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Get the Most and Best Out Of Your China Business Consultant


By Sara Cheng 

 China is a hot button and probably also one of the most frequent headlines of Aussie media nowadays. Coming along with this are numerous China business consultants emerging like bamboo shoots in all colours and with various language and education backgrounds. Australian businesses eager to jump onto the wagon to do business with China are surrounded and bombarded by China business  seminars, conferences, summits, cocktail functions and then tracked down by all these consultants both during and after functions and events.

 Are these consultants adding value or rather a worthless upfront cost for businesses?

 The answer is yes and no, depending on who you work with and how you work with them.

 It seems cliché but sometimes some businesses do not use common sense when it comes to choosing consultants which are critical for achieving their business success in China. Bear in mind the 3 must-have characteristics of quality China business consultants when you chose whom to work with:

  • China commercial experiences and capabilities: The consultant is not carrying out an academic research for you. They should be able to breathe the depth and breadth of your business, grab the essence of your situation and needs in the shortest timeframe, put this in a broad but practical China business framework and get solutions for you. China is a country full of cultural nuances and operates under a different system. Without systematic business-related education background and extensive personal commercial experiences in China, a business consultant will not be able to possess such knowledge and expertise to navigate you through the system and achieve success in China.

 

  • Chinese language skills-this is common sense. Mandarin is the official language in China. Though there are dialects and accents in various regions, especially in East China and South China, Mandarin is well understood China wide. Without this language skill, your consultant will only obtain 2nd hand (might outdated as well) information when conducting research and will not be able to communicate with Chinese stakeholders on your behalf.

 

  • Most competent communication capabilities: Your China business consultants will communicate with your potential Chinese distributors, agents, manufacturing partners, suppliers, joint venture partners, Chinese government agencies and industry bodies on your behalf. Any small mistakes in such communications may damage your relationships with Chinese stakeholders or compromise the quality of the work they do for you. Assess your consultants’ communication capabilities before you enter into a service agreement with them.

 

Just having a quality China business consultant cannot guarantee you succeed in China. There are 2 must-know rules to make sure you achieve the most through your competent China business consultants:

  • Provide genuine information they require from you: In lots of cases, ethical and experienced consultants can straightaway let you know the ideal model for you to work with China or the potential of your products/services in China if you provide them genuine and comprehensive information on your business strategy, situation and needs. If you have little chance to succeed in China, they may be able to advise you the difficulties upfront and hence save your time, money and resources to work on mission impossible.  

 

  • Provide inputs, monitor milestones and work closely with them: No matter how smart and experienced your consultants are, they do not have the knowledge on your business as you do. Hence do not just leave everything in their good hands. Require progress report, communicate with them regularly, provide feedbacks, ideas and information when required or necessary so that they will refine and tailor the approach during project delivery and achieve the best they can do.

 With a competent consultant and work with them in the right way, you will get the most and best out of your China business consultant and achieve success doing business with China.

For assistance you may get from our China business specialists, please click here or call 1800 505 529 for China business specialists.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in China

 

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Checklist for due diligence on Chinese Manufacturers / Suppliers


By Sara Cheng

 China has been labelled as the World Factory for more than a decade. Whatever you can think of, it is most likely that you can find it being manufactured in China. Moreover, Internet provides a perfect tool to identify a long list of self-claimed Chinese manufacturers with decent websites in a second. However, foreign companies sometimes find themselves lost in a vast sea of choices, end up with fault products imported from China or work with a “suitcase” company- a Chinese term to describe fraudulent/fake businesses.

The key word here is qualifying. Conduct due diligence on your Chinese manufacturing partners/suppliers before you sign the contract.

Here are some factors you must include in your due diligence on Chinese manufacturers / suppliers:

  • Is the business a genuine business? Obtain copy of their business licence and, if possible, check with local Commerce and Industry Administration Bureau on the legitimacy of the Chinese business.
  • Is the business a manufacturer? Smart Chinese middlemen understand you would like to cut down cost and go directly to manufacturers. Hence they may work on a manufacturing site picture, put it on their websites and claim they are manufacturing what you need. Again obtain the copy of their business licence to check their business scope and/or investigate  with local government agencies/industry bodies directly or through China business consultant.
  • Does the Chinese manufacturer have surplus manufacturing capacity and capabilities to meet your current and potentially growing demand? Check with the staff of the company on their manufacturing capabilities. If you are placing big orders and/or look at working with a long-term manufacturing partner, it is worth visiting the Chinese manufacturers to better assess their manufacturing capabilities.
  • Does the Chinese manufacturer have quality control system in place? Do they have an international quality accreditation? Obtain a copy and check with the authorization organization.
  • Is the Chinese manufacturer a reputable business in the industry and protect clients’ intellectual property? Check with industry bodies, their clients and suppliers and conduct secondary research to find information on the company’s reputation.
  • Is the Chinese manufacturer committed to work with you? If your business is not vital to them, you are at the very bottom of the list when they prioritize orders and hence may delay the production or delivery for your order during peak time.

 

For further information and/or assistance with Chinese manufacturers/supplies selection and due diligence, please contact Sara Cheng, Manager-Greater China, Australian Business International Trade Services. Email: sara.cheng@australianbusiness.com.au or call 1800 505 529

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in China

 

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Business in China – Doing it Right!


When Coca Cola entered the Chinese market, they wanted to find Chinese characters for the phonetic equivalent of “Coca Cola”. So they chose Ke Kou Ke La, which translates literally into “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect. Similarly, in Taiwan, the Pepsi slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” was translated as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.”

These are just two of many anecdotes about intercultural communication gone horribly wrong. Especially when it comes to cultures (and languages) as different as Australia’s and China’s, there are significant challenges for those who wish to overcome the existing barriers. Lucky then that our Prime Minister is the only Mandarin-speaking premier outside of Beijing. Or not?

Human beings generally display a great desire to surround themselves with familiarity. That’s why people from the same background tend to stick together and rarely exit their particular comfort zone. It’s where we belong and where we feel understood. But the world has become a very small place and with international business links connecting the entire globe like a bowl of spaghetti it’s hard to escape the need to cross cultural boundaries.

China is THE emerging market of the future. This is particularly true for Australia, considering China is our most important two-way trading partner, taking about a quarter of our exports. Demand from China was one of the key factors that rescued Australia from global recession. But we will need to find a balance between being open and being vulnerable and relations have been strained recently by the Chinese expression of interest in buying key stakes in Australian resources and commodities firms.

If anyone still has doubts about the intense interdependency between the two countries, think about monetary policies. Governor Glenn Stevens announced that the RBA’s decision to leave Australia’s target cash rate where it is can be explained mainly because of the Chinese authorities’ efforts to reduce the degree of stimulus to their economy. 

How does all this affect Australian businesses? Most of them engage with China on a trial-and-error base, wasting money and time on working out the basics. This is the outcome of a recent study by the Australian Business Foundation in co-operation with Australian Business International Trade Services, titled “Engaging China – The Realities for Australian Businesses”. The research was designed to explore the actual experiences of Australian enterprises which have had a substantive history of doing business in China, analysing the opportunities and problems addressed by them as they seek to enter, expand or maintain an competitive position in Chinese markets. Following a series of 25 business case studies based on interviews with senior executives of Australian businesses, the study points to three key issues in the business environment: culture, relationships, and government. All of them are at the heart of successful entry into the Chinese market and can decide over the yays and nays.

To read the full report at no cost, click here.

Stefanie Mueller – International Communications Strategist

For more information or assistance, please contact Australian Business International Trade Services under 1800 505 529 or email Sara at sara.cheng@australianbusiness.com.au.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2010 in China

 

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Are You Considering Outsourcing To China?


Outsourcing your manufacturing should be a strategic decision to enhance your international competency and create scales of economy so that you can harness your financial and human capital to concentrate on your core business and its competitive advantage.

Before deciding, you need to:

  • assess the outsourcing opportunity
  • select manufacturing partners
  • protect your intellectual property
  • guarantee quality supply and,
  • secure a long-term commitment from your manufacturing partners?

 

You also need to consider the following:

Take a strategic… Click here to read the full article.

Sara Cheng – Manager Greater China Region

For more information or assistance, please contact Australian Business International Trade Services under 1800 505 529 or email Sara at sara.cheng@australianbusiness.com.au.

 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2010 in China

 

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Engaging China – The Realities for Australian Businesses


 

With the pace and dynamism of its growth and development, China today presents a good test case for studying business performance. Despite the global economic crisis and some formidable internal challenges to growth, China has so far proven remarkably resilient. It seems that the force of China’s demand during its epoch-making transformation into a modern industrialised economy will be a key source of world economic growth for decades to come.

China has, and will, continue to have a profound impact on Australia, given Australia’s resources base and its small market influenced by global trends and shifts in world production patterns. Australia’s growth is likely to be tightly coupled with China’s. It is important to understand the most effective models of business engagement with China that can enhance Australia’s competitiveness and prosperity.

With this backdrop, the Australian Business Foundation undertook a study examining the current realities for Australian firms doing business with China. I was fortunate to work together with other three authors on the book, be responsible for the analysis of findings from 25 in-depth case studies and also contribute to the insights and conclusions of this study.

The experiences of the case study participants highlight the following significant issues impacting on business performance for Australian enterprises in China. They cover factors impacting the business environment in China, the management and operations for the business themselves and the nature of business opportunities and strategies. 

Sara Cheng – Manager Greater China Region

For more information or assistance, please contact Australian Business International Trade Services under 1800 505 529 or email Sara at sara.cheng@australianbusiness.com.au.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2010 in China

 

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8 Must-Knows About Business Set-up in China


More and more Australian companies are setting up their own presence in China in order to source products/services directly from China or enter the Chinese market. However, given the alien nature of local regulations and business environment in China, it is critical to be proactive and fully prepared before you take the strategic move to set up your own presence in China.

Business set-up in China is a big project by itself, which requires financial and time commitments, business management knowledge and China expertise. Identifying a competent agent to manage the complex process will be a cost and time effective way to avoid potential pitfalls.

Here are some “must-knows” before you set up the business in China:

1.You have more than one option… To read the full article, click here.

Sara Cheng – Manager Greater China Region

For more information or assistance, please contact Australian Business International Trade Services under 1800 505 529 or email Sara at sara.cheng@australianbusiness.com.au.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2010 in China

 

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