MBA China

CEIBS And INSEAD Help Chinese Enterprises Expand Into Europe

The one-week programme, that will run in Fontainebleau this summer, will help leading Chinese entrepreneurs understand the European market

Written by Maria Ahmed | MBA China | Wednesday 21st March 2012 23:59:16 GMT

Chinese enterprises such as TCL and Zoomlion have had to learn key lessons the hard way when venturing into the European market

Chinese enterprises such as TCL and Zoomlion have had to learn key lessons the hard way when venturing into the European market

News just in that CEIBS and INSEAD are partnering up to offer Chinese entrepreneurs practical advice and first-hand knowledge of the European market, especially in the traditionally tricky area of branding. Some Chinese enterprises have been burned badly in the European market, but INSEAD and CEIBS have gathered some success stories to share their insights. Looks set to be a fascinating week! Another programme will run later in the year, to teach European entrepreneurs how to do business in China.

The new programme – “Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in Europe” – in Fontainebleau, France from June 25 to 30, 2012.

The aim: to help leading Chinese entrepreneurs deepen their understanding of the European market, and offer a platform to reflect on experiences and lessons gleaned from years of economic and trade relations between the two sides. The programme is tailored to senior executives of Chinese enterprises entering or expanding in the European market – either on their own or through M&A. Participants will include company presidents, general managers, international/corporate strategy formulators, as well as business owners.

In stressing the importance of this partnership between CEIBS and INSEAD, CEIBS Vice President & Dean Prof. John Quelch described it as “a meaningful event that can help Chinese enterprises build successful businesses in Europe”, and “a wonderful opportunity” for Chinese entrepreneurs aspiring to build businesses in Europe to “thoroughly understand the European market”.

Despite the current economic downturn in Europe, Chinese enterprises may find their investment opportunities there are better than ever: on March 7, China’s Minister of Commerce Mr. Chen Deming announced that China would encourage its enterprises to boost ties with Europe in the areas of trade and investment.

Sino-European trade has surged rapidly in recent years, as have cross-border M&A deals undertaken by Chinese companies in Europe. The new CEIBS-INSEAD collaboration is therefore particularly timely. As Chen Deming stated, it is in China’s interest to boost investment in Europe, its most important trade partner and its largest source of technology imports. Trade between China and Europe reached $567bn in 2011, and China’s exports to Europe totalled $350bn in the same year. Economic development and prosperity in Europe is tightly intertwined with China’s own growth, and China will work with Europe to help it overcome its difficulties for the mutual benefit of both sides.

“Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in Europe” is structured to allow CEIBS and INSEAD to complement each other’s strengths, further cementing the ties of Sino-European relations. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has, in the past, spoken highly of CEIBS as “an incubator for excellent business leaders”; as relations between China and Europe strengthen, CEIBS hopes to help Chinese enterprises accelerate their pace of going global.

The “Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in Europe” programme will invite Chinese entrepreneurs with hands-on experience in doing business in Europe to share their successes and the challenges faced with participants, offering more practical advice and first-hand knowledge about the European market.

Quite different from China, Europe has a fascinating culture with deep historical and religious roots. To build a strong presence in the region, especially in the areas of brand building and distribution, Chinese enterprises have to understand the impact of cultural, historical, and religious influences on the mindsets and behaviour of European consumers. The “Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in Europe” programme places strong emphasis on understanding the different facets of the European market, providing participants with first-hand experience as they attend field trips to local enterprises in Fontainebleau to learn from their distribution channels, visit several world-renowned French companies, and then analyse how marketing approaches have evolved in the European market from the development history of century-old brands there.

Chinese enterprises have had to learn key lessons the hard way when venturing into the European market in the past. TCL reported heavy losses after its acquisition of Thomson, spending 6 years on painful restructuring before recovering. Shortly after Zoomlion’s purchase of CIFA, CIFA suffered the worst financial losses in its history; it subsequently took several years for Zoomlion to make adjustments in areas such as personnel in order to shake off its operational difficulties. It is crucial for executives to become intimately familiar with the complexities of the European market, so as to ensure they can navigate around such pitfalls and ensure the healthy development of their businesses in Europe.

As Chinese enterprises go global, international enterprises are also increasing their investment in China. Thus, CEIBS and INSEAD will also jointly launch another programme that will be delivered at CEIBS later this year – “Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in China”. This programme will serve as a platform for entrepreneurs from China, Europe, and even the rest of the world, to explore ways to build successful businesses in China.

Prof. Nandani Lynton believes that the “Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in China” programme will provide an authentic and in-depth picture of China and, through the study of real-world cases of both successful and failed enterprises, enable participants to gain insight into China’s unique business environment, identify opportunities and find ways to achieve sustainable profitability in China. “This programme”, she added, “is based on in-depth research conducted by CEIBS and INSEAD in China.”

For now, the focus is on the “Expanding Opportunities: Doing Business in Europe” programme, which is now open for enrolment. English proficiency is not essential as simultaneous interpretation will be offered. 

For more details contact:

Rachael McGuinness
Media Officer,
CEIBS Marketing & Communications
Tel: (86-21) 2890-5503

Ms. Julia Zhang, CEIBS EDP
Tel: (86 21) 2890 5213 / 138 1897 1933
Fax: (86 21) 2890 5183


More about students, alumni and programmes at INSEAD here


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