I really like Andrew Hupert. I like what he does for companies needing marketing or human relations assistance in China. I like that he has been involved in international business and China business for a long time. I like that he really knows China business. I really like how he focuses on what companies doing business in China should be doing to succeed.
I also really like his Diligence China blog, on which he just did a post entitled, “Approaches to Due Diligence in China II ‘ Business Entry Consultants” that, among other things, gives great advice on finding a China business entry consultant (My comments are in non-italicized font):
- “Look for business entry firms that have a specialty you will find useful.” So true. The company that knows where to turn for auto parts may not be the company you want for assistance in memory chips. The company that knows Xiamen may not know Qingdao.
- “Find out how long they have been doing it.” Yes.
- “Check references thoroughly. Then check them again.” Yes.
- “It’s not necessary, but you might want a combination of western and local expertise.” Oftentimes it is necessary.
- “You want simple solutions to complicated problems.” Yes and no. Andrew is right to note that the company you hire should not be “stumped” at the beginning, but, at the same time, China can be complex so there may not always be a simple solution.
- “Beware the guanxi salesmen.” Yes, yes, and yes. The person who talks about “connections,” rather than about the specifics of what he or she has accomplished in China and about what he or she can do for you in China is to be avoided. Plain and simple.
- “Transparent fee structures.” Sure.
If you are thinking of going into China (including just to source materials from there) or you are relatively new to China, you should read both part I and part II of this excellent series.