Speed means efficiency
A graduate of telecommunications engineering, Mr. He established the branch office in Frankfurt single-handedly in 2008 to scout out new customers and marketing opportunities. China Telecom Deutschland GmbH was founded in 2010 with an initial workforce of just two. The team now consists of 32 staff and next year Mr. He anticipates they will need to double their office space. Company HQ is currently on the 15th floor of the Westhafentower on the Main river. Mr. He chose the location for its excellent accessibility, in the immediate vicinity of the main train station, highway and airport, enabling fast access to customers. The telecoms veteran knows better than anyone that “speed means efficiency.”
Unusually for a Chinese start-up, all employees, including Mr. He himself, were hired locally. The German staff look after the German customers and are responsible for marketing and project management, while the Chinese staff – who all completed their training in Germany – attend to the Chinese companies in Germany. All staff have Chinese language skills. “There are always cultural differences,” says Mr. He, “and only by remaining in constant exchange and engaging in team-building can we gradually eliminate all misunderstandings.” Every year he organizes advanced training for the German staff in China, to enable them to become more familiar with the culture and its people.
Mr. He’s advice to potential Chinese investors is first and foremost to respect the needs of the local market: the company needs to be based in situ and should utilize the local workforce, with all its advantages. Secondly, before investing, the German market should be properly researched so that suitable products can be customized or developed with a pre-defined strategy.