Off to pastures new

Steinbeis consultants help companies enter international markets

It’s not always easy doing business in foreign countries. With differences in language, mentality and culture, it’s not unheard of for contracts to fall through just because somebody didn’t do things “the way they’re done” in that country. On top of that, there are different laws and bureaucratic channels. The Steinbeis Consulting Center Global Advance helps European companies expand into the People’s Republic of China, and Chinese companies expand into Europe. This ranges from initial planning to developing a strategy and hands-on support in putting these plans into action.

The Chinese parent company of Cosmax GmbH develops, manufactures and markets cosmetic products for use after cosmetic surgery. The company was quick to realize that setting up a European base, complete with the right infrastructure and organizational instruments, would not be possible without the support of a professional partner. After a certain amount of research, the company spoke to the Global Advance Steinbeis Consulting Center. The international team of consultants at the center feels at home in both worlds and is deeply ingrained in the worlds of both Chinese and European business. “We have an excellent understanding of country-specific idiosyncrasies and business practices, and know the local situation on the ground” explains Da Li-Schumann, who was born in China. Da Li-Schumann heads up the Global Advance center alongside Carsten Wortmann, who has over a decade of experience in international consulting companies and was the CEO of the Chinese subsidiary of a German SME.

The consultants started by organizing a workshop with the management of the Chinese parent company to pinpoint goals for the new undertaking and, based on a detailed market analysis, formulate a market entry strategy. Not contented at just doing the planning, the Steinbeis consultants played an active role in putting the ideas into practice. So they began looking for suitable premises and a location where the company would be able to manage each of its European target markets equally well. After considering the options, the decision came down in favor of Frankfurt. The company will soon be moving into its new premises, comprising offices and a warehousing area. Prior to this, the company had to register as a German limited company (GmbH) and present a credible business plan to the foreigners’ registration office in Frankfurt. This was needed to gain work permits and fill management positions with Chinese workers. The next step involved recruiting and training suitable European staff that matched profiles agreed with management at the parent company. This ensures everything is in place for the company to enter the market.

Since it was founded, as well as helping Chinese companies enter the European market, the Global Advance center has helped many European companies enter the Chinese market, in both procurement and downstream production and sales. In particular, this has included a number of renewable energy companies for whom the Steinbeis Consulting Center manages the complete procurement and supply chain.

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