China Business


Recently I received a bid invitation in Chinese language. They explicitly mentioned, that companies which launch a bid should not copy any contents, designs or logos from third parties.

I guess, except of the fact, that the invitation was in Chinese, this is a good hint, that most of the competitors will be Chinese companies.

In China you always get business cards. You visit a networking event and one day later you do not know anymore, which business card belongs to which person. When you get Chinese business cards, you sometimes even don’t know, if the person was male or female.

  • never throw a business card away – you never know, when it will become useful.
  • after an event, write down all useful data – gender, important details of the talk, when did you meet this person, at which event, the nationality….
  • if you had an interesting talk, it is probably a good idea to write a short email to the person the next day, tell him how happy you are, that you met him and send him further information about your company – don’t wait too long with this email.

Another important advice for business events: never sign up too late, espacially, when the topic is interesting – the event may be fully booked early.

In China, there are several services, which offer online banking. Big online shops like Taobao.com offer sederal online payment methods

  1. Credit card payment. This method is not yet popular in China because not many people use credit cards – but certainly, the number is increasing fast.
  2. Services like Paypal. This means, the clients makes a bank transfer to the account of this online banking service. After the client received the payment, the online banking service will transfer the money to the seller. The most popular service in China is Alipay.com which was foundet in October 2003 as part of Taobao.com and is a standalone business since 2004. According to its website, Alipay has about 33 Million clients already.
  3. Prepaid card. This means, you have a prepaid card provided by this this online shop (if you are a regular client for example – or there is a discount on this payment method). You can charge this card at some banks, which have an agreement with this online shop. When purchasing a product, the payment will be deducted from your prepaid card.
  4. Online account, which is actually similar to those prepaid cards. You just transfer money to your shop online account, your username is normally your email-address and the payment will be deducted from your account. You can charge your account at the China Post, which cooperates with many online shops.

Of course, payment in advance (which is not very secure in China) and payment at delivery are very popular in China.

According to a statistics at http://www.iresearch.com.cn/html/Online_Shopping/detail_views_id_10850.html on iResearch in 2005 43,2% choose payment in advance, 41,8% online banking service and 34,7% payment in cash at delivery. Only 1,7% choose mobile phone payment as payment method.

Businessmen searching for new IT-projects, should check the Korean market. Korea is the top IT-country, I guess in no other country (except of Japan perhaps) where people are willing to invest so much into luxuries, IT and education.

I get many business ideas in IT (and I have lots of ideas myself), 90% of those ideas are already realized somewhere else and even more of them are already realized in Korea. If you need new ideas, it is a good idea to check the korea internet market.

On their webesite, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China presents, changes of the law and other of it’s legal activities. This website is a useful source for businessmen in China. It contains information about law changes, statistics, news and evetns (fairs, exhebitions).

http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/static/column/policyrelease/domesticpolicy.html/1

and the mainpage on http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/.

A few clients (and ourselves) have hosted several websites in Germany but update them from China. This was sometimes really anoying because of the slow internet connection.

Today we updated a few websites to typo3.4.1 – the result is amazing and the developers did an excellent job. The backend is faster, the Ajax page-tree is loading faster.

Working with typo3 will be much more fun for us and our clients in China.

P.S.

On some versions, we had problems with the editor. We opened a page in the page tree, wanted to edit a page conten, but the editor did not load. The solution is quite simple: You just have to uninstall the editor completly (this also means removing the files in the /conf/ext -folder with the extension manager).

After this, you can see the newest version of the editor in the extension manager.

Everybody is happy now!

If you are new in Beijing, want to start a business but have no connections at all, there are some good ways to get to know people, especially other foreigners doing business in China.

If you prefer staying at home (probably you are some IT-guy), you can become member of some networks online, for example linked-in or xing.com (but if you like staying at home, you probably should not do business?).

If you like meeting people, you can also visit networking events organized by Chambers, embassies or business clubs (I admit, I never visited a business club, but some friends did). Those networking events are often open for non members, for a small entry fee (in embassies, it is often free and you even get a free drink).

Some websites, where you can find events:
www.china.ahk.de

http://www.pek.britcham.org/

http://www.amcham-china.org.cn/amcham/home/index.php

http://www.bencham.org (which proudly annouces on it’s website, that t is growing at a rate of 10 members a month).

Guanxi (good relationships) are not only important when doing business with Chinese, but it is also important to keep up good relationships with other foreign business men. In China, foreigners usually all encounter the same problems while doing business with Chinese companies and they are all searching for new business opportunties and useful contacts. So it is easy to get new contacts, collect a lot of business cards (never go to a networking event with less than 50 business cards in your pocket), probably in one year, you will remember a guy, you once met and can now be helpful.

A client wanted to order a website design. I asked him about his ideas, if he had a company logo and I tried to get all the information I need to make the client happy.

Hm… he wanted me to create the website, another designer was already working on the logo. I should just leave some space on the website, so the other designer could just put the logo there. I even did not know, which color the logo should have.

That’s a way to create some corporate design – I really want to get to know this other graphic designer. If he really knows how to create a logo which fits into every website design, I will hire him immediatelly.

One of my clients is actually thinking about putting an article about his company in wikipedia. After Microsoft’s deal with an american expert to “improve” an entry about OpenXML and the negative media reaction, I told him that it was probably not the best idea.

Companies which do advertisment in blogs, wiki-systems and forums always have to exspect bad feedback. You can probably do some advertisment in forums which where established for this purpose but misusing wikipedia for advertisment does not make a good impression.

In the United States it seems to be a big business to pay bloggers or “experts” to correct wikipedia entries.P.S. What a pity – you still can not reach wikipedia from China.

We recently registered a new domain for a Chinese language website. It is a new project and we do not exspect too many visitors at the beginning – so we decided to host it on a shared server with an american company.

After a while, we started to wonder, why we could not reach the domain from China. After a few tests, we found out, that the IP-address of this server is blocked from China, after we made a short server check, we actually found out, that a few websites with …hm…. with sexual content were also hosted on this server.

Again tried to safe money on the wrong place. I guess, we have to make a server change now.

Fortunately, it was no client’s website but an own project.

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