Financial IT expert ventures into e-learning

08:49, May 28, 2010      

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IT specialist, ventral capitalist and founding CEO of Global View Technology, a start up company specializing in e-learning, Chen Zhongsu - like many overseas returnees - has ambitions all his own.

With more than 20 years of experience in information technology, including nine years with Wall Street firms like Standard & Poors, New York Life and Ambac Financial Group, Chen was invited to come back to his home country in 2001 as an IT specialist in the finance sector, as the country strives toward the development of its own capital markets.

He was first appointed deputy chief technology officer at the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) to help develop the bourse's new transaction system, which costs 400 million yuan (58.56 million). Starting from scratch, Chen helped build a team with dozens of IT specialists to be in charge of running the system and improving business and technology innovation.

In 2006, Chen was appointed by the Chinese government as a member of the Working Group for the Formation Foundation of China's Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX), which was established in September 2006 and launched its index futures trading product recently.

"I was very proud of my four years' experience at the SSE and CFFEX," Chen told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

That track record has helped Chen to gain in-depth knowledge of the local market as well as an abundant network of contacts in China's capital markets.

With this experience, in 2008, Chen devoted himself to setting up his own company, with the dream of finally bringing it to list on ChiNext, China's own Nasdaq-like board.

Chen's company, Global View Technology Development Co Ltd, is an e-learning platform provider.

The e-learning industry in China, which took off in 1999, has undergone over 10 years of development and boasts over 100 companies specializing in the sector.

Chen said a major reason for him to enter the market was because of industry fragmentation and the lack of any dominant company controlling significant market share.

"The market needs large companies and new business models to emerge that can combine all the resources together. I believe Global View has a lot of potential," he said.

According to Chen, Global View is the first Chinese company to employ the SaaS (software as a service) technology to develop the e-learning business.

"The traditional e-learning business has its bottlenecks. To train its employees, a client firm has to first buy software and then build their own training system. They also have to spend time and money to maintain the system," Chen pointed out.

"SaaS-based training is a totally different business model where Global View acts as a service provider. Our client companies rent training systems from us and do not need to build their own. We charge them by hours used," Chen said.

Compared with traditional methodology, by which a client company has to spend millions to build their training system, Chen's clients only need to spend less than 10 percent of their former investment.

During 2009, leading organizations including Microsoft (China), China Quality Certification Center, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, China Distance Education Magazine, the Chinese Association of Certified Financial Planners, Wuxi Modern Distance Education Center and several other government organizations and agencies continued to select and deploy the so-called ATEL (advanced technology for e-learning), Global View's SaaS-based solution, to advance their learning and training initiatives.

In 2010, momentum across Global View's ATEL business continued to increase. To support this rapid growth, the company is currently investing heavily in expanding its data center operations to ensure the highest scalability, availability, bandwidth and security as ATEL's user base increased to over 300,000.

"I believe SaaS-based e-learning is a huge potential market and that is why I came to the e-training industry," said Chen. "E-learning was becoming a common platform for enhancing education delivery all over the world."

As more people turn to the Internet for news, entertainment and social interaction, Chen said more companies and institutions are choosing online training, to deliver the knowledge their employees need to achieve organizational goals.

"China has 50,000 large companies with annual revenue of over 30 million yuan and staff numbers above 300. If 20 percent of them choose to develop e-training for their employees, it means the market is huge," Chen said.

Chen is also an active venture capitalist. Since May 2005, he has been the managing director of Time Innovation Ventures, a venture capital company. He also serves on the board of directors for China Transinfo Technology, a Nasdaq-listed IT company specializing in transportation industry in China, Beijing Ahelios Consulting, an IT consulting company and Beijing Xiakexing Network Technologies, a Chinese company involved in animation.

Chen holds a Bachelor's degree in computer science from Pace University, a master's degree in mathematical sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in computer science/operations research from Stevens Institute of Technology, all in the United States.

Source: China Daily


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