January 2, 2015
My colleague, Steven Weiss, is with China Telecom. China Telecom is the largest telecommunications provider in China. With 80% of China’s local access and transmission facilities and ChinaNet, the largest internet backbone in China, their network solutions are core foundations for business growth. I asked Steve to write some posts for us about the nuances of working in China. Here is his first post…
Space the final frontier… we still have a while until it is a viable place for commerce. So, why not China? The air is slightly more breathable and there are plenty of people to build or buy your products. With over 1.3 billion people, even a small hit for a product there would be a huge hit for any company. In addition, relations with the US and China have never been better and continue to go in that direction.
Why not open up an office or a plant in China, purchase some internet and start growing your business like you would in most other areas of the world? With the upside, there really is no reason not to. China is poised to surpass the US in the next few years to become the world’s largest economy. Although the GDP growth is slowing it was still 7.7% in 2013 compared with 1.9% for the US. China has over 19% of the world’s population. From 2000 to 2012 China’s middle class has grown from 4% of urban households to 68% and is continuing on that trend. Middle class people make good money and spend most of what they make. Selling your product to just .3 percent of the population would mean that you have put it in the hands of 4.2 million people. Because of the government, the language and the culture, however, it is not that simple. It does not have to be that complicated either. Like many things in business it comes down to making well advised decisions.
If you are currently doing business in China you have probably become aware of “The Great Chinese Firewall.” This is not typically a big deal for traffic within the Middle Kingdom but when you are accessing content outside of China on an internet VPN it can range from excruciatingly slow to not working at all. In addition, depending on the services and applications you use, you can be subject to whether or not the application provider is in the good graces of the government. For instance, Google and China have differing views and because of that, Google’s products have been very limited there. Just recently, Gmail was completely blocked in China and is slowly coming back up. If you leverage Gmail and other Google products to run your business and are looking to do business in China, it is probably best to look at some alternatives or speak with someone that consults on such things to advise on how to get it to work. The same rings true if you use YouTube (owned by Google), Facebook or other social networking sites in your day to day business. If your employees will need access to these sites there are ways to do this and provide a good user experience. The bottom line is the Great Chinese Firewall is something to be aware of but it does not mean that your internet access and the ability to leverage the applications that you depend on needs to suffer.