The first Project China Meeting in Duisburg, Germany
24 May 2017
On May 15 - 16, 2017, the first PKF Project China Meeting took place in the offices of PKF Fasselt Schlage in Duisburg. Representatives of 13 PKF firms from 9 different countries shared their business expertise and discussed the opportunities and expectations for further collaboration among the China desks.
Even though the official conference started on Monday, May 15, most of the participants were in attendance on Sunday night for a joint Welcome Dinner. The dinner was held at a typical German brewery house where the participants had the chance to get to know each other while enjoying local dishes and beverages.
On Monday morning, PKF International CEO Mr. John Sim officially inaugurated the event, stressing the importance of international relations with China within and outside of the PKF network. Welcomed by all participants was Mr. YAO Gengchun, partner at PKF ZXC, a renowned Chinese firm that joined PKF only 6 months ago. As an introduction to the meeting Mr. YAO, as well as Ms. Rachel Zhang and Mr. Allan Jiang, partners at PKF China, gave an overview of China’s economic and political situation. The speeches focussed on China’s economic strategy of the New Silk Road and Chinese overseas investments.
By invitation of Mr. Christian Müller-Kemler, partner at PKF Fasselt Schlage in Duisburg, representatives of local government and businesses joined the event. Duisburg’s mayor Mr. Sören Link pointed out the important logistic position of Duisburg on the New Silk Road and its growing China community. Dr. Heinz-Peter Ehren, CEO of the Chinese firm NGC Europe, presented the path of a Chinese company successfully “going out” of China.
Subsequently, each individual PKF firm introduced business opportunities for Chinese investors in their respective countries as well as the PKF firm’s individual offers for Chinese clients. The participants discussed their approaches for the acquisition of Chinese clients and the requirements for successful cooperation with them. Participating firms were PKF ZXC and PKF China from China, PKF Savvides from Cyprus, PKF Fasselt Schlage and PKF München from Germany, PKF MGP from Italy, PKF Malta, PKF F.R.A.N.T.S. from Pakistan, PKF Francis Clark and PKF Littlejohn from the UK, PKF O’Donnor Davies from the US, and PKF Australia, who joined in for a video presentation on Tuesday morning.
During the discussions, the importance of intercultural competence and Chinese language skills was stressed repeatedly. Member firms with Chinese staff pointed out the value of having professionals with a Chinese cultural background in their team as it would simplify cooperation with Chinese clients immensely. The key to successful cooperation with Chinese clients lay in communication. Service providers need not only to understand the client’s position, but also to explain their proceedings.
Apart from the language, also the tools for communication with Chinese clients differed. Whereas clients in most countries could be reached without difficulty via e-mail, many Chinese preferred Wechat. Individual firms as well as the entire PKF network therefore needed to set up or improve their Wechat profiles to be more visible on the Chinese market. For the same reason it would be important to translate websites into Chinese and improve their position in Chinese search engines like Baidu.
In order to better understand Chinese clients and the Chinese markets, close cooperation between international PKF firms and Chinese PKF firms was advocated by PKF International and the member firms themselves. Many expressed interest in an exchange programme for tax and audit professionals with Chinese firms and vice versa.
The International China Desk Meeting in Duisburg was a successful first step on the path of cooperation between the PKF member firms on the topic of China and beyond. Many topics have been addressed and many new contacts been made. The next step is to build on the contacts and plans made in Duisburg at the next PKF Project China Meeting in Beijing in September.