ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story

FEBRUARY 28, 2000 VOL. 155 NO. 8

Joseph Tong

Cover: China Dot Now
The world's last big communist state is hit by a wave of Web mania, and the bureaucrats are fighting to contain it
B2B: Joseph Tong casts a Web over Chinese exporters
Chortling: Wang Zhidong should have laughed last
Crazy Man: Jack Ma goes for the shrimp, not the whales
Princeling: Antony Yip finds the right sites
Geek Chic: Shao Yibo grows up fast
Regulation: How Beijing plans to control the Net

Show Me the Stock Options!
Intoxicated by dot-com fever, sane folk are taking pay cuts and defecting to start-ups with trendy names. How long will the gold rush continue?

After the Bubble
Asia's technology stocks are defying gravity. Which companies will survive - and thrive - when the mania ends?

Asiaweek/CNN Asian Internet Index
Track our 20 Asian internet stocks

Joseph Tong, the brains behind one of China's most innovative business-to-business websites, learned everything the hard way. After a childhood in remote Heilongjiang, his father, who was stationed by the airforce in the remote northeastern province, sent him to school in Nanjing. Tong was 16, and the train that took him to Nanjing was the first he had ever seen.

Greg Girard/Contact Press Images for TIME
Joseph Tong of

He topped his class, got a degree in math and economics and then headed south in 1988 to freewheeling Shenzhen. Tong joined an electronics company but spent the first year carrying gas cylinders for the managers' private homes. He eventually got himself transferred to a software subsidiary and began to learn what technology could do. After four years in Shenzhen he won a place at the Wharton business school in the Philadelphia, and from there joined the consulting firm Booz Allen, working out of Hong Kong on information technology projects in China.

But Tong, 35, is a self-starter by nature, and in 1997 he set up his own company in Shenzhen. At first he helped companies put up websites. "But the more we did it," he says, "the more we realized what they really needed was trade leads." In April 1999 he launched, a database of Chinese export manufacturers. Now overseas buyers can get specifications and quotes online from producers without having to go through middlemen in Hong Kong. Tong persuaded the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation to provide him with lists of exporters, and he arranged with Motorola to have his service sent out over pagers to factory managers who don't have computers or e-mail. Putting China's formidable export machine on the Internet could be worth a fortune. "It's the best place in the world to make quick money," Tong says. Last month Citicorp, Softbank China Ventures and other partners announced an $11 million investment in Sure beats carrying gas tanks.

Write to TIME at

This edition's table of contents
TIME Asia home


China's Hottest Websites

PORTALS The biggest, heavy on news E-mail provider turned portal Lost early competitive advantage due to management problems

BUSINESS-TO-CONSUMER AND AUCTIONS Online shopping with preexisting network of retail stores to deliver goods Online bookseller Leading auction site Auctions More auctions

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS Worldwide trading of products Online registry of Chinese exporters

ENTERTAINMENT Lifestyle portal Fun online: chess, bridge, mahjong, strategy games City listings: restaurants, clubs, events Collection of sites including soccer results, games, jokes, software

FINANCE financial information share price lists; part of

JOB SEARCH Good source for openings at foreign firms Listings of jobs at Chinese companies

Quick Scroll: More stories from TIME, Asiaweek and CNN


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.