During the past year, I’ve shared in my blog a good amount of information on how to do business in China. I also wanted to write a post with the New Zealand entrepreneur in mind, so last month, when I interviewed Kevin Lai, Asia General Manager for Actronic Technologies (a New Zealand multinational that successfully markets electronic weighing equipment around the world) I asked for kiwi-oriented advice. We talked at length about the insights he has gained since he arrived to China three years ago and we specifically discussed what tips would come in handy for Kiwis planning to do business in China.
1. The Kiwi mentality says “Give it a Go”… keep it up!
We have a “Give it a Go” mentality, and I think that is a really good thing. We are more daring than people from other countries. We are not afraid to try and that helps us in business. Keep it Up!
2. ..but plan in advance
“ Give it a Go” is one of our strengths but in order to ensure it does not backfire you need to plan in advance. You need to research/understand the market, talk to a few potential partners and customers, assess the resources you will need and plan accordingly.
3. DIY … Oh, no, no, no
We love the DIY approach. We roll our sleeves and get things done. We don’t mind getting our hands dirty. Well, my advice when it comes to China is “Don’t DIY”. This market is full of opportunities but it is also very challenging, full of administrative burdens and difficult to navigate if you don’t know the rules of engagement or the language. Get good advice and support to settle here.
4. New Zealand can be as BIG as we project it.
Don’t feel you need to be humble because we are a much smaller country compared to China. If you have a good product and you have good partnerships then the perception is that you are good and big. My company’s product comes attached to heavy mobile machinery from highly reputed international companies such as Caterpillar. From the Chinese end-client’s perspective we are as big as these multinationals.
5. Get in touch with Kiwi networks
There are very good kiwi networks here and they are really willing to help. Before I came here I contacted KEA (New Zealand Global Network that connects Kiwis around the world) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. I got in touch with lots of people who gave me good tips and helped me settle. After settling, I’ve also been in touch with Immigration New Zealand, for support organizing training in NZ for a Chinese employee, and with the Consulate for some business activities and further networking with other kiwis doing business here.