Don’t Quote Me (On Investing)

Related entries: Business Issues, General, Investment, Strategy

Another little gem for our noted and quoted series…

Vincent Choo, strategic alliance and new business development director of Yum! Restaurants China (of KFC fame), has had an interesting ride while investing in China. His neat analysis (as reported in the Star) is as follows:

    “The journey is definitely tough and jerky. You are bound to hit the potholes. However, you would eventually reach your destination if you persevere and not make a U-turn”.

The message, with which I fully agree, is that doing business in China may be neither comfortable nor quick – but that with a clear goal and good dose of patience, it can bring excellent results.

Equally, making a U-turn is not a good option (especially if it is down to short-term considerations), as China Inc. has a long memory. It is inclined to reward commitment…and to reject superficial or inconsistent approaches.

This was confirmed by none other than Premier Wen Jiabao, on his recent visit to the UK. At a meeting with Tony Blair (referring to the work of The 48 Group Club – of which your author was recently appointed Honorary Secretary) he said:

    “Over the past half century there have been twists and turns, ups and downs in our [Sino-British] bilateral relations…I recalled the great contribution to China-UK relations by the 48 Group Club in 1954. This group embarked on the road towards China, overcame all kinds of obstacles and broke through the embargoes by the western world to China to develop trade relations with my country. This was the first group of businessmen from the western world to China. They spent three days travelling from London, via Hong Kong, to Beijing. They got there through perseverance, and they did the right thing.”

So, take a long-term approach, do the research and planning before making (or rejecting) the entry decision and, if going in, allocate sufficient resources (without expecting an unrealistically quick return). And don’t be afraid of the odd bump along the way!

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