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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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Caring for others can increase life expectancy & decrease stress

Monday, September 9th, 2013

I haven’t been blogging much lately, not for lack to write about, but too much.
I’ve had so many massive changes in my life, some giving me the worst pain and stress I’ve ever experienced.
Guess that’s what happens when you give up a comfortable, western life to serve others and accomplish your dreams…
Naturally I was interested in a Ted.com video called “How to make stress your friend”.
I was expecting some helpful tips, but the research revealed in this video is incredible.

Did you know there’s a neuro-hormone, oxytocin, with its own cute nickname, the cuddle hormone, because it’s released when you hug someone. Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. When oxytocin is released in the stress response, it is motivating you to seek support. Your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel instead of bottling it up. Your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you. All of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support, so when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress. I find this amazing, that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection. Human connection reduces stress.

And that’s not all.  Every major stressful life experience increases the risk of dying by 30 percent. BUT, People who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. Zero. Caring created resilience. When you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience. Now I wouldn’t necessarily ask for more stressful experiences in my life, but this science has given me a whole new appreciation for stress!

Science has proven doing things for other people is the most effective way to be happy. And now, they’ve proven caring for others increases life expectancy by decreasing stress! Watch for yourself here:

Ted.com:Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

More and more, research and developments worldwide are showing the futility of the individualistic, selfish lifestyle common in collapsing western countries.
One of the key principles of my belief which I believe comes from God is service to others and humanity. Another is the harmony of science and religion. It’s so confirming to see these things come together, and common sense and spiritual ideals prevailing…

 

France to Support its Music Industry Through Smartphone Tax

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Indie artists like poker player Vanessa Rousso will benefit from this plan

music downloads

Music piracy is one of the biggest reasons why the recording industry is losing billions of dollars in profit. Instead of buying compact discs, people just download songs online, thus depriving artists the chance to earn from solely from CD sales. In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that around 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded between 2004 and 2009, leading to the industry’s $12.5 billion economic loss with most people using their smartphones and tablets to download songs illicitly from file sharing portals, although many argue the validity of these numbers…

While a lot of international agencies are powerless in terms of regulating illegal downloads, a French government official has found a way to address music piracy. With France among the world’s biggest smartphone markets, French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti urged the government that it is high time to put a taxation system on such devices in order to help the music industry. Under the proposed law, smartphones and tablets—which are used by people to download songs, e-books, and other forms of digital media—should be subjected to one percent tax. The smartphone tax scheme came in the wake of the Virgin Megastores decision to shut down 26 of its stores across France. The music and DVD retailer went bankrupt on June 12 and is now subjected to liquidation.

“It could lead to a fund that would finance record stores in difficulty, help the music industry or photographers. This fee will be paid at the time of purchase. It will be painless for the consumer. In the end, it would have a very profound impact on the entire cultural sector,” the culture official added.

Currently, France is the second among the EU5 countries when it comes to mobile device ownership. Global research firm comScore reported that there are at least 7.1 million smartphone owners in France, with the numbers expected to double in the next five years.

If these mobile users will shoulder the one percent tax imposed on smartphone sales, then small-time artists will get a stable support not just from the government but from the general public as well.

One musician who will gladly welcome this news is pro poker player turned indie electronic artist Vanessa Rousso. Lately, the World Poker Tour veteran has been tiptoeing from poker tables to turntables as an electronic musician. In fact, she studied songwriting, music theory and composition, sound design, and digital production for four years before her very first gig at the Marquee Club in Las Vegas. To pursue her new endeavor, she spent a lot of time, energy, and money to perfect her newfound love for music. Even if she always ends up at seventh place in Partypoker Premier League tournaments just like in 2010, it wouldn’t really hurt her wallet much now because the French government is willing to fund the dreams of people like her through the smartphone tax scheme. If this plan pushes through, the financially-embattled musicians will no longer beg for support. What’s left for them to do is make good music that people will keep on playing using their gadgets.

Recent News

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

I have done a terrible job of updating my blog lately, but not for lack of things to post about…

In fact the problem is that it’s been too busy and there have been too many exciting things going on for me to be able to update my blog about them…

I’ve been producing a lot more singles, not so many albums which is not surprising given the direction of the industry, but here is one of my more recent releases:
Edge of Forever by Elika Mahony

Here are some though that we’ve posted at Pro Soul Alliance:

At Music Matters Asia conference in Singapore this week

China’s Pop Icon Cheng Lin is back in concert this week

BTV China features Pro Soul Studio and my work in China

I’ll post more about what I’ve been producing soon, some of the artists can be found here

 

 

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

The future of education is here! Khan Academy online

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Since I posted about the insightful Ken Robinson talk about how defective the education of our children is, I’ve been thinking, how do I avoid putting my son into this mess? When will a functioning solution exist to address Ken’s excellent suggestions to reform education, given that government institutions are lazy, disinterested and short of funding?

Well as a parent, I was practically jumping up and down with excitement to learn of the non-profit Khan Academy.
Do you think founder Sal Khan is an education major? Of course not. Watch the amazing story about how this developed and how it mushroomed into a serious force in eduction with Bill Gates and Google supporting it: