The biggest mistake with Westerners make when setting up a business in China is that they do not put their time in, according to Mary Rezek.
They tend to fly in, spend a few days in meetings and touring around, then leave thinking they have a good grasp of the local dynamics. Such an approach does not lend itself to developing real credibility in the Chinese market.
Mary Rezek, a veteran of Microsoft and PwC in China, and advisor to senior executives growing business there, shares her insights.
A Typical Scene
''When someone hears that I’ve been in China for 17 years I often get a reply like ‘yeah, I just arrived, I’m going to be here for the weekend and stay for two more days, setting up a business, going home to get investment, coming back every month or so for 2 or 3 days.’'
''I ask them some question about WOFE [wholly-owned foreign enterprise], about investment, about their team – the typical things that one would consider when setting up a business in China – and they seem to know it all.''
Don't Count on Shortcuts
''In my experience, if an individual comes to China to get rich, it does not work. You need to put in long and difficult hours. If you are coming here for just two weeks to hang out, thinking you are establishing relationships, and then you get on an airplane and go, it does not work.''
''You need to put your time in, network, give back, get interested, do a DVD night on Sunday because you’re so exhausted and wake up in the morning and do it again and again.''
It's Not Just About You
Mary adds: ''Be sure to give back. If you are only taking, then chances are you will have only a short life span in China.''
See more about Mary's story
Watch Mary's Insights On Hiring Talent In China