Success in China is attainable for Turks too
UMUT ERGUNSÜThis summer I had the opportunity to listen to Professor Danny Quah at the London School of Economics when he was giving a presentation on his research “The Global Economy’s Shifting Center of Gravity.” He said, “In 1980, North America and Western Europe produced more than two-thirds of the world’s income, so as a result, in 1980 the world’s economic center of gravity was a point in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. By 2008, because of the continuing rise of India, China and the rest of East Asia, that center of gravity had shifted to a point just outside İzmir.”
According to Quah, “this eastward move will continue until 2050 when the world economic center of gravity will be on the border between India and China.”
Recently, we’ve been hearing more about the “Asia-Pacific century,” so what Quah has to say is not surprising to many of us, but the striking aspect about his research is that he quantified the speed of the world’s shifting center of gravity. The Turkish public should better grasp this dynamic of the shifting balance of power from West to East. And to do that, Turkey needs a better infrastructure for more up-to-date information and news, coming from the Asia-Pacific countries, especially China. Translations of English-language materials into Turkish, for instance, are not good enough anymore; we need a greater presence of Turkish citizens in the Asia region, where awareness about Turkey as a possible partner is on the rise.
The director of the Center for Middle East Studies of Peking University, Associate Professor Wang Suolao, told me that he first visited Turkey for a meeting organized jointly by TÜSİAD and Boğaziçi University in 2006. He pointed out, “Amid turbulent times in the Middle East, Turkey’s stability attracts China’s attention.” He also added that Xi Jinping, who is going to be the president of the People’s Republic of China in March 2013, knows Turkey well.
Professor Wang Lian of Peking University School of International Studies, who wrote a book in Chinese titled “Middle East: Politics and Society,” says that “previously, the highest priority on the agenda for China and Turkey was given to the Uyghur issue, but lately, the first priority is economic cooperation.”
As Turkish Ambassador to China Murat Salim Esenli points out, “Not only Turkish companies are investing more in China and Chinese companies investing more in Turkey, but also the companies from the two sides have started having joint ventures in third countries in North Africa and Eastern Europe.”
There still is huge room for economic cooperation between the public and private sectors of Turkey and China. The success of Turkish companies should encourage others which want to enter the Chinese market.
During my visit to the third factory of the Aksa Power Generation Co. in Changzhou, China, which is said to be one of the world’s biggest generator plants, I learned that half of the generators manufactured in Aksa’s Changzhou plant are exported mainly to Asia-Pacific countries, while the other half are consumed in the domestic Chinese market which makes Aksa Power Generation Co. one of the biggest players in the Chinese market. During our conversation with Alper Peker, the general manager of the Aksa Power Generation Co. in China, I wrote down five key ingredients for success in the Chinese market.
1) Although it is a very different environment, Turkish investors must understand that success in the Chinese market can eventually be attained. 2) Chinese style of business is decipherable: Although to some, China is an enigma and the Chinese working style is hard to master, there is quite a big foreign presence in China. So, that means, if needed, foreigners can adapt to Chinese ways.
3) Enter the market with above-average products: China’s demand for higher-quality products is growing, so it is wise to enter the Chinese market with above-average and higher-quality products.
4) Think long-term and invest in your key Chinese staff: Keep in mind that China is the world’s fastest-growing market and still has a huge potential for further growth. So, make a long-term plan when entering the market and invest in your employees.
5) Be curious: It may take some time before thoroughly grasping China and its dynamics. So, if one wants to be successful in China, one has to understand that every day, there is something new to be learned.