This morning the Fairfax County Chambers of Commerce hosted a breakfast program at the Capital One Conference Center in Tysons Corner titled, “The China Opportunity: Seizing a Booming Market Smartly.”
Panelists included Tien Wong (pictured right), chairman and CEO of Opus8, a private investment firm focused on mid-market buyouts; David Hofmann (pictured left), Director of InterChina Consulting North America, the number one alternative to global consultancies and investment banks; and Rear Admiral Eric McVadon (pictured center), Director Emeritus of the Institute of Foreign Policy Analysis.
David Hofmann provided the audience with a comprehensive view of China today as well as where foreign investors will find the best opportunities: healthcare, food, and infrastructure. Hofmann went on to state that China as a whole is a manufacturing powerhouse, but it is not as strong at, “the technology stuff that links the [manufactured]stuff together, [America] wins at that.”
Promoted by a question from the audience, Hoffmann warned participants that business in China is not like business in the U.S. “Contracts are not worth the paper that they are on. However, overtime we will see change as China begins to invest more, regulation will come as the economy develops.”
Tien Wong emphasized that strong relationships are key when deciding where to do business in China. “You must go to China first so that you can learn about its culture and invest smartly,” said Wong. Business relationships are heavily based on a strong friendship and meaningful encounters, “Friendship [in China]is for the long-haul…friendship is for life.” Wong also suggested that U.S. investors form a positive partnership with the Chinese government. “The [Chinese] government is everywhere. The government has a legacy of owning everything.”
Rear Admiral Eric McVadon spoke about the changing relationship between the Chinese people and their government. On the topic of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), “they can’t be ignored, but now they can occasionally be questioned.” The rapid modernization and growth in China since he first visited China decades ago makes China the single most important country to the U.S., according to the Rear Admirable. “In my view, nothing is comparable in the world,” said McVadon.