Dear readers, today we have the pleasure of interviewing a new entrepreneur, Lucas Rondez, the founder of a new travel app.
– Hi Lucas, tell me about your career ?
I’ve spent 15 years working in the banking industry. 8 Years at UBS Switzerland and then I moved to China, working at Bank of Hangzhou for 5 years, then 1 Year at Ping’an Bank. I quit this industry at the beginning of 2015 (April) to create my own start-up company
– Can you tell me a bit about your company ?
My company is an internet start-up company called Hangzhou Boru Network Technology Co Ltd. We are developing a mobile application to simplify expats’ and travellers’ lives in China. The app is called “NiHao”, which means “Hello” in Chinese. We started in May when we got our first Angel Investments (1.5 million RMB), we launched our app in September and today we just finished our 2nd round of investment (10 million RMB).
– What is your proudest achievement ?
It is difficult to answer this question. I think that we should be proud of everything that we do. I am always looking for new challenges and new opportunities. I think I’m proud of everything that I have accomplished. If I really had to choose one thing that makes me proud, I would say all of the charity work that I do.
– What type of clients do you work with ? Are they mainly Chinese or western? What is their feedback?
When I was working in the Chinese banking industry, I only worked with Chinese customers. Today, with my app, I would say I deal with 50% Westerners and 50% Chinese people. I am not really sure what you mean by feedback, I would say that I have adapted well to the Chinese culture over the years and have always impressed Westerners and Chinese people with this.
– Can you tell us about the Chinese market ?
The Chinese market is very interesting, very challenging with lot of opportunities. To understand the market you should understand the culture, should speak the language and then, you would find it easier.
– Is China a prosperous place for start-ups?
Definitely ! The government promotes a lot of start-ups and provides lots of support (free office etc.). The market is so vast that it is an ideal market in which to start your company. In addition, costs are low with regards to labour and raw materials, in relation to other countries. There is a lot of investment as well, and therefore it is definitely a very good market to start in.
– What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs in China ?
Learn Chinese! Learn Chinese! Build relationships with Chinese people and do not stay in your western bubble! Secondly, BE FAST! When you have a good idea, start working on it as soon as possible.
– Is marketing important for start-ups in China ? How do you use it ?
Of course, it is very important! When you start a business, you need to promote it quickly and efficiently, getting it in front of as many people as soon as possible. An internet startup is always a question of time and speed. We have a large part of our budget for marketing and we use several different marketing channels.
– How do you communicate to bring in new customers ? Do you use the internet and social media ?
We use lots of strategies, but the internet and social media are the channels we use most frequently (Facebook, Wechat etc).
– What is you personal opinion about China ?