For our Insights and Opinions section this morning, we share the wisdom of Stanley Holt, President and COO of OnGreen, a marketplace for clean technology investment opportunities. Stan, who is now splitting his time between Shenzhen, China and Pasadena, California, talks about what he's learned doing business in China.
China's the new frontier for U.S. companies. There's nothing like a sprawling, goldmine market with a Wild West feel to get Yankee adrenalin pumping.
Our company, OnGreen, entered China in 2010. We are a Los Angeles-based online-offline network connecting cleantech innovation with investors and partners. Our own series A capital came from China, and our investors encouraged us to expand here. With 325 clean technology companies and $US2.5B in funding opportunities on our online marketplace, we felt we were ready to head West and stake our claim.
Since arriving in China, we've made mistakes but also progress. Drawing from both, here are our top five tips for Newbies in China.
Don't Skimp on Research
China is not only huge (1.4 billion population with a GDP second only to the U.S.), it is also complex. Regions vary wildly in terms of demographics and development. Industries run the gamut from state of ruin to state of the art. And yet many companies dive into the country with no more preparation than they'd put into a new U.S. market. Typical is the firm that hires a single consultancy – or a single consultant (“our China guy”) – that promises national perspective and unbeatable guanxi (insider contacts). Such consultants usually end up providing a deep but limited perspective and setting up a couple of meeting tours. (continued...)
Read the rest of Stan's article, Targeting China: Notes From A New China Hand.