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Understand-China 2011 Update Complete 7/25/2011

understand-china.com1ChinaBlog is pleased to announce the new and improved Understand-China.com. Through extensive research, the website has been refreshed and updated to provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available for businesses and investors looking to do business in the China. Understand-China’s vast network now contains over 250 pages of information with additional features and has taken more than 300 hours and 6 weeks to update.

Understand-China continues to be the only one-stop-shop website providing concise and relevant information for companies looking to do business in China, invest in the Chinese marketplace, set up greenfield operations in one of China’s industrial regions, or understand the Chinese manufacturing industry.  Updates include new data for the 24 top regions including statistics for each of their Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), Gross Domestic Products (GDP), Logistical Data, Real Estate information, Industrial Expenses, Labor Costs and various other categories of data. For several excellent examples of updated data, please view the provincial profiles of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hong Kong. Understand-China also includes twenty other provinces, special economic zones and Chinese special administrative regions.

Please let us know what you think of the update!

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China’s 12th Five Year Plan is Formed 4/7/2011

China's five year planLast month, China’s newest Five Year Plan (FYP) was developed at the Annual Sessions of China’s National People’s Congress. At the center of the 12th FYP is possibly their most ambitious energy goal to date. The new plan calls for a reduction of energy intensity by 16 percent over the next five years. As the goal is quite bold, it is possible considering that during the previous FYP, China managed to reduce energy by 20 percent.

Other goals of the FYP include a plan to reduce pollution and reduce China’s dependency on fossil fuels. China is aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent and to increase the use of non-fossil fuels from 8 percent (current state) to 11.4 percent in 5 years.

When it comes to implementation, China has decided to encourage development and foreign investment in industries that will increase their ability to move towards these green goals. They will be executing programs to support growth in the high-end manufacturing industries such as clean energy, various service industries and environmental protection.

Of course, there are supporters and opponents of the newest FYP. Supporters of the plan include environmental protection groups and clean energy groups who are encouraged by China’s step towards a greener country. Some opponents say however, that the plan could be too ambitious and that some of the other goals included in the plan may be conflicting with their green initiatives; such as the target to build upwards of 40 new airports over the next five years.

Ambitious or not, achievable or not, changes are on their way for foreign investors and where different incentives will be placed in the upcoming years.

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How to Get Your Money Into China 1/3/2011

So you have decided you want to invest in China and play your hand in one of the biggest economies in the world. What next? Setting up a business in China is a long process that requires meticulous record keeping, persistence and ingenuity. But don’t worry; it is possible! And if you are in the right spot at the right time, very profitable.

China’s protective nature of the RMB makes getting money in and out of the country somewhat of an art. But if you have the right plan of attack in place, you will not be baffled.

Once you know what location is right for you, based on your customer and/or your supplier base, you have to conquer the task of getting your money into the country to start up the business. After all it takes money to make money right?

First, make sure you know what type of business you will need to set up: a WFOE, Rep Office, Joint Venture or Partnership Enterprise. Our firm decided on a WFOE because of the flexibility, the ability to conduct profit-making activity and the protection granted by the government (equal to that of Chinese businesses). Each business is different however, and a rep office might be the right place to start for your company. Check out our partner company’s resource on Incorporating a Business in China for a nice start.

You need to know that there are limits on the amount of capital each business can invest in the country. The amount you plan to invest and the industry that you play in determines what regulatory agency must approve your investment and for how much. Once your investment gets approved then you will be issued a business license. Then you must gain approval to convert your investment into RMB by China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange. This however can throw a stick in your spoke if you are not prepared.

Here is the catch: you can only get approved to convert your investment after you open a local bank account. But you can’t get a local bank account until you have approval to invest. The good news? There are multiple ways to get around this.

If you have someone that you trust in China, it may be a good idea to leverage their connections (and bank account) to get started. Or, you can also open what is called a pre-investment bank account, where companies are allowed to spend up to $100,000 to set up their business and gain investment approval. This money can also be applied toward your approved investment capital needed to open the doors. Whatever your decision, make sure your money is safe and if you have any doubts, there are professionals that can help you through every step of the process.

Resources:
Great New York Times Article

RMB Currency Converter

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Top Investments for 2011 12/15/2010

Looking for a great investment for the new year? The Wall Street Journal recently published a list of promising investments for those looking for a profitable 2011. Twelve companies were highlighted and who ranked among the top? Yum Brands! Why is Yum so promising? Their existing China market strength and opportunity for continued growth China.

Yum Brands expands in ChinaWho is Yum? Yum is the company behind KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco bell. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Yum has been in China for 20 years and in fact, KFC is the top “western fast food” chain in China. In addition, the China segment of the business is more lucrative than their domestic operations.

Is there room for growth in China? You bet! In America, there is one fast food restaurant for every 2,000 city residents. Compared to China, where there is one fast food restaurant for every 14,000 urban dwellers. As a result, the Journal expects Yum’s profits to increase 12 percent to $1.3 billion in 2011 as the China segment of the business grows.

Full Article

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Caterpillar to build new Engine Plant in Tianjin 11/23/2010

China Manufacturing - Caterpillar Buckets

China Manufacturing - Caterpillar Buckets

Caterpillar Inc., one of the leading heavy industrial equipment companies in the world, has recently announced their new plan to further expand their manufacturing operations in China. Set to open in 2013, Cat will build a $300M engine manufacturing plant in Northern China to produce their 3500 series of large engines to be used in their oil-and-gas, marine, and electric power sectors. The Tianjin plant will be Caterpillar’s third manufacturing site for the 3500 series engines.

Opening a plant in Tianjin will allow Caterpillar to be better positioned to compete in the global marketplace as well as support their growing customer base in China and throughout Asia.

This is not Caterpillar’s first endeavor in China however. Earlier this year they announced a new logistics center to improve its regional supply chain, to be built in Suzhou. They also revealed plans to build a plant in Wujiang for hydraulic excavators and another plant for excavator production in Zuzhou.

How will this impact the current production facilities? Caterpillar has said that the new production plants are not expected to impact existing employees (such as those in the Lafayette, Ind. plant) due to the increase in demand from China and the surrounding regions.

Full Article

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Manufacturing in Tibet? China continues to to invest inland. 11/15/2010

An article on China Tibet Online‘s website caught my eye yesterday.  It talks about a new industrial park project to be located near Lhasa, Tibet.  The “Tibet Ethnic Culture Industrial Park” concept is going to try to attract new investors for the project at next week’s 5th China Beijing International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo to be held later next week.  The industrial park will focus on manufacturing of cultural handicraft’s and similar products to support Tibet’s growing tourist industry.

I haven’t been to Tibet, but I cant say that I’m overly excited to hear about investment in the manufacturing sector in the region.  I have been told that Tibet truly is one of the most beautiful parts of China – hopefully I can get there before it becomes over-industrialized.

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China Continues to Grow Beyond Low Cost Labor 11/14/2010

A recent article I found online discusses a very important topic: China moving beyond just a source of cheap goods and low cost labor.  Despite what you may have heard and read, China has become a very advanced economy from what it once was.  Many international firms like GE, Motorola, and General Motors have invested significantly to develop large research and development centers throughout China.  The article discusses a recent survey conducted by KPMG which shows a growing interest among global manufacturers to leverage the large pool of skilled engineers and other highly trained individuals to increase the amount of “value-add” activities that there businesses are conducting in the region.

I’ve inserted a brief form the article below:

“China and India have become more than just centers for low-cost manufacturing for some global companies. The survey showed that a significant percentage of global manufacturers are willing to source research and development and the manufacturing of goods where important intellectual property is involved has increased to 29 and 33 percent, respectively.

‘If you would have looked at the survey three years ago, it would have been zero percent…no one would have ever done product innovation or R&D in India or China. Many really sophisticated companies are saying they’ll make it in China if they’re selling it in China.'”

I actually don’t subscribe to the theory that three years ago none of these global manufacturers were eyeing China as a potential R&D destinations – 5 years ago I was working inside GE’s medical R&D center in Wuxi, just outside of Shanghai on a number of different projects that had been underway for quite some time.  What I do support however, is the notion that most manufacturers are only recently beginning to view China as a potential destination for R&D investment.  Especially as more and more companies are eyeing the Chinese domestic market for their goods.  Local R&D will benefit these companies in many ways, especially when it come to modiyfing existing designs to suit Chinese market demands and applications.

I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this…please feel free to share!

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Representative Office or WFOE in China? 11/8/2010

Most of the links below are to the various resources available from Understand-China.com.

Setting up a Representative Office always sounds like the easiest way to establish a business in China.  Years ago it may very well have been, but these days, largely due to Chinese government crackdown, it may make more sense to set up a WFOE or Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise – especially if China is part of your company’s long term strategy.  Let me tell you why….

Rep Office Restrictions

Rep Offices in China are intended for the sole purpose of promoting a business in China.  Thats it.  And while the initial investment may be more attractive compared to the registered capital requirements involved with setting up a WFOE, there are still a number of other costs and limitations to consider.

  • You cannot conduct any kind of profit generating activity of any kind.
  • You are not allowed to hire employees directly – the Chinese Government forces you to use approved HR firms.
  • You are required to have a Chief Representative that is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation.
  • An Office is REQUIRED.  (usually you will need to sign a 12 month lease in a Chinese government approved building)
  • You will be subjected to annual audits, which means you will either a) need a bookkeeper, or b) need to hire an accounting firm to reconcile your books.
  • Last but not least – You are required to pay taxes……10% on all expenses.  If your annual operating budget is $200,000 your annual tax bill will be $20,000.

Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises (WFOE) a.k.a. Foreign Invested Commercial Enterprises (FICE)

WFOE’s allow for maximum flexibility.  When you set up a WFOE in China, you essentially have the same incorporation status as any Chinese domestically owned company.  In addition, as a legal entity, you are permitted to conduct business transactions (as long as it is within the scope of your business license of course), hire employees, etc.  You also have the flexibility to setup your office in the building of your choosing.

See also:  Incorporating a Business in China

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Apple Opens China Online Store 10/28/2010

Apple Store in ChinaOn Tuesday, October 26, Apple launched its first online store in China.The new online store is offering the traditional Apple products such as iPads, iPhones and MacBooks. Many of the additional services such as free shipping, gift wrapping and engraving are also now available to the Chinese consumer.

The online store is also offering the WiFi compatible version of the iPhone 4 for sale, that up until now was only available without WiFi capability in China.

In other efforts to expand sales in China, Apple is plans to open 25 retail outlets by the end of 2011 in addition to its two Shanghai locations.

View the Full article
Apple.com/cn

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Harman expands China Operations by $100 Million 10/27/2010

Harman Expands in ChinaThe global audio and entertainment product manufacturer based in Stamford, Connecticut announced their plans to expand their China manufacturing and research capabilities by $100 Million USD this Monday. The new operation is set to be built in Dandong in the Liaoning Province in Northern China. They currently have operations in Shanghai, Suzhou and Shenzhen. Harman will be able to take advantage of some of the investment incentives provided to foreign investors by the city of Dandong.

Harman provides automotive electronics and audio systems for global automotive brands such as Audi, BMW, Chrysler, FIAT, Ferrari, General Motors and many more. Harman’s plan to expand in China seems like a logical step; last year China surpassed the U.S. as the leading automotive market in the world. Harman already has over 120 employees in China and has set a $1 Billion China sales objective to work towards.

Harman has seen reason to continue China expansion after the success of their participation as a sponsor and supplier to the Shanghai World Expo this year and record results at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well.

Bloomberg Newsweek’s full article
Harman’s website & Picture Source

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