Joining the M&C-focused Babytree Group was the right thing to do for Xu Chong.
“I tried to find the right business from an investor perspective. And Babytree being one of the leading companies in the 4 trillion M&C industry, with an unrivalled reputation and high user traffic, is exactly what I’ve been looking for,” Xu Chong shared in a recent interview with takungpao.com.
In fact, as the largest and most active M&C-focused community platforms in China, Babytree has achieved impressive results in the past year in content upgrading and product innovation through relentless effort. According to Babytree 2020 Interim Report, as of 30 June 2020, their monthly active users (MAUs) reached 103 million, among which the MAUs of the Babytree Parenting mobile app amounted to 20.4 million, up 7.9% from the end of 2019, with the retention rate (the percentage of active users on the app in a specific month that remained active users in the next month) increasing to 65.2%. Thanks to product refinements and upgrades, enhanced services and experiences, Babytree secured its user traffic pole position in the industry during the first half of the year and has ushered in the new stage of “Value Creation-Driven growth”.
Regarding the products, Babytree continued to launch innovative products to boost their sales, in addition to constantly building both content-, tools- and community-focused competitiveness of its products. Centering around “M&C User Lifestyle Showcase”, a string of upgrades was rolled out on the company’s flagship mobile App, Babytree Parenting. Meanwhile, Babytree is set to see the second curve of growth through building content for various scenarios and cultivating its IP portfolio. For example, the Douyin account, “Babytree Experts”, has attracted 700,000 subscribers, and one video release achieved 6,500,000 views.
“As the company’s CFO, it is my duty to ensure stable cash flow and keep the company at this critical moment.”
Looking back at the COVID-19 pandemic early this year, which is surely a Black Swan event for Babytree Group and the M&C market, Xu mentioned despite the impacts of the pandemic, M&C demand remains strong and the industry’s recession-resistant nature will solidly support its market size and investment value. Meanwhile, the M&C industry is facing new challenges of advancing digitalization.
“As the company’s CFO, my definition of safety is that the company can survive at least two of such crises. And safety was the core concern when we designed asset and capital structure. By doing so, we will have adequate cash flow to keep the company going during unexpected crisis. I believe we must be friends with time, chance favors only the prepared mind. We must be able to anticipate what’s ahead, peak or trough or crisis. When crisis occurs, a CFO should always be prepared with Plan B, including cost actions, or urging the business team to make innovative breakthroughs. More importantly, have forward-looking strategies,” said Xu Chong. He added that as a top-ranking M&C-focused online platform that has been providing diverse services including knowledge, tools, and shopping for Chinese families, Babytree has advantageous accumulations of data and insights to help offer effective, differentiated products and services during the pandemic and relieve consumer anxiety in respect of supply. By continuing to provide solutions, create value for and offer companionship to users, the company is poised to grow sustainably.
“Only those companies with vision and blueprint to draw future lifestyles for users and investors can be trusted with higher value expectations.”
As a CFO of a Hong Kong-listed Mainland company, Xu shared with takungpao.com his insights about the Hong Kong capital market and what it takes to be a good, listed company. According to Xu, reforms in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong’s systems have resulted in more inclusiveness and openness and have removed barriers to new economy or overseas-listed companies that are looking to go public in the Hong Kong market. Now these companies can get access to diversified financing from home and abroad, while investors also have more choice. It’s a win-win for all participants. In 2020, despite market uncertainties brought by Black Swan events such as the pandemic, an increasing number of overseas listed and new economy companies listed in Hong Kong. With the thriving Chinese economy, more budding industries and companies in the country start to be noticed by global investors. In the future, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, a shining star in the global capital market, is expected to gather more quality assets to create higher value for investors.
As to what it takes to be a good, listed company, Xu pointed out three elements: namely a promising industry outlook, solid corporate fundamentals, and excellent corporate governance. Firstly, the company must be in an industry with high potential, high growth, and strong resistance to recessions. Secondly, the company must be in leading position in the industry, quality of products and services, reputation among consumers, profit model, core values, advantageous competitive position, financial indicators and so on. Finally, excellent corporate governance delivers a more solid performance of the company. “Capital value is above all reflected in value created for users. A company that puts value creation for users should incorporate technologies and services into daily life, solve problems for users, promote convenient access to information and resources, eliminate pain points or empower the industry. A company with a vision and blueprint to draw future lifestyles for users and investors will be trusted by investors with higher value expectations in that it can generate strong, consistent returns for its shareholders,” said Xu.
“An outstanding CFO should also be an expert in business, not just an expert in numbers.”
Years of professional experience in accounting and financial management have made Xu Chong the right person for the job as CFO & Executive Director of Babytree Group. He believed that to be an outstanding CFO, one vitally needs to be a finance professional, with excellent skills in data analysis, leadership, project management skills, etc. Meanwhile, a good CFO should also be an expert of business, not just an expert of numbers. One must dive deep into the industry and the business operations to get insights about changes and trends, as part of his efforts to make better planning for the company, whether for the short, middle, or long haul, as well as to contribute to the healthy, sustainable development of the company. “Looking ahead, we all need to keep learning, upgrading our skills, and expanding our horizons in pursuit of more opportunities,” said Mr. Xu.
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