Dispatches From China

Opportunities abound in China

I recently received a call from an old friend who had just sold his business, asking about opportunities in China. The best advice I could give him was come to China and look around, not only in Beijing and Shanghai, but in the second- and third-tier cities.

I emphasized that he should not expect to come to China and plan on doing what he had done before. This is not to imply that his previous skills were useless, simply that they would have to be adapted to adding value in a completely different market.

China has plenty of people. They are intensely competitive and they work for a fifth of what someone would expect in the United States. You have to bring something that is not available or developed here, or you have no competitive edge.

To the contrary, you don’t speak the language, have any local friends or know the customs, laws, culture or tastes, so it would be hard to imagine how you could help someone here.

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