JobStreet hits milestone, crosses RM1bil market cap: Page 2 of 2
By Karamjit Singh May 8, 2013
In the following Q&A, Chang shares some of his thoughts about JobStreet’s share price, mergers and acquisitions (M&As), the difference between Malaysian and Singaporean startups, and competition from LinkedIn.
DNA: Was the RM3 a share a target you have been aiming to hit? Not so much because you will be richer for it, but I guess because it signifies you are ready for the next hurdle – i.e. RM5 a share?
Chang: It is not something that we are aiming for. Stock prices can go up and can go down, and is not something that management has control over. It can also be very disruptive for management if we focus on share prices. We rather focus on our dividend to shareholders (click to enlarge chart).
In long run, the share price should reflect how well the company doing. In the short term, it is just a voting machine. Warren Buffet said something like that, not me!
DNA: Why buy back shares when you can perhaps execute M&As to get into new markets or accelerate growth in existing ones? As it is, the company's growth has been slow and steady over the past few years, with no real catalyst to drive interest and excitement in the stock.
Chang: We focus on our core business and we want to grow organically. Our company revenue and profits have been growing organically in the last few years and maybe not many people realise that.
We are not into M&As to buy growth. Some of the cash we generate, we pass back as dividends to our shareholders, and we use some extra to buy back some shares and retire those so that we can enhance the dividend to shareholders in the future.
DNA: How has your acquisition in Taiwan's 104 Corporation panned out?
Chang: So far, we are happy with our investment in Taiwan 104 corporation. They share a similar culture and they also look into organic growth instead of growth through acquisitions.
104 Corp has been delivering dividends to us every year so far. Of course there will be the usual ups and downs in their business cycle, but we think their business is still good.
DNA: I know you had a brutal time trying to penetrate India. Are you going to try there again?
Chang: We are trying to help Japanese companies recruit talent in India. It is still at the experimental stage at this moment.
DNA: What's the end goal for you? I mean, you are going to hit 50 soon. Do you still want to be CEO, chasing numbers?
Chang: One day I will retire and pass on the CEO position to someone else. As the CEO of the company, my main aim is to please our customers and our jobseekers.
As we have more and more customers and jobseekers every year, there are a lot more people to please. The CEO job is NOT an easy job for me. I admire those CEOs who have an easier time doing their job.
DNA: I am sure you and your management team do not meet every week and ask each other 'How many people have we helped find their next job last week?'
When's the last time you talked vision with your staff and how what you guys are doing will change the world? When's the last time you worried about how staff were aligned to the company vision? What is the vision of JobStreet today? When was it updated?
Chang: You will be surprised that almost every week, I personally remind our staff of our vision on how many people we help in their next job.
I sound like a broken record. But I know if I don’t, we will slowly start to do other things not relevant to our business. In that sense we are a rather boring group of management. We don’t change our vision that often if it is still relevant.
DNA: You are also an angel investor. What do you think of the startup scene in both Malaysia and Singapore? I am sure you have made investments in both countries. How are the entrepreneurs from both countries different in the subtle and not so subtle ways?
Chang: I think it is almost the same when it comes to ideas. Someone pitches us an idea in Singapore and someone else also pitches almost the same idea in Malaysia.
I guess the most important factor is that the cost of operation is lower in Malaysia so entrepreneurs in Malaysia can try more ideas with the same amount of capital. Further, the market size in Malaysia in most cases is larger than Singapore.
DNA: What criteria do you use when making a decision to invest in bright-eyed young people who want to conquer the world with their startups?
Chang: That they are genuine in wanting to do something good for society and not just in it for the money or ego. Money will come if they do a good job.
Again, I sound like a broken record. I have been saying this for a long time. So I don't have anything new to share.
DNA: How do you see the looming competition from LinkedIn to your business? Some observers seem to think they are going to be a threat to all online recruitment businesses.
Chang: Currently, there are already a lot of ways that people use to find jobs in this region. Social media will be one more way.
In the past, when online jobsites appeared, people thought head-hunters would disappear, but after 20 years, they are still doing well.
I believe that as long as the companies continue to reinvent themselves, they will continue to be relevant in the future. Competition is healthy for everyone in the market.
If JobStreet.com fails, we have only ourselves to blame. It means we failed to reinvent and make ourselves relevant to the market.
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