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Interview: Local expertise, a feasible business plan and patience

Interview.PeterPronkBy: Marleen Spijkman

It is November the 7th when I meet Mr. Peter Pronk for an interview in a small cafe in Beijing. He is the owner of BEIJING 1421 BUSINESS CONSULTING, where he and his Chinese-Western team, from offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, advise companies about doing business with the Chinese. Peter portrays his knowledge and experience about doing business in China straight to the point.

“There are still many people who believe that they can conquer China the same way as they do at home. In no time they return home, because the desired outcome wasn´t met or hurdles were stronger than they had expected. Companies who are willing to expand to China should make a feasible business plan, have patience and should get themselves familiar with the Chinese culture.

This plan should also cover their financial possibilities and a clear description of their expectations and goals. More importantly, I believe that the expertise of local companies is most beneficial in the creation and execution of a feasible business plan. These companies can help foreign companies to find the right business partner in China and provide more insight about the specific Chinese business market. As I mentioned earlier, patience is very important. Finding a right partner and getting yourself familiar with the market can sometimes even take up to 1 or 2 years, depending on your business of course.

Some examples of questions we receive from clients are: (1) can you help us find suitable distribution channels for our products, (2) we are approached by a Chinese company for a corporation, but how do I know if this partner is serious, (3) can you assist us in setting up a branch in China?”

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