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      i-Free :we pursue the win-win relationship

      2012-07-30 15:27 環球網 我有話說 字號:TT

       Evgeniy Kosolapov:we pursue the win-win relationship in China 


            Host:Welcome!And many people are very interested in doing business with Russians. Would you like to say a few words of your business?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Well, our company is working in mobile entertainment and mobile content business. And this is a very big and dynamic industry in Russia. It is more than 1 billion US dollars last year. And i-Free is a company that is one of the key players in this business area in Russia. Last year, our turnover was 200 million US dollars. We just pretty much do for Russia market and basically we do which is mobile games, mobile radio, mobile entertainment, applications and some billing solutions And like, if the foreign company, like Chinese company want to go to Russia market there is many opportunities and we are already serving Chinese companies working on Russia market. And we help them to monetize, for example, Russian users.

        Host:And now how many people are there in your company in Russia? And how many people are there in Beijing Office?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Well, altogether in our company is 600 people. And they are across in 7 offices, in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, China, India and Brazil. And the biggest office is of course in Russia, St. Petersburg where now we have more than 350 people. In China, it is too small, it is about 35 people but we are growing.

        Host:Now you know, traditionally, in Chinese eyes IT business in led by American companies. No matter, you know, in the traditional IT dot com business or the new emerging business like social media are led by American companies. As a Russian company, what is your strategy to win Chinese market? How do you think?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Well, we do not have goal to win Chinese market. We understand we will never be No.1 here because Chinese companies are strong as well. Our goal is to find the right partnerships in China and to make good business. But we do have goal to be No.1. Talking about US companies, right, US market is very big and a lot of strong IT companies are come from US market. But the reality is that Chinese market is very different form US market. And many US companies cannot succeed in China market because they do not understand local reality. Like, for example, in US people use credit cards to pay for the mobile services. In China, people do not use credit cards to pay for the mobile services. In this way, Chinese market is very similar with Russia market because in Russia, we also do not use credit cards to pay for the mobile services. So this means in our experiences, we have much more in common in China rather than in US. That is why we think we can better understand the local market.




        Host:And when you do business development in China market, do you have any specific priority?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Yes, first priority is to become as much local as possible. We have very local team here, I am the only one foreigner in our team and all of our managers, top managers, developers are Chinese people, which for us is very important that we do develop local expertise. Second, is to create partnerships across the access systems. We need partners to do billing solutions, we need partners to do content, we need partners to help us other things. So in China it takes time to develop our partnership. You cannot just come, shaking hands and do business. So that is why our priority is really to find the right partners to go with them through the time.

        Host:And talking about the entrepreneurship, what makes Russian unique from Americans or Chinese in IT business?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: What we usually say is that we really have good programmers in Russia. In terms of entrepreneurships I think Chinese are more entrepreneur than Russia. But what is in common between Russian and Chinese entrepreneurship is that right now like we are a kind of, every entrepreneurship is trying to rely on ourselves but not the big power or the big company but try to grow form the grass roots, up to like big business. But what is different is that like in Russia we really have very strong programming skills, like products you know like Kaspersky. So have very good technologic background.

        Host:Talking about the innovation and promotion of innovation, both China government and Russia government pay great attention to this. And China now has a lot of innovation Incubation parks. And Russian leader Putin once said to put up Russian Silicon Valley and compare those innovation parks with those silicon valleys in United States, what is the different or your comments or empression?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: My opinions is Chinese is doing better.

        Host:Really? Why? Why you say so?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Because in China, for example, you take Zhongguancun where is in Beijing. Zhongguancun is a kind of Silicon Valley in China and it is growing up from bottom. There is a few universities which have very good students and company start their business around these universities and that is how the whole Zongguancun has emerged. It is very similar with Silicon Valley, where there is like Stanford University ant the farther universities and then they start and grow business around the universities. Well, in Russia, the government took an absolutely empty area and start to build the silicon valley for scripts which is very difficult I think. You know, to be successful in IT industry the main access is the talent. So you have to really close to the talent to the universities or talent students. So that is why I think the experience in China now in Beijing is much more nature compared to Russia.

        Host:What do you do in your R&D you know, work in China or in Russia? What do you do for your R&D? Do you have a lab in China?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Not yet.

        Host:Do you have lab in Russia?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Yes.

        Host:What do you do there?

        In Russia, we have special innovation department which is almost a kind of a separate company that we just develop a lot of innovative technologies. We can select several main topics which we want to invest and we recruit the best people in Russia from different cities, bring people from Moscow to St.Petersburg to work for us, for the innovation. So this is a kind of very big lab in house. In China, we are just staring, like we have office very small here so what we do is we put product that we do in home and localize here, the Chinese market. But in the future, we want to establish also one lab here in China to use Chinese creativity, talent to develop global ideas.

        Host:Now, you company is private company, right?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Yes, right.

        Host:Do you have plan to list in IPO in the future?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: No.


        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Why people go for IPO? Why other companies go for IPO? Mainly two reasons, on reason is they need capital, and second, if owners want get cash out. For first reason, we do not need capital because we have very good profits in our home market. So we can use our own money to develop further. Second, our owner do not want to get cash out. They really indicated into company developing. They still in the business. It is not like exterior investors. They are people grow up with the company.

        Host:Owners are the managers.

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Yes. They live by the company. So there is no point to get cash out. The disadvantage is they lose a kind of flexibility. You lose fast decision maker because you have to proof their, their and their decision and you show them the whole… they want profit, profit… While, they private companies, they make decision fast. You can make your decision, maybe like, not this year, but you make money next year. You do not need to proof to everyone.

        Host:I notice your company has some function like investment company because you offer some seed money to some new IT business. Do you think this mode will contribute greatly your business growth in the long term? Why?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: We hope so because we understand we cannot so everything in house. We are not the smartest people in everywhere and there are many other people who have very good ideas. So that is why because we have some spare capital and we can indicate into other things. We establish the seed venture, branch company, looking at the high talent teams which develop different ideas and areas which we do not know.

        Host:How much money do you usually put in the new business for the seed money?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: It depends of course. But it could be 6 digitals or 7 digitals.

        Host:Ok, US dollars?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Yes. So it depends on the project.

        Host:And do you have noticed that your business has paid great attentions on the countries from BRIC. Do you have any clear acquisitions or strategy to plan in these countries to grow your business? To grow your company quickly? Like Cisco.

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: No. We do not really use acquisitions in foreign markets. We do acquisitions in our home market. Like in Russia, last few years we acquired think about 5 companies. But in foreign market we are a kind of not very confident. Who is who and how we can prove this is really a good acquisition goal. So that is why in the foreign market we are trying to grow up by ourselves. What we do, we hire people, we establish office and we hire local people and try to grow locally. Maybe in the future if we will see the acquisition target and we can think of it. But it is not the priority.

        Host:Ok. So you want to set up, even in China market, you want to set up your own business from the very beginning and step by step. And you do not want to do some acquisition directly in China. Right?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: Yes.

        Host:Last question. You know, Goldman Sachs recently issued a research report, suggested investors to buy Facebook because they own the social media industry. So do you believe that social media related business will become the nest engine of IT in the next 10 years? What do you think?

        Evgeniy Kosolapov: For my own aspect, social media or social tools is actually the tool, is not the goal. If you have good product, I do not know ,like any game or application, you have you must use social tools to spread. In traditional model, what you could do , you spend a lot of money to advertisement to promote your product. Right now if you have good product, the product will be promoted by itself through the social media. People will recommend it or people will like it. So it is a tool not a goal. So in the future we think because the system we exist you will need to promote like do marketing in traditional way but in the same time you will use the social tools or social media to promote your product. Two models will all be used together.




      Evgeny Kosolapov 先生在手機內容行業有著國際化資歷。自2005年,作為總經理加入 United Fun Traders(俄羅斯圣彼得堡)以來,他領導公司把手機游戲、視頻及客戶化產品銷往60個國家。公司在國際大會如MEF,GSMA,歐洲移動峰會上贏得過多個獎勵。在2009年,Evgeny先生加入艾伏銳--獨聯體國家手機內容和服務提供商,有著年營收2個億行業領導者。作為烏克蘭辦事處的總經理,公司成為當地運營商、線下分銷渠道商首屈一指的選擇。自從2011年來,Evgeny 先生作為艾伏銳亞洲區--包括中國北京、印度孟買分公司的總負責人,搬到北京入住。艾伏銳的亞洲運營主要集中在中國和印度發布俄羅斯的優質手機內容,也有反向業務往來-這可以幫助中國和印度的公司進入俄羅斯、烏克蘭這樣的獨聯體國家市場。

      Evgeny Kosolapov has broad international experience in Mobile Content industry. Joined as General Manager of United Fun Traders (St.Peteresburg, Russia) company in 2005 he has led this company to reach about 60 countries with sales of mobile games, videos and customization products. Company has won numerous awards at international games contests and Evgeny was a speaker at number of international conferences like MEF, GSMA, Europe Mobile Summit, etc. In 2009 Evgeny joined i-Free, the leading Mobile Content and Service provider in CIS with annual turnover of USD 200 millions. As a Country Manager for Ukraine office, company secured number 1 position as the supplier of content for local carriers and off-deck distribution channels. Since 2011 Evgeny moved to Beijing, China as responsible for i-Free’s Asia offices in Beijing and Mumbai, India. The Asian operations of i-Free are primarily focused on publishing to China and India the content developed in Russia and vice versa – helping Chinese and Indian companies to enter to markets as Russia, Ukraine, CIS in general