Just a few decades ago, hard work alone was considered good enough for riding to the top of a career. Today, academic qualifications and work attitude are equally important, says Tango Yip, senior business manager, AESI (HK) Ltd.
In his current capacity, Mr Yip leads a team of technical professionals to provide IT solutions to a wide array of corporate customers. He attributes his career success to his humble yet exciting beginning.
Upon graduating from high school in 1988, Mr Yip started working in the garment manufacturing industry but soon realised that that was not right for him. Two years later, with two of his mates, he chipped in his life savings into building their own business Future Tech, a modest DIY computer shop in Sham Shui Po.
"By that time, I was responsible for locating and taking clients' orders as well as arranging deliveries. Since I was the only one who had a driver's licence, my duties also included deliveries and on-site servicing. I also liaised with agencies for our wholesale business," recalls Mr Yip.
Probably the youngest entrepreneurs in the computer centre, the business trio worked diligently but could sometimes use a helping hand. "Fortunately, some experienced tenants around us were more than willing to help," he adds.
Their retail business peaked in 1997 with a total of five retail shops, but then began to shrink as the economy contracted. In 2003, they entered into a partnership agreement with Mobicon Group to bolster the business.
Listed on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, Mobicon is a leading international electronic components distributor and solutions provider. Recently, the group was appointed by FingerTec Worldwide Ltd to help develop markets for a range of fingerprint authentication technologies.
"Fingerprint authentication has such potential that it will play a significant role in the development of IT, particularly in IT integration and infrastructure for business management," Mr Yip notes.
"The right mentality and effective communication skills can help young aspirants excel in the profession"
Strong mutual trust and respect reinforced the bond between Mr Yip and his business partners throughout the years. "What we were most concerned about at that time was how to sustain the growth of our business," he notes.
The following three years saw steady business growth for Future Tech. In 2006 however, Mr Yip was offered the chance to oversee the business of AESI (HK), a subsidiary of the Mobicon Group.
In keeping with his enthusiastic learning attitude, Mr Yip always aims to be clued up and find out the answers to any questions he might have. "I ask straight questions and seek advice from my colleagues," he remarks.
Today, his daily agenda starts with emails, managing his team's schedule and arranging jobs accordingly. "Trust in the team and showing genuine concern for their work are key to effective staff management," he says, adding that he gets hands-on when there is a shortfall of manpower.
Mr Yip believes quality of service marks the difference in any industry. "We do not merely provide our customers with IT solutions. We anticipate their needs and offer them value-added services," he says. "Visiting new customers is a key element of my role. It's all about fostering relationships."
To motivate his team to take job ownership, Mr Yip constantly tries to spice up the atmosphere by asking insightful questions. "For instance, when a technician has removed a virus from a customer's computer, I'd ask if there is an alternative solution to reduce the chances of the customer's computer getting infected again," he says. "It takes more effort and cost to remove a virus, so lowering the risk of infection is the best solution for our customers."
He also sets a good example to his team by leveraging his zealous working attitude and wealth of practical experience in the field. "Today, a university qualification is a prerequisite. The right mentality and effective communication skills can help young aspirants excel in the profession," Mr Yip stresses.
Now only in his 30s, Mr Yip has already planned for early retirement at the age of 40. "For the next 10 years, I'm looking to share what I've learnt with others or spend more time contributing through volunteer work," he reveals.