Sunday, October 14, 2007

Brits Get Rich in China

Stumbled upon this documentary that has been uploaded to YouTube, and it's just awesome. It follows three British guys around as they try to make money in China, and all the obstacles they run up against.

One guy has given 100,000 pounds to a factory owner for an order and the guy writes back that he doesn't have it ready, and he's already spent all the money. The British dude heads out to the factory to find that this guy has built a pool, and swank office, and a new house for himself. After all this, and after the factory owner tries to get him to try a local delicacy (fried donkey dong), which the British dude suspects is intended to humiliate him, he still stays in business with him. Bizarre. Also really, really scary. I'm sort of thinking of trying to start a business here, and I certainly don't have $200,000 I can afford to lose. What do I do when a factory owner steals my money?

And why doesn't he sue? One quibble - the documentary states that China has extremely lax IP laws. From what I read on China Law Blog, that's not at all true. The laws are totally up to Western standards. It's the enforcement that's the issue - the central government has trouble keeping local officials in line, and it's hard to know exactly who is in charge of what in China.

The documentary did give me some hope of finding a job in China though. None of these three guys lives in China or speaks Chinese. The guy who lost money to the factory boss has been in China the longest and seems to be coping best. He has a Chinese assistant who speaks some English, but needs to go himself on all these factory inspections. It seems to me that all of these guys would need, or would benefit from, a Western representative there. I can't fully communicate with Chinese businessmen, though I'm pretty good. Their Chinese assistants, while their English is good, can't fully communicate with their bosses, or directly communicate with Western clients. If you had both on site, that would be a powerful combination.

You can see all 7 parts here

1 comment: said...

Rule number one: know to whom you are giving your money.