One of the surest growth strategies for your business is tapping into fast growing markets with a lot of customers. How about the world’s fastest growing economy with more than a billion customers? That’s right, China.
I just had a chance to re-connect with Matt Comyns and Jim McGregor of J.L. McGregor Associates. Jim and Matt are two of the most knowledgeable new China hands. I’ve known Matt for a few years through his work at CNET and BlackInc. I became acquainted with Jim when I hired their firm for a project last year. Among other achievements, Jim shepherded Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal through China’s transition from communist stronghold to hyper-capitalist dyanamo.
Jim has recently published a great book (One Billion Customers) that’s a must read if you are thinking about getting in to China. It’s also a great read if just want an interesting peek inside this fascinating, emerging economy. In addition to a nunber of illustrative and amusing stories about doing business in China, Jim summarizes all his advice in “The Little Red Book of Business”.
I saw the power of a smart China strategy first hand at IDG where I worked for ten years in the 90’s. Pat McGovern, founder and chairman of IDG, began establishing that company in China in 1980 when the door was barely open a crack. Before anyone knew what form businesses would take or whether he would ever be able to get his money back out of China. Perhaps it was a sense of manifest destiny, but Pat stuck with it and built his web of relationships across China. He invested in China both financially and in skills transfer. As a result, IDG has extensive publishing and venture capital holdings in China. Their chinese businesses have been an engine of growth and profits for the company even when the US market has beens soft. The key was getting in early and growing with the market.
What will be the engine of your business’s growth? What new markets can you serve? It’s never to soon to start asking these questions.