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Lifestyle Business

Young mind, strong drive: Zen Han on leading a tech brand to success while enjoying life to the fullest

Jap Tobias - Philstar.com
Young mind, strong drive: Zen Han on leading a tech brand to success while enjoying life to the fullest
Zen Han, OPPO vice president for National Sales in the Philippines, joined the company straight from college in 2014 and witnessed how the company started its operations in the country and how it continuously grew since then.
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MANILA, Philippines — There seems to be no stopping the continuous growth and expansion of the global technology industry, and the cutthroat competition among tech brands has already reached the Philippines where rivalries just keep getting tougher and tighter all year round. 

This environment did not hold back a relatively young brand like OPPO to change the game and propel its name to being one of the toughest contenders today in the Philippine tech scene. But how were they able to do it? 

Take it from Zen Han, OPPO’s Vice President for National Sales in the Philippines, who joined the company straight from college in 2014 and witnessed how OPPO started its operations in the country and how it continuously grew since then. 

“There were a lot of setbacks and failures that we had to endure before we got to where we are. Sometimes, people tend to lose hope at the sight of failure and when faced with challenges. But true success happens when you get past those things,” he told Philstar.com in an interview. 
 

Starting as an assistant manager of the chief operations officer, Han helped build the brand during its pioneering years. Now, as the VP for National Sales, he has been making critical decisions for OPPO. 
Screenshot from OPPO Reno2 launch

Starting as an assistant manager of the chief operations officer, Han helped build the brand during its pioneering years. Now, as the VP for National Sales, he has been making critical decisions for OPPO, employing strategies across platforms, while at the same time cultivating an enabling environment inside their local headquarters.

The keyword is “human." OPPO has long taken pride in its “humanistic” approach to technology, as seen in the line of OPPO smartphones and wearables that embody the user-first design and functionality philosophy. But in creating these “humanistic technologies,” a human-centered work culture drives the brand to its success today. 

In their company, Han does what he can to create an environment that fosters growth and work-life balance for employees, most especially for the young people who are aiming to make their names in the local tech scene someday as he did. 

“I have seen various management styles that work best for myself, my team and the business. I don’t believe in micro-management, as I trust and respect my team’s capabilities,” he said. “They’re in OPPO for a reason. I am only here to guide them on how to expand their skills and think bigger so they can reach their fullest potential.”

“I believe that it’s a healthy practice for employees to be able to set aside time for themselves after working. Through this, they’re able to perform better at work and have a more positive mindset. I also see that my team appreciates this and can enjoy their work in the company better,” he shared. 

The Zen mindset

The tech industry is very fast-paced and it requires the right mindset to keep up with all the changes shaping the field. 

“Everything is also moving all at the same time and we have to adjust each time to make sure we’re implementing the right selling strategies. We always have to be two steps—or more—ahead against competitors and we have to always be in the know,” Han continued.

Starting as an assistant manager of the chief operations officer, Han helped build the brand during its pioneering years. Now, as the VP for National Sales, he has been making critical decisions for OPPO, employing strategies across platforms, while at the same time cultivating an enabling environment inside their local headquarters.
In their company, Han does what he can to create an environment that fosters growth and work-life balance for employees, most especially for the young people who are aiming to make their names in the local tech scene someday as he did.
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For his team, Zen Han encourages and tries to instill what he calls the “FOMO attitude” or “fear of missing out attitude”.

“They always have to be aware of what’s popular and what might be the next big thing in trade. If we can use those as sales mediums then we are all hands on deck,” he said.  

An instance he mentioned is how the FOMO attitude allowed OPPO to rapidly evolve and emerge all business platforms into the digital space—from marketing, retail up to our various sales efforts— to adapt quickly to the consumer lifestyle brought about by the current global health crisis. 

“As a young executive with a solid experience in building a business from the ground up, being able to experiment with fresher sales methods has been very fulfilling and exciting. It’s not very often that you get to try new and unconventional ways of doing things so I always encourage my teams to be daring and unafraid to get creative and to always be one step ahead,” he shared. 

Additionally, Han shared what drives him and his team forward to achieve these milestones for OPPO: “The most satisfying thing about leading OPPO is being able to see how many Filipinos are satisfied users of OPPO. It feels great to know that Filipinos trust OPPO to capture their best moments in a photo/video. With online classes now, I see a lot of students also using OPPO for their online classes. Just being a part of our consumers’ everyday life is very rewarding for us.”

Living life to the fullest 

During Han’s free time, he usually spends it with his big bikes and takes a stroll in Pampanga and Batangas. Or take a trip in the wilds of South Africa.
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Indeed, it takes a human to lead a brand that strives to put humans at the heart of technology. 

Han is just like any other person as he finds joy in simple things he gets to do outside work: living a healthy lifestyle, traveling with his family and friends, mountain trekking and riding big bikes in Pampanga. Not to mention, he also loves playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang!

“Now that I’ve immersed myself into the world of mobile gaming I understand now what makes it so popular. My newfound interest actually inspired me to find different means on how we can effectively integrate e-sports into our sales strategies,” he mentioned. 

Han admits that he missed out on a lot of the fun things when he was younger, but he still wouldn’t have it any other way because his growth with OPPO has made him better professionally and made an impact on the way he runs his life outside the walls of the office.

“Being a young executive in a tech company poses a lot of challenges, but I don’t let it consume my entire life,” he shared. “Pursuing excellence on a personal level is what I also try to achieve, to keep a more balanced mental health and overall wellness, especially during these challenging times.”

Drive to success

Recalling his growth with OPPO, Han says that a lot of hard work, pressure and dedication was made to reach his current position. But that aside, what’s more fulfilling for him is to see where OPPO stands now and how he sees it growing further in the future.

For those who aspire to work in a global tech company, Han has words of wisdom: “It honestly takes a lot of grit to succeed.” This he knows as the success of OPPO in the Philippines didn’t happen overnight. They worked hard for OPPO to be where it is now. 

“Spend a lot of time to be better in what you are most passionate about. But most importantly, do not be afraid to explore new things. Try things beyond the confines of your workspace. Anything new will contribute to your growth,” Han advised.

“It is also important that you surround yourself with people who share equal passion as you towards excellence and success, this way you can work best together, and can also help you achieve your personal goals for a better future,” he concluded.

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