VISA problem in China? INS has the Solution!
You’ve probably heard, or notify that it’s more and more difficult to obtain a working VISA for China, that is because the Chinese government restricts access to young expatriates, and put a lot of administrative barriers for foreign companies based in China.
Today, we receive Wei, a Spanish originated from China, lover of France who launched his umbrella company to help professionals working in China to carry out Chinese paperwork.
Interview with Wei Hsu, director of INS GLOBAL CONSULTING.
MARKETING TO CHINA AGENCY
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Hello Wei, can you briefly explain your career to Marketing to China readers?
I am Spanish, I started to study economics in Spain, and then I continued my studies in trade in Lille, France. After my graduation, I worked in different countries, first in Italy with the development of a tile company in China, then in Japan during one year as teacher’s assistant at the university Kwansei Gakuin. Thereafter, I also worked in Brazil, in Mexico, and in Argentina on behalf of the chocolate producer Valrhona. It’s been 7 years now, I lived in China in Shanghai, and I created my own consulting firm for foreign companies based in China.
Thanks to all these experiences, I am fluent in 6 languages: Spanish, English, French, Chinese, Japanese and Italian.
Where did you get the idea of creating a company that simplifies administrative procedures for foreign companies?
During my first year as VIE in Shanghai, I helped a lot of friend to solve several administrative problems, in particular due to the barrier of the language (with the landlord, the banker, the supplier…etc.)
I realised that there was a market for helping foreigners to solve all theses problems, which take a lot of time, such as obtain a working VISA or be in accordance with the Chinese law.
Many westerners are complaining about the administration in China with which it’s not easy to discuss when you are a foreigner.
They are also local companies on the market that lack serious, and who can issued invalid visas, forcing you to come back in France or go to Hong Kong to make another one. Therefore, it’s really important to be aware of these kinds of companies, which can incur you some additional costs.
According to you, what distinguishes INS global consulting to other companies operating in the same market?
What distinguish INS in 5 points:
- The service: we allow our clients to be focused on their business without having to lose their time in administrations
- Organization: transparency of our activities that avoid bad surprises. For the record, some companies who used Chinese companies were left with huge bills. These companies forgot to tell them that there were additional taxes.
- Optimization: monitoring of our client from the beginning to the end
- The price: reasonable prices, I try to work with confidence with my partners 😉
What we can memorize from us is that we provide solutions for the working visa in China.
What are the kinds of clients who use your services?
60% of our customers work in the wine and liquor industry, which constitutes the largest part of my clients. French wine producers, with whom it is really nice to work with, constitute the main part of my clientele. They are very convivial. During my studies in France, I developed expertise and skills of this industry; furthermore I particularly appreciate the French wine.
Today, the Chinese wine market is experiencing a strong growth, and it benefits to French companies recognized as serious and ambitious. Being a wine lover like me, does not make necessarily my professionals relationships easier.
What kinds of difficulties businesses face when they are seeking a working visa for China?
They are many difficulties:
- Lacks of knowledge of procedure: when the process is not clear, companies try to “tinker”. In addition to losing a lot of time, the visa procedure is not sure to succeed.
- Relationship with the administration: Most foreign companies don’t have the resources, to work with the Chinese government, because they don’t take in consideration the local culture, and the importance of “guanxi” or relationships. Thus, problems often arise when companies have to pay taxes, manage hiring process, etc.
- Lack of transparency regarding the costs: In the case of using a representative in China, it’s common that foreign companies do not have all the requirements to build their budget (for example, the new law will require to foreigners to pay the social security in 2013). If the company didn’t forecast, it will generate additional unanticipated costs.
The working visa for China, for many companies, large, medium and small, from all sectors, is often laborious to obtain.
Companies sometimes have difficulties to make the difference between the business visa, and the working visa: Can you clarify this point?
- The Business visa is a temporary visa that allows company’s employees to come in China for a limited and determined time (normally 3 or 6 months, because Business visa for 12 months no longer exist). It’s advantageous in short term projects because the holder will not be taxable in China, and it is relatively easy to obtain (48h). However, the Business visa is very limited because, the holder has the obligation to leave the country every 30 days.
- The Working visa is a permanent visa for a period of one year or two, with the possibility of renew it every year. This type of visa is advantageous because it is adapted to long-term projects; and there is no obligation to leave china frequently. (Read, obtain his working visa in China in 5 steps)
What advice would you give to companies wishing to invest in China?
- Implication: the company must be involved in what it’s doing to succeed in China
- Patience: The Chinese market is still a difficult market to penetrate, it must take a dose of patience before succeeding, and a good strategy in the long-term.
- Training: Training is essential for companies if they want to be imbued by the culture, and know-how of the company, which it’s working for.
- Partner: Take the time to choose well its partners! For the record: A wine producer, who wanted to invest in China as soon as possible, has signed an agreement with a Chinese distributor to sell its wines. Nevertheless, few months later, this distributor went to bankrupt, and this wine producer found itself without distributor!
- Adaptability: The Chinese culture is totally different from European culture; we must be prepared to deal with situations that don’t happen in Europe. Culture gift, dinner and KTV will be to the menu.
To conclude, do you have projects you want to share with Marketing to China readers?
We plan to open an office in Paris in the next two years in order to be closer to our many French customers. I’ve always loved France, and spend a part of my life between Shanghai in Paris, the Champs-Elysée and the Bund is a chance not given to everyone!
I’m open to all projects and interested people can contact me so that we can chat over a drink or meal!
You can contact Wei by email: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his informative blog http://ins-globalconsulting.com/
Thank you for responding to this Interview, and Good Luck for 2013 the year of the Snake!