Discover Daxue Research Team – Clement – BD Manager
Clement, French graduated from the EDHEC in 2011. I came to China right after my graduation to learn Chinese (6 months) and eventually found a work in Shanghai. Now in Shanghai for almost 3 years, working in Daxue for a year. I started as a pure BD, getting contact with managers in China, US and Europe. At some point my situation evolved and I started to work on proposal and project management. I am now in between BD and PM (50/50) and I enjoy it. Speaking (more or less) 4 languages: French, English, Spanish and Chinese.
Why did you come to China? Have you lived in any other cities?
I came to China for many reasons, the main one being that I spent 6 months in HK back when I was studying. At that time I realized China was “the future” and that there would be much more opportunities for me to grow and learn than anywhere else in the world (especially in France/Europe). Shanghai is a city that (from what I heard) was the closest to HK in mainland China. I decided to go there and find out by myself.
Could you talk about a project you have been working on recently where you discovered something new, like a growing market?
Actually, any project that I have been working on has its share of surprises. I could talk about that project on the sports sector I worked on not so long ago. I realised that there is a huge market potential for TV broadcasts/channels and sports events to attract Chinese viewers. When you read that the sum of Chinese people who watched the London Olympic Games in 2012 during the whole length of the event reached 1.1 billion viewers, or when you read that Australia Open (tennis) in 2014 was watched by a total of 60 millions Chinese viewers (4% of the Chinese population!), you realize that the potential for development in China is still incredibly huge. On one hand you have a small amount of companies that promote their events in China, but obviously not enough (only 4% of the population!), and the other hand you have these companies that don’t even promote their events to the Chinese public. In both case, there is work to do!
Could you talk about a piece of news from China that caught your eye?
Not so long ago we heard about this food scandal in Shanghai. The company in the middle of the scandal is a US porc meat processing company that sell its products to various fast foods in Shanghai (mostly US companies as well, such as KFC, McDonald, Dominos Pizza, etc.). This company was caught mixing bad meat and good meat together, and just sell it to companies. This do not really surprise me, as this kind of food scandal occurs pretty often in China. What surprised me is that the Chinese government directly intervened, decided to close the factories, and now we hear that the targeted plants are being distributed to local and other international competitors. This event could be seen (and not only by me) as the government’s will/atempt to destroy the US company’s monopoly as unique distributor of porc meat for fast food in China, which is definitely not a good sign for international businesses operating in China.
Could you identify a megatrend from China that fascinates you?
Megatrend that I think we cannot ignore is internet in China. In 2020 there will be around 600 millions people using internet regularly in China, and almost half of which which will be shopping online. With rising salaries and progressive opening to foreign concepts/products, this represents a huge market for any company in the next 10 to 20 years.
What do you think is the single most important factor driving China’s development?
Education. Higher education means better jobs and higher expectations in terms of salary, living standarts, etc. This is obvious in Tier-1 cities where the salary and living standarts are twice or three times higher than anywhere else in China, but you can start to notice this in smaller cities which are developing even faster than Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities now, thanks to progressive education of the Chinese population.
In your opinion, what’s the greatest obstacle facing foreign companies in China? What’s the greatest advantage?
To my opinion, the greatest obstacle that foreign companies are facing in China is to copy their “home strategy” to the Chinese market. There is nothing similar between the Chinese market and the home market. A company that does not adapt its strategy will fail its China operation. Influence of the government is also a major obstacle for foreign companies.