What’s it like for a start-up to do business in China?

Start-up success in China

“Last week, I packed my bags for China, I didn't really know what I was in for. China is still growing rapidly, flush with opportunities and the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) never fails to pull together a great program - so I was very optimistic.

I'm trying to get the most out of my visit, so I'll try anything from customary Chinese 'family style' dinners to eating pigs ear for the first time, it's all part of the experience.

Naturally, I assumed that the week would be packed with Chinese companies looking talk collaboration but realistically this sustainable manufacturing mission has been much more productive than I anticipated.

In each city we visit, the TSB has coordinated one-to-one meetings for the British companies to meet and discuss technology with interested Chinese businesses.  Personally, I've had very worthwhile meetings with companies and together we've even discovered new applications of Oxford nanoSystems' technology.  Generally, these companies are looking for ways to use OnS' thermal transfer technologies to improve their products either by increasing product performance, product life, or reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions in use.  Obviously, manufacturing is big in China, but innovating products to be "cheaper, smaller, more efficient" definitely seems to be an emerging theme.  Several times so far this week it's been expressed that Chinese companies are focused on improving the environment and creating a ‘cleaner tomorrow’, which tells me that this is an area to watch in the future. 

There is simply no way that a start-up or SME could line up such a well organised opportunity for collaboration with Chinese enterprises by itself.  That's the most obvious example of serious value on this mission.  Though some opportunities appear more promising than others, one point is certain, that opportunities to work together for collaborative innovation between UK and China exists.

The accommodations provided by the TSB and MoST have been outstanding.  I have been to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing once before and was blown away by the tall buildings, bright lights, and general excitement.  Everyone I have met in China on both trips have been so friendly and hospitable which makes our stay feel welcome and comfortable.

An additional benefit of the mission is getting to know some of those representing other UK businesses on the mission.  The days have been long and busy which has enabled us to get to know one another quickly, share business experiences and advice, and build new networks and friendships.

I and Oxford nanoSystems are extremely grateful to be part of the mission, to learn about Chinese culture, and about how and why the manufacturing industry has been so successful in China and we look forward to building upon the opportunities this mission has created.  This is a terrific experience and I would recommend missions like this and will be keeping an eye out for them in the future.

Jon Horbaly, CEO, Oxford nanoSystems

Check out more great news from this small business trip here.

 

 

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