Pounds: China SummitWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Free Press was honored to be a sponsor of the May 31 China Business Summit, presented by Communica at The Toledo Club.
With more than 400 million people in its middle class alone, China presents an incredible market.
As reported by Toledo Free Press Staff Writer Morgan Delp, all of the speakers at the event talked about the challenges and benefits of expansion into China.
In addition to the four main presentations, the event included brief remarks from Jim Rush, executive vice president and head of business development at Communica, Debbie Monagan, president of Communica, Mayor Mike Bell and Regional Growth Partnership President and CEO Dean Monske. Minhua Wu from the Confucius Institute at the University of Toledo also presented on the institute’s Chinese language and culture courses, which it offers to teachers, business people and students in the area.
“You cannot be successful in any foreign market unless you know the challenges,” said William Sinn, president of the Cleveland-based Sinn & Company consultancy.
He said these challenges include a language barrier even within the country of China, due to all of the different dialects. When illustrating the drastic language difference amongst neighboring towns in China by comparing them to Ohio cities, Sinn said that unless using the same dialect, “Toledo could not talk to Bowling Green.” He said that acquiring a skilled and reliable translator was essential in overcoming this obstacle.
John Tang, attorney and head of the Shanghai-based Brennan, Manna & Diamond group in Akron, said a big aspect of Chinese culture is that people focus on outward appearances because they are extremely concerned with “saving face,” or retaining a respectable image.
Tang gave the example of the successful American chain, Victoria’s Secret, which tried to expand into China, but had to scale back because the Chinese were not interested in spending money on undergarments that could not be seen by others.
Wei Shen, managing director of BridgeConnect LLC in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., said Americans need to understand that business deals cannot be made on the first visit with potential Chinese clients. She said gaining the respect of potential clients and having patience in negotiations are key to gaining wealth in China.
However, many differing aspects of the Chinese way of life offer promising business opportunities, Tang said.
“China is very polluted due to the factories, and the government knows that, so if you are in an industry with environmentally friendly products, they’ll offer a lot of incentives and open a lot of doors for you,” he said.
Toledo Free Press has long advocated bringing international business to Toledo, and has supported the Bell administration’s efforts to do so. We will continue to support events such as the China Business Summit and urge local entrepreneurs to continue to engage in the global conversation.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.