The ship hasn’t even docked – we’re just seeing the tenders

Engaging Asia - Boyd Peters - Expat Advisors Community
Boyd Peters has been visiting China since 1984 when as a teenager he went to Beijing and swam against their national swim team. He honeymooned there in 1993 and has been back regularly since. He now works in the Australia-China space having just hosted a workshop on listing companies on the ASX for a delegation of Chinese investors who recently came to Australia.

The small boat used for transporting people and supplies to and from shore or another ship is called a tender. The word is fitting because tender also means to make an offer, a bid or proposal, and that’s what these visits are.

Many people are afraid that they are late to the China party, or have “missed the boat” for business opportunities with China. However they have nothing to worry about – the ship hasn’t even docked yet. We’re just seeing the vanguard.

So get in, set yourself up, work hard, and if you are talented and capable you will find success and build a very good business.

Boyd is fascinated that many companies invest so much in their businesses on things that aren’t revenue producing, then overlook lead generation and client acquistion activities:

I recently went to China with the ABF (Australian Business Forum) taking a booth in the Australia pavilion. There were 100,000 investors at the conference and I think every one of them came through our pavilion at one stage. The ABF also hosted the Chinese delegation from Fortune Forum last month where we had 4 hours of business matching. It was pure gold!

Next month Think Global is co-ordinating the Invest In Australia Mission, taking a delegation business matching through Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai, and at the Asian Financial Forum.

Following this a few delegates may head into Guangzhou and put on a joint event targeting their contacts there. This event will be held in the week leading up to and including the Australia Day weekend.

About the timing Boyd says:

I can’t think of a single reason why I wouldn’t want to join this delegation. The timing is perfect because I can’t do anything for my clients in that week back here anyway.”

Boyd biggest headache is hearing people tell him that they can’t find success in the China space:

“In the main it’s their own fault. The business matching at Fortune Forum last month cost $150 to attend, have the ABF promote you to the delegates, set you up with appointments and provide you with your own translator for a day.”

It was widely known how wealthy the people in the delegation where. Delegates’ details was on the event website, along with why they were coming, what they were looking for, and what they want to invest in.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen something put on a plate like this and in the end I couldn’t even give away the extra ticket I had! Hong Kong next month will be the same. Those who want to succeed, do, basically.”

For those who haven’t yet hit their stride and found success, Boyd suggests to be brutally honest in how you review yourself and your offering. He also suggests being dynamic and adapting as often as you need, to change your product or service:

“Initially I thought I would be helping Chinese investors target companies on the ASX. Then early into the SIV program it was looking at small company fund solutions for investment migrants. Now I’m working with Chinese companies managing their IPOs. In addition, managing e a small group of interns, has led to relationships with their families, including a family office here in Melbourne target companies on the ASX. It’s using my skill set and networks, to build outcome focused offerings”.

Two years ago Boyd could not have imagined what he is doing today. His advice is to be prepared to take everything off the table and start again if you have to:

“Don’t build your brand around someone else’s product or reputation. Your #1 commodity is you – your skill set and your contacts, so find a way to commercialise that. So back yourself, catch the wave and just do it!” 

Boyd Peters is a member of the Expat Advisors Community
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