《Design》Magazine publishedan interview article withTANG's founder Jason Huang for its special issue of China's Excellent Independent Design Agency Series Report. The reporter had anexclusive interview with Jason Huang about the social background and companystatus at TANG's founding, TANG's development stages and the main obstacles in its cooperation with otherenterprises.
DESIGN: What was the social background, corporateand personal situationatTANG's founding?
Jason Huang: TANG wasfounded in 2007. I have been engaged in the field of user experience andinteractive design since2003. I started as an interactive designer of smart phones in the first threeyears and started to work with HFI, the world's largest usability consultingcompany in 2005. I worked for its branch in China. Then, I started my companyin 2007. I've made more and more investment assome large domestic enterprises such as Haier, Huawei and China Mobile have thedemand for user experience and relevant research. As the first-generationpractitioner of the industry, I am capable of gathering a group of like-mindedcolleagues to create “In ChinaFor China” into China's localuser experience consulting brand with international reputation.
DESIGN: What are thedevelopment stages of TANG?
Jason Huang: TANG hasexperienced three development stages since 2007.
The first stage was from 2007 to 2008, whenTANG undertook several large customers and projects, such as GE Healthcare's full-process product innovation design andICBC's customer experience consulting project. Despite a small number ofprojects, the company was able to survive and we accumulated initial valuable experience through their implementation.
The second stage was from2009 to 2010. Thanks to our experience with large enterprises such as ChinaMobile, ICBC and GE Healthcare, many customers approached us. During this period, TANG developed rapidly, with the number of staff increasing to 40 andengaging in sectors such as communications, banking, Internet, and business software & hardware. We gained good reputation and brand influence in theindustry.
The third stage is from 2010 up till now. It's the stage of trulydeveloping the brand. The number of staff has increased to 50. We set upbranches in Shanghai, Xiamen and Beijing and plan to establish the fourthbranch in Shenzhen this year. There are a growing number of enterprises fromvarious sectors, especially mobile Internet, banking and e-commerce,approaching us, and we will cooperate with some of them and try to providehigh-quality user experience services.
DESIGN: What is TANG's major development strategy and long-term goal in the next three to five years?
Jason Huang: In the nextthree to five years, the first thingis to consolidate TANG's brand. Apart from building up a domestic reputation,we hope that there will be more foreign customers recognizing TANG's value. Wewill promote TANG as a user experience consultingbrand by means of sponsoring domesticand foreign meetings, exhibitions, contributions and speeches. Our goal is tobuild TANG into an internationally famous Asian consulting company with Chinese design at its core. In the future, it's expected to expand business in some major Asian countries such as India, Singapore, Japanand South Korea.
DESIGN: What is the biggest difficulty during TANG's development? How did TANG solve it?
Jason Huang: We have considerablecompetitive advantages over some small domestic small companies and can win large, complete user experience projects. So ourmain challenge comes from the competition and threat from some large foreign companies.For one thing, although we've gained considerable advantage in project experience due to past accumulation, we stillneed time to gain more experience. For another, besides cooperating with largecompanies, we need to convince more medium and small enterprises into believingthe value of customer experience and convince them that their product value can be improved through customer experience design. We need toenable more enterprises to understand this sector. After all, it's far fromenough to support the user experience industry just with some large brands.
DESIGN: What are the major obstacles in TANG's cooperation with otherenterprises? What's your suggestion about solving these issues?
Jason Huang: Whencooperating with some large enterprises, we have no problem in understandingthe user experience and UCD. But large enterprises will still choose a foreignconsulting company to carry out some major projects and tend to believe in theirimplementation capabilities more. This is of course partly because currently, foreign design companies outperformdomestic ones and partly because of the stereotype that foreign companies are better than domestic ones. For these reasons,domestic companies will lose many opportunities, especially meaningfulprojects. But surely, this situation is gradually changing. For instance, TANGhas become a long-term partner of some large domestic and foreign enterprisessuch as Huawei, China Mobile and Ericsson. Only by improving the capability inoverall strategic planning of products and gaining experience can local designcompanies gradually change the stereotype and solve the issues.
DESIGN: In which sectorswill design services greatly improve the brand value in China?
Jason Huang: At present,our design services are mainly offered to sectors like mobile Internet,finance, software and network, home appliances and digital IT. They are themajor sources for our projects. In the future, the construction of e-governmentwill provide more opportunities for user experience and interactive design.Besides, service design is also a segment that TANG values. Due to our closerelations with the industry, we also started the business of design educationand training to offer a talent platform.
DESIGN: What is your goaland who is your role model in this industry?
Jason Huang: Ourbusiness is based in China, the world's largest emerging market. This is anadvantage. We hope to become a Frog Design+IBM hybrid, to have Frog Design's strategic research and design capabilityand IBM's management consulting capability. Professionally, I admire Adaptive Path's design philoso phyand development model. AdaptivePath was founded in San Francisco in 2001, and consisted of a group of product designand user experience experts. They cooperate with the innovators and leaders ofvarious industries, many of which are Fortune 500 companies. The company offersconsulting, training, activities, research and development.