SHANGHAI, June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Babytree Founder and CEO Allen Wang gave a keynote speech at Columbia University alumni luncheon recently, presenting Babytree as China's most influential parenting platform after 10 years of development and giving insights into China's young families and family consumption evolution as well as the upcoming 4 core needs.
With education background and work experience both in US and China, Allen Wang who is appreciated as not only a businessman but also a thinker has his own philosophy when it comes to business. His dream of changing the world is now on the way of realization because thanks to Babytree, thousands of young families in China have been entering a new era of lifestyle.
The speech follows below:
I was an Electrical Engineering major at Tsinghua and Sociology at Columbia. Then I got my MBA at Georgetown to be more commercially oriented. For my professional career I worked at McKinsey, P&G, Yahoo and Google before starting Babytree in 2007.
I've always been a left-brain right-brain person. I feel bored studying any one particular thing for too long so I crossed disciplines and studies.
I think my Tsinghua education, heavily concentrated in mathematics and logical reasoning, helps a lot when I start something new or make a difficult decision.
When I applied to Columbia, I had little knowledge about sociology and I only assumed a lot of it has to do with social changes. And I very much believe then, like now, that China needs social changes.
I think those two to three years of graduate study at Columbia gave me the very foundation in terms of thinking, not just on pure logical basis, but from a historical perspective and the angle of human beings. Lots of what we're doing were learned, from not only seeing our counterparts in China, but learning how the world's best practices are done.
Those educational elements are deeply ingrained in my thinking today.
At P&G I was one of the very few brand managers who led billion-dollar brands such as Pringles and Folger's Coffee. I left Procter when I found our users were not consuming media the way they were doing it before. They were not watching TV that much. They were flocking to the internet. It was 2001.
In 2005 I became Google's chief marketing officer in Asia. I was there for only one year and one interesting feat I accomplished was translating the Google name into Chinese. Today it's a household name. Google gives me the confidence that you can get into any field pretty much driven by your ambition and vision - that you can change the world.
So I had the corporate experience which taught me about structure and how to get things done within an organization. And Google was about changing the world, attempting Chinese market and stopping something from obstruction.
I started Babytree in 2007 along with my two co-founders. Think of Babytree as Facebook for parents. So, it is a social network that connects young families with one another and also connects family members with experts who can offer help in moments of need.
We target young parents from pre-pregnancy all the way to preschool by giving them the tools to be better parents. And in moments of need or when they feel lonely, they can get help in real time.
Babytree has over the past 10 years become the entry point of young families. The moment you start thinking about conception, having a baby, throughout the course of pregnancy and onwards, Babytree becomes your reliable source of information and a helping guide.
We are witnessing a social transformation as we go and we find that the larger you are as a network, the more trusted you are, and the heavier social responsibility you have to shoulder.
4 Core Parenting Needs / Demands
If you look at Babytree or the young-parent generation over the last ten years, you may ask me fundamentally, what needs do these women have? Every year we do a couple of studies on a quarterly basis or semi-annual basis. Honestly, I've only discovered four key needs, not a fifth one.
It's interesting that people's core fundamental needs are not changing and shifting. It is the way of "packaging" and communication that are changing and shifting.
- They're here to seek knowledge. They want to learn a better way or the best way of parenting.
- They're here to communicate with their peers and experts as well.
- They come to a website for parents and babies also to create and document the growth of their families and babies every day, because digital photography is for the very first time in history making photography and memory creation effortless and costless.
- Last one, they not only want to buy things, but also to ensure that they make right choices when it comes to brands and services.
The New-generation of Moms
Here comes the description of the new-generation moms in terms of their communication style.
- They are educated but impatient. "Just give me the best proposition or best recommendation. Give me the solution." They want it quickly with very few words. "Don't give me a 1000-word text. Give me a short video."
- What is delivered to them has to be packaged right. It cannot be boring or too lengthy or too authoritative in a very old-fashioned way. It has to be perfectly engaging.
- Last one is social networking. They might not be good friends with their own parents, but they can be good friends with total strangers they bump into on the internet and become trusted partners. New-generation moms trust the words of what they deem as key opinion leaders.
4 Key Opportunities
What are the business opportunities when you face a generation of moms sharing those four core needs but expressing themselves in those different ways?
The following are what I believe the core interesting and important opportunities as far as they're considered.
1. C2M (customer to maker)
When I was at P&G, we have this fundamental assumption that we want to find the key denominator when it comes to user needs. We hope to find the lowest denominator so that we can have essentially one product to satisfy the needs of as many users as we want.
Every single piece of that assumption is different now. It shall be challenged.
We have come to an age when people are expecting DIY solutions, or narrow vertical solutions that are not fitting the entire population but fit themselves well.
C2M stands for consumer to manufacturer or consumer to maker, where based on big user data, manufacturers keep creating solutions for increasingly narrow bands of users or needs.
2. Preschool Education
I have a huge passion for reshaping the future of education. Education for Babytree target starts in pre-K, literally between the age of 1 to 6 or 7.
As you think of education, we're really talking about a country where the supply of education resources versus the demand for education are in such a bad shape.
Great educators and great facilities are overall only in tier 1 cities. Tier 2-5 cities are suffering from a great lack of resources. I've been thinking how we can connect children in need with potential and future educators to offer educational facilities and resources not just in high-end malls or shopping plazas, but in every neighborhood that brings real convenience.
This year we've created a joint venture with a U.S. company, Mattel, the maker of Thomas the Train, Barbie Doll and Fisher Price branded toys.
Our joint mission is to establish as many quality educational centers or play centers in as many neighborhoods as possible - to open preschool centers named Babytree Fisher Price Play Center in a Starbucks fashion.
3. Family Health
Health is like education but more severely mismatched in terms of supply and demand. If you go to public hospitals in China and visit the children's clinic portion, you will find that 90% of the hospitals are jammed with visitors coming from outside the city. They took overnight trains with their entire family bringing their child, most likely the only child in the family, only to be seen by the doctor for less than 10 minutes.
There are fields where we can find ways to connect patients with doctors online. Take skin disease as an example. Skin is something you don't have to necessarily come to a clinic face to face. You can show a bunch of pictures and statistically doctors can have 99% accuracy or confidence to spotting something.
AI - artificial intelligence works well enough in skin disease detection. We will be relying on AI a lot to at least give parents advices along certain directions before they come in to see a doctor over a thousand kilometers.
We will witness a huge wave of private clinic creation offering better services for generations to come. And this offers opportunities for financial technology. Fintech, data driven financial technology, will be the future way of detecting and managing household financial needs, whether it's insurance or saving plan.
If you have a large group of data that gives you the information on behaviors, information exchanges, user expectations and so on, you can have a better understanding of one's financial needs and know better the risk or credit worthiness these people have.
So my Columbia alum friends, Charge on and change the world!
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