[TMTpost’s new column Photo Gallery aims to record individuals and entrepreneurs in the Internet industry: whether young ambitious entrepreneurs who have just found their place in the world of business, star investors who walk through different venues, programmers who spend hours of time writing codes in front of the computer screen, or Internet operators, geeks, even delivery guys…It is their collective efforts and devotion that constitute the Internet world we live in right now, so their moments are worth recording, and remembering. Photos don’t lie, but they don’ tell the whole truth; photos are free, but they are also full of traps. Therefore we present the images we see, and let you have your own understanding of these individuals.]
By the end of last week, Okoer.com, a third-party quality testing platform, has already released 37 reports. 12 Germany- based laboratories did the testing for products from 10 brands in each sector, from food to drink, from entertainment devices to clothes.
Luo Changping, the producer of the platform, referred to Okoer.com as “a third-party quality testing platform for billions of Chinese consumers”. Besides several Chinese investment firms, the Germany-based DDVG is the dominant shareholder. In TMTpost Photo Gallery 010, we’d like to share with you the stories of 55-year-old Thomas Böwer, who is also the project manager and CFO of Okoer.com as well as the shareholder representative of DDVG. His job is to not only deal with the daily paperwork, but also monitor the purchase of all the samples and ensure that the test result was objective.
On January 7th, 2016, Thomas Böwer was smoking at the top of the office building in Sanlitun, Beijing. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and a former member of the parliament, so he’s quite concerned with social and public issues. “Over 4 million Chinese are growing to constitute the Middle Class. This crowd of people are pretty concerned with the quality of their lives and issues such as food safety and product safety. However, there was no such thing as third-party quality testing in China before Okoer.com,” he explained.
The samples are collected both online and offline. Sometimes, Thomas would purchase samples with his colleagues from supermarkets. In the picture, Thomas was looking at a map his colleague drew for him. After some brief discussion, they decided where to purchase the samples they wanted.
Thomas and his colleagues were collecting samples from the imported food section in a supermarket. However, Okoer.com was primarily concerned with testing the quality of international products sold in China. They adopted the model set up by the Europe, WHO and would test the qualityevery three or six months.
Okoer.com spent on average 10 million RMB every year conducting these tests. “The cost is comparatively high. For example, it could cost us 10,000 euros to test the quality of an air purifier,” Thomas still preferred to do these calculation with an old calculator, “we are still doing experiments, so every attempt is new to us. With a calculator, I can know better about these experiments and gather experiences in time.”
After receiving the test result from 12 German labs, the G-C translation teams must first translate the report into Chinese, and then we will p package the report with Internet languages. “At present, we can only complete the first step, but still can’t finish the second step well, since it could be quite complicated sometimes,” Luo Changping explained. Thomas would read every Chinese report released via Okoer.com’s app, WeChat OA, website, and would tell if there were anything wrong by comparing the view times of different reports. Nobody know exactly how much Chinese he knew, since he seldom spoke Chinese. He kept this as a secret deliberately since he could be at an advantage on some occasions.
Thomas could see almost all his colleagues from his office. “Considering from my experiences in politics, people should never sit in cubes. Instead, we should sit together, so that we can see the changes in our colleagues, while our colleagues can also see what we are doing every day.”
Thomas kept two pieces of fake money in his office. A son of him took a taxi and was told by the driver he’s got two pieces of fake money. Thomas didn’t want to express anything, but just kept them as two pieces of art.
Thomas loves Sanlitun in Beijing and would often go and sit around in this area. He thought the German Internet industry lagged at least four years behind China’s, and the traffic in Sanlitun was busier than that in Germany. It could be really hard to see so much traffic in Germany. Although the weather was not well sometimes, I don’t smoke so I’m okay with that.”
TMTpost Photo Gallery
Special column of TMTpost
Aiming to record individuals and entrepreneurs in the Internet industry
Photos don’t lie, but they don’ tell the whole truth
Photos are free, but also full of traps
This is an Internet age, and we want you to discover stories with us online
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @fliesslaughterhouse, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.