Wednesday November 17, 2010
We have come full circle. Back in Souzhou, we met with a biotech company that is based in Hong Kong with financiers based in Beijing. Since we were going to be flying out of Hong Kong on the last leg of our trip, we made an appointment to meet with this company at their premises and to tour their labs. At the same time, one of us knew someone in the Hong Kong Science Park. So we booked a meeting with people at the Science Park as well.
It’s been a long trip, and it would be easy to just ignore these final meetings. The CEO in my group is anxious to get back to his family, and this is the longest he’s been away from them. I also just want to get home. The amount of follow up I have to do is already starting to feel daunting.
However, scouting for leads and building relationships is an art. Effective business development is also about who is able to make this extra effort.
The meetings turn out to indeed be fruitful. It is now no longer surprising that I learn more new things about what is going on in China and Hong Kong through these meetings.
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TRAVEL INFORMATION: LANGUAGE
When it comes to language, there is a key difference between China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
In China, the language is Mandarin, and written text is in a form called Simplified Chinese (simplified for easier typing and texting).
In Taiwan, the language is Mandarin, but the written text is Traditional Chinese. My print materials were all in either Simplified Chinese or English. I didn’t realize this difference about Taiwan while I was preparing for this trip, so I didn’t ask the marketing team to create any slides or brochures in Traditional Chinese text. So in presentations in Taiwan, I just went with the English material. Simplified Chinese is not understood here. The nuances of good etiquette is that it would be inappropriate to even show the Simplified Chinese materials here, because it would be incomprehensible, and the audience would know that I was not initially planning to meet with Taiwan companies.
In Hong Kong, the language is Cantonese, and the written text is also Simplified Chinese. So again, I just used the English presentation materials.
It’s little details like this that I always need to find out on the fly as I travel across different countries.
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In the evening, I am on my own again. I take the opportunity to go up to Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island to have a look at the city at night before I fly out tomorrow.