Week 3 rating is…….
Thankfully GZ started getting back to normal after Chinese New Year. I had 3 meetings with 3 diverse business owners.
My first meeting took place over Skype on Tuesday with a young Chinese entrepreneur who has designed a wireless printer which uses a mobile app called “Wechat” to print out Polaroid style photos. The conversation went well and that led to a meeting on Wednesday at his offices on the campus of one of the technical Universities here. It was interesting to see a group of young guys chasing the entrepreneurial dream. Some of the team actually slept in the office on camp beds to keep costs down while they’re trying to get their product to gain some traction. We discussed the possibility of me reselling the product in Europe but after some investigation we decided that it didnt really make a lot of sense. The reason is simple math. There are 400 million “Wechat” users in China and only 10 million In the rest of the world.
It was the really good to meet the guy and while no business came out of it we got on well and you never know what might happen in the future. In the mean time I have agreed to help him and his team improve their promotional and investor brochures once they have been translated into “rough” english.
My 2nd meeting was with an early 30s Chinese programmer who runs in outsourcing company for web and mobile app development. I met him at his office in central GZ. When I arrive I was introduced to the team, his fellow founder and 3 other developers. For what ever reason they were all very happy to meet me. After the introductions we went into Leon’s office where we spent the next hour talking about life, career, family, China and everything in between. We then go to the real reason that I was there which was to help him improve the english copy on his website. While he spoke very good English, the copy on the website didn’t do a good job of conveying to their potential clients their level of expertise and experience.
After a couple of hours it was time for lunch and Leon insisted I stay. He made a quick call and 10 minutes later lunch arrived which consisted of rice, grilled ginger chicken and chinese cabbage. Over lunch we continued our discussion about business, plans for the future etc. Around 2pm we finished up and agreed to meet the following week to review what I had come up with. I left the meeting feeling pretty sure I had met not only a really cool person but a guy I could defiantly see working with at some point in the future.
Meeting number three of the week was with a Dutch guy who had been living in GZ for the past eight years. We arranged to meet for coffee around 8pm on Thursday and I thought we would probably chat for 30-45mins to see if there was something I could help him with. Right off the bat we got on really well and talked about pretty much everything. We had read many of the same books and shared the same interests. This was strange for me as this guy in a serial Entrepreneur who’s started multiple online companies, also-ran a very successful trading company in GZ and his most recent project is a web based application (with 3 million users) which integrates with the super popular app called INSTAGRAM.
We were getting on so well that we only realised how late it was when the staff at the coffee shop asked us to leave as they were closing. Another great meeting with a successful, really nice entrepreneur. He suggested that we get together for another drink or even have dinner at his place which would be awesome.
That brough a close to the week meeting wise so all that was left to do was renew my visa which I did on Friday. It was super easy and was a great way to end a sucessful week filled with getting to know some really good people.
Week 4 rating is…….
This week was really good but for a different reason. I actually only met one new person and I met him by accident. He came to dinner at my place as he is friends with the people I’m staying with. We didn’t get to talk that much as he was catching up with the other people. I did however manage to enquire about what he did and it was interesting enough for me to get his number and contact him the following day (Monday) to suggest we get together.
He’s an Italian guy who’s been in GZ for around 8 years and in that time he has built a really successful international trade company. He developed his own products for the construction industry and now sells them mostly in South America. The main reason we hit it off is he also started trading forex and that is something I have a lot of experience in doing. He’s really just starting out so I’ve been able to help him a little with this and that.
Over the last week we’ve met 4 times in total and discussed trading forex but also international trade. I learned what’s involved, the terminology, how to find factories, how you ship things, customs, duties, how to set up companies and whether or not you can make a living simply sourcing products or whether that is not really a viable business going forward. We also discussed health, diet, longevity, family, girlfriends and a bunch of other stuff. Basically we discovered over the course of this week that we have a lot in common and I think we will defiantly stay in touch.
I met Leon on Tuesday to show him what I’d come up with for improving his website. The format was similar to last meeting in that we chatted about lots of different life stuff for around an hour before we got down to business. He also suggested that we grab dinner or drinks and he wanted me to meet his family which was a really nice offer. When I showed him the improvements I came up with, I was quite surprised that he liked everything. I suggested that he talk them over with his partner so we could agree on the final draft before we out it up live on the web. He invited me to stay for lunch again but I already had lunch prepared at home so I respectfully declined.
Aside from that I picked up my visa today (Friday) and discovered I got 4 extra days that I wasn’t expecting which was a nice surprise!!
Next weeks update will have something to do with the house party I’m going to tomorrow night which should give me an opportunity to meet a lot of entrepreneurs, my first GZ art event and my 36th birthday.