Kailin Chan, Co-Founder of AlfaCloud

Kailin Chan provides industry leading business cloud solutions for Asian businesses.
What’s your story?
It is literally a ‘connecting the dots’ journey for me. I started out as an engineer after graduation, developing financial software for the banking sector in Singapore. I later came to Hong Kong for my investment banking career on the frontline, whereby I oversaw the HK/China and ASEAN markets and was exposed to these rapidly growing countries. Through meaningful relationships built with companies, I realised that businesses in Asia are still in their infancy in terms of mindset and skillset on how innovation and cloud technology could speed up their digital transformation, simplify their IT infrastructure and realise their business value. I then ventured to Harvard University to validate our flagship cloud software, AlfaCloud, which I co-founded. It was launched with our vision as Asia’s platform provider for industry-leading data analytics business cloud solutions and next generation tools uniquely designed for Asian business culture and needs.

What excites you most about your industry?
I believe we are just at the beginning of this forefront of innovation with the growing appetite and demand for cloud services in Asia.  It opens up a whole new range of opportunities that is transforming organisations of any size. Data analytics cloud solution was often mistaken as rocket science, but in fact is very relevant in every aspect of an online or in-store business for precise decision making, productivity and revenue conversion. For example, AlfaCloud Retail Analytics System helps retailers capture live data to understand customer behavioral change, increase traffic and thus develop more effective marketing strategies for highly targeted revenue generation.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Born to parents from Singapore and Hong Kong, both cities have been my home since I was young. Being a true blue Singaporean, has connected me with the multi-cultural, multi-racial and multiple languages used in South East Asia. My career and family in Hong Kong and China has extended my exposure and roots there. This gives me a strong foundation and understanding to develop localised products that fit business cultures and needs in Asia. AlfaCloud currently has a strong foothold in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. We will continue to grow our cloud product offerings in the marketplace and we have expansion plans in ASEAN and China going forward.

Kailin Chan profile 2 image
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong definitely. The energy and vibrancy of this city, its attractive tax incentives, transparency in law, professionalism in business acumen and practice, geographical advantage to mainland China and most importantly, the spirit of its people that strive to compete in fairness and a never-give-up attitude. These factors provide the country a natural leading edge and environment that is conducive for business growth.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice came from my co-founder and mentor – my father. Always listen to your customers, don’t be obsessed with your idea, product and yourself. If your product works well in one country, don’t expect the same results in another. So take time to research and improve your model, understand their unique business practices and culture, always localise to fit the market.
Another quote I hold truly, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

Who inspires you?
Aung San Suu Kyi. My admiration of Burma’s 25 years of historical journey from military dictatorship to fledging democracy. A heroic national leader, she leads with gentleness, faith and winning femininity, yet tough and unbreakable when faced with criticism and political aggression. Her flaws equipped her grit of reality in the tough world of politics.  From this Nobel Peace Prize winner, the sacrifices she gave and the change she’s bringing to her country and its people, is simply selfless. She inspires me not just as a female leader, but also her strength, love and commitment that she holds with strong belief throughout her journey.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently I took a road trip along the West Coast of the US visiting nine National Parks, even a meteoroid crash site in Arizona. The unbelievable size of the crater got me curious about the stars and planets. I learnt one of Saturn’s moons has a giant volcano that shoots out ice instead of lava. The unknown is really fascinating and mind-blowing.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I always keep a personal philosophy that the choices you make today will impact who and where you will be tomorrow. Despite some hiccups, mistakes and stumbling, I have lived with little regrets. I count my blessings for the opportunities that have paved the way and my deepest gratitude for family and friends whom I met that guided and helped me along my journey. There’s absolutely nothing I would want to change.

How do you unwind?
Travelling and meditation. The travelling bug always catches up with me and I tend not to repeat my destinations so I can always fulfill my bucket list of travels. Meditation is an inner connection, and reflection, looking within to calm my mind.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Shanghai. I love strolling along The Bund, fully immersed in the harmonious beauty of the old and the new development of the city, seemingly transported into its rich history and culture from its French and British colonial period to the modern revolution days. Some buildings are preserved as museums or turned into fine dining restaurants, where the great variety of cuisines would leave you too spoilt for choice. On the other hand, one can live in advanced mobile technology that your phone could basically do everything you can imagine without bringing your wallet along.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Shameless plug for your business:
AlfaCloud SME Marketplace provides consultancy and implementation of curated business cloud solutions, enabling companies to harness cloud technologies for business expansion and productivity, through understanding data insights and monetising on observations.
Backed by one of Asia’s largest software company and IT veteran of 30 years experience, our high performance cloud products and services are instrumental to help enterprises simplify their IT infrastructure, realise their business value and accelerate their digital transformation. Thus our platform cloud solutions offerings focus on areas including eRetail, eCommerce and eHR. We empower and enable businesses to access quick, reliable and real time visibility data analytics at any location and devices on a fully integrated platform, at incredible value and performance, complete with localised support in HK and ASEAN.

How can people connect with you?
Website: www.alfacloud.com.hk
Email: kailinchan@alfacloud.com.hk
LinkedIn: https://hk.linkedin.com/in/kailin-chan-81ba9820

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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