29 January 2010

Timely Intervention.

Seeing an opportunity in a new market is one thing; seizing it, particularly when there’s little knowledge available, is quite another. When Cambridge Broadband needed information quickly on a potential new Chinese distributor, China Business Solutions supplied all the answers.

Cambridge Broadband makes fixed wireless access equipment for the telecommunications industry. With the many advantages that such a product brings, the sales potential is high, but as CEO at the time Peter Wharton explains, breaking into one particular market wasn’t easy.

“It was in 2002 that we started to develop an interest in China. The government had just opened up a frequency that we could use and it was a good time to move in. As a small company we didn’t have the power to lobby or launch a major marketing drive but by chance our South African distributor recommended a contact in the country.

“We export regularly and know what’s required in terms of due diligence, but we knew little about China and imagined that such information would be hard to come by. Against that, we had to act fast if we weren’t to miss the opportunity.

“So it was very timely when Ting Zhang CEO of China Business Solutions contacted us following recommendations by Hermann Hauser, whose Amadeus Capital Partners was one of the major investors in our company. We asked her to perform the due diligence on our behalf with the proviso that it had to be done quickly and discreetly.

“The results were impressive. CBS came back on time, on budget and in a surprising amount of detail. Ting and her team did a complete breakdown of the organisation, the company’s legal status and shareholdings with very detailed information of the management teams, their credit records, suppliers, and so on. She also discovered their payment record and overall reputation in China, The sort of detail that’s vital but I imagine is hard to get hold of.

“I don’t know how she did I but she did it quickly and efficiently and on that basis I’d recommend CBS to anybody else.”

When Cambridge Broadband’s sales to China soared in 2003, the company decided to set up a representative office in Beijing to provide more support in the market. Again CBS was very helpful in advising set up process step by step, and further put the company in touch with local HR service provider who handles staff employment contract issues.  From time to time Ting has advised the company on regulatory issues such as licensing procedures and China Compulsory Certificate (CCC).

“Ting’s other great asset is that she is extremely well connected. For example she arranged for me to meet a Telecommunications professor from Beijing who knows what the government is thinking? I still ask him questions today. And of course I always remember and use her advice on cultural sensitivities and how to do business in China.”