I recently quit my job at Ctrip and am going through a new path ahead of me. In the last 59 months, I had worked at 2 Chinese companies (i.e. Ctrip and Alibaba) in China.
- The work experience I have gained through working at Ctrip and Alibaba is incredible.
- It isn’t the work experience alone, but also the culture, localization, transition, projects, teamwork, and new skills together that have made me a stronger person.
- Now I have acquired some solid work experiences in South Africa and China, or the West and the East.
It is always difficult to fit into any new culture.
- It was even more difficult to fit into those new cultures when I first joined Ctrip and Alibaba.
- Before my time in Mainland China, I used to work for companies in South Africa in which they had very different cultures to those in Mainland Chinese companies.
So it ended up involving to meet with a lot of new people and to learn the cultures quickly.
To be able to work in Chinese companies, I found it important to localize myself. The quicker I could localize the better I was able to fit it.
- Improve Chinese Language in verbal and written (typing).
- Think like my local work colleagues.
Transitions were required in different stages and each transition requires spending considerable amount of time, discovering new methods and learning new skills. Some examples of my transitions during my time at Ctrip:
- I had to involve not at all in PPC operations, but keep myself fully informed for PPC strategies for different websites.
- I had to discover new methods to improve all types of tracking for numerous websites and mobile sites and ensure all the tracking technologies were correctly implemented and integrated.
- I had to identify issues on the different websites and subsequently figure out what was required to improve the sites’ conversion rates.
- I had to discover new methods to fit fresh new content into some daily operation processes, as the websites were not limited to only Chinese and English languages. The sites were truly becoming multi-lingual websites as many more languages were added.
- It was anymore limited to search engines, web analytics (i.e. tracking and data integration), and conversion rate optimization. I had to oversee, involve and improve almost all parts of some websites. For these sites I had to involve in traffic acquisition from all sources, site development/operations, web performance optimization (i.e. page load time optimization), and content management (in multiple languages).
- At one stage, I had to manage a lot more people than I used to.
After all these transitions, I could only have become a more diverse person.
On the ways to complete each project or even a not-so-big task, it was necessary to co-ordinate with people.
- Projects in Ctrip would involve many people in which some were from your own team and some were from other teams.
- To complete different projects, I had to understand the strength and weakness of each persons in my own team, and had to also know similar information about people in other teams (if possible).
New Skills, New Opportunities
In Ctrip, the scope of my responsibilities were shifting and increasing. It was necessary for me to develop new skills so that I could cover (or oversee) all the areas that were required coverage:
- Search Engines (i.e. SEO, PPC)
- Web Analytics / Search Analytics (i.e. Tracking / Data Integration)
- Web Business Solutions
- Website Development
- Operations of Large-size Multilingual Travel Websites
- Online Marketing
- Website Content Management
- Site Conversion Rate Optimization
- Web Performance Optimization
- Web-based Tools
- Some Casual Coding
Developing new skills definite have been taken up considerable non-office hour time, but it has since opened up many new opportunities for me.
People to Thank
I had the opportunities to work with many very bright and intelligent people at Ctrip and Alibaba. I have to thank many people who were my superiors, peers and subordinates during my time at Ctrip and Alibaba.
Many superiors who I reported to have helped me by:
- Guiding me with directions of the companies/departments and purposes in life and career.
- Improving my self-disciplines and giving me pressure so I could grow.
- Discovering my hidden skills and non-obvious potentials.
- Giving me more responsibilities in more diverse areas.
- Passing me their valuable experiences and knowledge.
- Letting me teach them new skills which helped me to figure out what I actually know and don’t.
My peers who I have worked with helped me by:
- Being friendly to me and spending time with me.
- Showing me new discoveries in skills and trends.
- Disagreeing things with me so we got to debate and discover new methods and trends.
- Giving me competitions as motives to grow.
- Discussing openly with me about personal careers so we could learn together and grow together.
My subordinates who I have worked with helped me by:
- Working according to exactly what I asked them to.
- Working not according to what I asked them to, but still completing their tasks.
- Not listening to me but would debate so we could discover new work methods and grew.
- Working very hard to accomplish their tasks/projects.
- Letting me help them to grow as persons and their skills.
- Letting me help them to discover their potentials.
My Very Early Years in Hong Kong
School building and sports ground for my early days:
The story: The photo shows the school building where I spent about 8 years of my very early days in Hong Kong when I attended primary school and kindergarten.