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The End of Cheap China: Advice for Young Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople Coming to China from Shaun Rein / 中国廉价消费的终结:肖恩·赖因对来到中国的青年企业家和商人的建议


Author: Tyler Ehler

The End of Cheap China: Advice for Young Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople Coming to China from Shaun Rein

Nanjing Connect recently had the opportunity to chat with Shaun Rein about his background, experiences and advice to young entrepreneurs and businesspeople looking to come to China. Shaun Rein is the Founder and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group (CMR), the world’s leading strategic market intelligence firm focused on China. He also recently wrote a book, The End of Cheap China, a handbook focused on how companies and individuals can deal with changing economic trends in China. Shaun also provided advice for HNC alum looking for jobs and companies looking to hire HNC alumni.

Question: Could you discuss your own background studying Chinese and China—what made you want to focus your career on China and in China?

Answer:
In the mid 1990s, everyone in the US was still talking about the rise of Japan and how to deal with those challenges. But when I met with senior political, business and military leaders in South Korea and the Philippines, they all told me they were trying to figure out how to deal with China’s inevitable rise. So I decided to come to China and study the language and see what was happening. I quickly found what I saw on the ground what very different from what was portrayed in the New York Times and other western media.

There was an electricity and a can-do attitude in the country – people were optimistic about the economic changes taking place in the country. You could feel that they were sure the lives of their children would be better than their own.

At the time, I did not know what career I wanted. I thought about going into academia or diplomacy, but I knew that whatever path I pursued, it would be important for me to learn the language and focus on the culture. I hired a tutor to teach me 3 hours a day, and I did that for years. I don’t get business people and journalists who come to China and don’t bother to learn the language. You would be surprised at how many journalists at even top-tier publications have little to zero ability in Mandarin. How can you adequately cover or operate in a country where you cannot speak even at a basic level?

Question: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs coming into China? What recommendations do you have for young people seeking work?

Answer:
Even with the slowing economy, China has great opportunities for entrepreneurs but it is not easy. I can probably name on one hand the number of foreign entrepreneurs who have really set up successful businesses here, outside of the export and F&B sectors. It is important that would be entrepreneurs know not only what the market demands but also what the Party supports for foreigners. For instance, the medical sector can be very lucrative but it is basically closed off to foreigners because the Party and the embedded elite want the opportunities.
Many foreigners also underestimate the costs of operating in China. It is not cheap to hire workers and the regulations in many ways are not entrepreneur-friendly. In America, for instance, you open a company out of your garage with some friends and test your business model for a few months to see if you are onto something before investing heavily. In China, you cannot do that. From day one, you have to rent an office, put up registered capital, and get approved by the government before you can legally start to operate. The whole process can take months. By the time you get everything set up and start to plan, you might realize your business idea is never going to get off the ground.

Question: What does “The End of Cheap China” mean for young businesspeople looking to come to China?

Answer:
China is no longer a cheap place to do business. Manufacturing salaries have been going up 20% a year for the past 5 years. The government is also pushing for an economy to be based on consumption and services rather than being led by manufacturing and investment . Thus, China is no longer the place just to manufacture but also the place to sell into. That basically is what my book is about – it is a handbook for companies trying to figure out how to deal with the economic trends in China.
For young foreigners, the changes mean there are great opportunities to cater to this shift by being in the service sector.
I am especially bullish on tourism, F&B and the education/ training sector. What is important to note is that Chinese are shifting more towards lifestyle experiences and are becoming more individualistic. They are no longer as interested in bling and buying the same products everyone else wants to show off. This means challenges for companies like Louis Vuitton that have long dominated but it also means great opportunities for niche brands that young foreigners can help build up.

Question: How does CMR work and who are your main clients?

Answer:
Before starting CMR in late 2005, I had been in venture capital and had also been the country head for a software company WebCT. After speaking with fellow country heads of MNCs, I found market demand for current, market intelligence based on qualitative insights. I differentiated CMR from our main competitors, McKinsey and Bain, by not outsourcing our research and relying on in-depth one-on-on interviews as the main source of our data. We tend to charge more than our competitors because we want to be positioned at the very high-end of consulting. We think of ourselves as the Rolls-Royce of consulting, while McKinsey is like a Mercedes. We found clients did not really care what the fees were if they were making a billion dollar investment into China – they care more about the quality and action items of the analysis.
We regularly travel to about 15 Chinese cities to interview consumers in one-on-one interviews. I am not a big fan of focus groups or surveys. Our main methodology is the 1-1 interviews, this lets us get real insights into the hopes, wants and aspirations of Chinese consumers. For instance, before the scandals of the past 6 months, we found consumers ate at KFC because they considered it healthy because they were so worried about food safety scandals and trusted KFC to have better oversight of the supply chain. Now consumers are very angry at KFC because they feel it breached their trust. It will take a while for KFC, if it ever can, to regain the trust with consumers.

We also regularly call distributors and retail executives of different companies to analyze trends in the marketplace and to conduct due diligence into specific companies. This allows us to find out before the rest of the market how likely the crackdown on corruption will affect alcohol or luxury product sales.

We work with a wide assortment of companies in different industries. Apple, KFC, Richemont Group, DuPont, CLSA Private Equity, Samsung, Costa Coffee, and Nestle are just a few of our clients.

Question: What does CMR offer that can help businesses looking to expand into the Chinese market?

Answer:
We have two main core areas of expertise. The first is getting consumer and B2B client insights and then helping develop marketing and sales strategies for companies. The second is conducting due diligence for private equity firms and hedge funds.

For instance, last year, we helped a $2 billion USD fund analyze whether to invest in a Chinese food and beverage company and then to develop a post-investment strategy for the portfolio company. We traveled to 5 cities to interview consumers about who orders food when a group of friends eat out. We found that very often one male did all the paying. One of the big problems facing restaurant chains is the slowness of ordering. We found helped our client alter their menu so that the one male could order bucket like offerings rather than have each member of the group order individually which slowed things down.

Question: What challenges have you run into in trying to run your business?

Answer:
My biggest issue in running CMR has been talent based. Our clients can choose any consulting firm so they put a lot of trust in CMR when they choose us over a global player like Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In order to live up to their trust, I need to have the best talent, people who like to look at problems from different angles and who enjoy excelling. Consulting is a tough business. There is lots of pressure. It is hard for me to find people who have the qualifications and the grit and determination needed to have a successful career at CMR.
In general, China is suffering from too much turnover and a lack of talent. When we interviewed Fortune 500 firms in 2012, we found that the vast majority have 30%+ annual turnover. In America, 12% turnover is considered too high. Part of the problem is young Chinese bounce from company to company in search of pay raises – they get them but the problem is they never spend enough time at one company or in one position to truly learn. The rest is you have a lot of highly paid middle managers who really are not qualified for the positions they are in.

Question: Have you hired HNC alumni in the past? If so, what do you find their greatest strengths / assets to be?

Answer:
Over the years, we have hired 6 HNC alumni/ae and have been very happy with the results. On the Chinese side, we have found HNC alums to far more analytical and open-minded than most graduates coming from top universities in China, even Shanghai Jiaotong or Beijing University. I wish I could hire 4-5 HNC alums every year. Having Chinese and foreigners live together in dorms really helps expand the intellectual capabilities of HNC students and makes them more flexible and able to handle differences.

We have only hired one foreigner frankly and unfortunately. I wish I could hire more foreigners but because of work visa restrictions we have not been able to hire as many as we would like. Charlotte MacAusland is the foreign aluma. She worked for us for a couple of years and is now finishing up her MBA and MA at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. The government needs to do a better job of issuing young foreigners work visas who come here to study, love the country and want to stay but are unable to secure a work permit.

Question: How valuable is the bilingual and multicultural aspect of your employees / HNC alum in your company?

Answer:
One of the hallmarks of CMR is our multicultural aspect. We try to keep a 75%-25% ratio of Chinese to foreign colleagues, work visa permitting. I think it is important to have a work environment that has diverse viewpoints, so I try to hire people from different nationalities and different education backgrounds, from poets to physicists to economics majors.

Question: Do you have any advice for small or medium-sized businesses looking to hire recent graduates who have the skill set that recent HNC grads possess?

Answer:
At the end of the day, a company succeeds because of its people. I have been very impressed with the quality of the graduates from HNC who have worked at CMR. At the risk of creating more competition for CMR during the recruitment process, I do think looking for talent at HNC makes sense.

Writer: Tyler Ehler, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13

作者:Tyler Ehler

中国廉价消费的终结:肖恩·赖因对来到中国的青年企业家和商人的建议

南京连接最近有幸和肖恩·赖因就他的背景、经历和对期望到中国来的年轻企业家和商人的建议等方面进行了座谈。肖恩·赖因是中国市场研究集团(CMR)的创始人兼总裁,CMR集团是集中关注中国市场的世界领先的战略市场情报公司。他最近还写了一本书,《中国廉价消费的终结》 —这本手册主要讲了在中国公司和个人如何应对不断变化着的经济趋势。肖恩也对HNC的校友在找工作方面以及期望雇佣HNC校友的公司提出了建议。

问题:你能谈谈你学习汉语和研究中国的个人背景吗,是什么使得你想在中国发展并留在中国?

答:二十世纪九十年代中期, 在美国大家都还在谈论着日本的崛起以及如何应对这些挑战。但当我在韩国以及菲律宾会见高级政治,商业和军事领导人时,他们都告诉我他们正在试图找出如何应对中国必然崛起的对策。所以我决定来中国,学习汉语并看看中国究竟将经历什么。很快我发现我所看到的中国是一个与《纽约时报》和其他西方媒体所描述的大相径庭的国家。
这是一个充满活力和自信的国家,人们对国内发生的经济变化持有乐观的态度。你可以感受到他们确信下一代的生活会比他们这一代更好。
当时,我并不知道自己想从事什么样的职业。我曾想过要进入学术界或从事外交,但我知道不管我走哪条路,学习中文和关注中国文化对我来说都很重要。我雇了一位家庭教师每天教我三小时,就这样坚持了好几年。我不能理解那些来中国却不肯费心去学习汉语的商业人士和记者。你会吃惊于有太多的记者,有些甚至是顶级刊物的记者,他们的几乎不懂普通话。如果在一个国家,你连最基本的口语水平都达不到,你又如何能准确报道或是合理经营呢?

问题:你对于到中国来的年轻企业家有什么建议?对年轻人在找工作方面有什么建议?

答:即使在经济增长变缓时,对企业家而言中国仍具有巨大商机,但抓住这个商机是不容易的。除了出口和餐饮界,能在中国真正成功创建企业的外国企业家我可能一只手就能数过来。对于企业家知道市场需求很重要,了解中国政府支持外国人来开创什么企业,这同样至关重要。例如,医疗行业的利润率很高,但因为党和国内垄断性的上层集团需要这些机会,所以这个行业基本上是对外国人关闭的。

许多外国人也低估了在中国的运营成本。在中国雇佣工人并不便宜,而且规章在很多方面对创业者并不有利。在美国,例如你打算和朋友在车库里创立一个公司,在大举投资之前你可以先测试你的商业模式几个月。在中国,你不能这样做。从第一天起,你就要租一个办公室,垫付注册资本,并得到政府批准之后,你才可以合法地开始运营。这整个过程可能需要几个月。当你把一切做好并开始计划时,你可能会意识到到你的商业想法是不会取得成功的。

问题:对希望来中国的年轻商人而言“中国廉价消费的终结”意味着什么?

答:中国不再是一个做生意便宜的地方。过去的五年里制造业工资每年上涨20%。政府也推动基于消费和服务的经济,而不是由制造业和投资领域领导的经济。因此,中国不再是一个仅仅生产的地方,同时也是产品的进口国。这基本上就是我的书所要讲述的内容——这是一个帮助公司弄清楚如何应对中国经济发展趋势的手册。
这些变化对于年轻的外国人而言,这些改变意味着进军服务行业以迎合这一改变将会给他们带来巨大的机遇。

我尤其看好旅游、餐饮、教育/培训部门。值得注意的是,中国人如今越来越看重生活方式的经历,变得更加个人主义。他们不再对珠宝,或是购买别人也想得到同样的产品来炫耀感兴趣。这对长期统治性的例如路易威登这样的公司是一种挑战,但与此同时也意味着巨大的商机,这将有助于年轻的外国人建立小众品牌。

问题: 中国市场研究集团(CMR)如何运转,谁是中国市场研究集团(CMR)的主要客户?

答: 在2005年末创立CMR之前,我在风险投资公司工作,也曾是WebCT软件公司的中国区负责人。在与其他国家跨国公司的负责人交流后,我发现了对基于定性分析的及时市场情报的市场需求。我认为CMR与我们主要竞争对手麦肯锡和贝恩之间的差异是,我们将我们的研究外包,而是依靠深入的一对一采访作为我们数据的主要来源。我们倾向于收取超过我们的竞争对手的价格,因为我们的定位是非常高端的咨询。我们认为自己就是咨询业的劳斯莱斯,而麦肯锡就像是梅赛德斯。我们发现如果客户往中国投资十亿美元,那么他们并不真的关心收取费用的多少——他们更关心分析的质量和功能项目。
我们定期前往约15个中国城市与消费者进行一对一采访。我不太喜欢焦点小组或调查问卷。我们的主要方法是一对一地采访,这让我们真切地了解到到中国消费者的期望、要求和意愿。例如,在过去的6个月的丑闻里,我们发现消费者吃肯德基是因为他们认为它是健康的,因为他们担心食品安全丑闻而且相信肯德基对供应链的监督更严格。而现在消费者感到非常生气,因为他们觉得肯德基辜负了他们的信任。对肯德基而言,如果它真的可以重获消费者的信任将需要一段时间。
我们也定期致电不同公司的分销商和零售主管邀请他们分析市场趋势,并对特定的公司进行尽职调查。这使我们能够在市场中其他人之前发现,打击腐败会在多大程度上影响到酒精或奢侈品的销售。
我们与各行各业的公司合作。比如苹果,肯德基,历峰集团、杜邦、里昂证券私募股权、三星、Costa咖啡和雀巢,这些只是我们的客户中的一小部分。

问题:CMR对企业提供什么,以有助于他们有望扩张到中国市场的?

答:我们有两个主要核心专长的领域。第一个是了解消费者和B2B客户的市场洞察力,然后帮他们为公司开发市场和制定销售策略。二是对私人股份公司和对冲基金开展尽职调查。
例如去年我们帮助一个20亿美元的基金会分析是否投资一个中国的食品和饮料公司,然后帮这个基金公司提供投资后的战略。我们去5个城市采访消费者,调查当一群朋友出去吃饭时谁点菜。我们发现,通常某个男性会支付所有开销。目前连锁餐厅面临的一大问题是点菜太慢。我们发现如果帮助我们的客户改变他们的菜单,那么买单的男性可以顺畅的点菜,而不是让一群人中每个成员各自点菜而放慢了速度。

问题:在你试图运行您的业务过程中您遇到过哪些挑战?

答:我运营CMR的最大的问题是人才基础。我们的客户可以选择任何咨询公司,所以当他们在像波士顿咨询集团那样的全球性选手之外选择CMR的时候,他们对我们给予了很多的信任。为了不辜负他们的信任,我需要有最优秀的人才,那些喜欢从不同的角度看问题,喜欢不断超越的人。咨询是一项艰苦的工作,有很多的压力。我很难找到那些具备资格、勇气和决心,从而能够在CMR有一个成功的职业生涯的人才。
一般来说,中国承受频繁的人员流动而且缺乏人才。2012年当我们采访财富500强公司时,我们发现绝大多数公司每年有大于30% 的人跳槽。在美国,12%的跳槽率就被认为是太高了。这个问题的部分原因是年轻的中国人不断跳槽以寻求加薪——他们实现了涨薪, 但问题是他们从来没有花足够的时间在一个公司或一个职位上踏实地学习。结果剩下的就是拥有高薪却没有能胜任自己职位能力的中层经理人

问题:在过去你是否聘请过HNC的校友?如果有,你发现他们的最大的强项/价值是什么?

答:多年来,我们已经聘请了6 名HNC校友并且收到了很满意的结果。在中国这边,我们发现HNC校友分析力强、思维开阔,远胜过大多数来自中国顶尖大学,甚至上海交通或北京大学的毕业生。我想我可以每年招聘4~5名HNC校友。宿舍里有中国人和外国人一起生活真的有助于扩展HNC学生的知识能力,并能使他们更加灵活且能够更好地处理分歧。
坦率而又不幸地说,我们只雇佣到了一名外国人。我希望我能雇佣更多的外国人,但是因为工作签证限制,我们无法雇佣到我们所想要的那么多的外国人。夏洛特MacAusland就是这个外国女孩。她为我们工作了几年,现在正完成她在宾夕法尼亚大学沃顿商学院的MBA和MA。政府需要更好地做好发行年轻外国人工作签证的事宜,他们到这里来学习,热爱这个国家甚至想留下来,但是却得不到工作许可。

问题:您公司的员工或是HNC校友在双语和多元文化方面有多大程度的价值?

答:多元文化方面是CMR的特色之一。我们试图将中国同事和获得工作签证的外国同事的人数比保持在75% – -25%之间。我认为有一个富有多种观点的工作环境是很重要的,所以我试图雇用来自不同国籍和不同的教育背景的人,从诗人到物理学家到经济学专业。

问题:你对打算招聘有HNC毕业生技能组合的应届毕业生的中小企业有什么建议?

答:最终一个公司的成功是因为它的员工。我对在CMR工作的从HNC毕业的毕业生的品质有着深刻的印象。在招聘过程中,冒着给CMR创造更多竞争的风险,我认为在HNC寻找人才是很有意义的。

作者:Tyler Ehler,中美中心国际关系硕士2013

译者:江苏,中美中心国际关系硕士2014

Author: Tyler Ehler

The End of Cheap China: Advice for Young Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople Coming to China from Shaun Rein

Nanjing Connect recently had the opportunity to chat with Shaun Rein about his background, experiences and advice to young entrepreneurs and businesspeople looking to come to China. Shaun Rein is the Founder and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group (CMR), the world’s leading strategic market intelligence firm focused on China. He also recently wrote a book, The End of Cheap China, a handbook focused on how companies and individuals can deal with changing economic trends in China. Shaun also provided advice for HNC alum looking for jobs and companies looking to hire HNC alumni.

Question: Could you discuss your own background studying Chinese and China—what made you want to focus your career on China and in China?

Answer:
In the mid 1990s, everyone in the US was still talking about the rise of Japan and how to deal with those challenges. But when I met with senior political, business and military leaders in South Korea and the Philippines, they all told me they were trying to figure out how to deal with China’s inevitable rise. So I decided to come to China and study the language and see what was happening. I quickly found what I saw on the ground what very different from what was portrayed in the New York Times and other western media.

There was an electricity and a can-do attitude in the country – people were optimistic about the economic changes taking place in the country. You could feel that they were sure the lives of their children would be better than their own.

At the time, I did not know what career I wanted. I thought about going into academia or diplomacy, but I knew that whatever path I pursued, it would be important for me to learn the language and focus on the culture. I hired a tutor to teach me 3 hours a day, and I did that for years. I don’t get business people and journalists who come to China and don’t bother to learn the language. You would be surprised at how many journalists at even top-tier publications have little to zero ability in Mandarin. How can you adequately cover or operate in a country where you cannot speak even at a basic level?

Question: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs coming into China? What recommendations do you have for young people seeking work?

Answer:
Even with the slowing economy, China has great opportunities for entrepreneurs but it is not easy. I can probably name on one hand the number of foreign entrepreneurs who have really set up successful businesses here, outside of the export and F&B sectors. It is important that would be entrepreneurs know not only what the market demands but also what the Party supports for foreigners. For instance, the medical sector can be very lucrative but it is basically closed off to foreigners because the Party and the embedded elite want the opportunities.
Many foreigners also underestimate the costs of operating in China. It is not cheap to hire workers and the regulations in many ways are not entrepreneur-friendly. In America, for instance, you open a company out of your garage with some friends and test your business model for a few months to see if you are onto something before investing heavily. In China, you cannot do that. From day one, you have to rent an office, put up registered capital, and get approved by the government before you can legally start to operate. The whole process can take months. By the time you get everything set up and start to plan, you might realize your business idea is never going to get off the ground.

Question: What does “The End of Cheap China” mean for young businesspeople looking to come to China?

Answer:
China is no longer a cheap place to do business. Manufacturing salaries have been going up 20% a year for the past 5 years. The government is also pushing for an economy to be based on consumption and services rather than being led by manufacturing and investment . Thus, China is no longer the place just to manufacture but also the place to sell into. That basically is what my book is about – it is a handbook for companies trying to figure out how to deal with the economic trends in China.
For young foreigners, the changes mean there are great opportunities to cater to this shift by being in the service sector.
I am especially bullish on tourism, F&B and the education/ training sector. What is important to note is that Chinese are shifting more towards lifestyle experiences and are becoming more individualistic. They are no longer as interested in bling and buying the same products everyone else wants to show off. This means challenges for companies like Louis Vuitton that have long dominated but it also means great opportunities for niche brands that young foreigners can help build up.

Question: How does CMR work and who are your main clients?

Answer:
Before starting CMR in late 2005, I had been in venture capital and had also been the country head for a software company WebCT. After speaking with fellow country heads of MNCs, I found market demand for current, market intelligence based on qualitative insights. I differentiated CMR from our main competitors, McKinsey and Bain, by not outsourcing our research and relying on in-depth one-on-on interviews as the main source of our data. We tend to charge more than our competitors because we want to be positioned at the very high-end of consulting. We think of ourselves as the Rolls-Royce of consulting, while McKinsey is like a Mercedes. We found clients did not really care what the fees were if they were making a billion dollar investment into China – they care more about the quality and action items of the analysis.
We regularly travel to about 15 Chinese cities to interview consumers in one-on-one interviews. I am not a big fan of focus groups or surveys. Our main methodology is the 1-1 interviews, this lets us get real insights into the hopes, wants and aspirations of Chinese consumers. For instance, before the scandals of the past 6 months, we found consumers ate at KFC because they considered it healthy because they were so worried about food safety scandals and trusted KFC to have better oversight of the supply chain. Now consumers are very angry at KFC because they feel it breached their trust. It will take a while for KFC, if it ever can, to regain the trust with consumers.

We also regularly call distributors and retail executives of different companies to analyze trends in the marketplace and to conduct due diligence into specific companies. This allows us to find out before the rest of the market how likely the crackdown on corruption will affect alcohol or luxury product sales.

We work with a wide assortment of companies in different industries. Apple, KFC, Richemont Group, DuPont, CLSA Private Equity, Samsung, Costa Coffee, and Nestle are just a few of our clients.

Question: What does CMR offer that can help businesses looking to expand into the Chinese market?

Answer:
We have two main core areas of expertise. The first is getting consumer and B2B client insights and then helping develop marketing and sales strategies for companies. The second is conducting due diligence for private equity firms and hedge funds.

For instance, last year, we helped a $2 billion USD fund analyze whether to invest in a Chinese food and beverage company and then to develop a post-investment strategy for the portfolio company. We traveled to 5 cities to interview consumers about who orders food when a group of friends eat out. We found that very often one male did all the paying. One of the big problems facing restaurant chains is the slowness of ordering. We found helped our client alter their menu so that the one male could order bucket like offerings rather than have each member of the group order individually which slowed things down.

Question: What challenges have you run into in trying to run your business?

Answer:
My biggest issue in running CMR has been talent based. Our clients can choose any consulting firm so they put a lot of trust in CMR when they choose us over a global player like Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In order to live up to their trust, I need to have the best talent, people who like to look at problems from different angles and who enjoy excelling. Consulting is a tough business. There is lots of pressure. It is hard for me to find people who have the qualifications and the grit and determination needed to have a successful career at CMR.
In general, China is suffering from too much turnover and a lack of talent. When we interviewed Fortune 500 firms in 2012, we found that the vast majority have 30%+ annual turnover. In America, 12% turnover is considered too high. Part of the problem is young Chinese bounce from company to company in search of pay raises – they get them but the problem is they never spend enough time at one company or in one position to truly learn. The rest is you have a lot of highly paid middle managers who really are not qualified for the positions they are in.

Question: Have you hired HNC alumni in the past? If so, what do you find their greatest strengths / assets to be?

Answer:
Over the years, we have hired 6 HNC alumni/ae and have been very happy with the results. On the Chinese side, we have found HNC alums to far more analytical and open-minded than most graduates coming from top universities in China, even Shanghai Jiaotong or Beijing University. I wish I could hire 4-5 HNC alums every year. Having Chinese and foreigners live together in dorms really helps expand the intellectual capabilities of HNC students and makes them more flexible and able to handle differences.

We have only hired one foreigner frankly and unfortunately. I wish I could hire more foreigners but because of work visa restrictions we have not been able to hire as many as we would like. Charlotte MacAusland is the foreign aluma. She worked for us for a couple of years and is now finishing up her MBA and MA at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. The government needs to do a better job of issuing young foreigners work visas who come here to study, love the country and want to stay but are unable to secure a work permit.

Question: How valuable is the bilingual and multicultural aspect of your employees / HNC alum in your company?

Answer:
One of the hallmarks of CMR is our multicultural aspect. We try to keep a 75%-25% ratio of Chinese to foreign colleagues, work visa permitting. I think it is important to have a work environment that has diverse viewpoints, so I try to hire people from different nationalities and different education backgrounds, from poets to physicists to economics majors.

Question: Do you have any advice for small or medium-sized businesses looking to hire recent graduates who have the skill set that recent HNC grads possess?

Answer:
At the end of the day, a company succeeds because of its people. I have been very impressed with the quality of the graduates from HNC who have worked at CMR. At the risk of creating more competition for CMR during the recruitment process, I do think looking for talent at HNC makes sense.

Writer: Tyler Ehler, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13


作者:Tyler Ehler

中国廉价消费的终结:肖恩·赖因对来到中国的青年企业家和商人的建议

南京连接最近有幸和肖恩·赖因就他的背景、经历和对期望到中国来的年轻企业家和商人的建议等方面进行了座谈。肖恩·赖因是中国市场研究集团(CMR)的创始人兼总裁,CMR集团是集中关注中国市场的世界领先的战略市场情报公司。他最近还写了一本书,《中国廉价消费的终结》 —这本手册主要讲了在中国公司和个人如何应对不断变化着的经济趋势。肖恩也对HNC的校友在找工作方面以及期望雇佣HNC校友的公司提出了建议。

问题:你能谈谈你学习汉语和研究中国的个人背景吗,是什么使得你想在中国发展并留在中国?

答:二十世纪九十年代中期, 在美国大家都还在谈论着日本的崛起以及如何应对这些挑战。但当我在韩国以及菲律宾会见高级政治,商业和军事领导人时,他们都告诉我他们正在试图找出如何应对中国必然崛起的对策。所以我决定来中国,学习汉语并看看中国究竟将经历什么。很快我发现我所看到的中国是一个与《纽约时报》和其他西方媒体所描述的大相径庭的国家。
这是一个充满活力和自信的国家,人们对国内发生的经济变化持有乐观的态度。你可以感受到他们确信下一代的生活会比他们这一代更好。
当时,我并不知道自己想从事什么样的职业。我曾想过要进入学术界或从事外交,但我知道不管我走哪条路,学习中文和关注中国文化对我来说都很重要。我雇了一位家庭教师每天教我三小时,就这样坚持了好几年。我不能理解那些来中国却不肯费心去学习汉语的商业人士和记者。你会吃惊于有太多的记者,有些甚至是顶级刊物的记者,他们的几乎不懂普通话。如果在一个国家,你连最基本的口语水平都达不到,你又如何能准确报道或是合理经营呢?

问题:你对于到中国来的年轻企业家有什么建议?对年轻人在找工作方面有什么建议?

答:即使在经济增长变缓时,对企业家而言中国仍具有巨大商机,但抓住这个商机是不容易的。除了出口和餐饮界,能在中国真正成功创建企业的外国企业家我可能一只手就能数过来。对于企业家知道市场需求很重要,了解中国政府支持外国人来开创什么企业,这同样至关重要。例如,医疗行业的利润率很高,但因为党和国内垄断性的上层集团需要这些机会,所以这个行业基本上是对外国人关闭的。

许多外国人也低估了在中国的运营成本。在中国雇佣工人并不便宜,而且规章在很多方面对创业者并不有利。在美国,例如你打算和朋友在车库里创立一个公司,在大举投资之前你可以先测试你的商业模式几个月。在中国,你不能这样做。从第一天起,你就要租一个办公室,垫付注册资本,并得到政府批准之后,你才可以合法地开始运营。这整个过程可能需要几个月。当你把一切做好并开始计划时,你可能会意识到到你的商业想法是不会取得成功的。

问题:对希望来中国的年轻商人而言“中国廉价消费的终结”意味着什么?

答:中国不再是一个做生意便宜的地方。过去的五年里制造业工资每年上涨20%。政府也推动基于消费和服务的经济,而不是由制造业和投资领域领导的经济。因此,中国不再是一个仅仅生产的地方,同时也是产品的进口国。这基本上就是我的书所要讲述的内容——这是一个帮助公司弄清楚如何应对中国经济发展趋势的手册。
这些变化对于年轻的外国人而言,这些改变意味着进军服务行业以迎合这一改变将会给他们带来巨大的机遇。

我尤其看好旅游、餐饮、教育/培训部门。值得注意的是,中国人如今越来越看重生活方式的经历,变得更加个人主义。他们不再对珠宝,或是购买别人也想得到同样的产品来炫耀感兴趣。这对长期统治性的例如路易威登这样的公司是一种挑战,但与此同时也意味着巨大的商机,这将有助于年轻的外国人建立小众品牌。

问题: 中国市场研究集团(CMR)如何运转,谁是中国市场研究集团(CMR)的主要客户?

答: 在2005年末创立CMR之前,我在风险投资公司工作,也曾是WebCT软件公司的中国区负责人。在与其他国家跨国公司的负责人交流后,我发现了对基于定性分析的及时市场情报的市场需求。我认为CMR与我们主要竞争对手麦肯锡和贝恩之间的差异是,我们将我们的研究外包,而是依靠深入的一对一采访作为我们数据的主要来源。我们倾向于收取超过我们的竞争对手的价格,因为我们的定位是非常高端的咨询。我们认为自己就是咨询业的劳斯莱斯,而麦肯锡就像是梅赛德斯。我们发现如果客户往中国投资十亿美元,那么他们并不真的关心收取费用的多少——他们更关心分析的质量和功能项目。
我们定期前往约15个中国城市与消费者进行一对一采访。我不太喜欢焦点小组或调查问卷。我们的主要方法是一对一地采访,这让我们真切地了解到到中国消费者的期望、要求和意愿。例如,在过去的6个月的丑闻里,我们发现消费者吃肯德基是因为他们认为它是健康的,因为他们担心食品安全丑闻而且相信肯德基对供应链的监督更严格。而现在消费者感到非常生气,因为他们觉得肯德基辜负了他们的信任。对肯德基而言,如果它真的可以重获消费者的信任将需要一段时间。
我们也定期致电不同公司的分销商和零售主管邀请他们分析市场趋势,并对特定的公司进行尽职调查。这使我们能够在市场中其他人之前发现,打击腐败会在多大程度上影响到酒精或奢侈品的销售。
我们与各行各业的公司合作。比如苹果,肯德基,历峰集团、杜邦、里昂证券私募股权、三星、Costa咖啡和雀巢,这些只是我们的客户中的一小部分。

问题:CMR对企业提供什么,以有助于他们有望扩张到中国市场的?

答:我们有两个主要核心专长的领域。第一个是了解消费者和B2B客户的市场洞察力,然后帮他们为公司开发市场和制定销售策略。二是对私人股份公司和对冲基金开展尽职调查。
例如去年我们帮助一个20亿美元的基金会分析是否投资一个中国的食品和饮料公司,然后帮这个基金公司提供投资后的战略。我们去5个城市采访消费者,调查当一群朋友出去吃饭时谁点菜。我们发现,通常某个男性会支付所有开销。目前连锁餐厅面临的一大问题是点菜太慢。我们发现如果帮助我们的客户改变他们的菜单,那么买单的男性可以顺畅的点菜,而不是让一群人中每个成员各自点菜而放慢了速度。

问题:在你试图运行您的业务过程中您遇到过哪些挑战?

答:我运营CMR的最大的问题是人才基础。我们的客户可以选择任何咨询公司,所以当他们在像波士顿咨询集团那样的全球性选手之外选择CMR的时候,他们对我们给予了很多的信任。为了不辜负他们的信任,我需要有最优秀的人才,那些喜欢从不同的角度看问题,喜欢不断超越的人。咨询是一项艰苦的工作,有很多的压力。我很难找到那些具备资格、勇气和决心,从而能够在CMR有一个成功的职业生涯的人才。
一般来说,中国承受频繁的人员流动而且缺乏人才。2012年当我们采访财富500强公司时,我们发现绝大多数公司每年有大于30% 的人跳槽。在美国,12%的跳槽率就被认为是太高了。这个问题的部分原因是年轻的中国人不断跳槽以寻求加薪——他们实现了涨薪, 但问题是他们从来没有花足够的时间在一个公司或一个职位上踏实地学习。结果剩下的就是拥有高薪却没有能胜任自己职位能力的中层经理人

问题:在过去你是否聘请过HNC的校友?如果有,你发现他们的最大的强项/价值是什么?

答:多年来,我们已经聘请了6 名HNC校友并且收到了很满意的结果。在中国这边,我们发现HNC校友分析力强、思维开阔,远胜过大多数来自中国顶尖大学,甚至上海交通或北京大学的毕业生。我想我可以每年招聘4~5名HNC校友。宿舍里有中国人和外国人一起生活真的有助于扩展HNC学生的知识能力,并能使他们更加灵活且能够更好地处理分歧。
坦率而又不幸地说,我们只雇佣到了一名外国人。我希望我能雇佣更多的外国人,但是因为工作签证限制,我们无法雇佣到我们所想要的那么多的外国人。夏洛特MacAusland就是这个外国女孩。她为我们工作了几年,现在正完成她在宾夕法尼亚大学沃顿商学院的MBA和MA。政府需要更好地做好发行年轻外国人工作签证的事宜,他们到这里来学习,热爱这个国家甚至想留下来,但是却得不到工作许可。

问题:您公司的员工或是HNC校友在双语和多元文化方面有多大程度的价值?

答:多元文化方面是CMR的特色之一。我们试图将中国同事和获得工作签证的外国同事的人数比保持在75% – -25%之间。我认为有一个富有多种观点的工作环境是很重要的,所以我试图雇用来自不同国籍和不同的教育背景的人,从诗人到物理学家到经济学专业。

问题:你对打算招聘有HNC毕业生技能组合的应届毕业生的中小企业有什么建议?

答:最终一个公司的成功是因为它的员工。我对在CMR工作的从HNC毕业的毕业生的品质有着深刻的印象。在招聘过程中,冒着给CMR创造更多竞争的风险,我认为在HNC寻找人才是很有意义的。

作者:Tyler Ehler,中美中心国际关系硕士2013

译者:江苏,中美中心国际关系硕士2014

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