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China’s economic boom lures global graduates to start business

外国毕业生热衷赴中国发展.jpg

The enthusiasm of Fanny Gobé and Maria Paloma Fuentes is palpable. Riding high on the initial success of their summer collection of children’s clothes, the two French business graduates are planning their next sales moves, both online and through multi-brand boutiques.

范妮·戈布和玛丽亚·帕洛玛·富恩特斯的热情显而易见。这两个因为自己的夏季童装系列获得初步成功而得意洋洋的法国商学院毕业生正在计划下一步销售举措,包括在线和通过多品牌实体店销售。

The chic edge-to-edge jackets, Bermuda shorts and berets would probably look at home on the rails of Printemps or Galeries Lafayette. Yet their start-up company, Mini Bobi, is not based in Paris. It is in Suzhou, a couple of hours’ drive from Shanghai.

时髦的开襟夹克、齐膝短裤和贝雷帽看上去与法国春天百货或拉斐特百货公司中出售的别无二致。但是其制造商迷你波比时尚服装设计有限公司却并未在巴黎,而是在苏州,一个距离上海仅有数小时车程的城市。

The two Skema alumnae are among the growing number of French graduates who are looking for their first job in China. One catalyst has been the rush of European business schools to establish campuses in China, run joint degree programmes with Chinese universities and set up internship programmes in Beijing and Shanghai.

这两位法国商科联盟国际商学院的女毕业生是越来越多在中国寻找第一份工作的法国毕业生之一。催化剂之一是欧洲商学院竞相在中国开办分校、与中国大学开设联合学位项目以及在北京和上海推出实习生计划的浪潮。

What is more, the growth in the Chinese economy, together with the low cost of entry in cities such as Shanghai, has resonated with graduates worldwide who want to be entrepreneurs.

此外,中国经济的飞速增长,再加上进入上海等城市的低廉费用,引起了全球希望成为企业家的毕业生们的共鸣。

The real advantage of China, though, is simply the scale, says Ms Fuentes. “The opportunities are much more attractive here than in France. If you come up with a new idea it will be really big.”

但是,富恩斯特说,中国真正的优势是其规模。她说:“这里的机会比法国的要富有吸引力得多。如果你想出一个新主意,那么实现的空间真的是非常大的。”

The Mini Bobi clothing range, which combines Parisian style with the stretchy materials and copious waistbands needed by the increasing number of obese children in China’s cities, was the brainchild of Ms Gobé.

迷你波比品牌的服装将“巴黎范儿”与为了迎合中国城市中数量日益增长的肥胖儿童的弹性面料和长腰带相结合,这一切都是出自戈布的构思。

After studying fashion and business in Lille and Shanghai, Ms Gobé completed a gap year in the US and decided to write her thesis on the plus-size market. “In this thesis I made a comparison between the market in the US and China. I wasn’t aware of this market,” she says, adding that in China there are 120m obese children under the age of 18.

戈布分别在里尔和上海学习时尚和商业,然后在美国度过了“间隔年”,她最后决定将大码市场确定为自己的论文主题。她说:“在这篇论文中,我就中美市场做了比较。之前我并没有意识到这个市场。”她补充说,在中国,有1.2亿18岁以下的肥胖未成年人。

In the city of Shanghai more than 18 per cent of children at primary school are overweight — the same percentage as in the US, she says. “I was surprised when I realised [this was the case],” she says.

她说,在上海,超过18%的小学生超重——和美国的比例一样。她说:“(意识到这种情况的时候)我很吃惊。”

"Of the section of the MIB class that spent a year in Beijing, many are enthusiastic about working there," says Nick Sanders, director of the Masters in International Business at Grenoble Graduate School of Business. 

格勒诺布尔大学商学院国际商务硕士系的系主任尼克·桑德斯说,“在中国学习过一年的MIB学生中有很多人想在那里工作。”

“Ninety per cent of them actually want to stay in China,” says Mr Sanders, although practically, only between a quarter and a third will get their first job on graduation in the country. A further 50 per cent will be employed working with China in some capacity, adds Mr Sanders.

桑德斯说:“其中90%的人想留在中国。”尽管事实上,只有三分之一到四分之一的人会在中国开始毕业之后的第一份工作。桑德斯说,还有50%的人将从事与中国有关的工作。

“They tend to be employed where there needs to be an understanding between China and another country.”

“他们通常受雇于需要增进中国与其他国家了解的工作。”

Entrepreneur Matthieu David-Experton, an Essec graduate, who also studied for a second degree at the Guanghua school at Peking University, is now on his second business venture in China — he sold the first, a packaged gift business, after 18 months.

法国高等经济商业学院毕业生、企业家马蒂厄·达维德-埃克斯佩东在北京大学光华管理学院获得了第二个学位,他现在正在中国经营自己的第二家企业。他所创建的第一家企业——一家礼品包装公司在诞生18个月之后即被他出售。

His three-year-old market research company, Daxue Consulting, has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, with a third office planned in Hong Kong. It has 15 employees but by the end of the year he plans to have a staff of 20 and revenues of Rmb7m.

他的市场研究公司DX咨询公司在北京和上海都设有办事处,他正计划在香港设立第三个办事处。公司共有15名员工,他计划到今年年底能拥有20名员工、营业额达到700万人民币。

“What I have always done in China is take a model that works well in Europe, then adapt it.” Most of his clients to date have been international companies looking for information on the China market — western nursing home groups, eager to take advantage of the changing Chinese demographics, have been strong clients. That is changing. “Chinese companies are now looking for better information on their competitors.”

“我在中国总是做的事情,就是选择一个在欧洲运作良好的模式,然后改进它。”他目前的大多数客户都是寻找关于中国市场信息的国际企业——渴望抓住中国改变的人口结构带来的商机的西方私人养老院集团就是其中之一。形势正在发生变化。“中国企业现在想找到关于其竞争对手的更多信息。”

For Mr David-Experton there are clear advantages to working in China, particularly the flexibility and speed to market. Products can be designed and developed in just a few days, he says. “I had the feeling you couldn’t get these things done in this timescale in Europe.” It means entrepreneurs can get a product to market without having to raise too much money, he adds.

对于达维德-埃克斯佩东来说,在中国工作的好处显而易见,特别是市场的灵活性和高效率。他说,产品设计研发出来只需要几天。他说:“我感觉在如此短的时间内在欧洲不可能完成这些事。”他说,这意味着企业家能够将一件产品迅速推向市场而不需要募集过多资金。

But he warns that the Chinese business environment is not plain sailing. “They need to come here and see what is happening. A lot of people come here with ideas that don’t fit with the market.”

但是,他也警告说,中国的商业环境并非总是顺风顺水。“他们需要亲身来这里,看看这里的情况。许多人来到这里,却发现自己的想法完全不适合本地市场。”

It is a message echoed by Manmeet Singh, senior affiliate lecturer at EMLyon Business School, who has worked in China for the past 13 years. “This market has a learning curve, it has a learning curve for everybody. Even the 50-year-old chief executives of multinationals have a learning curve. They can come here and get their butt kicked.”

里昂高等商学院的高级客座讲师曼米特·辛格过去13年中一直在中国工作,他也赞同这种说法。“这个市场有一条学习曲线,对每个人来说都有一条。就算是跨国公司那些50岁的总裁也有他们的学习曲线。他们可以来这里‘受受教育’。”

He also warns that much of the “low-hanging fruit” available to French entrepreneurs a few years ago no longer exists. He cites the example of those who want to set up a wine importing business in China: now the tables are turned and Chinese companies are buying vineyards around the world.

他还警告说,几年前对于法国企业家来说那些“唾手可得”的东西中的大部分已经不存在了。他援引那些想在中国开展葡萄酒进口生意的人的例子说:现在局面发生了逆转,中国企业已经开始在全球购买葡萄园了。

But there are some positive elements about China for European entrepreneurs, he says.

他说,对于欧洲企业家来说,中国也有很多积极因素。

“There’s a lot of money available in the market for the right product.”

“对于‘对’的产品,市场上有大把的钱可赚。”

Mr Singh is heavily involved in Shanghai’s Chinaccelerator, which gives support to both Chinese and international entrepreneurs. Though popular in the US and Europe, incubators are more novel in China.

辛格是上海“中国加速”项目的积极参与者,这个项目为中国和国际企业家提供支持。尽管在美国和欧洲非常流行,“孵化器”这一概念在中国还很新颖。

It was following Skema Business School’s tie-up with a local Suzhou incubator in 2013 that the founders of Mini Bobi decided to locate their company there. Now they are distributing their range of 30 China-manufactured clothing items in Hangzhou and Suzhou as well as Shanghai.

正是因为法国商科联盟国际商学院与一个苏州当地的孵化器项目在2013年建立了合作关系,迷你波比公司的创始人才决定将自己的公司设在苏州。现在,她们正在杭州、苏州和上海销售自己30多个类别中国制造的成衣商品。

The founders are looking to wider distribution to increase sales and are now selling online through Taobao. They are also talking to schools about designing more generous-sized school uniforms.

目前公司的创始人们正在寻找各广阔的销售渠道以增加销量,并且同步在淘宝网进行销售。她们也正在与学校协商设计更大码的校服。

2016-06-24

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