Last week during one very long negotiation at a factory producing solar panels, the seven-year-old daughter of a sales-manager came into the conference room. She was hoping to hurry up her dad so he could finish work and take her home. She stood very quietly, waiting until I finished my speech before she asked: “Why this Chinese lady doesn’t look Chinese at all?”
I graduated from St-Petersburg State University with a Master’s in Oriental Studies before moving to Shanghai in 2008 where I finished an MBA program at Fudan University. It is hard to believe that I have spent almost 8 years already here in Shanghai, it seems like time flies faster in dynamic cities like my Asian home. Working as a business representative, project coordinator, interpreter, product-sourcing agent for many different clients during these years I have:
Visited more than a thousand factories and exhibitions, and I know too well that if the Chinese explain that their production site is “not big and rather small” then only the bravest should go and visit. It is going to be anything but the factory where one wants to place his orders, but most likely an old barn where a kid with a ruler is replacing the whole QC department.
Formed an extensive data bank of reputable suppliers and rented storage for samples and catalogs.
Assisted at and conducted myself many commercial negotiations with factory owners and company executives; negotiations which have led to contracts and agreements with the most profitable terms and the most trustworthy partners.
Ensured the Chinese partners of my clients didn’t break agreements, delay shipments or send defected goods.
Registered a dozen WFOEs and representative offices in Shanghai and worked as a chief representative of one of them.
Recently registered a foreign factory nearby Shanghai and learnt that local environmental laws are no joke.
Kept accounting records for one of the companies and am still friends with my former tax officer. Completely blended in, and enjoy practicing Taiziquan (Taichi), singing Chinese songs at KTV, choosing the right Longjin tea, wearing qipaos (traditional clothing) and lining up to buy the freshest stinky tofu whenever I sense the smell. I also like yoga, boxing and kitesurfing.
OK, the I exaggerated the last one a bit to be honest, I’m still trying to tolerate the stinky tofu smell but I will not give up!
I love what I do and I do it well. I will be glad to share with you everything that I’ve learned over nearly a decade in Shanghai in order to help your business to grow.