This year’s Trade Delegation to Beijing and Shanghai was a huge success. With thanks to our sponsors Squire Sanders, once again, our annual overseas convention has enabled APSCo members to experience first-hand an international market with exciting potential.
It is no secret that China is the great economic success story of the past 30 years, and since the ‘reform and opening-up’ policy was introduced in 1978, it has changed beyond recognition. The recruitment market in China is set for strong growth and the opportunity for high quality British companies is vast which made it the perfect destination for the delegation. Members who attended were keen to identify possible opportunities in the country, and to better understand how business operates in the region. Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at Astbury Marsden said: “We are increasingly asked by clients if we are moving into the Chinese market. We already have offices in Singapore and Hong Kong but there are some challenges when working in mainland China. We need to be licensed and we are looking at ways to make that happen. The delegation allowed us to do just this.”
Mike Latham, Director of Evolution set up an office in Singapore after visiting as part of APSCo’s Trade Delegation last year. This year he joined us once again, and said: “We are always looking for opportunities to diversify across the globe and we are currently considering moving into the Chinese market. Visiting as part of this year’s delegation was the most efficient way to learn about business in the area and meet people in the industry”.
Organised delegations such as this provide members the chance to investigate possible avenues for expansion in a controlled and effective way. Participants had the opportunity to attend a comprehensive programme of sessions and meet key people successfully operating in the region who shared their experience and advice. Mark Cameron, for example, found meeting APSCo members already operating in China extremely valuable: “Those I spoke to were open and frank about the lessons they have learned along the way which was really useful”. Mike Latham found the sessions which covered the legalities of working in the country most beneficial: “Having the opportunity to talk to lawyers on the ground has given me confidence in this aspect of businesses in China”.
Yet again, our delegation has enabled ambitious recruiters to help understand an unfamiliar market which has allowed them to make informed decisions about future expansions. The quality and depth of knowledge which can be amassed in four days during the delegation is unparalleled when making future plans. However Mark Cameron warns, “This is not a front for a jolly. The days are full and the sessions are intensive so be prepared to do a lot of work”.
I’d like to thank all the delegates who joined us and both the British Embassy in Beijing and the British Consulate General in Shanghai who fully supported the project and made us feel most welcome. Delegates have reported back that they gained information, insight and potential client contacts; I look forward to seeing their businesses expand into this exciting region.
Look out for details of our 2013 Trade Delegation – I hope you will be able to join us.