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Doing Business in The Middle Kingdom “What kind of business can an American CPA firm do in China?” asked many of our clients and friends before and after my 12-day trip to China earlier this summer. surplus. Some say China is on its way to becoming the world’s leading economy and is already there in terms or PPP (Purchasing Power Parity).
Well, the “business” happens at home here in the U.S., where Chinese investors need accounting, tax planning and preparation, payroll, and overall business advising for the companies they buy or invest in in the U.S. Both Laz and I have worked in international tax in our earlier careers, so it was a natural progression for us to work with U.S. businesses owned by international investors. After having the privilege of working with South-American, European, and Canadian business owners, we’re now branching into working with more Asian investors. So when the chance arose to be part of a group of eight on an Ohio trade mission to visit Beijing, Jinan, Weihai, Xian, and Shanghai, I jumped at the opportunity.
The number of Chinese investors in the U.S. is rapidly growing. We, as a service business, are trying to stay relevant when looking to the future by catering to this segment of clientele “concierge”-style.
So how was China?
To be honest, it was never on my bucket list to visit China before, but I have to admit, I fell in love with it! What better way of learning more about Chinese culture, business etiquette, way of thinking, and customs than to actually visit their land, eat their food, and meet them in their own environment?
Why this interest in China?
The food was nothing — absolutely nothing — like the “Chinese food” in the U.S.! It was a thousand times better: a hundred varieties of vegetable and meat dishes, always fresh and light, no sweets whatsoever. We all know that China is huge, but I was surprised how that affects everyday life: anytime we went out in Beijing, a capital that has 30 million residents, it was a minimum 1.5-hour cab ride each way. The sight of huge construction projects everywhere is overwhelming: clusters of 10–15 apartment buildings being built at the same time, each 32–40 stories high, and skyscrapers by the dozen in the city centers … State-of-the-art technology is used everywhere: We traveled from Beijing to Jinan and from Jinan to Weihai by ultra-modern, comfortable, high-speed trains, the most fascinating being the Maglev (magnetic levitation) train in Shanghai, with its 268-mph top speed!
With population of 1.4 billion, China has around four times more people than the U.S. Its economy is growing at almost three times the rate of ours, and it has a trade
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