Here is some video of the visit to China MediaExpress taken on an iPhone. There should be additional clips posted in the coming days.
The woman speaking is Vinne Ye, the assistant to the Chairman. In several clips I am the fellow wearing the tan raincoat. The American voice heard most often is my colleague the portfolio manager. The first office is the “Programming center” and the computer screen featured is where they proof the commercials. That was the sum of the technological infrastructure deployed at China MediaExpress that day. It struck us as odd, then and now, that an advertising company whose clients were global corporations and that claims to be well on its way to earning more than $85 million net income with ample free cash flow would rely only on this.
The second scene, where Vinne opened the shades, was the sales staff being awoken from a collective nap. We went back after this episode (with the camera off; it was running low) and asked them how their morning went, reckoning that it must have been one hell of a busy morning to warrant sleeping in the afternoon. The shades were drawn again and everyone had gone back to taking a rest. Which was odd since the chief operating officer James Yu had told us that business was excellent and sales were growing. We asked Vinne about the penchant for sleeping in this revenue generating unit and she said they did it all the time.
The third scene is Jackie Lam’s office. It was empty. Almost no books and hardly any charts or papers stacked anywhere. The only proof that anyone had been there in weeks was a series of teapots and tea cups on a smaller table to the side. The investor and I could not recall being in a CFOs office that was as spartan. Per Vinne, Lam apparently splits time between Hong Kong and Fuzhou, so perhaps his other office is more representative of a modern financial executive.