Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in China

China is a very exciting country, both culturally and in terms of business. For foreign entrepreneurs it offers a number of interesting opportunities, although you will need to hold you nerve in this often volatile and diverse market.

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Some of the positives you may get in China are: cheap and reliable technology, cheap and highly productive workforce, fertile land and good weather. China is also the country that has the second highest purchasing power parity when compared to the rest of the world.

In my experience, the overseas entrepreneurs who have succeeded where others have failed in China are those who have really explored the opportunities and sectors that are most open to new businesses and I’ve put together some business areas where there are openings in this huge economy that is also the largest importer and exporter of goods in the world.

Education services

Native English speakers are in big demand in China. Clearly, just teaching in a school will not build a business, but if you explore the provision of online courses you have a chance of creating a business with real value, especially when you consider the numbers in the Chinese population.

Ecological and environmental products

China has a serious problem with pollution and it is looking at ways to mitigate this with projects that include new energy, clean and renewable energy, green technology, reforestation, gardens and landscaping.

An Internet business

Most Chinese have access to the web and it is not difficult for overseas entrepreneurs to start a small-scale business online for the Chinese market. You will find that there is less bureaucracy than you might expect and fewer licenses and certifications required than in other countries.

Mobile phone accessories

China made mobile phones cheaper for the rest of the world.They can also supply USB cords, memory cards, batteries and other accessories. If you can find a supplier in China and sell their wares to the rest of the world, you potentially have a very profitable business.

Trading platforms and online businesses

The technology available in China favours online business and trading platforms. The main advantage of owning an online shop is that you don’t have to own or possess all the products listed in your on-ground warehouse. Just talk to some manufacturers and have an agreement that allows them to list their products in your store.

I’d also advise anyone doing business in China to bear the following in mind:

  • Cultural differences – make sure you know your business etiquette
    · Language difference – find a good interpreter and this won’t be an issue
    · Loyalty – loyalty is very important to the Chinese
    · Getting qualified and reliable manufacturers – do your research and due diligence.

Anyone can overcome these by being prepared, getting an interpreter where needed and having credible Chinese partners to help you out. This is a country that will continue to go from strength to strength – explore it now and find your niche as a foreign entrepreneur. It pays to get into the market early on.

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What You Don’t Know About Doing Business In Hong Kong

Interesting facts and finer points of doing business, and living, in the magnificent world city of Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong is vibrant and resilient. Since 1997, when it returned to being a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, it has sailed through global economic crises thanks to its key drivers of economic growth, which in the case of Hong Kong are retail, logistics and business services, financial services, real estate development (boosted by public infrastructure works), and tourism. The UK government –and the Wall St. Journal– has designated it the world’s freest economy for 20 consecutive years and it is ranked as the world’s eighth largest trading economy and a leading financial and business centre for Asia.

It is also important to point out that it has a significant degree of autonomy from China and has its own legal system currency and customs jurisdiction; the only area in which it must follow China’s ruling is in foreign affairs and defence.

Another key to its success is the business access it provides to mainland China and to other parts of Asia. Add to this the fact that Hong Kong is a free port that does not levy any customs tariff and has limited excise duties and you have an environment that businesses love. It may be a relatively small territory with a total population of just over seven million, but there are at least 1,362 subsidiaries of American companies based here, and that is just the USA. In the last two years some firms have started bypassing Hong Kong and setting up subsidiaries on the Chinese mainland, however, they have discovered that they face higher costs and longer delays than if they’d established a Hong Kong intermediary.

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5 reasons you should set up a business in Hong Kong

In my experience as an entrepreneur working around the world I strongly recommend doing business in HK and here are my five reasons for doing so:

 

  • China welcomes foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to develop their businesses in Hong Kong and provides them with the tools to grow successfully with little stress in the registry process of the business. The same can’t be said of many other countries.
  • The infrastructure facilities in Hong Kong are what make the city so well-known worldwide. Hong Kong’s air and sea transport facilities provide an excellent service for all customers, so all shipping, logistics and freight forwarding services are first rate. It is perfectly located for reaching other parts of Asia and has excellent telecommunications – a vital element for modern businesses.
  • Hong Kong has some of the lowest tax rates in the world and a simple tax system. Low taxes are a great incentive for businesses.
  • The legal system in Hong Kong tends to favour the business community and it is a transparent and fair system.
  • It is one of the world’s most liberal economic systems due to its free trade policy, no trade barriers and no limit for foreign onshore and offshore investments. Capital just keeps flowing here

 

A fantastic lifestyle

And, on top of a superb business environment, Hong Kong is a fantastic place to live. Its efficiency is on show from the moment you land at its international airport and find yourself in the centre of the city in about 25 minutes. It’s a ‘work hard, play hard’ city, with the same trendy areas that you’ll find in New York or London and you can enjoy weekend breaks in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore or Thailand. It buzzes with a young, entrepreneurial spirit and it attracts an eclectic mix of fascinating individuals.

If you’re checking out Hong Kong as a place to set up your business, I’d recommend taking the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island to get a feel for the place. And, lunch on the IFC Terrace will give you a memorable view of The Peak and the harbour. As for restaurants and bars; Hong Kong has everything from fine dining to some of the best street food in Asia.

There are few downsides I can think of to doing business in Hong Kong and there are few places in the world that I’d put in the same class as this place, because it’s a city that just loves business like an entrepreneur.

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Business Etiquette Around the World: Brazil

In my experience, Brazil is a very exciting country to do business in. It’s a country on the move and an important member of the BRIC emerging economies. It has a promising future and that is a green light for entrepreneurs like me. It also has an amazing culture, which makes doing business there equal parts pleasure and work. However, if you’re planning on putting Brazil on your business map, I’d suggest you learn about its business culture and etiquette before you set foot in the country, which is why I’m sharing some lessons I learnt from my own Brazil experiences.

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The art of small talk

First of all, Brazilians are a very friendly people and they like to build friendships alongside any business relationship. Politeness is very important to them; rudeness will get you the cold shoulder. They like to negotiate with people rather than a company, therefore it is vital that you accept that social small talk will play a part in any discussions. Favourite topics for small talk are family, football and music. Learn something about samba, Brazil’s important musicians, and of course its legendary footballers before you arrive. Topics to steer clear of are poverty, politics and Argentina. The latter is considered a trading rival.

It can be hard for entrepreneurs from cultures where getting down to business straight away is the accepted etiquette to get the hang of making small talk, but it will pay huge dividends if you do. Always make good eye contact with the person you are talking to and accept that there may be a lot of touching of your arms and backs during discussions; Brazilians like to be physically close to the person they are talking to. Also, be aware of non-verbal signals; slapping the back of the hand against the palm means they are not interested.

Be patient

Indeed, please hide any feelings of impatience at the proceedings as Brazilians will see this as reflecting poorly on you. They admire people who show self-control, so you will score points if you appear to be relaxed with how things are going. You will also need to exercise your patience when waiting for decisions to be made; Brazilian business is very hierarchical and the highest ranking person in a company makes the final decisions. It can take a while for that to filter down to you.

Formal greetings

Formal greetings may differ from your country. It is customary to shake hands with everyone on entering and leaving a business meeting. Also, shake hands with the men and kiss women on both cheeks. If possible, learn some basic Brazilian phrases in advance.

Business entertaining

Entertaining is an important part of business culture and Brazilians are quite relaxed about it, but very fashion conscious, so dress smart and don’t wear anything considered outrageous. If you are hosting a dinner, don’t be surprised if your guests are 15 – 30 minutes late; punctuality is not a strong point, However, you should be punctual, even if you have to wait.

Enjoy the culture

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And, when you are in Brazil, don’t miss the opportunity to sample its vibrant culture: go to a football match; visit Copacabana beach; enjoy the view from Sugarloaf Mountain if you’re in Rio, and if you have the opportunity to experience the greatest carnival in the world, don’t miss it.

Doing business in Brazil is hugely pleasurable if you adapt to their customs and it is a vast country with huge potential, so understanding its new business culture is very much worth your while.

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