• Report: #703529

Complaint Review: Noppen

  • Submitted: Sun, March 06, 2011
  • Updated: Sun, March 06, 2011

  • Reported By: SayNoNoNo — Shanghai Other United States of America
C7-111 No. 570 West Huaihai Road, Shanghai, Select State/Province China

Noppen LNoppen, Praveen Rao, Chris Sevcik, Edward Dai One of the scammiest jobs in Shanghai - Noppen/Lnoppen Shanghai, China

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Agreed

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I’m writing today to tell you all a little bit about a company called Noppen, also known as LNoppen. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because they’ve offered you a job (or you’ve applied for one) and you’re trying to find out more about them, or you already work there and are curious about what others are saying. Well I’m here to tell you that Noppen is, unquestionably, one of the worst companies for a foreigner to work at in Shanghai.

They prey insidiously on university students, new arrivals and those looking to get away from teaching. The company is unscrupulous, exploitative, abusive, and outright immoral in a large number of ways, which I’ll briefly get into in a minute. But if you take one lesson away from your reading of this, let it be that you should NOT, under any circumstances, work for this horrible company, and if you already work there, you should seek other employment as fast as possible.

To give you a little bit of background information, I worked at Noppen for several months, and did so fairly recently (this is being written in March, 2011, and I won’t get into any more specifics so as not to reveal my identity). While at Noppen I worked in three separate departments: sales team, sponsorship team, and production, so I know a fair bit about how the company works.

Odds are you’ve been contacted by one of two people, either a gentleman named Praveen Rao, who is head of the sponsorship team, or a man named Chris Sevcik, director of international production. While I wouldn’t say either of these men is necessarily a bad person, their roles at Noppen certainly have a negative impact on people and, dare I say, society at large.

You probably already know that Noppen is a conference planning organization, meaning they plan and execute conferences (basically networking events and/or tradeshow-type events) for a variety of industries. What you probably didn’t know is that these events are all scams and shams. Noppen contacts hundreds and hundreds of companies for each event, and inevitably a few dozen agree to sponsor or take part in the event, and they pay Noppen anywhere between around RMB 10,000 and RMB 100,000 for this.

These companies do not get what they are promised. The government officials, corporate managers, and industry experts that they’ve been told will be in attendance are not present. I know this from experience, as I’ve been to events and dealt with countless clients who were extremely upset about not getting what they were promised for their money. The numbers certainly bear it out: Noppen’s rebook rate, meaning the average number of companies that return for the next iteration of the event the next year, is about 5%. 5% (it’s reputed to be even lower, but 5% is the only confirmed figure I’ve heard, so we’ll stick with that)!

That means that after every event, 19 out of every 20 companies are unsatisfied enough to not return the next year, if there even is a next year. Now, obviously, no event-planning company will have a 100% rebook rate, that’s simply not practical, but if you look around you’ll find that the industry standard for rebooks is around 50-60%, and for events focusing on infrastructure projects, of which Noppen has many, the rate tends to be a bit higher, and certainly far more than 5%.

So how does Noppen stay in business, you ask? Well, they hold events in, for the most part, three countries: China, India, and Turkey. These three countries are three of the fastest growing economies on earth, which means that no matter how many unsatisfied companies Noppen leaves in its wake, there will always (at least for a few more years) be more companies to take their place.

So Noppen’s business model is doomed and horribly immoral, but that’s really only the beginning. The atmosphere at the Noppen office is extraordinarily toxic, and employees are essentially treated like livestock. If you already work at Noppen, note how there is a new class of trainees, 8-12 people, every single week. Every week! What kind of company has to bring in new people every week? Either one that is so successful it is growing extremely fast, which is definitely not the case here, or one that has an extremely high turnover rate and needs to hire 10 people per week, hoping at least one doesn’t quit immediately, in order to maintain sufficient staff. Look at it this way: Noppen actually has a standard procedure for deducting a portion of an employees’ salary when he or she walks out unannounced and then returns weeks later to collect their money. That’s how frequently it occurs! Is that the kind of company you want to work for?

Noppen essentially operates the way that sales companies in third-world countries did in the 1970’s and 80’s, exploiting employees and treating them poorly in the hopes that those tactics will keep them afraid and in the office. They intimidate employees into working long hours by constantly demeaning them and threatening termination. Their main business tactic is to literally call as many potential clients as possible, regardless of qualification or relevance, and give them a standard pitch, hoping that some tiny percentage will agree to attend the event and thus bring Noppen a profit. I could go on all day about this, really, but if you want to see it for yourself, go ahead. Just be warned, all divisions of the company, including sponsorship, sales, production, delegates, etc. are all just as bad and treat employees just as poorly (that is, to say, like children).

So why am I writing this, you might be wondering? For a number of reasons, but the main one is this: the only way to prevent Noppen from continuing to prey upon and exploit innocent people is to stop the incoming flow of new employees. If they have no new foreigners joining the company, eventually the ones presently there will all leave and the company will have to cease its reign of terror upon the unfortunate foreigners of Shanghai. The company will almost certainly be out of business within five years or so, given its business model and reputation, but that’s five more years of wasted time, money and effort, not to mention hurt feelings, of people who deserve better than to work for Edward Dai, one of the shadiest and scummiest bosses in Shanghai. Stopping the influx of new hires is really the only way to make this happen.

I’ll leave you with something a bit personal, something that irked me from my very first day at Noppen and for me defined just how horrible of a place it is. Noopen puts a premium on appearing professional – they are extremely strict about dress code, tardiness, and even things like not going to the bathroom too frequently. They ache to seem professional, going so far as to install a fish tank in their office, though they filled the tank to the brim with the same kind of fish, which kind of misses the whole point of a fish tank, which is very emblematic of how Noppen operates. As you’ve heard, Noppen is anything but professional, so please, for your sake and the sake of society in general, do NOT work for them. If anything, agree to work for them, show up on the first day, then excuse yourself to use the bathroom after five minutes and go home. It will waste a little bit of their time and, in the long run, save the decent people of this city some of theirs. Thank you.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/06/2011 09:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Noppen/Shanghai-Select-StateProvince-200052/Noppen-LNoppen-Praveen-Rao-Chris-Sevcik-Edward-Dai-One-of-the-scammiest-jobs-in-Shangha-703529. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds



Actually, in supporting the previous report posted, I'm here to share my thoughts and comments about this company as well.  I used to be LNOPPEN's employee for 6 months in both delegate sales and sponsorships.  I came to Shanghai back in 2006 hoping to land a job in a multi-national company, then I bumped into this outfit.  At first, I wondered if this is that one road block I must overcome in order to achieve the milestones I set for myself on my agenda list.  But, as it turns out, it lasted only for 6 months, and the experience was unpleasant.  

First of all, the owner, Thomas Du, basically closed himself up in an inner circle of partners and they acted like a secret society of shared agenda and objectives.  They place no trust and share no sympathy towards the newly hired, and the perks they've earned are accessible only to those close to them.  A very selfish display of the typical Shanghai-nese mindset.  

The training they provided are basically skillset that teaches you how to lie, cheat, and bypass receptionists of big companies and try to get on phone with their boss or CXOs.  The pitch you would give them, like the previous report stated, are an over-promising version of what the conference is really about.  You go to the conference for the free food and you greet the delegates you tricked, but you usually meet them just once in your lifetime.  The atmosphere of the workplace is stressful in the sense that every day there's people who made the sale, and the person would go up to the front to ring the bell so everybody can see and applause, but without realizing this short-span happiness just proves there's another $3000-or-so income to the company and the sale representative can only take back a fraction of the earnings as commission, and s/he is back to the game of endless calling.  

You call for 8-hour straight, 5 days a week.  Because they want you to only focus on calling and pitching, so in the office you're not equipped with a computer for internet research, you're supposed to do your own research after you get home, then after a night's lead generation you have to show your lead list to your supervisor the next morning to be approved.  And, once you've generated new cell phone numbers or leads over the phone during the working hour, you have to input them into their system, of which the supervisor can check from his desk to verify the authenticity of the information you've inputted.  All these info, becomes the combined data file LNOPPEN owns, and they further compile it into a databank or publish into paperbacks for sale, at a very high price.  All of these collective human effort were being extracted and sucked dried by their system.  And once you decide to leave, you have nothing left, and they leave you with nothing.  

The attitude they have towards newly hired is "take it or leave it."  They position themselves high up so as to create a false image of power and authority, and they guarded their interest so tightly among a small circle of people that outsiders can't and won't be able to gain access.  

Thomas Du, the owner, would often throw lavish parties for his inner circle members that often involves prostitution and perks the members with helicopter rides.  And uses his wife and her family lineages back in Belgium to brand himself and the company to act as a foreign direct investment, but in fact, it's really just a privately owned outfit.  In a way, his wife, Ms. Noppen, is being exploited by him also.  

Then, there is a department that every conference company must have which is the customer service department.  This department in LNOPPEN is basically a complaint-handling call-center.  One can imagine there's a lot of complaints from past participants, and the standard way of handling such complaints is that "you signed up, it's in the contract, and we can't do anything about it.  If you don't like it, don't come next time."  

One thing that often amazes me is how can a group of Shanghai-nese be able to put up such a show to woo foreigners and delegates, the method and tactics are so unethical, yet, they feel so righteous about themselves that they think this is going to last for them.  And they acted in such a s****.>
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