Chinese firms learning lessons

Updated: 2014-09-12 12:06

By Lian Zi in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Chinese firms learning lessons

From left: Chris Chang, CEO of Alien Technology Corporation; Howard Chen, representative of K&L Gates LLP Partner; Mark Horn, managing director of EastWest Bank; Carmen Chang, representative of New Enterprise Association Partner; and Vivien Wang, representative of Deloitte Tax LLP Partner, share their thoughts on how to find right partners when doing cross-boarder business in US during the annual conference of Chinese Enterprises Association at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco on Thursday. Lian Zi / China Daily

In order for Chinese companies to be successful in the US, the firms need to hire local workers, establish close ties with service providers and whenever possible team with local partners. That was the main message at Friday's Annual Event of Chinese Enterprises Association meeting in San Francisco.

"During the last several years, as the Chinese general consul in San Francisco, I have attached great importance to the bilateral trade relations between China and US," said Yuan Nansheng, China's consul general in San Francisco, adding that China and the US are at different stages of development which creates a huge opportunity for Chinese companies to expand in the US.

However, Chinese companies that conduct business in the US face many challenges since the business environment is different than what is found in China.

"The trade between China and the US is really active right now. As a China-based high-tech company having operations in the US, it is my honor to come to this event," said Wu Zengqi, CEO of ZTE, a provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions.

According to ZTE's experience, carefully following business rules such as legal and financial regulations is a must for Chinese companies to succeed in the US.

Wu said it's better for Chinese companies to employ local US workers, noting that more than 80 percent of his company's employees were hired locally.

The business environment has already changed for Chinese companies during the last decade. "Under the new environment, the relationship between the US and China is more integrated in terms of business support both ways. And Chinese companies are more accessible to the global market and talent pool," said Howard Chen, a representative from the law firm of K&L Gates LLP.

"To gain success in the new environment, Chinese companies should build their global brand awareness, global customer loyalty base, and global work force," said Chen, adding that teaming with local partners is very important.

But how can an overseas firm from China to find the right partner? A panel discussion on China's recent merger-and-acquisition activity in California provided a clear answer.

Companies doing cross-border business should hire someone that has local knowledge and solutions in both the US and Chinese market, said Chris Chang, CEO of Alien Technology Corporation, a successful Silicon Valley high-tech company.

Alien Technology has already created a winning model of business cooperation between the US and China, said Chang, adding that one good idea is to leverage the best resources and maximize opportunities in both countries.

To overcome cultural challenges and make sure the US investment moves forward, it's important for Chinese companies to build relationships with service providers like law firms, consulting companies, and business community organizations, according to one of the panelists.

Shao Huading, USA board director for the Chinese telecommunications companyHuawei, also shared his firm's vision on building a better connected world by emphasizing innovation to meet consumer needs.

Darlene Chiu, executive director of ChinaSF, a San Francisco-based economic development organization, said the event is a good opportunity for senior executives of Chinese companies which have operations in US to share their experience and thoughts on how to succeed in US business.