Entrepreneurs can find a huge customer base in China, according to a Brainerd native who knows the Asian business world.
For 20 years Jim Nysather was "in and around China" after earning his college degrees. He recently gave an hour's worth of insight and advice to students in the business management/entrepreneurship class taught by Tom Reese at Central Lakes College. Nysather maintains a global view and a positive vision for China as a world economic power and growing consumer base, Central Lakes College reported.
Nysather, 41, is a business development and research consultant with BASAY International Inc., San Francisco. BASAY is an international business development and consulting company. Two decades ago, as a marketing student at St. Cloud State University, Nysather participated in the international studies program that allowed for experience in China and Denmark. He graduated in 1988.
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games will be in Beijing with a theme of "One World, One Dream." Collector stamps, such as these obtained by Louise Nysather of Brainerd, are sold as a means to fund the considerable investment by the Chinese, who are eagerly awaiting the world spotlight, according to Nysather's son, Jim.
One year later, his SCSU minor in East Asian Studies warranted a return to China, this time to teach. Nysather taught English to professors and graduate students at Shanxi Mining Institute in Taiyuan, China. He followed that with a four-year stint teaching English at a business-oriented training center and a high school in Osaka, Japan.
For nine years, Nysather helped establish and was employed by the international corporation UTStarcom, a communications equipment and service provider, in Hangzhou, China. The UTStarcom operating principles embraced a philosophy that thrives on change, new technology, teamwork and partnerships within and beyond the organization.
"I was the token white guy at first," Nysather said, recalling the early days of his experience in China while developing the American company that opened its own university in China. Patience and drive helped him become articulate in Mandarin Chinese. His professional expertise in business acquisition produced agreements and relationships valued at sums as high as $160 million and deals affecting as many as 350 employees.
China's 1.3 billion population makes it an important nation in the global economy. But doing business with Chinese executives can be difficult for those uneducated about the culture. "The Chinese don't like leaving messages on the phone," Nysather said. "But they love e-mail."
This glass globe was hand-painted by a highly skilled Chinese artist whose only access to the interior surface to be painted is an inch-wide hole in the bottom of the heavy orb. It is an example of the meticulous and patient Chinese demeanor, said Louise Nysather, who twice visited China while her son, Jim, worked there.
And they are relationship oriented. They want to work with you, if they like you. Deals can be facilitated among Europeans or Americans fluent in the language and familiar with the culture.
"This is a young country with very old history," he said, referring to the 1949 rise of Mao Tse-tung, a communist leader who preached the philosophy that "to get rich is glorious."
Thus, the Chinese adopted "communism with Chinese characteristics."
Chinese society is an entrepreneurial society. "It really opened up in the late 1980s," Nysather said. People are leaving the rice paddies to seek fortunes in and around cities. China has 129 cities with populations at least 1 million and a gross domestic product growth rate of 9 percent per year.
"It's a huge market. There are 500 million land phones and the same number of cell phones," Nysather said.
He pointed out a startling example of new wealth that accounts for encountering Chinese driving expensive Ferraris. "There are 3,000 buildings over 20 stories tall in Shanghai, and each apartment sells for $100,000." Those who own the buildings are multimillionaires.
The Chinese are hungry for a number of products and services, including those produced from agriculture. One example is wine, which can't be produced there. California vineyards are finding a good customer base in China.
Even the unlikely materials can become valuable commodities in a nation emerging and buying. Nysather cited scrap metal, cardboard and glacial water as examples of materials that entrepreneurs have exported to China.
"Chinese think 10, 20 years at a time," Nysather said, "whereas U.S. companies possess more of a quarterly mentality."
From his perspective near the large port in Oakland, Calif., Nysather watches as container ships convoy to the docks and bring to the United States an array of consumer products. But he knows there are Americans with the goods and services Chinese are eager to receive. A small-business entrepreneur who establishes the trust relationship can have a bright future.
"Connections are important," Nysather told the students. "You need a go-between."
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