Quoting China's 2nd richest man, Jack Ma from Alibaba Group, I shared my insights on how Chinese entrepreneurs have become "pigs that can fly" and thus successful. Some of their success can be attributed to the context of a transforming, dynamic & modern China. My audience were business entrepreneurs themselves but, by their own admission, with little experience of China. I talked of China's mega and up-and-coming brands including Dalian Wanda Group, Huawei Technologies, ZBird, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. These names were unfamiliar to my audience. (Interestingly, that had been my experience with an audience of around 100 China-facing professionals at an event we held on "China moving up the Value Chain" at Chatham House in 2008).
I talked of the leadership style and tireless determination of Guo Guangcheng of Fosun Group. And it struck me; how big do these companies - and how rich do their owners - need to be before they become household names to those not working, like me, in the China space? The richest female entrepreneur in the world is Chinese, but who knows her name?* More to the point, who can pronounce it properly?
Clearly, to fully "go global" and accomplish the next step of their dreams, these brands will need to up their marketing and PR spend to come into the Western mainstream and win customer trust and share of wallet. Organisations like ours provide know-how and cultural training, Mandarin teaching and networking to build confidence and business opportunities. There is clearly much work to be done!
Thank you to all of you who attended the forum and for sharing your business wisdom from education and caring for the disabled to heavy machinery and football. Wishing you good fortune, good health, success and peace in this Monkey season! 万事如意！
*She's called Zhou Qunfei and is ranked No. 1 by The Hurun Report
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