This week, CSOFT’s CEO and President, Shunee Yee, had the pleasure of being interviewed by CRI for “People in the Know,” a radio program presenting the latest insights into the headlines of China and worldwide events. Over the span of the 30 minute interview, Shunee was asked to offer her insights on the sharing economy and the challenges and opportunities it presents in business and our everyday lives. As a localization company, CSOFT is no stranger to the sharing economy. As CEO Shunee was quick to state, “We are localizers. We localize products for worldwide release; by default, we have to share.”
The sharing economy has been a controversial topic in recent years, particularly with the rise in popularity of Uber and AirBNB, two primary examples of companies that are changing the way people live, travel, and socialize. Many debates in countries all around the world have ensued over the legalization of Uber in particular. Yee, however, believes that these companies should not be banned, but rather thought of as a different way of allocating resources. “Think about how innovation changed our history in the past 200 years. Naturally, as a human, I can understand that you’ll be challenged quite a bit,” she began. Despite understanding the challenges, she was quick to list the opportunities. “Look at Google. It introduced machine translation, and overnight it seems like they stepped into our business. But you have to ask yourself this question: are they taking our jobs, or are they helping to expand our market?”
It is, in fact, this positive attitude and ability to step back and embrace challenges that led her to create ÜbrTà, CSOFT’s internal online translation management system (TMS). Accessible to clients, linguists, project managers and all other stakeholders in translation projects, ÜbrTà’s centralized and automated approach delivers maximum efficiency and transparency. The platform was actually inspired by Yee’s first Uber experience, where she was fascinated by the efficiency, speed, and convenience the online app offered. “The sharing economy really affects our way of looking at businesses,” she ponders.
Despite her positive attitude, Shunee does understand the risks the sharing economy presents. “It means building an entirely new system and new set of rules,” she says. “It presents challenges in business, technology, and infrastructure. Politically, it may even trigger a crisis in certain countries.” She is, however, enthusiastic about the Chinese market and its attitude to the sharing economy. Yee believes that while the US is the back-rock of innovation, China has an impeccable ability to recreate products and services due to its innovative approach. “Chinese innovation is ahead of the curve,” she points out. “As a developing country, China can directly move to a new technology. It is an exciting time to see the next timeline of innovation.”
“Innovation pushes human advancement; it’s changed the way we do business, live, and communicate. It’s a disruptive change,” states Yee. It’s hard to argue with that. In a world with a population of 7 billion people and more than 6,500 spoken languages, communication is key. Technology may be bringing us closer through different social media forms, but we still have barriers in the form of language and culture. “Languages were created to communicate, but at times they divide us,” Shunee noted. “As a language service provider, it’s our mission to bridge that gap. To go global, you need the local perspective. CSOFT is a big part of enabling the sharing economy. Our community touches on the human side, local culture, local perspective. It gets very personal when you think about it.” With technological advancements and humanity so neatly intertwined, the sharing economy may just as well be the innovative touch this century needs.