Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Filling the pipe

I have short term, medium term, and long term plans for the things I want to achieve in China. I am sure that no-one is doing the things we have planned for the medium and long term. The hope of seeing those dreams come to life is what drives me. Meanwhile back in Australia I have a hungry mortgage and family to feed, and the medium and long term plans will take time and money to develop. That's why we have to get the short term things going, in order to get some cash flow going.

My short term plans fall in two areas. The first is to provide quality assurance services to western companies who want to source electronics in Shenzhen, or want things manufactured in Shenzhen. By having me look over things, I can weed out the bad eggs and find and fix problems before time and money is wasted.

The second plan is to set up an online retail operation. I'm certainly not claiming to be the first to do that! I doubt we will make any money from doing it, and it's not my purpose to try. The purpose is to start getting our name out there, and to start engaging with the customers (hackers) who will be interested in what we develop in the medium and long term.

For the past two years I have been admiring the product range of a particular company in Beijing. They are nicely made products that will appeal to every hacker. But this company only sells inside of China. So there's an opportunity for us to take these fine products and make them available outside of China. I have just come back from a visit on the weekend to that company in Beijing, and I can report that an agreement which will allow us to sell these outside of China is imminent.

Ok, so with access to a range of cool products, it should just be a simple matter of loading them up into an e-store and raking in the millions. Well, not quite. When someone makes an order, we still have to get the items and ship them out. That's something we don't really want to do, as we don't know much about that area of business, it's something others can do far better and cheaper than us, and we can spend the time we save doing other things. So for that reason, yesterday I visited a gentleman here in Shenzhen who runs a successful online store shipping to outside of China. We talked for many hours about what he does, and what our plans are, and how we could help each other. Similarly, we are close to having an agreement to use him to do fulfilment for us. That, plus the money handling side of things, and the website, will pretty much have us covered for the retail side of things.

So far, I've been here in China for four weeks, and I'd have to say I am very happy with the progress we're making. I have told many people about our vision for the future, and have received universally positive feedback. That's very heartening.

For our next step, I'm about to go to Hong Kong to investigate starting a company there. Hong Kong's corporate tax rate is very low (10%), and having a company there will let us accept payment for both internet sales, and the quality assurance consulting work. I'm learning heaps and doing what I love, and I can't ask for more than that.

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