As I have mentioned previously: the smartphone is a necessity of life in China, mostly for recreational use. However, there are plenty of possibilities for professional use and for organising business. Creating simple groups in WeChat, the Chinese counterpart of WhatsApp, can be very useful and happens all over the world. Professional apps can also be set up through WeChat in the company account. We use these for certain processes or procedures.

    One requirement is that all participants have a smartphone, and that can’t still be taken for granted in rural areas. Believe it or not, some people still own an old-fashioned Nokia …

    Anyway, if they then switch to a smartphone, you will see funny things happening. First, they have to get a short course from an experienced user on how to use the smartphone, often with teething troubles. The mentor is called back a few times because an application has been accidentally deleted instead of being used. And you will get phone calls where you only hear the phone rubbing back and forth within someone’s trouser pocket, the so-called ‘pocket diallers’. And smartphones are very accident prone: they fall out of your pocket, end up in the water, or encounter other little mishaps.

    You will need wide Wi-Fi coverage to use this kind of systems, and if you are not careful, the entire staff will suddenly be watching videos. A filter can be useful, but should be kept up-to-date and can pose other problems if you want to use certain computers from a distance. Anyway, that will be someone else’s job to keep all systems up and running. It does get complicated. One thing leads to another, but the ease and benefits of managing things via your smartphone will be all worth it.

    “Don’t work hard, work smart”, as they say. Using a smartphone is a logical choice.

    Cok Harteveld
    General Manager, Van den Berg Roses, China