Sophie Su is the co-founder of Pingo Space, a skill-sharing platform that connects Chinese locals with foreigners. Hi Sophie! Can you tell us a bit about you – how did your background and upbringing influence where you are in your career today? I grew up in Sydney and was a foreigner in the country. I’m now back in Beijing and have worked in the education industry for the past 8 years. I have always noticed a disconnect between locals and foreigners, which is why I started this platform to help locals connect with foreigners on a global basis. My first stop was Beijing, and the problem was obvious. chaussures ugg femme Being in the education field for the past 8 years has shown me there is a huge market for language training for the purpose of studying abroad, immigration or travelling aboard in China. ugg australia bailey button Expats in China are the most suitable and most experienced to help these people prepare culturally, socially and also with language, because they come from all over the world and now reside just next door to you! This is where Pingo Space comes in, having expats provide services and locals select the service they want through the app! Ta da, the connection is made! What inspired you to create Pingo Space and can you explain what it is? The inspiration came from my personal experience as a foreigner in a country. You want to share your culture and the wonderful aspects of it, like cooking, music, language and arts, as well as promoting your personal brand. On one hand, I have a lot of friends who are expats in Beijing and they all have their unique skillsets and experiences, and on the other hand I have Chinese friends and students who want to go abroad or learn a new language and culture. So it was obvious what I had to do. Make the introduction! After using platforms like Airbnb, I thought, why can’t expats rent out their time to make more money? Which made me realize that the shared economy model was exactly this! The “sharing economy” describes a type of business built on the sharing of resources – allowing customers to access “goods” when needed. nike soldes While sharing goods has always been a common practice among friends, family and neighbors, in recent years, the concept of sharing has moved from a community practice into a business. So what is Pingo Space? Pingo Space is a unique platform that aims to bring two parallel worlds together for the purpose of sharing skills, knowledge and experiences. Locals can use the app to book gigs provided by expats, decide on a time, and a meet-up location around your neighborhood. Expats profile their own brand and offer services from kickbox coaching to presentation practice. This innovative platform allows two individuals to travel and learn from two worlds without leaving their community. What gap in the market does the Pingo Space app fill? How do you think Pingo Space deals with cultural barriers and/or cross-cultural communication? Pingo Space fills the gap of direct contact between the locals and expats, for the purpose of knowledge and skill share. With 1 million expats now living for more than a year in China, many still live in an expat bubble, and have yet to fully immerse themselves in the local culture. By going on the Pingo Space app, expats are able to share their knowledge and skills while meeting awesome locals who will pay for their services. At the same time, millions of locals are going abroad for the purpose of travelling, studying, business and immigration. We act as a bridge to connect locals with the expats of their choice, to gain cultural insight, language skills and whatever your heart desires! Pingo Space knows that a major factor in learning is having a mutual understanding of cultures and we bridge this gap in many aspects, starting with the founding team; having cofounders representing the two groups of people we are bringing together provides a stable understanding of cultures by everyone in Pingo Space. From there we are very detailed in our platform by having the associate provide detailed and accurate descriptions of their “gig” so the client knows exactly what they’re getting upon booking. As for communication, well we know everyone isn’t HSK 6 but we provide the associates Chinese level for the clients to see and if major problems arise we have a bilingual call center here in Beijing! Do you think the mobile app business is booming in China right now? Absolutely, but we need to remember that apps are just tools, tools to better our lives. It is the most convenient way to connect people who may not have the opportunity to connect with each other otherwise. Research shows that most people in the metropolitan areas of China look at their mobile up to 100 times a day! The mobile has become an extension of our organs and this will only become more integrated into our lives. asics gel kinsei 6 Do you have any advice for 1) jobseekers looking for work in the same industry or position as you and 2) anyone who would like to work for Pingo Space? What advice would you give them and what mistakes would you tell them to avoid? When hiring, we as start-ups don’t just want someone who will be competent at the particular job we’re hiring for, but someone who is going to bring fresh, creative ideas to the role and think critically about our business. When interviewing, it’s important to come with ideas you have for how to improve the business so that they know that you’re an innovator. Also, entrepreneurs like to move quickly, so offer examples that show your flexibility. You can’t be afraid to fail in a startup, so demonstrate how you’ve implemented, tested, failed, pivoted and improved in the past, and you’ll stand far above other candidates. As a female entrepreneur, it’s important to have a great support system and mentors around to help you through challenges. Who do you look up to, who do you lean on for support and why? I have an amazing team who are all very committed individuals who are not only colleagues but we also have a strong friendship, so we definitely lean on each other for support. Also I have two mentors who I turn to when I need suggestions for important decisions. Mentors are extremely important in start-ups, because most of the time, you are jumping off a cliff without knowing what is on the other side, but mentors who have experience starting up them selves will tell you the bumps and slides that’s ahead of you. But, mentors can don’t help you do your work nor can they take responsibility for you, so the final decision is still yours, remember, you will still be falling off a cliff, but more steadily and with more preparation. adidas femme soldes If you only had one day left to spend in Beijing, what would you do? I would begin with a morning run around the Hou Hai area, then I would go into the Hu tongs, have a cup of traditional Chinese tea in a teahouse on Wu Dao Ying hutong. For lunch, I would have Beijing Hot pot at Nan men shuan rou. At night, go to a chuan er place for some awesome lamp kebabs and then a beer at Jing A.