Insider Tips for Design Entrepreneurs Making a Leap to China

Are you a designer looking to expand your business in the China market? Have you ever been baffled by its vast business environment and taxation requirements? Here are some insider tips for you! In the latest DIP Happy Hour gathering held on 14 September, our DIP incubatees were joined by four mentors from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who are experts on tax issues, entrepreneurial skills and business development in mainland China. The mentors shared practical entrepreneurial tips for setting up design businesses in mainland China and had a wonderful exchange with the participants in a relaxing atmosphere.

Bodin Hon, CEO of Yellowdot Design Limited and a DIP designer, shared the goal prioritising skills he has learnt from the session. “As young entrepreneurs, we are very eager to grow and check off as many goals as possible. But the mentors’ advice was to manage the finite resources we have on our hands, spend our time effectively, and not to get sidetracked from our goals. We understand that our target might not necessarily be a Fortune 500 company right out of the gate, but clients that would be most receptive to our design services.” He also mentioned that Yellowdot Design has just completed their first projects in mainland China and the next challenge is to build off of the successful results and reputation and pave the way for their next business venture.

The mentors also mentioned the differences in the legal and business environments of Hong Kong and mainland China. “Hong Kong has a comprehensive legal system which provides good protection for businesses. But on the flipside, it usually takes quite some time to go through all the legal consultation procedures, which may significantly hinder efficiency,” said Donald So, one of the mentors joining the gathering. “Hong Kong design entrepreneurs can be more proactive and straight-to-the-point when they present their work. In mainland China, business decisions are made in the blink of an eye. To pull off business deals, design entrepreneurs should not be too restrained.”

Donald also shared the competitive edge of Hong Kong design startups. Compared to their counterparts in mainland China, they have a global exposure and vision. “Most businesses in mainland China have a plethora of domestic clients and do not have many opportunities to work with international clients yet. But as they reach out to explore the global market, Hong Kong design entrepreneurs can be their guiding light. They can team up with these aspiring mainland companies in their ventures into the ASEAN, European and American markets.”

The DIP designers also shared this interest in the ASEAN region. “In addition to the Chinese market, we hope to explore more and evaluate which place is right for our individual company objectives. We also look forward to future DIP gathering sessions exploring the topic of human resources,” says Bodin Hon. We hope participants found this gathering valuable, and will be more emboldened to venture into mainland China and other global markets.