Sam and Peter from PChome Online
It’s not a coincidence you hear a lot of news from us about [PChome Online](http://www.pchome.com.tw/). They are our most active partner, being based in Taiwan. They also were the first partner to launch a [co-branded version with us last summer](http://www.skype.com/company/news/2004/pchome.html). PChome and Skype are a constant source of energy, innovation and fun to each other.
As part of the “people visiting Skype’s Tallinn office” series, here’s Sam and Peter from PChome. (Sam is on the left on the picture below.) We talk about how the cooperation got started, how it’s going, and what they think of Skype now that they’ve visited us in person. Also interesting stuff about what they’re doing with hardware.
Download this interview as [MP3](http://download.skype.com/share/audio/pchome_sam_peter.mp3) or [OGG](http://download.skype.com/share/audio/pchome_sam_peter.ogg) (length 15:39).
]]>**Let’s get started. We have visitors from PChome at Skype office today. PChome is our great friend in Taiwan. I would like to get started by you stating your name and position, so who are you and what are you doing in PChome?**
**Sam:** Hi guys. This Sam from PChome. I’m the person who takes charge of PChome and Skype business, especially focused on the software and services in Taiwan. Here is one of my colleagues Peter. Peter, say hello to everyone!
**Peter:** Hi, I’m Peter. I’m mainly doing the technical stuff, so I’m a technical guy.
**How long have you guys been with PChome and what were you doing before that?**
**Sam:** I’ve been in PChome for almost 2 years, and taken charge of Skype business in PChome for one and a half years. Before that, I worked for a content provider – a mobile value-added service business in Taiwan. Peter?
**Peter:** I’m only with PChome for half a year. Before that, I worked in a family business in food industry, a totally different place. Before the food industry, I was actually working in Silicon Valley as a software engineer.
**Many of our readers and listeners have never been to Taiwan, so please tell a bit about what’s the culture like and what are the people like there? And also, you have probably both been around in Asia and other places in Europe — if not before, then at least you’re here now. So please tell us a bit about what’s different in Taiwan from other places?**
**Sam:** Taiwan is a good place. If you got a chance, I suggest you all to visit Taiwan. The people in Taiwan are very friendly and all people there like to talk. So the reason why Skype’s business in Taiwan can grow so much, because the people are using free words to talk. And these days when I visit Tallinn, I feel that people here are also very friendly to me, and the landscape here is very beautiful, and the living standard is the same as in Taiwan. So this is a very good place to me, because I live here, I got used to being here, and if I get a chance, I will come back again. Peter?
**Peter:** People in Taiwan are a little bit busier than people here…
**What do you mean?**
**Peter:** I mean the reasoning is faster because it’s a big city with more than 3 million people. So it’s like any other city in the world — the bigger, the busier. And most of the Asian people like to stay in big cities, as opposed to Tallinn which is kind of relaxed. So the first impression when I came to this office — it was much more quieter than the office we are in Taiwan, Taipei. So to some extent, I need to get used to this quiet place
**Are there any specific features or properties of Skype that people like in Taiwan more than others? Do they use one particular service more?**
**Sam:** Why people like Skype in Taiwan is very easy to tell because it’s free. It’s software-based, easy to install and register. Also the penetration there can be so fast because people there really like to talk and invite friends to test something new. So as long as people test Skype and they feel, wow, it’s amazing, the voice quality is like face-to-face talking, they are excited and tell friends, come on, let’s use Skype! After free talk they still like to talk, even if you are not in front of your computer. So they are likely to use SkypeOut, especially when they know that SkypeOut is so cheap and so easy to get. So talking, speaking functions in Skype are the most popular in Taiwan. Of course, there are several other functions in Skype, like IM-s, file transfers, they are also very popular, but I think the voice and being able to talk for free is the main thing people like.
**Peter:** I think there are a lot of small businesses that even have offices in mainland China and in the U.S. Even if they’re small, they’re international. So being able to cut down cost of communication is very important. Skype is doing well in this category.
**Do you guys remember when you yourself first came in contact with Skype? Either as a product just as a user, or as the project inside your company? Was there anything particular or interesting about your first contact?**
**Sam:** First time my contact with Skype was one and a half years ago in PChome office. What can I say… I said, this thing must be a huge success, as the voice quality is amazing and it’s free, so we need to get it. This was my feeling.
**Peter:** I wasn’t there when they started this, but from what I heard, people were excited. They were actually evaluating to do their own instant messenger because a lot of competitors were on the market. But some guy saw this Skype and the free talking thing. So we started evaluating it and talking to Skype and we got lucky to be one of the early partners with Skype. That was a good timing.
**Sam:** I still remember… as PChome is a big web portal site in Taiwan, so we have many members and subscribers. We were also looking for a VoIP solution for a long time, like for a few years. So we kept looking but we couldn’t find a solution that was really suitable for PChome. So the first time we found Skype… in Taiwan we have many users and subscribers, we can promote to them, but we don’t have this kind of technology. And you got that kind of technology and the business model, and we thought, what we want. So we started to propose and were lucky.
**What are some current interesting projects regarding Skype that you have worked on recently or what you are currently working on?**
**Sam:** Currently we’re working for SkypeIn services. We have Skype, Skype Out, Skype Voicemail in Taiwan already, and we are just launching SkypeIn in Taiwan. We are going to launch Skype Groups and we’re waiting for the new version with video and that, what we’re going to do. Also hardware business in Taiwan and the world.
**We saw news recently that you guys launched a separate IPEVO brand for the hardware and USB phones and stuff like that. So are you guys also related with that?**
**Sam:** [IPEVO](http://www.ipevo.com) is a hardware brand from PChome. Before IPEVO, PChome had our first USB phone named Touch-1. But Touch-1 was with PChome brand. And we kept thinking internally to see if we wanted to do Skype devices business, what kind of model are we going to do? So we decided to have a standalone brand. We have a whole new brand story called IPEVO. The name is for “IP evolutions”. So we have IPEVO and it is marketed not just in Taiwan, but also US and other foreign markets. So with IPEVO brand, PChome will make other fantastic devices purely for Skype. Not only Free-1 USB phone which is selling very well. We’re going to launch a cordless USB phone, a WiFi phone and speakerphone and so on. So we have a lot of plans for the future.
**Did you have any expectations about Skype as a company before this visit? And now that you’ve been around our office, has it changed your view? You said already before how it’s more quiet than your place, but is there anything else that you didn’t expect that you have seen here?**
**Peter:** I have a lot of feelings about this place because it so much resembles the startup company I used to work for in Silicon Valley. You got the same high ceilings and the painting on the walls is single colour but different for each room. We used to have that too. The place that I used to work for, we called it “the big garage”. So I’m going to tell my boss that there’s a company in Estonia called Skype, and they made a good success and we didn’t really make it So that’s what I feel.
**Sam:** Actually to visit Skype’s office in Tallinn these days, I’ve been prepared. I know that in Estonia there are not so many people, and also in Tallinn not so many, so I thought maybe there’s not such a beautiful office in this place. But most exciting is, when I walk in rooms for separate functions, the people there are working very hard, and they’re working in an exciting and casual way. They can even discuss every topic in the kitchen and at every table. Just using your laptop and WiFi, you sit down and even over lunch, you can talk, and talk freely and in a very casual way. So I think this is the most important difference to compare what I do in Taiwan, and it’s a nice way. So I’m going back to ask my team to do the same thing.
**You yourself as a Skype user. What do you do with it mostly? Who do you talk to – your colleagues, your friends or family? What kind of features do you use and like?**
**Sam:** Personally, I can call myself a heavy Skype user. When I first used Skype, I wasn’t used to using voice function over an IM interface. So at that time, that was a job, so you needed to talk and use this, the most people I connected and talked to via Skype were my colleagues and co-workers. But since the voice quality is good, I started to talk with my friends. I told all my previous colleagues to install this application. After friends to family, after family to someone else I don’t even know, so I start to talk with them via Skype. Also SkypeOut the same history, first not talking, but testing with my colleagues, and then my friends, my family and someone I don’t know, even just call to a hotel, I use my SkypeOut. So that’s my current experience.
**Peter:** I just have a feeling about Skype. Once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back to your mobile phone because you know it’s going to cost you that much. The thing is, I didn’t use Skype, especially SkypeOut that much before I came to Tallinn. When I’m here, I started using Skype calling back to my wife and parents, and I can speak like five or ten minutes with them and it costs like less than 0.1 Euro or something. So it would be impossible for me to go back to using a fixed line or mobile phone to call them from such a long distance. I have to find a network and connect with my laptop and start using Skype.
**Thanks, guys! I don’t actually have any more specific questions, so is there anything I forgot to ask that you’d like to add here? And what would your message be about Skype be to someone who is just learning about Skype and reading this and has never used it?**
**Peter:** We just have a good time and the people here are really nice and we enjoy being friends with you.
**Sam:** My last comment is, congratulations to Skype! Because you have been a big success. But since you have married with eBay, you definitely will have another huge success, so congratulations!