Saturday, September 20, 2003

Not so new Media Business in China - an exclusive interview with Robby Yung

Robby cut his entrepreneurial teeth back in the early days of cable television and wireless telecommunications in southern China, after having served a stint with U.S. based Metromedia. I've lost track of the number of startups he has been involved with. Hearing he's been on the move recently in the PRC I dropped in to see what's up.

JC: Tell us about your most recent venture.
RY: Well, a little over a year ago, some friends (ed: heard the 'friends' is actually a big name media type) and I started talking about the media business in China, something that I had been very close to over the years, both in businesses that I started as well as some family businesses. One thing led to another, and now we have a burgeoning start-up that is working to consolidate ad-supported media assets on the mainland called Redgate Media.

JC: Would you say you are successful so far? Why?
RY: As an entrepreneur, I would definitely say I am successful. I think that failure is a big step towards success as an entrepreneur, and many of us had it too easy in the late nineties. I am happy to say, though, that I have learned a lot from those experiences, and I can really feel it paying off as I go through the motions again, fundraising, making acquisitions, writing business plans....

JC: What do you think the climate is, for starting businesses like Redgate?
RY: I think that the climate is always good for people with good ideas and enough drive to get them done. I was talking to someone the other day about the stock market, and they said something very sound, they said, "I would always rather gamble on the risk of the market reception (to an IPO) at any given time than to have to pay a known financial cost." I know that timing is important, but I am finding that timing seems to emerge out of good ideas, because good ideas have their time. Many people came to me in 1998 with brilliant technology-related ideas, and it was not because there was an IPO market for them here in Asia, it was because those ideas were based on the 'net, and the time was right (from an infrastructure point of view).

JC: What are your plans going forward for the business?
RY: Hmmm, this is one of the trade secrets ;-) I guess what I can tell you is that we are very focused on value, on profitability, on all those fundamentals that got whitewashed a few years back. We are looking for interesting profitable media companies to acquire in China, and I guess it's as simple as that.

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