13th Great-Idea China Sourcing & New Industrial Delegation to China – Day 8

By: Lisa L. Mueller

On Monday, the Delegation attended the 5th International Outsourcing Business Development Summit. The overall theme of the summit was helping China transition from “Made in China” to “Created in China.”

There was a very interesting Keynote Panel entitled “Service Outsourcing – Promotion of the Innovation and Cooperation of Global Service Resources.” The panel was moderated by Raymond Groth of Duke University– Fuqua School of Business. The panelists were:  (1) Mr. Georges Moukhbat, Managing Partner of MACOM SARL, Mr. Jean-Claude Lebois, CIO of EGEYS, Mr. Martin Bloom, CEO of EMBLEM Ventures, Mr. Lionel Novo, CIO of Fonds de Garantie des Assurances Obligatories de Dommages, Ms. Julia McClug, President of InContext, Inc., Mr. Frank Fond, CEO of Sinotech and Mr. Thomas Gephart, Ventana.

Mr. Groth asked the panelists to consider two questions: (1) What would make you think about or recommend China for outsourcing? and (2) What more does China, your own company and country need to do in order for China to be seen as a more viable source for outsourcing?

During the discussion, several panelists noted that one of the most significant problems in conducting business with China is the language barrier. Panelists commented that while Chinese companies are recognized as being excellent in IT, significant language barriers still exist that cause confusion and misinformation while wasting time and money. Since English is the common language used for documentation purposes, it was stressed that it is imperative that outsourcing companies in China be fluent in English in order to provide this accurate documentation. One panelist urged Chinese companies to find partners in the U.S. and Europe to help China bridge this language barrier. Another panelist specifically asked whether China had a plan to expand English as a common language.

A follow-up question was whether the West should or could do more to encourage the learning of the Chinese language, culture and history in their schools. One panelist admitted that the U.S. is notoriously bad at encouraging its people to learn a foreign language and that it did not appear that this mindset would change any time soon. The panelist noted that Chinese was considered to be a much more specialized language for which programs were not always readily accessible, unlike those for Spanish, French and German.

Another panelist emphasized the fact that outsourcing should be considered more than just simply a provider or customer service arrangement. Rather, the panelist urged that  these arrangements be considered to be “partnerships.” The panelist further stated that these “partnerships” be should be transparent and based on mutual trust between the parties. The panelist emphasized the need for each party to spend the requisite time and resources to improve and cultivate the partnership.

Today was the final day of 13th Great-Idea China Sourcing & New Industrial Delegation to China. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rachel Kuklinski of Michael Best who was tremendous in helping me get these entries posted every day from China.  Also, I really want to thank my colleagues in the Delegation. I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you.  This trip was a truly wonderful experience.

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