Holston's View

Business Critique

Private Equity in China

by JB on April 19, 2012

All this discussion about emerging markets around different areas of the world sounds excellent.

But once you realize how difficult it will be to get in because you are a foreigner with no connections you’re going to reevaluate all of this talk.

And if you are trying to break into the private equity market in China it is going to be virtually impossible if you are a foreigner. Because this specific market is extremely difficult to break into.

The good news, is that you should never give up and you absolutely have to try to break in if this is the specific geographic area you want to work in.

So let’s go over some strategies that will allow you to break into private equity within the Chinese region.

First, try to do something tangentially related to the Chinese market. For example, try to network with different contacts within the region where you want to work and use your skills to provide advising expertise.

Second, at least become proficient in standard Chinese. Although trying to learn business Chinese is unrealistic as long as you can somewhat communicate you will be one step ahead of the rest.

Third, use LinkedIn and your own personal resource of contacts to try to find people from your own country that are currently working in China. Establishing a solid network can help you by leaps and bounds.

Fourth, make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized and easy to understand. Although your overall response rate will be very low when using LinkedIn, you can increase your chances of success if you pay a lot of attention to how your profile looks. The more professional it looks the better you off you will be.

Fifth, contact the local Chamber of Commerce and try to network with as many ex-pats as possible. Do not underestimate the power of doing a lot of ground-level work.

Sixth, consider working for free. If you can eliminate all risk from your potential employer they are more likely to take you on board and then you can demonstrate your excellent skill set and work ethic.

Seventh, make sure the place where you want to work at is actually real and has a real office. A lot of companies will have a strong online presence but it is a simple farce.

Eighth, if possible try to get an internship while you’re still in school. Although this is not going to be feasible if you are already in the workforce, having a little preplanning can go a very long ways.

In the future, working at China is going to be extremely difficult because they are hiring less and less foreigners. So make sure you implement and take action on the above pointers if you really want to break into the Chinese private equity market.

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