Every week or so, one of our China lawyers will get an email asking how to start a business in China. These emails usually come from someone who has been in China for a year or so at a low paying job or from someone who just recently graduated from college in the United States.
I typically respond with one or two sentences of lawyerly advice, something along the lines of the following:
I do not know what to tell you, never having been an entrepreneur in China myself, but as a lawyer who represent companies that do business with China and in China (including start-up companies), I can tell you that setting up and operating a company in China will be a lot more difficult and expensive than to do the same thing in the United States or Europe, or even the rest of Asia. For an on the ground view of what it takes to be a foreign entrepreneur in China, you should read Sam Goodman’s book, Where East Eats West.
I am now also going to tell them to read Rand Han’s recent post, Confessions of A China Entrepreneur [link no longer exits]. This paragraph tells you what Rand’s post will be about and why you should read it:
So in the interest of fully answering the “China Entrepreneur” question, I’m going to take those of you not already bored with this article down memory lane, and reflect on how many times I got my assed kicked, punched, and handed back to me in a beautifully arranged gift basket during my journey through China’s “wild wild east” business frontier… from the street level looking up.
The post is a no holds barred history of Rand’s Shanghai-based advertising/social media agency. Reading Rand’s post will make you”feel” what it is like to go through starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur in China.