telemedicine China

Podcast transcript #61: How telemedicine in China affects various health projects

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Find here the China paradigm episode 61. Learn more about Stephane Muller-Margot’s life in China and find out fast and useful facts about telemedicine in China, healthcare projects in China as well as technology projects in China.

MATTHIEU DAVID: Hi everyone. I am Matthieu David, the founder of Daxue Consulting and its podcast, China Paradigm. Today we have Stephane Muller-Margot. You have been in China for decades now. I believe 20 or 30 decades in Asia and China more specifically. Your business is in Chengdu now and you are coming from Chengdu and you have been very involved in technology and healthcare projects in China.

You are the founder of China Healthcare Golden Bridge and you are currently working on projects related to Alzheimer’s treatment in China, related to agricultural products; senior French agricultural products and you have been working on a lot of projects actually in healthcare including hospitals and these are some of the references that appear on your website. So thanks very much Stephane for being with us. My first question to you is what’s your China story? Could you tell us a little bit of chronology of what you have done with China so far? One experience actually I forgot to mention that you have even been presented by China railway in some talks where you have worked with them so you have a very dense experience with China. Please explain your China story to us.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Thank you very much. It’s a very nice history. In one way if one day we can write a book or make a film it would be very nice. When I was 14 I used to travel with my parents and I met a lot of people who were travelling a lot and I was reading about a business adventure everywhere in the world. I was very interested in this and at this time I was already interested in China when I was 14. 

I went to university and I was working in the stock market and when I was in the stock market I was studying Chinese at the same time and they called me the Chinese Guy already at this time and it was in 1987; it was a very funny history. A journalist came to see me when I was only 19 years and asked me about the stock in Hong Kong and what the consequences were for European stock market and the world and I say I was just a young boy and I said, “Well, I see it in one way as a stock market is going to fall” and the stock market fell and time by time I start to love China more and more . I went to university and after 4 years when I was working at the Swiss Bank, I asked my boss. I said, “Well, is there any work over in China?” “No, I’m sorry. I don’t have any job for you.” I was working also and it is very funny to say this now; I was working at a place that was opening their first shopping mall in Taiwan, but not yet in mainland China and I said, “Maybe one day.” Very funny it is.

After 4 years I was at the head of my studies and my boss gave me a lot of opportunities and I said, “Well…” This was in 1989 and I said, “I would like to try to go to China.” My boss said, “Yes, why not?” “Can I go for 6 weeks” and he says yes. “If it is okay you move from… you tell me and you go after to China.” So I went to China for the 6 weeks and this was in April 1989 and I went to Kunming, I went to Beijing and for me it was a marvelous world and I came back to France and I said, “Well, boss I am going to leave the stock market.” It was very funny because in 1989, going to China was something like, “Well, you might be crazy anyway. China is so poor. They have nothing. They are so small and everything.”

It was very funny and I was crazy for them and my parents or my father was; he was mad at me and bought me a one-way ticket and say, “Well, when you want to come back, but don’t come back soon. I don’t want to see you anymore. You love China. We don’t want to see you. Forget your family.” So I went to China and I was a backpacker for one year and I discovered China. I went to Sanya and I fell in love. I really fell in love. One year I have to go back to do my military service, which is also a very funny history. The general came and said, “What are you doing here?” I said, “Well, I have to do military service.”

So after three days, he sent me back and I was released so that time I worked in a very small place in Sheshan with a very huge project. He was doing a big dam of 35 meters. It was very interesting for 6 months. After I went to Hong Kong and I went to Taiwan to find work. It was very tough. At this time mainland China and Taiwan it was tough.  When you think, “Okay I am a young guy” and I started to take some training. I was doing some training for semi-conductor for Taiwan and I said to Chinese because I’m French, “Okay this is a good opportunity.” I do a lot of work for ten years. I was traveling around the world and became a very high flyer. I am making 2 million miles in two years and I am going everywhere.

It was marvelous already at this time. We go on and we go on and I bought a property in Canada and one day one guy says, “Oh you work in China?” I say, “Yes.” “Can you help me?” I say, “Yes, why not?” He was a very formal journalist and working in South America for 15 years. So he has gained some very good experience. He had become an advisor for a gold mine. Sometimes we just have a dream, “A gold mine; why not? Let’s go.”  So I went to Sheshan and have this chance and I discovered a lot of very remote places of China that not many westerners went over and not many Chinese went over.

I discovered a lot of minorities over there. It was very nice and time by time I worked for those people and finally one person approached me from China. We were very close friends and he said, “Do you want to work with me?”  I said, “For what?” he told me, “I know you have a very good friend who has a very close relation with very high ranking people.” You know it was 15 years ago and when you say we have to make a move to work for a state-owned Chinese company it was a big move. I said, “Well, this is a very good experience for me.” I was not very high paid, but I see all the ways that Chinese works. I was very interested. I got insight from the general manager. I went to do a negotiation in Peru and I went to negotiation in Bolivia. We went to the Vice President; I met the vice president who came to China and we had a long negotiation with them. It didn’t work yet, but Bolivia worked.

After 7 years of work, they signed a contract between China and the Bolivia government to do the training. This was a wonderful experience and my boss gave me a lot of opportunities to discover how Chinese people work. It was fascinating the way the westerners… and you know what; I went and he gave me a lot of great things. I learned a lot. In one way like when I was around the table some Westerners would end up asking me, “Are you Chinese?” I’d say, “No, I’m French. What is the problem?” I found out in many cases in the negotiations, Chinese parties or western parties have the same goal. It is just a way how to say how to move forward and this was very interesting and I found out that had become more and more fascinating because I was on both sides. This side was sometimes misunderstood because I have to represent Chinese people and to be correct with them and it was very easy in one way. It is how I work on my first China company.

MATTHIEU DAVID: And then, what brought you to health care and technology projects in China now?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: What brought me here are two main reasons. I know a lot of people in Yunnan province, okay through the Chinese companies and state-owned companies; I want the biggest company in telemedicine in China with a ministry of health and what you see now; this is very important. When you see it in Europe it takes a long time to discover, to agree and everything and China was and I would like to say very openly. As many people know we have 25 000 hospitals in China and we have 1000 or 1500 Goole hospitals and those hospitals are in small towns or very remote villages.

.KSo a lot of times, unfortunately, they will have to go to make 500 or 600 kilometers to even have just a simple stick and this was very painful for a lot of people. It cost a lot of money for them going and it was really an adventure. Okay you go from a village okay it will take probably 16 hours to arrive at Kunming. Afterward they have to pick you up; they have to find the right doctor and so on so it takes a lot of money for them. So the government; the Chinese government and also sponsored by the Human Province Development that decided they will have a Telemedicine Centre in Kunming and also at the same time will maybe covered by the social security and this is a very big step if you compare it with that in the rest of the world. Compared with telemedicine in China, in France not so long time ago the telemedicine can be taken. So it was very interesting because you can do telepathology and you can do X-ray from 500 kilometers away so people don’t have to go to move on and now they are connected to 235 hospitals. This was a great experience for me to develop telemedicine in China.

healthcare projects in China
[Source: a screenshot of China Paradigm #61 interview, “Matthieu David is interested in Stephane’s experience in healthcare projects in China”]

MATTHIEU DAVID: When was it?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: It was in 2009.

MATTHIEU DAVID: I see.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: And now okay yes, we are connected to 235 hospitals and it’s fantastic after they used the system to be the social aspect in 2008 towards the health also and then telemedicine in China is very well developed.

MATTHIEU DAVID: What do you do for them?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: I was an advisor for them because the Chinese government wanted to sponsor them to be still on the stock market. So also because I know the stock market so he said he wanted to give me a chance to give some advice and also they know I have been to South America and they were also very interested to go to South America. They developed some projects in Africa and so they were also interested to go to South America. They go to Peru and this hospital was taking care of the Goole people at some hospitals. So they were very interested. The government changed and changed and it was very difficult to do this system in Peru.

MATTHIEU DAVID: Did you feel that you got through all those opportunities because you speak Chinese and because you have been in China for a while or there are other parameters that explain why you got those opportunities? Do you think speaking Chinese was the key?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: I definitely think that Chinese is very important. I also think by being in a remote place you might be a low profile in some cases. I mean in one way is that I am a little bit challenged, but I can understand their issue and it is very important in one way. They know that I have adopted a Chinese girl from a village in Sheshan so they know my heart, but they know also my idea of being French and being open with them and it was also very interesting for them to operate telemedicine in China and it’s very funny; even now a lot of Chinese companies come to contact me even KPMG contacted me; the China KPMG and it is very funny because maybe I am also on the other side. Okay maybe I understand little bit better Chinese, but I won’t say I am an expert because no one is an expert in China, but by being most Chinese, I probably have a better approach or maybe a better fit which is very important compared to some people in Shanghai. Then it might be a little bit different.

MATTHIEU DAVID: I see. Go ahead.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Sometimes okay; at the beginning, we say, “Okay you are worse today. You don’t understand.” There are those that cannot say a sentence and Sheshan is so… you can say what you want in a strange way but also see very well that in many cases I defend them. I protect them. I don’t say, “Well, I am French so I should do it.” I take the good and bad and explain to them. Sometimes it is really on both sides also, even westerners. Sometimes I explain to change the altitude, to change their way. This is very important. Chinese and westerners as I said before; have the same goal, but sometimes it’s the way how to say a word or to approach; it is not the same. It seems the same, but it is not the same. Unfortunately French and Chinese in many cases are the same. We like to eat. We like to drink. We have a culture and we have a different way of how to approach and Chinese knows this very well, too.

MATTHIEU DAVID: So, what would be the difference? You mentioned two times that we have the same goals; westerners and Chinese, but sometimes we express it in different ways. How would you explain the different ways? How would you differentiate them?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: It’s very funny. I can explain in a few words. Like when we play Go, the westerner is a Chinese American and he says, “Oh you are very direct. In one way you are very direct.” Chinese people; we say the same thing in maybe a different role. We put it around the corner on how to approach. Sometimes we say, “Do you want?” And we know they want, but you know it is how to turn it around.  It is really to be a little bit too direct. If for example, another westerner says or Chinese people they feel like, “Okay we cannot say what we want” and so on. I say, “No, no it is wrong. I have been working in a state-owned company. I have a very open discussion with Chinese people, but I respect.” I say it in a different way, but sometimes a word will be very strong, but I will respect them. It is a little bit different, it is like we can say we agree around the table that we are not a Goole. We are not.” Every time what is the difference compared to westerners is that Chinese people even if it is a negotiation; the door is every time open.

This is very important. It’s not a closed door. It is every time you try to find a solution. They would all like to say that it’s probably their success because yes, sometimes it is a mess, but they cover the mess and make it well. They go around and they find a way. So every time they find a way. In France or in Canada we have laws that we cannot do this. It must be A or B, but Chinese people; we try to find a way. Maybe it can be A+ or B-, but find a way and this is very important. That’s why it’s very interesting to have a negotiation with them.  

MATTHIEU DAVID: You have been working on other healthcare projects in China, and I see that you have a voice; the CEO of Domusvi. Is it 6 or V-I? I never know?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Domusvi.

MATTHIEU DAVID: Domusvi which is in as far as I know in the senior care; so in nursing homes, isn’t it?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Yes.

MATTHIEU DAVID: And you have a project related to Alzheimer’s treatment in China as well and I feel that you have been involved in a few healthcare projects in China, which linked to the senior economy to nursing homes. Could you tell us what’s your perception of this specific industry which is the senior economy in China?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Around the time I come, I become old, too. I might retire in China, too, but I have a lot of friends and I have become interested in senior healthcare projects in China because of my brother because in France he is doing a lot of senior care building and everything, but I have become involved directly and indirectly and when we start to speak with the government people; one day they advise and I went to France and I really wish one day my father will be treated the same and we start to speak like this and this can be a very interesting project and time by time we spoke.

I went to France and I met a lot of CEO’s and even in China I met the CEO of Dumusvi and all these nice guys who are doing very nice work in China and we tried to help a lot of Chinese people because now China has a huge problem, technically. There is a huge Chinese culture that children need to take care of their parents. It is now we have in China 200 million people who are retired who need to be taken care of and there are 20 million people who need Alzheimer’s treatment in China and so you have a lot of issues how to take care of these people from anywhere; from going to hospital, from going to Alzheimer’s, from going to be how to be treated. Alzheimer’s treatment in China is a very hard solution in China.

A lot of times it is about culture issues because I don’t know if you translate in China is dementia and also I have a friend in China whose father has Alzheimer’s and he feels kind of ashamed to tell me, “My father has Alzheimer’s.” In one way my father has dementia so we have already first to start over and to change our mind that dementia is a normal sickness. We can help you and a westerner’s approach to dementia is a little bit different from that when we speak to people of Dumusvi; some have a very nice approach. They are patients.They are humans who need care. We need to give them a beautiful life even if it is one month or every 6 months or even if it’s one year and they said, “Beautiful.” I have been to a few senior healthcare projects in China and it was fantastic.

When you see the people of 85 years having a smile it is fantastic. They are happy. They do a lot of parties for them and they go to do some choreographies and learn to speak English. We feel very happy for them and time by time I feel more interested and I know France has some great doctors already starting from Cheruz. They came to China more than 20 times and they want to have Chinese people. That is really a huge approach. I found a company a few months ago and they are changing their way of how to approach Alzheimer’s and how to… we have an issue actually. For 30 years people were looking in the same way what is Alzheimer’s? How can we approach, how can we treat it, what is Alzheimer’s treatment in China and only after 30 years they didn’t say, “We failed”, but we have to find a new way and now Agent has found a new way. Most of the time…

MATTHIEU DAVID: You are talking about a company called Agent, right?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Yes.

MATTHIEU DAVID: So it is a company working with Chinese agents. Could you spell the name?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: A-G-E-N-T

MATTHIEU DAVID: Okay.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: This company has a different approach. During many years the doctors were taking blood from the brain and this was one of the issues. These doctors decided to take from the periphery; plasma and they have decided to do it in a different way. They decided to test on people who were 50 years, 55 years, 60 years old and finally they found out that all of them have a different phase; phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 and phase 1 and phase 2 and phase 3 have the same average which is very strange, but their goal to come in China is to do a Chinese-view market. It means they are going to try to add some plasma of people of ten years ago or 15 years ago and now we will find these people again and try to make the test again; how it advanced so, in the future; maybe 10 years you are at the top of the marker.

So they are going to do a blood test like the way you do a physical examination; at the same time you can test if you have some symptoms of Alzheimer’s 6 years ago. So it is very, very, very important for China when you have 20 million people. It is very important because now in China we just go into the community center and we try to make some MRI or X-ray and we say, “Okay they are Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s treatment in China is a little bit too late.” So we can know in ten or fifteen years maybe these people will have Alzheimer’s so we have found some Alzheimer’s treatment in China for them and this is very important and it is very challenging.

MATTHIEU DAVID: In a sector like health care where regulation is very strong and we know that hospitals are public in China and that most doctors are actually within hospitals. How can you succeed in China providing a new health care solution or services? What advice would you give to a health care company on how to succeed in China, should it partner with an SOE, is it compulsory, should they do the same as they did in France and keep the same way or to change radically? What would you advise?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: It is very hard advice, but I will say first of all it is a win-win solution. Many Chinese doctors are very well educated and coming from French, coming from Harvard and so they know that we do very well. We invite a lot of French doctors and a lot of Chinese students going to France to study medicine. So, we have to do a win-win solution. We are trying to do it in a different approach.

MATTHIEU DAVID: I see.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Sometimes it is to welcome westerners to come here. If we find a solution and say it is a very strong issue; so why not work together? I think this is the case. It is a win-win solution. So in one way yes, it’s not like what you said. I am French and I have the best technique and everything. No, no, no. I have met a lot of doctors being like this because they never came to China, but after they went to the best university like Tsinghua or PKU or PEDA; PEDA International Hospital. When on the way to the hospital when I take an example of a doctor we have a certain idea of China and finally when you went to the surgery room he says, “Take 5.” “How come?”  In Europe, we have one machine like this or one equipment like this. It is a potential in France that we know when we see the potential of China is that they have a lot of dark rooms.

We can do a lot of… in some ways we are speaking about regulation. Sometimes China is more open than a westerner. You know in France we can say a lot of them give a lot of work and a lot who say, “No, don’t do it. It is not good.” This is one of the special cases, but China is more open in some cases.  You know sometimes we call it project pilot or pilot project. We say okay yes, we can try. Let’s try for 50 people or 100 people. If it works, it works and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. In Europe if we fail we are bad, but China you can fail because they know we already know and everyone knows we give to our descendants; when you fail, you can learn and I think this is the beauty of China. I think for a lot of western youngsters who are coming here or doing discovery and to learn. It seems fantastic because China is very open just to keep respect. That’s it.

MATTHIEU DAVID: So what kind of challenges in terms of financing healthcare projects in China? Would you say that it’s like in France where you need to work with the state to make sure that the patients will be reimbursed and if they are not reimbursed basically you know that the market is going to be very hard and if you work in healthcare and your product is not reimbursed; what are the key success factors for healthcare projects in China to succeed? Do you need to work closely with the state to be in the hospitals or actually the patient can buy by himself or is it more the relationship with the doctors? What would you say are the key success factors? 

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Well, if you want an example; you have to do clinical trials and when you do clinical trials you have to give money to patients. That is one issue. The second issue is you have to work very closely with the government, you have to work very closely with the hospital. This is really… it is three components that you must work closely with; the patient, the state and the hospital.

MATTHIEU DAVID: Okay, but does it mean that the financing is going to come from the state or from the firms; from the patients who would pay like in the US? What kind of system is it in China? Is it more like the French system, more like the American system where actually health care is expensive? How would you qualify the healthcare projects in China? 

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: So the Chinese system; I have made huge news in a few years like you have social security in many big towns. For example, for people from 0-55 or 65, we are covering 50% and after that people are covered 85%. It is social security. This has been in existence for many years. Now, in the public hospital and also in some private hospitals; you can imagine a country of 1.4 billion people doing social security is not so easy. It is a huge move and this has only been done the last 3-5 years, but yes one issue in China is to find doctors.

This is one of the biggest issues. So, we can say that in China we need a general doctor and that is probably 1 million doctors and then nurses; you need 3 million nurses and we don’t say about okay, cardiologists and so on. So this is one of the main issues. We have doctors. We have nurses and it takes years and years. Many times okay PKU paid out there or all the people asked me, “Stephane can we have a French company who can do some training to be better?” This is to open classes for them.

MATTHIEU DAVID: Okay is it an issue mainly in the countryside or also in cities?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: In Shanghai okay…you know when you go to Shanghai you have to queue up a lot, but definitely in a small town it’s a huge issue because okay you know when you make that every town must have a doctor like the doctor carries his small bag and goes from village to village; I would like to say that in many places like in Sheshan you have a lot of these small doctors. You can say, but they are very important, but, of course, when you have this you cannot do it and this is one of the issues. They need a lot of doctors and some very, very good doctors.

The Sheshan hospital in Sheshan is one of the best in the world and you take a military hospital 301 okay that has the best doctors; some of the best hospitals, but the thing is that they need doctors and nurses. It will take years and years and if it takes ten years then we say it is an issue and also senior healthcare projects in China becomes an issue because we speak about dementia and dementia is a way to explain and is also a little bit to explain in the culture in a certain way.

MATTHIEU DAVID: This kind of paradox that Chinese doctors actually are said to be good; maybe not enough for them, but they seem to be good. The equipment seems to be good as well, as you mentioned just before, but still medical tourism has boomed over the last decade and more and more hospitals overseas get Chinese patients. How do you explain that medical tourism, an emerging healthcare project in China, is such a trend and has been so successful?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: There are two ways I would like to say in medical tourism. I would like to say it’s not French, but most of the time it’s America. If we take America like you do a bypass. In America, it will cost probably around $150 000 and maybe in China, it will cost less money. So this is very important to come here to China and very funny; Chinese people in some cases they don’t feel, but this was 5 years, 8 years ago and they don’t feel so safe in one way and they prefer to go to America to be treated.  

This is an issue and sometimes also the issue is because you don’t have so many hospitals you have to queue for many months. This is also one point. In France we also sometimes have to wait for some operations or some surgery. In China you already have to wait instead of bypassing in some other way, but this is the main issue. There are not enough doctors so they say, “Why not? I am going to America. I have cancer and I prefer to go to America. It will take me probably one month to be treated.” This is the case and American people say, “We have to spend too much money so why not come to China? It is a good place. Thailand is a good place, too.” So they come here.

MATTHIEU DAVID: You said there is a shortage of doctors and a shortage of the number of hospitals. What is making it not possible to get more doctors and hospitals? Is it because, actually, it is not profitable enough? It is state-owned so there is not enough money actually to fund it? How do you explain this?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: There are many issues. First of all okay if you want to take the rate okay like in America or like in France; how many hospitals we should have in China and now they have 25000 hospitals and half of them are private hospitals and the other ones are public hospitals, but they should have 50 000 hospitals. So you see really okay it is already one issue.

The second issue yes, there are not enough doctors and to be a doctor takes a lot of time and to be a nurse takes a lot of years so it is not a money issue. It is training to be ready. Yes, you speak about the hospital and now more and more hospital tries to work differently, for example, the orthopedic hospital before they were not making a package. They were working like 25 years like a fancy word; they were doing everything in detail. You have an injection. If you have replacement you put replacement. You have okay HO, you put HO; everything and every element you have to put inside and time by time it changed people and doctors tried to find a better way to do some package and you know like 3-5 years ago we are speaking about the orthopedic package being very interesting for the same surgery it was… the price was sometimes 35 RMB and others was 65 for no specific reason and it was so wide and not many people can understand, but now also because they try to make the social security and also with their insurance behind; so the insurance says, “We cannot do this. Okay if you want me to reimburse, we need a price” but now when you come to the hospital and you want to work with insurance, you say well, “This package costs you 30 000 over. You won’t be reimbursed.”

So now they are also looking at this hospital and I can be reimbursed. How much? So also the Chinese government tried to have the hospital be profitable because also for many, many years 50% of the sales of the business of the hospital were for medicine. This was not for operation. It was only for medicine which is incredible, okay? Now they changed a little because before, they had a lot of books okay studying medicine so finally by the beginning was saying for one month and in general for hospitals you were thinking for one NMB because you have to pay a lot of commission so the Chinese government now makes that there are no more than 5 or 10 brochures in the middle. Each medicine has to be ruled on a price. So people are now taking care of this.

MATTHIEU DAVID: Okay good. Let’s reach toward the other topic you mentioned before we started. So, you are working also on an agricultural project; a scene of French agricultural project. I have seen a lot of those very big projects where France and China or one country and China would build something big; like a park, a government-driven park. It looked like wishful thinking for me; like we are going to do this and that, but in the end, it seems to be very remote somewhere where it is difficult to get leverage, to get traffic and so on. What is your view on those very state-driven technology projects in China and their success?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: You know if we take the province of Sheshan; they have tried a lot of technology parks. It works, but yes, it takes time, it takes time and I think no one or everyone was prepared to do it, technically.

MATTHIEU DAVID: How much time does it take when the government starts talking about it and when it’s getting momentum; 5 or 10 years?

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: No, no I think 3-5 years it’s okay and I think it’s not too bad. You know if you have a long term in a way they know what they want and if you see like a French park when you have a brochure and everything, it takes many years. I think it is also behind, okay. You know about the law, do I want to come? You know we also have to say if I take this park and I say senior agricultural park; France is an issue and we speak about France in one way.  A lot of French companies are willing to come, but China needs a lot of negotiation and a lot of travel and unfortunately a lot of French companies don’t have this huge budget to come back and forth. This is really an issue and working in the same way as in France. I met a lot of French people saying, “Okay we sign and it is fantastic.” It will take about 16-18 months and by then you are dead. Yes, it is right. Okay we can say it is right in many cases, but because after many cases we want to work with a lawyer and a lawyer in China is very like… they like to do negotiations face to face and not pass through a lawyer.

It is like you have to know these people. You speak face to face and after we call the lawyer because you can spend a lot of money for lawyers in China; really a lot of money like 1000 Euro an hour or 1500 Euro an hour and this is a common price and this is very high and when you know when you see how Chinese do the negotiation very fast. You arrive at 100 – 200 000 Euro without doing anything and this is not really the right way to work out. So, we have to have them and we have to have them do the negotiation and to take it step by step. When you want to come to China you don’t want to say, “Okay tomorrow I am going to come.” Not at all. You are ready to do what you say, but it is going to be 18-24 months. This is the right time and after you start; 36 months. I think it is right and how I am going to spend my money I have to be prepared or ready. So you have a certain budget. Some companies have been very good at doing some structure and something together so they can bring more companies together. It is very important to come to a group to try not to lose a contract.  

MATTHIEU DAVID: Thank you very much for your time, Stephane. I think there are other topics we could have talked about, but it is already 1 hour especially for this topic; the last topic about the construction and bidding of a park could be another episode. Thank you for everything you did and all your experiences which are very wide and thanks again for taking time on your Sunday.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

MATTHIEU DAVID: I hope you enjoyed and I hope everyone enjoyed the talk. Bye-bye, everyone.

STEPHANE MULLER-MARGOT: Thank you.


China paradigm is a China business podcast sponsored by Daxue Consulting where we interview successful entrepreneurs about their businesses in China. You can access all available episodes from the China paradigm Youtube page.

Do not hesitate to reach out our project managers at dx@daxue-consulting.com to get all answers to your questions

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