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'No shortcuts' policy urged in new markets
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

THERE is no "one size fits all" magic formula for doing business in China, or for that matter, anywhere in the world.

That was the general consensus of foreign and Chinese business leaders attending a Fortune Global Forum roundtable discussion, held in conjunction with CCTV, yesterday morning.

"There is no shortcut for success," Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of US-based animation film giant Dreamworks, told the forum in Chengdu. "If you don't value and honor your customers, you will lose them."

Dreamworks' computer-animated martial arts film Kungfu Panda was a global success and a badge of honor for Katzenberg, appearing in the city that calls itself the "panda capital of the world."

He told the forum that the film was such a success in China because it used local creative teams and language.

There were two separate roundtable discussions held the first morning of the forum. The first dealt with global business trends and the second with the emergence of the economy of western China.

Li Dongsheng, president of Chinese television and electric goods maker TCL Corp, told the first roundtable that his company's success in expanding factories to Southeast Asia rested on reading overseas markets correctly. International sales accounted for 38 percent of TCL revenue last year.

'Get localized'

"You have to adapt yourself to the local markets," he said. "Get localized."

Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Alliance Boots, a UK pharmacy and beauty products chain, agreed.

"After 35 years of development, our company has gone to many countries," he said. "You have to be consistent with your principles, understand realities and adapt to local needs. The substance can be the same but the way you present the substance can be different. Let people feel they are valued."

Wang Jianlin, chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, one of China's largest commercial real estate developers, which acquired US-based cinema operator AMC Entertainment, said the customer is always king.

"You need to respect local markets and consumers," he told the roundtable. "You have to treat them the same way as you do customers in your own country to be successful."

At the second roundtable, Chengdu Mayor Ge Honglin said China's national "Go West" policy of shifting economic development to western inland areas is transforming the lifeblood of his city.

"The vitality of this city and balanced development have created an ideal environment for foreign investment," he said. "In 2008, there were 130 Fortune 500 companies in Chengdu. Today there are 238."

Multinational executives at the conference said China has become a cornerstone of their growth strategies.

Ellen Kullman, chairwoman and chief executive officer of US-based chemical company DuPont, told roundtable participants that expansion in China has helped the bottom line and technological development of her company. The nation now accounts for between 8 and 9 percent of DuPont's global revenue and 12 percent of its workforce.

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