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How Time Zones Affect Global Businesses

When your biz spans the globe, it might not feel like time is on your side.

This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Harry Tsao and Talmadge O'Neill wrap up work in Los Angeles, their employees in Shanghai are just getting started. "At 6 p.m. our time, it's 10 a.m. their time," says Tsao, co-founder with O'Neill of Mezimedia Inc., a 110-person creator of online shopping tools that had $7.4 million in 2005 sales.

For Tsao, 35, and O'Neill, 38, it's hard to have many real-time conversations with the company's product developers in Shanghai or its sales office in Tokyo. Unless a problem arises during the few hours their workdays overlap, resolution often gets delayed. "What would normally be resolved in a three-minute conversation can be postponed 24 to 48 hours," Tsao says.

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