Invariably the differences in doing business in China needed to be considered:
- the need to understand local customs, including "face"
- the longer time that deals take to execute than elsewhere
- the need to treat different parts of China as different markets, not a homogenous whole
- the need for a strong local team or partner, rather than shipping in a Westerner.
I hear these things haven't changed in the eight years since I left, except perhaps that deals are becoming slightly easier to do as China businesses become more accustomed to them. According to the Economist, inward investment still vastly outweighs outward deals, but the number and value of the latter is growing rapidly.
Locally, we have huge opportunities to do business with China, particularly in our tourism, agricultural and education sectors. There are a number of trade missions planned for 2014 and with strong local coordination, hopefully we can maximise on these opportunities.