In many ways, there is no better time to start a business in China. The government is encouraging private enterprise of all kinds and opening up the financial sector. Efforts are being made to streamline every process and reduce bureaucracy.
At the same time, however, there are rising trade tensions that are making everything much more difficult for American business owners. Imports are being delayed and everything American is getting extra scrutiny. For Americans who wish to do business with China it’s much more difficult to take advantage of the new opportunities. It takes skill and above all else partnership.
The good news
Traditionally, the time it takes to start a business and have all the appropriate paperwork finalized has been exceedingly long in China. As the economy starts to cool from the incredible growth rates seen over the last 20 years, the government has come to realize that it is standing in the way.
A pledge has been made to reduce the time it takes to start a new business to just 8.5 days. This is apparently being met in most of the big cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. Officials are apparently graded on their ability to register new business quickly, and are stepping up to meet the challenge.
The bad news
As predicted here before, all things American are receiving extra scrutiny that slows everything down. Imports are being carefully inspected and every small detail is being called out. Food is being held for the full quarantine period and sometimes spoiling before it can leave customs.
While no reports have come in yet, it is reasonable to assume that any American business seeking to open or expand in China will have the same scrutiny applied. This is simply a consequence of escalating tensions between our nations.
What to do
Partnership has always been a key to doing business in China, especially where it has been required by law. The importance of a strong Chinese partner is only increasing due to these changes. A close relationship with a partner on the ground, who can take advantage of China’s desire for new businesses, can make all the difference.
This puts additional strain on the need for solid partnership agreements drawn up by experts in Chinese business. In addition, the only way to combat the harassment brought on American products is by rigorous attention to the law and regulation.
There are many opportunities in China, and possibly more every day. They are simply becoming more difficult for Americans. The secret to success is the same as it has always been, however, just more than it was previously. Like the yin and yang together forming a balanced whole, the right partner with a well defined agreement makes all the difference when doing business in China.