Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Markets in Everything: Mobile Visa Processing

The Lucky Dragon Mobile Visa Consultants provide a mobile solution to some inefficient Chinese bureaucracy.  The rented Penske truck (pictured above with some satisfied customers) is parked in front of the Chinese consulate in New York City every day, with two Mac laptops and a printer to help frustrated visa applicants print out the correct visa forms.  The long, complicated visa forms available online from China's consulate are usually not the correct visa applications, and many frustrated applicants show up with the wrong visa forms.  

The correct forms are not available at the inconveniently-located consulate on NYC's West Side Highway, and the only help the consulate officials provide is to direct frustrated applicants to an internet cafe in a Burger King a half-mile away, where they can go online and print out the correct forms.   After experiencing the frustration himself a few months ago, entrepreneur Adam Humphries, immediately started the mobile visa processing business in October with some friends, and their business is booming.  They grossed nearly $10,000 in the first month.

Read more here at Planet Money: "A Man, A Plan, A Surprising Business Plan." It's a great "Markets in Everything" story, and demonstrates how most successful businesses are started with the express goal of trying to solve other people's problems.  It's an example of the invisible hand of the free market at work, compared to the visible boot of the government.    

Update: "Capitalists seek to discover what people want and then produce it as efficiently as possible." ~Walter Williams in his column today, "I Love Greed." 

17 Comments:

At 1/04/2012 9:33 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Well maybe the Chinese won't have to worry about the correct visa forms anymore if this story is factual...

A 40-page report, drafted by the Office of Inspector General in September but not publicly released, details the immense pressure immigration service officers are under to approve visa applications quickly, sometimes while overlooking concerns about fraud, eligibility or security...

(skip)

But high-ranking USCIS officials said the pressure has heightened after the Obama administration appointed Alejandro Mayorkas as director in August 2009 during an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, bringing with him a mantra of “get to yes.”...

 
At 1/04/2012 10:40 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The correct forms are not available at the inconveniently-located consulate on NYC's West Side Highway....



WTF?

 
At 1/04/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

the "forms" are not available directly to people with smartphones?

WTF?

 
At 1/04/2012 10:47 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

bringing with him a mantra of “get to yes.”...

================================

Why would we think that "get to yes" is any worse than a mantra of "get to no"?

We complain about ineffective government getting in the way, and then complain when they don't.

I once tried to get a temporary AG visa for someone, under which I would personally guarantee that the indvidual wold go back home at the end of his employment.

After two years, I gave up.

I don't see anything wrong with having a government organization that DOES ITS JOB by not arbitrarily thwarting otherwise legal activities.

 
At 1/04/2012 10:58 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Looks like a good opportunity for Rickshaw Dumpling to park in the vicinity. I suggest the discrimintory pricing, of discounts for Buddist monks, be followed by Rickshaw Dumpling also, for continued Karma flow.

 
At 1/04/2012 10:59 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/04/2012 12:35 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I don't see anything wrong with having a government organization that DOES ITS JOB by not arbitrarily thwarting otherwise legal activities"...

Especially if fraud is involved hydra?

 
At 1/04/2012 2:56 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

An incorrect assumption is made that everyone must have entrepreneurial talent, and that something is irreparably wrong if one does well except for starting a business.

 
At 1/04/2012 6:41 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Canadian man enters America using scanned passport on iPad 2

http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/4/2681989/ipad-2-passport-martin-reisch-canada-america-border

 
At 1/04/2012 9:33 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Larry G said...
"Canadian man enters America using scanned passport on iPad 2."

Maybe it's possible, if an airline boarding pass can be scanned and accepted on an iPad.

 
At 1/04/2012 9:37 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

By not thwarting otherwise legal activities.

Who said anything about fraud?

That $15 k request was legal and often used. Had I been bringing in a hundred AG workers, it might be worth it.

You really are a sick individual who invents bad things on behalf of others.

 
At 1/04/2012 9:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

( INS suggested that my request my be expedited by a payment of $15k.)

 
At 1/04/2012 9:41 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Good thing this is mobile processing. Sounds like a niche business.

 
At 1/05/2012 7:09 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Who said anything about fraud?"...

hydra, can you read simple English?

Ever consider taking remedial English?

 
At 1/05/2012 3:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The correct forms are not available at the inconveniently-located consulate on NYC's West Side Highway....



WTF?
"

Government bureaucracy - you know - that thing you prefer. Notice that the free market has found a solution.

 
At 1/06/2012 4:28 PM, Blogger Alice said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/06/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Nichole said...

If you can see market whenever wherever that would mean you in the good business. Just don't forget some details. Starting a new business is always fun, specially if it is growing.

 

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