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Rae's Journey chapter 3: Rae's Mission

Submitted on Tuesday, 7th March 2017

The Victoria Jiangsu Business Placement Program was the best adventure and most fun possible in business. It has left an impression that is quite profound in terms of possibilities for our business in the future.

This is chapter 3 of Rae's journey

I had meetings with company owners, and successful CEOs operating both in China and in international markets, covering all kinds of industry sectors. The vital credibility that comes from working through the Victorian Chamber's program means that they ensured introductions at the highest levels of the companies operating in this international marketplace. Having the Victorian Chamber facilitate connections and networking opportunities across the wide business landscape of Jiangsu province was an incredible boost for our small company.

The program opened doors for us to spend time with very sophisticated business operators and manufacturers. As a result, in a very short time I managed to gain a fairly realistic sense of how things work in China.

The dynamics are very different from those in Melbourne, although there are commonalities which help us make sense of it. I found I needed to shed a few previously unrealised biases which were getting in the way of doing business in China. The luxury of the program was that you always had a translator with you, so everything is much easier. Also because this is not the first time the Victorian Chamber have led this project, the experienced hand at the wheel was invaluable.

"Treat your marketing collateral as a ‘living’ document - refine and redo as you learn more about how it will best suit the market. We are on the ninth version of our workshop Power Point presentation in seven months". 

We were treated to an average of two banquets a day in a country that has a magnificent and ancient cuisine. The sophisticated flavours, spice layering and everyday approach to serving the most delicious and astonishing dishes gave me an experience I never imagined possible  – twice a day.

One thing that I wish I had known in the first instance is the ‘ganbei’ drinking etiquette whereby a Chinese host will come to make a toast with you directly. I did not understand this initially and my very nervous translator had to explain it all, advising me that I was insulting the host - When they toast, you drink. Thankfully I found the nature of the Chinese culture is very forgiving and patient with our Western ignorance and will overlook many inadvertent insults.

"One hint - beware of the local spirit. It comes in a very small glass and is as clear as water but is about 100% alcohol and leads to things getting fairly ugly fairly quickly, apparently".

The Victoria Jiangsu Business Placement Program is an acceleration program which gives businesses a competitive edge when it comes to doing business with and in China. The program takes you to China’s Jiangsu province to build skills, gain first-hand China experience and benefit from 'guanxi' (relationships). These guanxi have been developed over decades, relationships that money can’t buy.

To register your interest or find out more about the 2017 program, contact Olivia Bowden or on 03 8662 5343.




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