VIDEO: TELEPHONE TRANSLATION APP IN ISRAEL

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An exciting look at how Lexiphone and its translation app are expanding in China with the help of PTL Group.

The Israeli robotics industry is aiming to the Chinese Market

Posted by Lily Li
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On January 7, 2013, Mr. Zvi Shalgo the chairman of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the CEO of PTL Group was quoted during a special meeting organized by the Israeli Robotics Association as saying “Foxconn is not alone! The giant Chinese company is intending to replace its workforce by a million robots by the end of 2014. “This reflects a growing trend in China: large local companies are now investing in robotics and automation, because of the dramatic increase in wages."

He said: "Since the new regulation of labor laws in China, which led to a radical increase in salaries, many enterprises have collapsed. The Chinese industry sees robots as a solution to the diminishing workforce problem. Due to the policy of 'one child' in China, the working age population shrinks, which will naturally lose the demographic advantage. " 

Mr. Zvi Shalgo, who introduced the principles of management in China, which are very different from those found in any other market, said "Your initiative and technology is the only competitive power you have in China, so, do not share it with foreign partners." PTL Group of Companies has developed over the years under a model allowing Israeli companies to enjoy a risk reduction investment along with responsible growth in China, without giving their technology to a Chinese partner. On the other side, the partnership with the local government which is willing to spend on benefits and incentives (millions of dollars) to attract industries with unique technology does not require a technological partnership in return. This option therefore is recommended.

Another speaker was Dror Marom, CEO of ACS (Motion Control) who has been operating in China for two years. The company develops motion control systems for the electronics, semiconductor, medical scanners, and digital printing market. Until 2010, ACS had two distributors in China, but given its results, the company realized that only a local presence would achieve a successful outcome. The company now operates in China through PTL Group in order to save the investment required in establishing its own subsidiary in China. PTL Group provides a total management shell including recruitment, handling administrative matters and personnel, finance and office management, so that local workers recruited are only concerned with managing sales. Marom also mentioned, that competition in China is tough, so "as an Israeli, your advantage is the unique technology you have, which should be kept."

2012 Honorary Citizen of Changzhou

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On Dec 18, 2012, Mr. Zvi Shalgo, CEO of PTL Group, was bestowed the title of “Honorary Citizen of Changzhou” during an official ceremony involving a number of foreign companies, in the Changzhou Shangri-La Hotel. The Changzhou Honorary Citizen Award is the highest distinction in recognizing the extraordinary contribution made by expatriates to the city of Changzhou.

PTL Group wins again at ATTA award: The award for “Transformation of 2012”

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The ATTA Award ceremony was held in Hong Kong, on Friday, November 23rd, and PTL Group was invited to submit a case study for consideration. We are happy to announce that we were awarded with a prize for the second year running:
Transformation of 2012 - PTL Group Ltd for the business change and transformation of a foreign owned China joint venture.”

PTL Group took a unique approach in our presentation to the award committee, by presenting a number of transformation cases in order to change the perception of how to obtain turnaround projects. Rather than looking for companies with severe issues that need Turnaround, members should be offering preventative methods, by identifying issues for most companies before they reach the dire stages, and then offering steady transformation processes to improve their operations.

We aimed to highlight a number of selected projects within the last year that came out of performing soft audits, and show that this methodology could be very beneficial for all in the association. China is more about transformation rather than turnaround. Transformation is needed constantly – if companies stop transforming there's a chance they'll collapse. When we identify problems at an early stage, we encourage  the managers to adopt or create change in the company.

Dutch Trade Delegation's visit to Changzhou and Jintan Economic Development Zones, a great Success!

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The branch associations FME-CMW and GMV China, organized a Dutch Trade Mission to Shanghai and Beijing, China from the 4th to 9th of November. The Mission was aimed at operations and export managers from companies that want to make the step in search of setting-up production and sales in China. The delegation consisted of companies that focus on two of nine key business sectors; Agro-food and High-Tech Manufacturing, sectors in which the Dutch government had implemented international economic policies over the past few years.

During their visit to Changzhou, the participants visited the Changzhou Industrial Incubation Initiative (CI3). This is a 13,000 square meter area that consists of manufacturing and office space, in the Wujin Economic Zone (WEZ), Jiangsu province. There, companies are able to create a cost-effective establishment that includes the development of their own production and sales facilities in China. 

In the morning, Zvi Shalgo (CEO, PTL Group) gave a presentation about the opportunities for Dutch SMEs in the Chinese market, and the challenges in managing production and distribution channels in China. Afterwards, the participants went for a guided tour within the CI3 compound.

For lunch there was a meeting hosted in the presence of Yao Xiaodong, Mayor of Changzhou (a city with approximately 4.6 million citizens), and the visit to Jintan was officially opened. To create a better understanding of the companies that are operational in the Jintan area, the delegation then visited several companies operating in various industries. After the company visits, presentations were given by Roeland Schuurman, Representative Officer of the Netherlands Business Support Office in Nanjing (NBSO), Zvi Shalgo and Ding Rongyu, Mayor of Jintan.

The day ended with a diner hosted by the government of Jintan, in the presence of all the Jintan government officials. The NBSO in Nanjing, representative of the province of North-Brabant of The Netherlands, and the vice-consul of the Consulate of the Netherlands in Shanghai were also present at this official event. 

Overall, this was a mutually beneficial event and a big success for Dutch companies willing to learn about doing business in Jintan area and China, and to be able to establish high-level connections with the local government. It also strengthened the healthy economic relationship between China and the Netherlands. PTL Group would therefore like to thank the Jintan Government and all other partnerships involved for their efforts making this day a success.  

Survey: Operational Excellence in China

Posted by Elena Luk'yanenko
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survey
We launched "Operational Excellence in China" survey in cooperation with Dezan Shira Associates. This survey is intended for senior management executives of international companies operating in China. The main objective of the survey is to gather information about key factors affecting operational excellence of companies in China. Questions cover HR, Finance, Logistics, Operations, Legal and Tax issues.

To follow up this survey we will hold "Operational Excellence in China" seminars in Shanghai on June 7 and in Beijing on June 14 where we will analyze survey findings and provide practical solutions for better management and internal controls. If you would like to attend this event, email to Lily Li at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Operational Audits: Lessons for Internal Control in China

Posted by Zvi Shalgo
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In the past three decades, the technological gap between foreign and local goods provided enough of a competitive advantage to cover a serious lack of operational management and infrastructure in China-based foreign-invested enterprises, but this is no longer the case. 

China is undergoing an “operational revival” of sorts, and excellence in operational management and infrastructure has become a top priority. Today, as China’s market is the business focus for many established players and new entrants.

One of the primary drivers for operational audits in China is that language and cultural barriers prevent China-based GMs from reporting accurate and comprehensive information about on-the-ground operations to a company’s headquarters. In fact, much of the information reported is not based on multiple sources, but rather a translation of the opinions of one local manager or partner.

Furthermore, developing internal “self improvement cycles” requires an openness to constructive criticism and multidisciplinary intervention that is uncommon among traditional Chinese managers.

An operational audit can help to fill the informational void and bridge cultural barriers in China to establish checks and balances and strengthen internal control. Pure financial or legal audits to assess internal control systems are insufficient, as these audits rely on data willingly submitted by the audited company. An operational audit is a key to the accuracy of such data in the first place. 

Operational audits can uncover a variety of behaviors that can dramatically affect a company and will likely not be otherwise uncovered, including:

  • Employees who signed perfectly legal labor contracts but are not fulfilling their job description (or, even worse, labor contracts for employees who simply do not exist)
  • Production losses visible in the factory but not recorded in the books
  • Company resource usage recorded in the books that does not happen in real life

Additionally, improved interdepartmental communications and improved management confidence are all by-products of an effective operational audit.

In this article, we highlight five lessons (all gained from operational audits) for establishing effective internal controls:

  1. Ensure an Active and Accountable Knowledge Transfer
  2. Invest in Recruitment Screening
  3. Systematize Internal Processes
  4. Keep an Eye on Distribution Channels
  5. Prioritize Loss Prevention
Posted by Zvi Shalgo
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While China is on an accelerated path to become a consumer oriented market international companies face ever growing managerial challenges trying to keep up. Over two decades of attracting massive foreign investment and the creation of fast technology transfer mechanisms made China the world’s main manufacturing base. 2011 and the new 12th five year plan shifted the focus of the Chinese policy makers to the strengthening of China’s dynamic new homegrown companies both home and abroad. Domestic Private Enterprises (DPE) as they are called here contributed over 60% of the Chinese GDP in 2010. This is in striking contrast to 38% they contributed back in 2005. Adding to this the fact that the Chinese GDP is expected to quadruple itself (2007-2025) helps to draw a general perspective of the business threats and challenges facing Western companies in China as well as in home markets in the next few years.

The financial crisis since 2008 from one side, and the fast growing Chinese consumer market as well as the abundant wealth available for investment in China today, amplify even more the growing need to penetrate and operate in Chinese markets.

Turnaround & Transformation Triggers

China is well known for being a challenging management environment for foreign companies. There are many cultural and structural market reasons that create those unique difficulties. As the new year of the dragon begins it will be interesting to focus on two recent trends affecting manufacturing small and medium sized enterprises (SME). These are both good reasons for many European based companies to reconsider their approach towards opening a new operation in China; globalisation of supply chains and the increased threat of competition by Chinese DPE in China and within a few short years in Europe’s own backyard.

Seminar: New Models for Setting Up & Managing Operations in China

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Three factors – the beginning of a new year; the globalization of industry and emerging trends in China - led the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel (MAI) to run a seminar themed New Models for Setting Up and Managing Operations in China.  Approximately 85 senior managers from various industries attended.  The event was held on the 16th floor of Tel Aviv’s world famous Industry House, which offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Israeli experts and business managers with a strong knowledge of China's commercial connotations, shared their experience of successfully managing industrial projects and business activities there.  Conference participants also had the opportunity to examine established Israeli companies in China and interact with Israeli business professionals who have a firm history of operating a business there.

The seminar was opened by Amir Hayek, CEO of MAI; and Jackie Eldan, Consul General of Israel in Shanghai. Both men focused on the tremendous growth and potential of the Chinese market.  They also emphasized the importance of engaging China as a trade partner.

Zvi Shalgo, CEO of PTL Group and Chairman of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, gave an address titled “Strategies for Sustaining Competitive Advantage in the Chinese Market”, during which he analyzed multiple facets of industrial management in China.

Mr. Shalgo reviewed current trends in Chinese markets, most notably the rise of private companies.  In his talk, he also illustrated how the gap between Chinese and Western industry, locally and internationally, is narrowing.   He referred to different models of manufacturing solutions in China and explained one of this year’s hottest emerging trends for Chinese business: the industrial incubation model.

PTL Group wins ATTA Turnaround of 2011 Award

Posted by Elena Luk'yanenko
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October 22, 2011 - Zvi Shalgo, CEO of PTL Group was presented with the ATTA Turnaround of 2011 award at the 2nd annual ATTA conference which was held in Hong Kong on October 21-22, 2011.

The annual conference included several panels discussing the expected business environment in Asia for turnaround and transformation in 2012. A lively Q&A followed with a sense that Asia could see accelerated business and financial distress in the next two years, which would lead to enhanced opportunities for ATTA memebers.

The highlight of the event was the first ATTA Awards ceremony with a key note speech by noted turnaround expert Jean Luc Perbos.

Jean Luc Perbos presents Zvi Shalgo, CEO, PTL Group with the first ATTA award for a mid size turnaround in China

Download ATTA Newsletter Issue 1 Volume 1

Zvi Shalgo speaks on setting up production in China at seminar for Dutch manufacturers

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OCTOBER 25, Zoetermeer, Netherlands – PTL Group held a seminar in co-operation with FME and EVD. The aim of this seminar was to inform Dutch companies about setting up production facilities in China. The event was attended by approximately 60 Dutch business owners and senior executives. Key note speakers consisted of  Jan Hak, president of GMV-FME, Maarten Roos, R&P China lawyers and Zvi Shalgo, CEO of PTL Group. Facilitator Harry Starren, CEO of De Baak, was in attendance as the moderator of the seminar.

To further support the seminar, a report was published on the specific topic of "Equipment Manufacturing and Machinery in China". The report focuses on the opportunities for equipment manufacturing in China and the importance of the Chinese market for the Dutch manufacturing and technological industries. The report provides tips and guidelines for setting up production in China, ranging from business structure and employment to the sensitive issues which companies must consider when operating in China.

After Harry Starren gave a brief introduction, Marije Hulshof, Director of NL EVD International, gave an update about the opportunities for Dutch SMEs in Chinese markets. PTL Group's CEO, Zvi Shalgo, discussed the history of doing business in China, emphasising that earlier foreign companies used only to source from China. These days, they don't just source or manufacture in China but also sell in the local market. Zvi Shalgo also presented current trends, such as critical timing issues and incubation support models, as well as opportunities to benefit from Chinese government funds. He suggested that Dutch SMEs should consider incubation as their first step when setting up in China, and discussed the stages of establishing a factory in China. He also presented incubation concepts and critical considerations for choosing one. Maarten Roos followed by talking about intellectual property and concerns of foreign companies.

Following the presentations, there was a panel discussion in which key note speakers, answered numerous questions from the audience. The subjects discussed ranged from HR to finance, and other issues related to setting up production facilities in China. Once the panel discussions finished, there was the opportunity for companies to engage in networking, which provided a platform for all attendees to share and discuss their ideas about business in China.

Increasing labour costs? Should I stay or should I go

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Offshoring and increasing labour costs

Every country with cheap labour eventually gets richer - the labour costs increase and alas, we nomadically relocate to another country. Generally, the key benefit of offshoring is lower labour costs. In light of China’s fast-increasing labour prices, companies are faced with a dilemma - to stick to one’s guns and remain in China, potentially losing that attractive profit margin, or to shift one’s industry to another developing market. This article sums up some key stats and argues for staying in China. The key tenet of this proposition is that a Yuan revaluation is inevitable, leading to an appreciation in buying power. The domestic market in China will experience a surge. This, coupled with China’s increasing investment in inbound SMEs and a superb infrastructure are but a few of the pillars of a competitive multinational in China.

The current labour problem

According to the IMF, China’s labour is now the third most expensive in emerging Asia, after Malaysia and Thailand. New labour laws arguably offer more job security to the detriment of employers and transport prices are rising with the cost of oil. All the while, there is the question of a Yuan revaluation and the resulting impact of an appreciation on the export Industry.

Boston Consulting Group listed a number of multinationals, which have already shifted production, including Caterpillar, Ford, Flextronics and toy manufacturers such as Wham-O. These have moved to other cheaper Asian countries or back to their home markets.

First Annual China Business Summit Held in Israel

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RAMAT GAN, ISRAEL, JULY 27 - The 2011 Annual Conference on Business in China held in cooperation with the Israel Export Institute and the Israel Manufacturers Association gathered more than 550 business owners, senior managers and academics in Leonardo City Tower.

Among the subjects discussed were the:

  • Latest economic and commercial developments in China
  • Business models applicable to the Chinese market
  • The Chinese 12th five-year plan (2011 - 2015) - its principals and the implied business opportunities
  • Chinese investments in Israel: source of apprehension or an opportunity?
  • Credit insurance - what are the possible courses and available solutions for Israeli companies?
  • Intellectual property issues - what is new in China in this aspect?

Among the Speakers were:
Avi Hefetz, director General at the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, Dan Katarivas, head of the foreign trade department at the Israel Manufacturers Association, Nili Shalev, head of supportive tools formation at the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Industry Trade and Labor, Adv. Ashok Chandrishikar, Haim Cohen, CEO at D&B - Dun and Bradstreet, Yacov Pedhatzur, CEO at Netafim Asia, Zvi Halamish, CEO of Ashra and more.

Zvi Shalgo, founder and CEO at PTL Group, participated in a panel of CEOs from Israeli companies already active in China. He presented the Changzhou Industrial Incubator Initiative (CI3) as a way of dealing with local competition, and explained how this new model helps foreign manufactures to reduce the initial investment and risks associated with entering a complex and unfamiliar market.

He also mentioned that "foreign companies now require local manufacturing investments to maintain their competitive edge, but many Israeli companies shy away from investment in manufacturing in China because of uncertainty regarding the success of sales. The new Industrial Incubator allows the beginning of production in small series and subsequent increases depending on the volume of sales in the Chinese market, without the high investment required for setting up a factory."

Launch of Changzhou Industrial Incubation Initiative

Posted by Elena Luk'yanenko
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TEL AVIV, JULY 18 - PTL Group, headed by Zvi Shalgo, launched a new Israeli initiative in China: an industrial Incubator in Changzhou. The incubator is meant to allow Israeli and foreign companies to open manufacturing operations, and simultaneously reduce their risks of investment and market entry into China which are renowned for being complex.


The project, named China Industrial Incubator Initiative or CI³, is a partnership between two Israeli-owned companies - PTL Group and Elan Industries. Both operate in the fields of operational management and assist in developing companies and industrial enterprises in China. The plant will soon be launched by the LycoRed- Makhteshim Agan partnership.

The CI³ industrial incubator has been designed for medium-sized companies with international activities, which seek to penetrate the Chinese market. These companies have realised the urgent need for opening production sites in the largest market in the world, in terms of global growth rate.

Zvi Shalgo, CEO of PTL Group and Chairman of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai remarked, "Once, you could make do with marketing and sales activities in China. Today however, the trend has reversed due to changes in the Chinese economy. Now companies exporting to China encounter increasing competition from anonymous Chinese companies, which are cost effective in the global market. The Chinese government encourages high quality domestic production at a very competitive price."

Foreign companies now require local manufacturing to maintain their competitive edge, but many Israeli companies shy away from investment in manufacturing in China because of uncertainty regarding the success of sales. The new venture paves the way for rapid production and a reduced time-to-market. This means an increase in production is simpler where and when sales justify it. Investors can thereby reduce the risks of a failing investment.

He added, "Entry into the Chinese market is not simple and easy by nature. The Incubator is designed to provide conditions that will allow companies to develop industrial activities alongside logistics until their progress in the market is such that they can go out and set up a plant independently."

The Incubator complex consists of 13,000 square meters occupied by Israeli and international companies seeking to start activities in China. It is located in Changzhou, located 45 minutes away from Shanghai. Changzhou is considered one of the most attractive cities for foreign companies, in large part due to the government, which encourages foreign investment and is characterized by an open, innovative approach. The site was established with the support of the local administration of Changzhou, which has sponsored the project and sees it as a unique model in promoting foreign companies.

The 12th 5 year plan – is China just blowing smoke? Alternative energy and its potential

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In 2009, thermal energy was the country's primary source of electricity production, representing 80% of electricity generation, followed by hydro-power at 16%, nuclear power at 1.8% and other non-hydro renewables at 1.24%.

The 12th 5 year plan is ground-breaking in its emphasis on the importance of sustainable growth and using renewable sources of energy. Water consumption in industrial processes is to be cut by 30%. Non-fossil fuels are to account for 11.4 % of primary energy consumption. GDP CO2 emissions are to be cut by 17%. Forest coverage is to rise by 21.66%. Companies, such as Nalco, which sees the potential in this shift, is adamant to get involved and aims to grow in China by 20% in the next 5 years.

Does the Plan Mark a Transition?

This new 5 year plan is by no means an eco-political tectonic shift. China treads a fine line between slowing growth and inflation. But, this plan marks the realisation that continued reliance upon foreign resources undermines its security. China’s heavy involvement in Africa, Afghanistan, Indonesia and South America belie an insatiable thirst for raw materials, from oil to rare earths, timber through to copper. This reliance upon foreign resources, particularly from areas of unrest, is not ideal. Coupled with the notion of defence is of course the problem of our environment. In a recent RUSI report (Royal United Services Institute), John Mabey remarked:

“Climate impacts will force us into a radical rethink of how we identify and secure our national interests. For example, our energy and climate security will increasingly depend on stronger alliances with other large energy consumers, such as China, to develop and deploy new energy technologies, and less on relations with oil producing states.”

Doing business in China: Lessons for Swiss MBA students

Posted by Elena Luk'yanenko
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SHANGHAI, May 4, 2011 - The Graduate School of Management in Switzerland, in partnership with the Shanghai Swiss Center, held a Joint International Seminar, which aimed to provide an opportunity for Swiss MBA students to know more about China. The talk covered the challenges and problems of doing business in China, business strategies and the requisites of success.

Arie Schreier, VP, PTL Group was invited as a guest speaker to present his insight on doing business in China from a clear, practical point of view. He referred to different approaches for different industries and used his extensive experience of the country, covering the differences between China and other places when doing business. He went onto explain the role of PTL Group in the emerging market and how it specializes in management of foreign sales organizations and distribution channels. He also referred to the 'black holes' of doing business in China. The lecture was met with great interest and discussions soon followed.

We hope the Swiss MBA students gained a better understanding of the Chinese business environment and the mentality of Chinese managers. Meanwhile, PTL group will continue to share its experience of the management market in China.

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Operational Audits are an increasingly important area. This thread relates to why they exist and how they benefit companies. An Operational Audit is a means of reassessing an existing company with a view to finding its weaknesses and then helping it become more lean, profitable and efficient. If the company is markedly distressed, an Operational Audit is likely to lead to an Operational Turnaround. At this point, interim management may be required (discussed later).

The Painful Truth of Operating in China

Why do Operational Audits exist? Regardless of the format of the company - be it a JV, a WOFE, an FIE or any other blasted acronym - a disproportionate number of companies face problems and resulting profit losses. Many of these problems can be ascribed to a lack of talented employees, but a great deal of problems derive from management issues. However, few entities and their CEOs wish to admit that they might have problems until the last moment when it is too late. When the threat of liquidation appears on the horizon, the first place one finds the manager is most likely in a law firm, attempting to wind up the company.

Operational Audits exist to prevent further losses by targeting a list of factors, from working out whether employees are being paid the right amounts, to supply chain management. They then assess where improvements can be made.

Triggering factors for an Operational Audit - Changes

Leadership Changes in management are arguably one of the best times for an operational audit. An assessment will provide up-to-date and impartial information, thereby helping new management/personnel learn the strengths and weaknesses of the company. But more importantly, an Operational Audit can provide an opportunity for changes in strategy or direction at a critical time.

Posted by Elena Luk'yanenko
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Establishing a manufacturing or assembly plant in China requires thorough consideration of various factors. Perhaps the most important question is whether one sets up in an Industrial Zone, Industrial Park, or Special Economic Zone and which will give you the best returns on your investments in low initiation costs and operational expenses.

However, other factors can be equally important. The region, size of the nearest city and nature of its industries will determine the availability of inputs such as human resources and energy. Furthermore, distances from suppliers, the nearest international port and potential customers are crucial.

Increasingly, the Chinese government is paying more attention to setting up Industrial Zones or Industrial Parks for investors and industries.

In general, there are three kinds of Industrial investment locations, each with their own benefits and disadvantages:

  • Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

  • Private Industrial Parks

  • Industrial Incubators

In this post, a brief clarification and explanation of the similarities and differences between the three options will follow.

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Initial Funding and Injecting Capital into Chinese Business

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In this post, we discuss one of the hottest topics encountered by foreign companies in China: transferring and registering a company’s initial funding. The suggestions that follow are relevant to anyone thinking of establishing a Chinese business, be it a Foreign Investment Enterprise (FIE), a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) or a Joint Venture (JV) with a local company. This post covers the solutions for transferring initial funding before establishing a company and to the company bank account after company registration.

Transferring Initial Funding to a Third Party before Establishing the Company

Applying for a business license in China usually takes four to six months. Many companies cannot stand that long in order to use the funding to cover the initial costs of setting up an office, purchasing equipment, etc. They therefore prefer to transfer the initial funding to their local agent or team before they get their business license.

However, once the business license is granted and the company is approved by the government, these funds—used for establishing the company and proving that it is financially viable – are not legally considered to be a part of the company’s registered capital. According to Chinese law, any monetary transfers must be made directly between the foreign investors from a foreign bank account to a Chinese bank account set up under the company’s name for capital deposits, not by using a third party.

In a number of cases, we met investors who had transferred tens of thousands of US Dollars to local suppliers who then found it difficult to explain these transactions in the company’s balance statements, despite the fact that the money was used for rent or for purchasing equipment.  It proved difficult to show the local authorities that these purchases were part of the company’s initial funding.

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New Strategies in International Procurement Management and Global Supply Chain

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Hundreds of logistics and supply chain experts and professionals participated in a seminar initiated by the Israeli firm MASHIK, a business partner of the international consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

The seminar focused on innovative tools and strategies for improving efficiency in global purchasing, together with new methods for locating additional suppliers, ensuring product quality and advanced strategies of management for each link in an increasingly complex and global supply chain.

The seminar was opened and given by Mr. Arie Ben-shmueli, CEO of Mashik Ltd., who referred to the recent recession which the global economy has suffered. In such circumstances, he asserted that the main test for a firm lies in its ability to adapt to the relative conditions of different suppliers, transport alternatives and the changes in currency exchange rates etc. Ben-Shmueli analyzed the rising powers in the economic world, drewing particular attention to China and India.

Mr. Jan Van der Oord, Partner, A.T. Kearney & Zlatko Bazianec, A.T. Kearney International Consulting Company, presented a survey of international companies, which revealed various methods for maintaining business' flexibility, dealing with risk management and reforming the sourcing and logistics sectors. In a joint lecture with Gehard Kasulke, sourcing manager in the world's third largest cellular company, T-Mobile International, the two emphasized the necessity for international vision and suitable analysis of the supply and sourcing factors in the current era. They gave various examples of supply chain structures and detailed the advantages in outsourcing some of the sourcing management to professional bodies.

Eitan Shaul, VP of Sales and Marketing, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Israel, analyzed the transport and shipping trends in the wake of the recession, stating that 90% of the world's trade is transported via maritime transport, compared with 9% by land and only 0.25% by air.

Among the speakers was also Mr. Mepi Frankel, Director of PTL Group, who focused on the issues of sourcing in China, and on some of the prominent trends in the supply chain in China expected in the coming years. Mepi talked about the great potential in developing business relationships in China and about the challenges Western sourcing managers and quality assurance personnel face. He shed light upon the issue of cultural differences, the differing perspectives and the problems of communication with Chinese suppliers.

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