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Far Eastern small and medium-sized businesses find it difficult to establish ties with China without state support

Difficulties translating into Chinese

Anna Kochemasova

Director of ANO "Regional Agency for Entrepreneurship Promotion", Khabarovsk Territory
Against the backdrop of the dynamically developing cooperation of the Far East with China, EastRussia correspondent talked with Anna Kochemasova, the director of the Regional Entrepreneurship Support Agency of Khabarovsk Krai.

- Anna, tell me, what is the peculiarity of the dialogue between the Far Eastern business and China?
- Now you can often hear that it is difficult for someone in the Far East to come to an agreement with China. It is not true. Simply reaching an agreement with our Chinese colleagues is a very long process. Whatever it touches. But here some reservation should be made - some negotiations with China are now going on rather quickly. Because if the Chinese side is strongly interested in something, then, as usual, it achieves this very quickly. And now, being interested in Russian products, it is accordingly proactive in meeting its interests in Russia. Therefore, if someone has been unable to settle something with China today for too long, it simply means that the proposal put forward to China is not very necessary. Or, that he is faced with a choice. After all, one must perfectly understand that China is always considering many options. And this is the second reason that often complicates negotiations with China today. But, one way or another, the Khabarovsk Territory today has no choice but to reckon with it. Since when it comes to export, there are very few other options available for export from the Khabarovsk Territory today.

- Tell us, please, but how exactly are negotiations of small and medium business in the Far East with Asians today?
- Pass with the participation of various kinds of organizations that support the development of small and medium-sized businesses. At the same time, negotiations with countries such as China and Japan go much faster if they see that a federal and / or regional government is behind a particular small or medium-sized business. And even faster - when accompanied by a specific representative of the government of the region. It is about consulting, educational, educational assistance of these organizations, federal and regional authorities to business. And even their most intimate contact with business in the process of dialogue with the countries of Asia. At the same time, there is the fact that small and medium-sized businesses in the Far East are not only needed to help today, but are absolutely necessary. And not only financially, but comprehensively. But it is also obvious that it is necessary to build a dialogue with Asia in accordance with the order it has established - it is much easier to achieve results. Otherwise, you can fight for many years.

- And what about the language barrier in the Far East in the framework of negotiations with Asia?
- Translation problems are not worth it. Due to the fact that many Russians live in the northern provinces of China, and, however surprising it may seem, a large number of Chinese in these provinces are well acquainted with the Russian language. The students from China, students in higher educational institutions of the Far East bring their contribution here - if that, they can perfectly cope with the translation. In addition, it is now very common practice that Chinese companies hire their own Russian-speaking translators for those other negotiations with Russia.

- You marked the Russians who know Chinese, who live in China. And how do they speak Chinese in the Far East?
- First, I would like to point out the need for him to own the management of a business interested in one or another contact with China. If the head of an enterprise does not know not that Chinese, but also the corresponding dialect, does not understand China as such, including its mentality and etiquette, is not imbued with its culture, then success does not shine for him. And, unfortunately, while large enterprises today have a foreign economic department and international lawyers, small and medium-sized businesses, of course, do not. His staff is extremely scarce, and in anything unusual, complex, specific, he tries to get by on his own. At the same time, like the majority of the management of small and medium-sized businesses in the Far East, and in general among the population, few people speak Chinese. No, it is popular here, but it cannot be compared with how popular Russian is in the northern provinces of China - our language is much more common there.

- And how much to help the Far Eastern small and medium-sized businesses the recently launched Internet resource SberCheck.com - a kind of navigator for Russian business?
- A great need for this kind of resource is the ability to quickly and easily understand that in China everything is not as simple and transparent as it seems. But at the same time, what is needed now is that our companies directly realize the simple thing that inducing relevant information about the company of interest is not only China’s desire, but also a necessity. 

Moreover, as far as China receives information about the Far East, it certainly does not have any problems with it, because it is fully present in the economy of the Far East, including the Khabarovsk Territory, through frontmen. And if China directly appeals to small and medium-sized businesses in the Far East, in particular - in the Khabarovsk Territory, then there they will gladly inform everyone about it.

- And in your opinion, what will be the most effective assistance for the development of cooperation of Far Eastern small and medium-sized businesses with China?
- It seems to me that the system of trading houses will act as such help for him, which will be engaged in his promotion in China. The need for its creation is vividly evidenced by the fact that with stronger and close contact with China, he more and more clearly declares that it is unprofitable for him to work specifically with each company in Russia, it is quite another matter with one person and that a real exit - is to use the services of an intermediary. On the other hand, it is now quite obvious that one small entrepreneur himself will not penetrate into China. No, he, of course, will penetrate, but he will fill a hundred cones, will incur a lot of useless costs, and will pass hundreds of years, until he does it. In addition, the advantage of trading houses is evidenced by the fact that, for example, in Japan, it is simply accustomed to working with the trading house system as such. Thus, the functioning of trading houses is only good prospects for the Far Eastern small and medium-sized businesses - it will be able to concentrate on its production, while its promotion will be in safe hands. That is, understanding the specifics of the external market, working with it, at the same time, it will not be unnecessarily overloaded.

- In the beginning you said that the output for export of the Khabarovsk Territory is China. And speaking generally about the Far East?
- Well, it is difficult to judge big business in the Far East, but its small and medium business is definitely focused on Asia, since export for it is now one of the ways to survive. Therefore, if it is realistic to offer him assistance in building a dialogue with China, then he is only open to such assistance. Indeed, in many cases, everything stops at him on elementary questions - how and what kind of cooperation to carry out with China, what actions to take to cooperate with it, as well as on the assumption that in China one can face all sorts of deception.
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