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Interview for Chinese magazine about business networking in Beijing, China

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Earlier in 2015 I did an interview with a Chinese magazine “International Talent’ about networking in China as a foreign professional. Click to read or you can read the article below if the link no longer works.

Building Business Network in China – International Talent Magazine, China

International Talent magazine Interview screenshot

 

 

Building Business Network in China

2015-10-12 本文来自:《国际人才交流》2015/10 作者:ANASTASIA SUKHORETSKAYA分享|

Business networking today is an integral part of building one’s business. The more social connections you have, the more chances you will get to rely on a helping hand in business once you need it. It is not a secret that the Chinese are gurus in networking, as their family bonds are very strong, and, for the most part, it is with a family, where the networking begins in China. However, it is even more important for a foreigner to network in China, especially for the newcomers who found themselves in a very unfamiliar environment and are in need of advice or guidance in some way.
On the internet, the definitions for business networking goes as “the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.” Professional business networking events are staged in mostly big cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai. I won a chance to talk to three business network professionals, based in Beijing, who shared with me what it is like building connections in China for foreigners. They all have been living in Beijing long enough to become familiar with the local business environment and came up with the solutions what a foreigner in China needs to know in order to survive and prosper here.
A founder of FCGroup, a company specialized on networking events in China, is Colin Friedman, an English-born Israeli. He first came to China in the remote 1998 as a foreign expert to work for an Israeli company. In 2005 he resigned and started his own company which was a first step to organizing professional business networking events. Mr. Friedman commented: “There were so many questions from moving to China foreigners like how to start doing something in China, all the answers to which I could not know but other people might know.” After a while he started doing his own networking events for three reasons: first, he wanted to legally acquire a data base of all the contacts; second, he enjoyed meeting new people; third, he thought it would be a good way to advertise a company he had set up.
Now, FCGroup pro-actively helps people to build and strengthen business and professional connections and guanxi in order to leverage and focus business and career objectives. They hold the events every Tuesday, organize monthly daytrips and larger events once per quarter. On my inquiry, who mostly come to the events, Colin responded that it’s always people who can speak English and mostly white collars, with some of the participants just beginning their career and probably not as well-off as people of older age. “There are people who are coming on bicycles and people who are coming on Mercedes Benz”, added Mr. Friedman. Colin’s networking events have different topics every session; normally they can also include some guest lecturers and wine tasting, and always – a lucky draw. The guest lecturers give useful tips on how to sign the contract or compile a resume for foreigners to get a job in China. To break the ice at the beginning of the events, every guest is given a badge with his name and “I am recruiting”, “I’m looking for a new job” labels on the badge of different color. According to Mr. Colin Friedman, there are countless people who found job opportunities, countless people who built business connections and their own business because they met necessary people at his events. Albeit online social network is getting stronger, all of them are cold and impersonal. The advantage of networking events, as said Mr. Colin, is that you get a chance to meet the recruiters and hand them your resume. And it means more chances for you, once your CV lands on their desk.
Vadzim Suhak, a Belarussian-born, working for Russian Culture Center in Beijing, is another networking expert who organizes business networking events for expats in Beijing. He used to do this back in Belarus when he was a student and now brought his experience to Beijing. Vadzim tells: “In other countries rather than China, the way how networking event is conducted is slightly different as the western people don’t need the curator who will be intentionally introducing participants to each other. It is in the nature of a westerner to get to know as many people as they can even though after a while they would forget their names. Concerning Russians and Chinese, they both have many things in common, but still, there are some peculiarities. For example, for the Chinese, the status of his counterpart is important. Russians easily interact on business meetings rather than in normal life, while for the Chinese it’s vice versa”, added Vadzim, “In China more emphasis is placed on the importance of “one of us” or “zijiren” people. According to Mr. Vadzim Suhak, the Chinese more than other nations ask what kind of people will be present at the event. Though for the Chinese people it doesn’t matter what profession you have as they consider every person can be useful – you might know a friend of a friend who can be introduced. This scene is rare in Russia. In addition, the Chinese express more curiosity to people of other nationality, and this trait allows them to interact with foreigners freely. Deviating from the nations’ differences, Mr. Vadzim Suhak said that nowadays offline networking events finely coexist with online networking websites and social platforms like linkedin, facebook, wechat. When people meet each other, they tend to exchange their wechat data, emails, social network profiles etc. At the event, the role of a curator is very important. Sometimes, the organizer needs to uncouple participants who have been chatting for a long time just because it seemed impolite for them to stop the conversation, and in their heart, they were grateful to the organizer for that. Another thing that a good networker should remember is that networking is always an exchange, and if you want to receive something, you need to give something in return. According to Vadzim, networking is more important than the revenue that you as an organizer might get. “Sometimes in different situations like when you are sending your child to school, you need to know the principal of the school; or find an expert in a certain area, networking comes in handy. Money is not a tool, but a final result that is earned by means of cooperation with others. Nowadays the reality is that no one guarantees you job for good. Contracts are signed yearly, and situation often changes. That’s why networking is essential in our changeable times.”
Jarome Matthew, a sound designer and audio engineer, with his own company in Beijing, is organizing networking events and serves as a council for Internations’s networking group. Mr. Jarome Matthew comes from Canada, he has been in China for five years. He says: “Of course, we are new here, and networking is important for me to meet new people and colleagues.” His events are staged monthly on Mondays. Mr. Jarome Matthew’s networking activities focus mostly on his professional area – audio, sound, music, acting. But topics vary. “We choose different topics. For example, last time the topic was how to stay healthy in China. And we invited a lecturer. He talked about the pollution of the factories and how China invest lots of money to improve the situation”, Jarome added. The guest speakers lecture about working permits and immigration laws for foreigners, they can give advice on how to avoid problems in China and help people stay in China for longer.
Albeit all the positive and bright sides of the networking, it takes plenty of time. Also, Jarome Matthew, along with Vadzim Suhak and Colin Friedman, pointed out that the Chinese seem to be more timid at the events and they need a curator to foster their interaction with each other.
They say, where your friends are, there your riches are. Business networking is not always about job and business partners seeking. First of all, it is about broadening your circle of friends. The organizers of the events do their best to create a relaxing environment, to involve people into interaction. It doesn’t matter which country you choose to live in, surrounding yourself with like-minded people is as important as having a good job. In this sense, business networking events in Beijing are served to make life of expats more enjoyable helping the latter with adaptation to a new scene.

China’s awesome V Day 70th anniversary military parade

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

In celebration of National holiday of China, I have compiled a montage of the massive and incredible V Day parade (抗日戰爭勝利紀念日;: Kàngrì Zhànzhēng Shènglì Jìniànrì) in Beijing last month, September 3rd 2015 for 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in 1945. China celebrated it’s awesome military might and arsenal that says to the world “no one dare mess with this strong, unified and powerful country”

The whole center of the city was shut down to make this happen and only VIP were allowed in that area. The only way to put on a spectacle of this magnitude where the president of the most powerful country on earth was riding through the streets greeting those who are protecting the country as you can see from the beginning of the video…

I added a little more interesting music for this thanks to Limp Bizkit’s ‘Rollin’ dedicated to those troops overseas serving for the country.
For those in China, sorry but I was not able to post this on youku.

Flash mob dances to JAMA Z’s Audi e-tron music, Sanlitun, Beijing

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

I am proud to announce cooperation with Audi China to provide official theme music for the Audi e-tron series, under my EDM acronym JAMA Z! It started with a viral video introducing the robot in Shanghai:

The second video in Audi China’s e-tron campaign featuring a flash mob of dancers in Beijing’s famous Sanlitun TaiKoo Li area! See if the e-tron robot can match the dancers moves…

Later, videos were posted to teach you how to do the dance moves, and of some well known Chinese dancers here & here, creating their own dance moves to the music. Take a look and keep your eye out for surprise appearances of the robot!
(Note: These videos will load very slowly outside China and will have advertisements before)

Audi e-tron dancers Sanlitun Taikoo Li BeijingAudi e-tron robot

Sound Design and Mixing on short film for Huawei

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

We recently did Audio Editing, Sound Design, Music Recording, and the Audio Mixing for this short film to promote the launch of the X1 media pad, a new phone meets tablet computer by Huawei. It’s a colourful and glamorous piece of work that follows a man and a woman – the titular Mary Day – who have accidentally swapped luggage and work out the issue during an internet date.
We were able to get the real sound of the car used in the shoot for authentic feeling!


Huawei presents: Mary Day from Goodstein

Viewing from within China? See low quality version below.
We welcome you to visit our new Sound Design page to see more examples of our film and game work.

On the set of Huawei Mary Day film

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Music company Pro Soul officially launches in Beijing, China

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Chinese flag

I have some big news. I have merged my music production work with my music marketing and promotion company, Pro Soul Alliance.
And I’m excited to officially announce something we’ve been working on for over 2 years now, launching Pro Soul Alliance in China.

China is a huge, emerging market for the music industry, but currently in it’s infancy, and immature. Professional assistance is desperately needed due to crippling discouragement for artists attributed to the pervasive downloading of music. There is also a huge lack of ‘official’ presence for foreign artists who are becoming very popular in China. That means huge opportunity for those willing to support, develop and nurture this challenging market.

At the end of 2011, Pro Soul announced a new world class recording and production studio in Beijing as our first step. Now we are offering promotion, marketing, sales and distribution both within China and outside to our existing artists and Chinese artists through our local office in Beijing. Unlike other companies offering music services in China, we are based within China, and our local office is staffed with bilingual locals who know the market and culture, and have experience working with Chinese and international artists here.
Pro Soul has been legally registered as a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise in China under the name ‘敬真堂(北京)文化咨询有限公司’ Which translates to ‘Respect Truth (Beijing) Culture Consultancy Co. Ltd.’ (This was as close as we could get to our english name given the language and cultural differences. We kind of like how depending on the translation of our Chinese name, it can mean ‘Church of Truth’)

Because China is a complex and daunting market for a foreign company, we are starting out with the following basic range of services:

For Chinese artists:

 

  • Focusing on getting Chinese artists who are ready exposure internationally
  • Getting international distribution and sales for Chinese music (iTunes, Spotify, Nokia)
  • Promotion and marketing for Chinese artists overseas by connecting with interested markets and fans

 

For International Artists:

  • Digital distribution for international artists in China (including essential mobile stores China Mobile, Unicom, Telecom)
  • Promotion and marketing in China focusing on key social networking sites like Weibo, Douban, Youku
  • Collaboration with Chinese artists and recording traditional Chinese instruments with local professionals

As Pro Soul continues researching the industry and experimenting with new techniques for promotion and marketing music in China, we will also be offering licensing for Chinese music internationally in Film, TV, and online, expanding their revenue sources. We will also assist Chinese artists who are ready create their own business and develop music career in China to maximize their profit and control. Of course we will also be able to assist international artists book shows and organize tours in China in future.

Pro Soul has already begun assisting international artists Elika Mahony, and Hart as well as Chinese artist Abominati get exposure in China.

You can sign up right now for promotion, marketing and  distribution in China with the ‘Professional Artist Management and Consulting Asia’ option on our Get Started page.
For artists within China, we have a new website entirely in Chinese with a helpful blog focused on the local market.

For more information, please contact our China artist services manager BeiBei Lei

This means you will see less posts on my blog about music business, promotion and marketing, and music production as more of those posts will be featured on the Pro Soul Alliance blog so please check it out and subscribe for some great information like how to earn money licensing music on youtube, and my latest news and projects!

My meeting with Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Last may I was at a music conference in Singapore called Music Matters, focused on the future of the music industry, particularly in Asia.
(Thanks to the talented Michael aka Mobidextrous & Miss Melody for helping making this happen!)

Although I didn’t hear too much that I hadn’t heard before, it was great to gain some insights into the music scene in Asia, where Korean Pop is becoming like Beatlemania, and Mainland China is still no where to be seen…
Amongst many industry leaders and respected professionals, I had the pleasure of spending some time briefly with the busy Troy Carter, manager for Lady GaGa.

Troy Carter with Jarome Matthew of Pro Soul Alliance
Troy Carter. Lady Gaga’s manager and I

We discussed the importance of Asia for Lady GaGa despite difficulties in places like Indonesia with pressure from Islamic groups causing cancellation of her show there this week.

Troy confirmed that China is an important place for the future of Lady GaGa, but given the undeveloped state of the music industry there and various other challenges for foreign artists, they will take some time to plan and prepare for an official presence in Mainland China.
Ga Ga however sold out 4 shows in Hong Kong recently, with many mainland Chinese attending.

I was happy to hear Troy confirm that building a relationship with fans is the most important thing an artist can do, even for a major success like Gaga. he also talked about the importance of being comfortable with using social media and other technology to connect with fans, as important as touring was 20 years ago.

I look forward to helping out when China is ready for Lady GaGa’s appearance in the near future!

Troy Carter, manager, Lady Gaga

Recording for Cheng Lin’s new Chinese release “Greater Than Gold”

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Over the last year since I set up a studio in Beijing, I’ve had the privilege of working with one of China’s most respected and well loved artists, Cheng Lin on songs for her new album, ‘Greater Than Gold’. Although not all the songs we worked on have been included in this release, I am happy to have been able to help with the project in some way.
I blogged about a song that we worked on which I also produced and arranged, Only One Earth which won a Green China award.
One track in particular, Ray of Light, was the final vocal recording for the album before Cheng Lin decided it was time to get this album out.

Cheng Lin 'Greater Than Gold' Album cover

Having sold more than 25 million albums through her career Cheng Lin is no stranger to album releases. What’s unique with this launch is that it’s her first album release in 15 years and it marks both and ending and a new starting point of her career.

The album covers remixes of some of her biggest hits throughout her career as well as brand new material inspired by western and multicultural rhythms and melodies. The result is a unique music style, produced by three time Grammy Award winner KC Porter.

It was a pleasure to collaborate on Cheng Lin’s album with a producer who’s catalog of music and productions includes artists such as Ricky Martin, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Carlo Santana, and Beyonce.

It was very cool to see Lin performing songs from the new album to a full house  in one of Beijing’s largest theatres, and hear a live band performing my arrangement of one of her songs, and hear the audience singing along with her hits!
You can listen to some of Cheng Lin’s new album ‘Greater Than Gold’ and purchase it here in North America.

Cheng Lin Green T House, Beijing

Happy New Year, Xinnian Kuaile! All about China in 10 minutes

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Chinese Year of Dragon

On the eve of Chinese New Year, Year of the Dragon, the legendary spring festival, fireworks are already going off all day.
To celebrate this rich and highly complex culture, I am sharing everything you need to know but probably don’t about China in 10 minutes:

Since childhood, the fireworks were always a big deal to me, I remember paying $10 for a pack of 100…
Yesterday I went to the seasonal fireworks shop in the land of origin, and they come in cakes of 5000 for $40!
But that’s not the biggest, see below:

10,000 Firecracker cake, China

10,000 Firecracker cake, China

The fireworks here are some of the loudest you will ever hear. It’s like a war zone here for 2 weeks!
The Chinese believe that if you make enough noise, any bad things will be frightened off and your new year will start out with only greatness.

 

Fireworks shop, Beijing China

Fireworks shop, Beijing

祝願你們也有個好年!吃得好,睡得好,身體好,過年好!
– Wish you have a good year! Eat well, sleep well, good health, Happy New Year!

Live recording of DAO in the Beijing Forbidden City Hall

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Last Sunday, June 12th, I had a took on a job to do a live recording of a unique and diverse performance in the Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall for conductor Nick Smith of the Peking Sinfonietta and International Festival Choir, with guests on Percussion Claviers de Lyon from France.

Forbidden City Music Hall
Not only was the line up of performers unique, but the material itself, with Creation by Gérard Lecointe Rapsodie Espagnole by Maurice Ravel, and the world-premiere of a new specially-commissioned work – DAO – from renowned Chinese composer He Shaoying. Described by the composer as a musical manifestation of Chinese philosophical thought, the work included many special effects to realize his vision

The gamut of instruments was impressive and a bit of a challenge to record live accurately given the dynamics of the performance which ranged from a literal whisper of the choir to thunder of massive bass drum and gongs. There was quite a range of tuned percussion, xylophone, marimba, bells, vocals, grand piano, and other instruments I didn’t recognize. Not only were the instruments diverse, but how they were played in extended manner, striking piano strings with hand, and bowing the marimba rather than playing with the mallet.
I guess when musically representing the ‘creation of the universe according to DAO’ then these techniques are necessary.
I used a simple stereo mic setup in the front row, recording through a firewire interface into my Macbook Pro laptop:

Forbidden City Music Hall Mic setup with first movement, only 4 performers

Forbidden City Music Hall Mic setup for first movement, only 4 performers

It was Presented by China International Culture Exchange Center and China International Cultural and Arts Company.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take a photo with the full orchestra, but from my seat I couldn’t see it all.

I don’t imagine the recording will be released to the public, but if you come by the studio sometime you can have a listen, it’s quite something.

 

New Beijing music sound studio now completed!

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

I blogged recently about the construction of a new studio in Beijing after an electrical fire destroyed the building my first studio here was in.
I didn’t think it would take so long to get it done properly as I hired the best I could find to do it. But the standards I aspire to for things just aren’t commonly understood in China, so not only have I had to supervise and hand hold at every step of the way, I had to get the contractors to redo the entrance door to the studio to get the soundproofing required (the nice door in the construction photos in the blog link above had to go…).
Now I am quite pleased with the result, and although I am still working out a few minor details and wiring up some of the non essential analog outboard gear, the studio is finally ready and I’ve been doing a lot of work in it to catch up, and get used to it, including recording with Miss Melody, and Elika Mahony who blogged about the experience in the new studio.

Here’s a photo of the control room:

New Beijing sound music Studio control room

Here’s the recording booth. It’s professionally built to completely isolated from outside sound, and is large enough to fit a full live band:

New Beijing sound music studio recording booth

recording booth with new Neumann mic

Since the studio is in a renovated traditional Chinese courtyard building, I was determined to keep the feeling that was originally there, which was quite a challenge acoustically as there is a lot of glass including a glass roof! But whatever wasn’t perfected in design, I was able to compensate for with sophisticated software that corrects anomalies and imperfections in the room for my monitors.
This has allowed me to create what I feel is one of the most unique studios in China if not the world!
I felt my previous studio in Beijing was quite impressive, but everyone who has visited both say this new one is a vast improvement, so I am very pleased. Take a look:

new Beijing courtyard sound studio entrance

new Beijing courtyard sound studio entrance


new Beijing sound studio entance

new Beijing sound studio before construction

studio building courtyard before construction

new Beijing sound studio rear

new studio rear after construction

new Beijing sound studio recording boothjarome in the new studio mixing room

 

I’m not one to boast about equipment I use, but I will at least say that all the equipment has been imported into China for the best possible quality, no fakes or imitations! Just the real thing, Apple, Neve, JoeMeek, Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, RME, Mackie, Alesis, Tannoy with Mogami cabling and Neutrik connectors all the way! This is driven by Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic with Waves, Audio Ease, Spectrasonics, Native Instruments, East West software to name a few.
Many of these are recent additions to my existing range of classic analog and cutting edge digital equipment, making this new studio in Beijing the most powerful, highest quality studio I’ve had in my 20 years as a music producer and audio engineer.

I’ve put a huge amount of time, trouble and great expense to make this one of the best, top quality music and sound design studios in Beijing.
It wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of many wonderful friends and clients in China, you know who you are, Thank you so much!

I am getting very booked in advance, so please contact me now if you want to work on a project.
I’ll be posting a blog about an open house this month very soon.

I hope you get to visit the studio in the near future! Please contact me for more info.