As a result, touting e-commerce is proving to be tough slogging. In one session at the five-star Garden Hotel in
Guangzhou, Asian-Trader enlisted the aid of Taiwanese Congresswoman Jung-Shu Hsu to promote the concept of conducting
business electronically. Only a handful of Taiwanese businesspeople were in attendance, and they were enthusiastic
about the prospects of more "efficiency" in their operations.
But getting going was another matter. One
manufacturer urged the legislator to hold more seminars - so he and other businessmen could first learn how to
get onto the Web. It seems collaborating with resellers and business partners will have to wait.
Indeed, the congresswoman may have been watching the real revolution unfold right before her eyes. As she talked
to her small audience of 15 businesspeople, two popped out in the hallway to answer cell phones. Others just covered
their mouths and kept talking, while she talked, uninterrupted.
Forget computers. China has a real shot at becoming the largest market in the world for cell phones. At present,
some 40 million Chinese are mobile phone users, and the number is expected to surpass 100 million by the end of
next year. And those numbers may be understated.
In fact, cell phones could well become more widely used than computers for gaining access to the Web in China,
in fairly short order. "If you are looking for a leapfrog opportunity in China [on the Web], it's definitely
going to be wireless," Michael said.
In China, as in Japan, the cell phone is not seen as just a universal walkie-talkie. They are cameras for taking
pictures of cute guys or gals at parties and sending to friends. They are for downloading music clips, listening
to music and, if mood strikes, buying music. Hear a song on the radio? Buy it on the phone.