When I visited China last year, the industrial nature of the business people I met was very clear. Since the business world now has few geographic business boundaries, it is important to understand small business in China.
Richard believes that Beijing is one of the best places on earth to start a business even if you are an American. He lists these top five reasons:
1. China has the infrastructure
Richard compares the Chinese government to a corporation. “It has stepped back and let that natural entrepreneurial drive floursh. There are 2,000 Groupon clones. There’s 80 social networking sites…there are 900 million mobile phone subscribers, and there’s 500 million plus internet users (double to triple the U.S.)."
2. Chinese entrepreneurs are ‘ferocious gladiators’
Richard describes the first time he visited. “I got to China thinking that Japan was going to take over the world still in the early ‘90s," he said. But, "Chinese people are capitalists and there is a ferocious, almost gladiatorial environment here when it comes to entrepreneurship…Beijing is certainly not just the Silicon Valley of China, but of all of Asia.”
3. Chinese entrepreneurs are focused on making money
Richard insists that Chinese entrepreneurs get a bad rap for being copycats. He compares this to when the U.S. “borrowed” a lot from the U.K. during the industrial revolution. “They are less focused on elegant cool tech or trying to necessarily change the world. They’re really focused on creating companies that really make stuff that people want and make money."
4. Chinese entrepreneurs are lightning quick
Richard believes that this is why so many American Internet companies have failed here like Yahoo, Google and eBay. “The road is littered with bodies here because they did a lot of things where they had to rely on going back to their Silicon Valley headquarters. They just couldn’t move quickly enough to compete locally.”
5. Chinese entrepreneurs rely on deep trustful relationships
More than Americans, Chinese only do business with people who they have deep trustful relationships. “The flip side of that is if you don’t really have relationships, then you’re really exposed to a different set of ethics that perhaps you wouldn’t be in the West. So you would have to kind of watch your back, but it’s not just because you’re a foreigner; everybody has to really deal with that”
Richard kills another American entrepreneur dream. “If I could just sell one tube of toothpaste or ringtone to every Chinese citizen I’d be a billionaire. The fact is that the local entrepreneurs already have that sewed up!”
Have you done business in China? What has been your experience of Chinese entrepreneurs?