit while I was literally like recording on my camera and uploading it at night while I was in a hotel or a friend’s place.

[00:49:59] And then the next day I would just do another video and upload it overnight. And then, and we’re uploading the videos and everybody’s like watching me, like, honestly, one of them I really was going to have a breakdown, Jan, seriously. Like, I, I was going to have a breakdown because I was at another friend’s place in Cebu and the security kicked me out because they said no visitor, no visit.

[00:50:19] Or my friend was like, you can stay as long as you want,  he’s a really nice guy. He’s a he’s from the middle east. I’m sorry. I forget his exact country, but very nice person. Very kind. He helped pick me up when I was stranded. And, you know, he says, I have a spare bedroom. You can stay as long as you want. No problem.

[00:50:39] And I put my stuff there. I unpacked, you know, I, I don’t have a lot of stuff, but I just put the stuff in a drawer. The next day I stayed one night, we go to get food. We’re going to get cans, you know, for stocking up from like SNR or something. We come back, security’s like, no visitor or no visitor. I’m like all my stuff’s in there.

[00:50:59] They’re like your friend, wait here. He, he can only, he only the tenant can go. He need pack your thing. Bring outside. I was like, Well, it was this here, like one hour ago, like dude, like paper in there, like this paper it’s signed by the management. You cannot come in. That’s really bad. Was it in the condo?

[00:51:26] Yeah, it was a condo. Yeah. The same thing happened to me.  It’s crazy. I was renting a condo in Cubao and then when I, when I came back in October, they didn’t even let the, you know, I was renting the unit, but I was paying it, you know, I’m the, I’m the renter. And they didn’t let me in because, because of the pandemic, you know, it’s a crazy policy that they had, and I was all mad. But I, and I can’t travel back to Cavite right away because I had my laptop, my laptop, my, my things upstairs.

[00:52:04] So I was just, you know, very frustrated and I know exactly what you feel because I’ve been there too. I hope you don’t experience something like that again. And I have a video. I was doing a video camera and. But they went with us, the security watched me and made sure that I packed my things and waited for me to pack and then made the taxi wait and put me into, not put me in both, watched me go into the taxi.

[00:52:34] And then it was 6 or 7:00 PM. I don’t know, like a Thursday, I think by now it was like Thursday. Like the airport was I came back from Bohol on a ferry with Alvin, you know, I get to Cebu. I take a hotel, I book a flight, the airport’s closed. I can’t stay in an Airbnb or a hotel. And then I, I try to stay at my friends and then I get, I, they watched me packing my stuff and then he’s like, he felt so bad.

[00:53:02] He’s such a nice person. I still keep in touch with him. And he’s like, Mike, where will you go? I’m like, I don’t know. It’s like 7:00 PM on a Thursday and it’s getting dark, you know? And I’m going into a taxi. I don’t know where I’m going to go. I’m like, They don’t want, you know, like hotels are not letting foreigners in.

[00:53:19] Like I can’t get Airbnb anymore. I can’t go into a condo. Can’t go to my friend’s place. Like the taxi was just driving me around and, and I almost had a breakdown in that taxi. I was sitting in the backseat of taxi and I didn’t know where to go. He was just drive. I just told him, just drive. And I just put my hotspot on and my laptop, you know, my phone, I put 4G hotspot and I was searching for hotels and trying to think of where to go.

[00:53:45] LJ was talking to me in text messages. She’s trying to help me get to the embassy, you know, and everybody thinks it’s so great to be an American. Right. And you know what American embassy did for me, they gave me a 20% coupon to a five-star hotel. Okay, but were you able to, I didn’t want to spend 20 to 20% off.

[00:54:10] It was like, you know, a five star hotel, like by the airport was like really expensive. They’re like, this is all we can do. I’m like, can you please help me get to Manila? Can you please help me get to Manila? I need, I need to get back to Manila. And then they’re like, sorry, we don’t have any, you know, planes or, you know, maybe there’s the department of tourism DOT, called this phone number to department of tourism.

[00:54:32] And then they’re like, maybe there’s a military plane. I’m like, I can’t stay anywhere. They’re like, oh, we can stay at this hotel. I’m like, no hotel is so expensive. You want me to get locked in there for two weeks? You know? Or like a month paying every day in a hotel and I can’t go anywhere. Like, yeah. I mean, just, just makes me, yeah.

[00:54:50] I’m curious though. So what happened after that? How did you. I, you know, my friend, Josh, he’s an American guy in Cebu. I couldn’t get a hold of him for a while. Finally, he rang, got back to me when I was sitting in a restaurant, like an empty restaurant. I got a hold of him and he’s like, oh, sorry. I work at night.

[00:55:11] I just woke up. It was like 8:00 PM or something. He’s like, yeah, yeah, you can stay at my place. I don’t stay in a condo. I stay in like a house. Like he was in those. He has like a, they’re like self standing houses. So he says it’s different than a condo. Condo is, is more strict. So he had these, you know, these, like, I don’t wanna say small, but it was a nice house, but it was like, kind of like a suburb houses.

[00:55:35] I don’t know. Maybe know what this is called or like these anyways. I’m not sure. Anyway, he’s like, there’s no security. Each house is separate. So you can just come here. I just went there and I got another taxi and I went there and then, and then, yeah, I, I kinda stayed in his daughter’s bedroom. I felt bad because he put his daughter in the living room or something.

[00:56:00]  I was like, you know, princess pictures on it, was like a princess bed. And there’s like princess, t was like a pink room. I’m like, this is crazy. Don’t worry, man. Just stay as long as you want, here’s a towel, you know yours. I was like, this is crazy, man. It’s crazy. And so I, I, luckily we got a last minute flight, like three days later I had to go to airport like almost every day.

[00:56:25] Cause they’re like, you come to the airport. I’m like come to the, the airport. Like, can’t you tell me that there’s an airplane? Or like there was one time. It was so funny. Mormons. It’s like a religious group of people. Mormons. I don’t know if you know, Mormons there, there was like a notice on Facebook.

[00:56:41] There’s two planes from Cebu to Manila. There’s two planes. Just go to the airport. LJ is like, go to the airport, just go, just go. I was like, I just grab a grab, like go. And they booked, this group, religious group booked the whole plane. They just bought every ticket on the plane. And I mean, I don’t know why I shouldn’t.

[00:57:00] Why does it matter? If Mormons are related, but they basically booked the whole plane for their group. So I get there and I’m like, and you know, I have my vlog, right. So I’m like, Hey, what’s up? They’re like, no camera. We said, no camera, no camera. I know, no press, no PR. I was like, man, I’m just a YouTube dude.

[00:57:19] Like what’s up? He’s like, oh, so sorry. We, we, we had to book this plane for our members are, I’m like, oh, I just had to go back to Josh’s apartment. And it was like that leg for days. Finally, I got a flight to China and Korea. I had to stay one night in Korea. I was so scared. I was gonna get stuck in Korea because you had to leave.

[00:57:43] I left the airport cause I didn’t want to sleep on the floor in the airport. So I left at some kind of Airbnb, the place. And then I was like, I hope I get back into the airport. I hope I get back into the airport. You hope I get, you know, I totally, yes, you can come back.Yes, you can come back. I’m like, please, I got back and I got on my flight and I got to China and there’s so much more, I mean, there’s just so much more, but I think people can get the gist.

[00:58:12] But then I had to, you know, I was like the only, I think there was maybe some Koreans and mostly all Chinese people calling on this flight because it was not like a foreign city. Like where I am. It’s like very local Chinese city, is this me? Like, I’m the only non-Chinese or non Korean. There was like maybe three or four or five Koreans and like a plane of Chinese people.

[00:58:31] And I’m like, Oh, this is, and then, you know, they’re like, we’re so strict, you know, China’s so strict about the COVID, right? So you, I land and then we just sat on a plane in the runway for like two hours. I’m like, hello. Like we’re not moving. We’re sitting here. Like, and then all these people come up in the, in the suits with the masks and screaming and Chinese giving everybody so many pieces of paper.

[00:58:59] I had so many papers. They’re just giving us like paper. I had four papers I had to fill out in Chinese and I’m like, see you next is, you know, this is out of control. And then I was in an airport all day, basically. And, and then I got to quarantine and they didn’t even give them food. They just gave me some bread and water.

[00:59:18] I’m like, eh, I was going to go crazy. I think this is the new normal, and we have to accept the fact that we have to go through this. Yeah, it’s true. It’s true. It’s just the way it is, but we’re trying to adapt, like, I’m happy we did a cross border matchmaker online. We’ve been waiting because we want to kind of, I know a lot of our members, I guess everyone prefers in person, but I think people like that event.

[00:59:43] So I guess, yeah, let’s, we’re planning to that maybe three months, I guess we have penciled in August, sounds, you know, end of the summer, maybe end August, same style, of course collecting all the feedback. But I think, I think the format was mostly okay for the event and we’ll just have to all get used to this new normal, right?

[01:00:05] Yeah. So we’re going to have the CBM, the next CBM plan laid out in the next couple of weeks. And you viewers just keep on watching out for the, for the news and events of GFA. Right now we are, we are working on GFA kids. It’s an ongoing program right now. If you want to check on the details, you can check kids.globalfromasia.com.

[01:00:35] you can, you can check on the, the details for GFA kids. If you want to enroll your kid for any of our classes, you are welcome to do so. And also we are, we are, we want to be supported by you guys. So we also offer sponsorship if you want to, to support this program for the kids. So we can give, give out scholarships.

[01:01:02] You are very much welcome to do so. We want to expand that initiative from our, from our team member and she initiated this program. So we’re very thankful for Anne. And of course, Mike, we’re making the, making it happen. I think, you know me by now, Jan, I think a lot of people, I have so many ideas and things I want to do and do so many things, I guess it’s good and it’s bad, but we’re fine.

[01:01:31] I appreciate Anne for helping make it happen. Cause it’s been something we would want to do for a long time. And, and we had an orientation, we did a test one. I did a test session last week and I don’t know. I think it’s really, hopefully, you know, even it’s just a few handful of kids, I think it will make a positive impact on the world.

[01:01:47] Right. And hopefully we can help even more. So, yeah, we great. If members or, you know, listeners or sponsors want to support this more, you know, is this the first one we’re testing, like always and learning, but yeah, if you’d love to get in touch with us. I guess the best emailing blog@globalfromasia.com. I think that goes to, goes to both of us and you know, we could help, help help them out if they’re interested.

[01:02:09] Thank you, Mike. And of course we have the GFAVIP membership. You would want to, you want to share something about the GFAVIP so that they have the overview of what to expect if they join the membership? Sure, sure. So, you know, the membership has been something we’ve been working on over the years just to give, we don’t want to take away from the free stuff.

[01:02:31] Like we don’t want to like charge for these podcasts or other content. So we want to keep a free, always have some free, but the VIP is for the paid, for the premium. We have what we had the NFT workshop after the CBM, where it was a small group of people that really enjoyed getting some extra knowledge and insights and an access to our forum, a members only groups and we’re working on more.

[01:02:54] We’re giving special NFTs, which I know are. So even for me, still kind of new, but we’re testing that. And I think the first group of users in NFTs. We’ll all probably be the most valuable long-term as an investments. Of course, I know it’s highly early and speculative, but that’s one other benefit where we’re giving members, essentially it’s access to, you know, like people at CBM, right?

[01:03:16] They were asking you and me like, how do I talk to this person or that person, or, you know, that’s what our community and like you and others on our team will help our members connect and introduce the course. You know, others can try to find these people and connect with them. But our membership is really like, it says VIP.

[01:03:30] So we take care of our members. We also want to include them more and, you know, help promote them more in our cross-border matchmaker events in the future. And other other sessions we do. Right. So if you want to learn more about the GFAVIP membership, you can go to gfavip.com and I hope to see you on the inside.

[01:03:51] Yeah, let’s do it. All right. That’s a wrap. I’m really, again, thanks Jan, for helping me out with these shows and, and being so supportive in the community. Let’s see everybody next time. Thank you everyone for tuning in to Global from Asia podcast, 352. Yeah. Three, five, two at globalfromasia.com/warstories or stories cause they are. To get more info n running an international business.

[01:04:18] Please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com. That’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

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