As China is transforming to a consumption-led and innovation-driven economy, its rapidly changing economic landscape, disruptive technological innovations and hence new business opportunities are garnering the attention of business leaders worldwide, whether it is because of their interest to do business in this vast market or to better understand its implications globally. However, to truly understand the success factors and challenges in doing business in or with China, and how to overcome cultural differences, there’s no better way than to learn from experts on the ground. This is the reason why 29 Malaysian senior business leaders came to Beijing, China, to study with CKGSB’s ‘Growing Business to China’ program. This custom program was specifically designed for this high-profile delegation, composed of CEOs, founders, general managers and serial entrepreneurs mainly from F&B and retail industries of Malaysia. In fact, the group even included three leaders with the honorable Malaysian title Dato’ and one Datin.
“We wanted to know what is so unique about China that makes Chinese businesses tick and what best practices can Malaysian business owners learn,” said Dato’ Bruce Lim, the lead delegate and Chairman of Productivity Nexus for Retail and F&B, a productivity center under the management of Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC).
“For us, there’s a lot to learn from China, such as Fintech for consumer or small- and medium-sized business lending, mobile payments and e-commerce,” said Joel Neoh Eu-Jin, founder of Fave Asia, as well as Co-founder and former CEO of Groupon Malaysia. Joel was named one of Asia’s Top 10 entrepreneurs, as well as Young Global Leader, by World Economic and was included on Malaysia Business’s 30 Successful Malaysian’s Under 40 list. “When I was at Harvard Business School, 90% of my classmates worked at large companies, so their goal was to get promoted or get a better salary. As compared to HBS, where I was doing mostly case studies, CKGSB is unique in that it’s mostly for entrepreneurs to learn practical and real skillsets that they can apply to their business immediately. It’s experiential,” he explained.
Watch this short video to understand these questions and learn more about the experience of the Malaysian delegates at CKGSB.
To help the group gain a deeper understanding of China, the three-and-a-half-day program provided lectures on the latest economic and business developments in China, combined with visits to leading businesses and networking opportunities with notable CKGSB’s students and alumni.
“The program design hit the nail on the head on what we wanted,” said Dato’ Bruce He elaborated on the group benefiting mostly from the lectures delivered by CKGSB’s seasoned faculty, who were open, forward-thinking and in tune with the latest developments in China. The lectures included unique content about the history and culture of China that was designed specifically for the Malaysian participants. Moreover, the company visits to JD.com, Haidilao, Alibaba’s Hema Fresh, Baifendian, Parkview Green FangCaoDi and NE Tiger addressed the needs of the delegates relating to the sectors they had sought more knowledge on—E-commerce, Big Data & AI, Retail and Catering.
“We were aware of companies like Haidilao, Alibaba, JD.com and their technologies, but what we wanted to know is the soul, DNA and essentially the strategy that make them work. We are fortunate that CKGSB was able to pull strings to connect us to the right executives and the faculty managed to deliver the program in a very lively and relevant manner, so that we could immediately relate to what we want to do in our business,” said Dato’ Bruce.
The program was eye-opening even for participants with successful businesses in China. “I have been operating in China since 2003, where I have 3 manufacturing operations in Kunshan, Changshu & Shanghai,” explained another Malaysian delegate, Hau Mun Meng, Managing Director of NKG Technology. “However, it did not stop me from being awaked and surprised by the depth of insight that CKGSB taught us these few short days. I thought I know enough already, but I’m still impressed.”
The Malaysian Trade Commissioner to China Madam Razida Hanim Abdul Razak also visited CKGSB’s Beijing Campus and participated in selected activities of this program with the group. She spoke highly of the school’s magazine CKGSB Knowledge and expressed great interest to have more collaboration with CKGSB in the future.