Monday, July 02, 2007

Steve Ganster presents opening speech for Shanghai American Chamber Annual China Trends Conference

The Shanghai American Chamber conducted its annual China Trends conference in Shanghai earlier this month, aiming to update the business community on key trends in China's economic, regulatory, political and business areas that will affect the operations of American and other foreign businesses in China.

Steven Ganster, managing director of China strategy consulting firm Technomic Asia and co-author (with Kent Kedl, the regular host of this podcast) of the business strategy book "The China Ready Company," kicked off the event by outlining some key trends that will affect company strategy and business case development in China.

In today's podcast, Ganster references his slides from that presentation. Those slides are available to view or download at

"The pace of change in China is so rapid that we view business years in China like 'dog years,' " Ganster said. "One year in China's economy is like seven years in the West in terms of change."

In his opening presentation, Ganster covered:
-- Determining a company's addressable market – "where you can make money"
-- Changes in competitive structure in China
-- Developments in strategy alternatives, including acquisition
-- Movement to strategic sourcing

In addition to Ganster, presentations were made by other premier China advisors and practitioners such as AC Nielsen, ChinaVest, Baker & McKenzie, Mercer Consulting, the deputy director of Shanghai World Expo, and a panelist of award winning journalists from the Wall Street Journal and the BBC.

"The need to develop a sound and dynamic business case has never been greater," Ganster said. "China's markets are slowly maturing and becoming increasingly competitive. If your value proposition is not accurately aligned with your market target, you just can't make money."

Ganster also spoke about the emergence of acquisition as a strategy to accelerate growth.

"The early to mid '90s was the era of the 50-50 joint venture," Ganster said. "After many failed ventures and a loosening in foreign ownership restrictions, companies quickly shifted to wholly-owned investment strategies. But limitations in this approach are leading to acquisition as a way to achieve the best of both strategies."

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