Interview - Binh An Nguyen

Interview: Binh An Nguyen, founder and director, Asian Directory of South Australia

Media Man Australia continues to explore the world of new media, portals and new ways of doing business.

What's your background?

Born and raised in Vietnam, I came to Australia in 1991 when I was 8 years old. Having a natural interest in I.T, I began studying Computer Systems Engineering at Adelaide University in 2001. During my University years, I was employed by HPA (Hermes Precisa Australia), a business services company that specialises in delivering inbound and outbound communication management, results processing and information management. While working at HPA, I was struck by the idea that is behind the Asian Directory of South Australia, and was so passionate about it that I decided to quit the job to pursue this business career. I then went through NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) training, and developed ADSA in 2006.

What motivates and inspires you?

One of the thing that motivates me a lot is seeing progress. When I see progress, I am more inspired to complete the task and fulfil my desires. I also find a lot of my motivation from reading other people's inspirational success stories. This creates a powerful energy within me to want to do the same and succeed in whatever path I choose to follow. However, the biggest motivation in my life would be my parents. I want to prove to them, that I can be successful and let them be proud of me in front of their friends.

How did you break into new media?

I just created the website.

What is the Asian Directory of South Australia all about?

The Asian Directory of South Australia (ADSA) is a business directory specially designed to help businesses market their products and services to the Asian community in Adelaide. ADSA runs an online search engine completely translated into the main Asian languages spoken in SA, currently Chinese and Vietnamese, with the view to expand to other languages such as Korean, Cambodian and Japanese. Complimenting the online search engine, is also a fully-translated directory book, printed every year and distributed, free of charge, at the major Asian groceries around South Australia.

How did you design and model it?

The online search engine has special algorithms designed to show the most relevant search results first, by examining the business' name, the listing's keywords and description, as well as the area in which the business is located. Users of the online search engine can wish to search in English, Chinese or Vietnamese and have the option to filter their results to only those businesses that are located around a specific area. The directory book is designed for Asian adults who prefer the traditional method of reference books over the Internet for information and/or those who do not have an English speaking background or IT knowledge. The book is structured in categories, for easy searching of particular industries or services.

Is ADSA similar to what Google China is? Why or why not?

Google China is a Chinese version of Google and is often used by users with Chinese-speaking background to find information. However, this is usually only useful to find Chinese websites. While Google does have a translation system, their translations are done by machine and are often incorrect. An English word may have many different meanings, and there is no way the machine can calculate accurately which definition is meant by the webmaster. At ADSA, we use real people to translate the English contents to Asian languages. This translation is then rechecked many times to make sure that it uses the correct terms and interpretation. All English content is duplicated with Asian translations, and hence can be easily searched by an Asian user in their own language.

Why is ADSA better than Google China for searching of some information?

ADSA replicates its database to another version translated in the supported Asian languages. So for example, there may be an English-content database, which is useful for English speaking users who perform search queries in English. This database is also replicated and translated to Chinese (and other supported Asian languages), and Chinese users will be searching from the Chinese database. This functionality can allow Asian users to easily and effectively search for English content in their own languages.

Is ADSA censored? Explain…

While the contents within the ADSA search engine and the ADSA directory book are censored, their clients' contents may not necessarily be so. For example, ADSA may allow adult categories such as adult stores, and the contents of these listings, such as pictures, words, will be censored, but once their website is clicked on, or their shop is visited, they have the permission to show and/or sell whatever content they want.

What can ADSA give readers that Asian newspapers can't?

Asian newspapers are published regularly, usually every week. Because of this nature, they are a good place to advertise certain events, sale discounts, or other short term promotions. ADSA is a business directory, designed as an information reference for finding businesses in South Australia. This allows its users to keep the book throughout the whole year as a source of reference; just like the Yellow Pages, but in their own languages. ADSA also provides an online search engine available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

ADSA is more than just a business directory. We are a community of users and businesses alike, working together to solve each others' problems. We work closely with Chambers of Commerce, Business Enterprise Centres and other business organisations to help users and businesses find the right solution to their problems. ADSA really is the ideal solution for dealing businesses with the Asian market.

How have your been collaborating with the Local Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Adelaide?

I am in the process of creating a community of alliances consisting of the Port Adelaide Enfield Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in SA, the Korean Chamber of Commerce in SA, the Western Area BEC, the Inner West BEC, the NEIS participants and the Young Business Accelerator Program. This large community of businesses will provide assistance and support for one another in all areas of business; from marketing and managing staffs to import/export. The project is a forum with regular breakfasts/dinners for members to interact and network.

What languages is the information already translated in?

ADSA currently offers human translations into Vietnamese and Chinese, with the view to expand translations to other popular Asian languages such as Cambodian, Korean and Japanese.

Who are your mentors?

I have business support from the Western Area BEC and the Inner West BEC, both offering business advice services. I am also waiting for NEIS approval after which, I will have a personal business mentor. I am also involved in the "Young Business Accelerator Program", which will commence in approximately two weeks. Being part of this program means that I will gain a personal business mentor for the length of the program, which at the moment, is estimated to be 10 months.

What do you consider to be the highlights of your life and career, to date?

What are your current projects?

Who have been your biggest supporters, and what clients have been able to really take advantage of ADSA?

My biggest supporters would have to be the Port Adelaide Enfield Chamber of Commerce and the Western Area BEC. They've listened to all of my suggestions and have shown interest and support towards them.

The clients that can take the most advantage of ADSA are usually those who are located close to the Asian-populated areas such as Hanson Road, or those who have a large portion of their customers being Asians. This includes colleges for international students, restaurants, groceries and import/export businesses.

Why is ADSA such a good resource for the import / export / trade sector?

ADSA offers a bridge between businesses and the Asian market. We have relations with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Adelaide, the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Adelaide, the Vietnamese Nam Uc Tuan Bao Weekly Newspaper, the Chinese Weekly Newspaper, the Chinese Evolution magazine, the Japanese YouYu Adelaide magazine, and a huge network of Asian business owners. In addition, one of our main supporters is the Port Adelaide Enfield Chamber of Commerce, who deal with a lot of shipping due to the nature of the area. We also have connections to the Chambers of Commerce in Asian countries, such as Hong Kong, China, Korea and Vietnam.

Have restaurants been able to take advantage of the service?

Restaurants seeking Asian customers gain great benefits from the directory service. ADSA has plans in the future to install a recommendation system and a rating system, whereby members may recommend or rate a certain restaurant (or businesses from other industries) to further influence other users to try out the services offered by certain businesses. We also have plans to employ a 'business of the month' section, which will be promoted on the front page of our website for maximum exposure. This section will cover only businesses we feel are worthy or have had magnificent changes/success in the past month.

Would you ever consider selling the business to MSN, Google or Yahoo!?

ADSA is a project that I created and worked hard on from scratch, so I will not sell it to anyone. I will however, consider a partnership with a worthy company.

When will you be actively "rolling out" and ramping up ASDA to make it entirely relevant for all of Australia?

ADSA is initially started and tested in South Australia, but we have plans to expand our services to all of Australia. When we feel the time is right, the ADSA business directory will become nation-wide.

What do you do to relax?

To relax and free my mind and body, I like to spend time with my family and friends, as I feel that nothing is more important than having good relationships with friends and family. Success is a measure of fulfilment, and my family and friends are the biggest factor to my fulfilment.

What's your motto?

My motto is to live life with no regrets.

At ADSA, our motto is simple: we strive to help your business succeed. This is why we spend more money promoting the service to our users than we do advertising to our clients, because we believe that your success is our success.

Where will you be in 5 years?

In 5 years, I am looking to have a branch in Melbourne as well as Sydney, with my directory services being offered Australia wide. I also hope to be able to start looking at creating a system mainly for the import/export/trade sector where I can bridge Australian importers and exporters with the Asian market or vice versa.




Asian Directory of South Australia

Port Of Adelaide


Asian Media


New Media Entrepreneurs