IBA Business Stories: Starting, Running, and Expanding a Company in China
datetime:2015-11-03 15:54:41

     Why is a manhole cover round? That is certainly not a question you would expect a panelist to strike at the audience in a business seminar. But that was indeed one of the questions which paved the way for three eminent international entrepreneurs to emphasize many essential aspects of starting a venture in a very enriching talk organized by the International Business Association last week.

     In the first edition of its Business Stories series, the IBA invited Archer Garza, Operations Director for leading skin-care product manufacturing company La Bonne Paris, Steven Murray, Co-Founder of the popular fashion E-commerce platform Whoolala, and Alain Garner, Management Consultant for Cogobuy Group PLC which has a market capitalization of over $2 billion USD to share some valuable insights on business ethics and the challenges of setting up a venture in China. Hosted by Kevin Chastagner, Prof. of Entrepreneurship and Negotiations at PHBS, the event saw not only students from Peking, Harbin & Tsinghua Universities but also budding entrepreneurs from Shenzhen’s thriving business community in attendance.

     Given that China is the most populated country, it is a very enticing market for new ventures to scale up. But at the same time, the demographics and stark differences in legal policies & business culture also invite a lot of risk and can be overwhelming when trying to snake through the numerous layers of business registration like procuring licenses. Steven Murray cited his own example of the initial tribulations faced by him when establishing Whoolala. It is easy to get excited in your first attempt as an entrepreneur but he advised how to be cautious and meticulous while reaping the revenues and channeling the cash-flow.

     In a country where there is no dearth of labour and resources, innovation is often threatened by imitation. In a casual talk peppered with humour, Archer Garza shared his experience of dealing in multiple markets and how he succeeded in overcoming obstacles while gaining client base in China. He even provided some great tips on effective marketing strategies!

     The event wound up with Alain Garner broadening the audiences’ horizon on how to achieve consistency by presenting his views on the fundamentals of business ethics like micromanagement, problem solving, lateral thinking, etc.

     And if you are still wondering, round manhole covers don’t need to be rotated to precisely align with the opening and hence will never fall into the hole. 

Reported by Gayathri Jagannathan