Click for Home Page Click for Contact Us Page Click for FAQ's Page Click for About Us Page Click for Sitemap Navigation
Main Menu
Eason Studio Designer Services

Container Base in Shenzhen

Organising Containers in Hong Kong

Typical Hotel Bedroom

Dynasty Hotel Gardens in Zhaoqing

China Expats Staff making a Factory Visit in Foshan

Image: Foshan Hotel - Click to Enlarge

German Print Machines as Used by our Preferred Print Supplier


Making Cloisonné by Hand

Chinese Marble Buddha

Product Boxes - Also Available with Plastic Windows and Full Internal Structures

Carrier Bags

Magazines and Catalogues

Solid Granite Worktop and Kitchen Units - Sourced in China by China Expats

OEM ShopFront Glass Door System Fitted in UK - Sourced in China by China Expats

Quality Bathrobes, Towels and Slippers - Sourced in China by China Expats

OEM Disability Walk-in Bath showing Trial Moldings. This company could not make them withour ripples, so we advised our Client to purchase elsewhere
Business - China or Bust
Recounting a Channel 4 Documentary:

"Brit's Get Rich in China"
(aka China or Bust)
This page relates to the Channel 4 documentary Brit's Get Rich in China', first broadcast in UK on Monday 28th May 2007. The program has since been aired in many other countries, and in Hong Kong for instance, is shown by Pearl TVB under the title 'China or Bust'

Acclaimed directors Alastair Cook and Rob Davis follow the dramatic missions of three British entrepreneurs as they try to make their fortunes in China:

China Expats are highlighting this program because it offers a gritty insight into how things really are in China, for ordinary people who wish to establish a manufacturing base here. The angle is pretty exclusively from a foreigners point of view, and highlights something we Expats know as "Here is China!".

The featured protagonists are Tony Caldeira, a cushion entrepreneur who desperately needs a new manufacturing base in China. He chooses a location in Zhejiang Province near to his existing factory base. Northern Zhejiang Province is one of only two major manufacturing Regions in China, the other being my own Pearl River Delta. The program follows construction of the new factory in a very true to life way

The second participant is Vance Miller, an experienced kitchen trader who was one of the first foreigners to examine sourcing and production in China. He sources all over China, but tends to focus more in the Northeast. It appears Vance is now Britain's Forth largest kitchen units manufacturer, but has been given some very bad press, and been targeted by Police and Trading Standards in wholly unsubstantiated raids. Alistair Cook actually wrote a very interesting letter in support of Vance, whom he once unbiastly investigated for a different TV series. You can find his letter on Vance's website. China Expats have no interest in these shenanigans, but we are very interested in the experiences Vance has in China

Third is Peter Williams, who is looking for a Chinese manufacturer to produce an energy-saving device for a client of his. Peter knows the device is worth millions of Pounds in sales, but in order to manufacture it, he has to hand over the device and all it's technical details. This case highlights trust and blind-faith placed with complete strangers - as Peter's main worry is that the device will be copied, and he and his client will loose everything!

Here is China!

This quintessential Chinese quality is shown by the expressions on Tony Caldeira's face during two clips. The first is a progress visit to his new factory, which is under construction and the Site Project Manager has simply disappeared = all work has stopped, and the factory has to be manufacturing cushions by a set date in the very near future. His erstwhile Chinese partner Dai Shu Qin offers the services of her Uncle to replace the Site Manager. Tony's reaction is a complete gem, one which completely embodies the phrase "Here is China!"

However, this is balanced a short time later, when Tony arrives for the Grand Opening Ceremony, expecting to find the factory is still a building site. You can see his expression change, and the tenor of his voice especially; as he nears the factory gate and disbelievingly finds a finished factory complex!

This happens in China - when you are certain that something cannot happen within a certain timeframe - miraculously it is there and perfect! Again, this is the second part of what we call "Here is China!"

Perhaps the most important point is a statement by Mr Chen, the Project Manager. During interview he noted, "The fact that the company is well supported by the local government is also very important". Reproduced with kind permission of Tony Caldeira

Vance is definitely his own man, and prefers jeans and casual clothes to suits and business etiquette. He calls a spade a spade, and works extremely hard to make his enterprise successful. Having already sourced and manufactured in China for several years, he has a good grasp of reality, but does have his own concerns

Being driven by costs, Vance decides to lay down £1 million for a new factory complex. Unlike Tony, he decides to develop in a very cheap location near the North Korea border. His partner in this venture is a local developer, and together they pay a visit to his new factory construction site. Vance is expecting foundations will have been laid etc. Upon arrival, nothing has happened at all, and the land is still how he bought it. The documentary skips bits here, but Vance is not happy and begins swearing a lot. He is also a keen cookie, and later pays an unannounced visit to his Chinese partners headquarters. He is not surprised to find luxury offices an dwelling, although the large swimming pool does throw him a bit. All is brand new since his last visit a short time earlier - and it is obvious where his money has gone. We leave this scene with him determined to get his money back!

By contrast, the next feature has Vance travelling to an established manufacturer in Inner Mongolia. This company have been producing kitchen units for some time, but recently asked for more money. This was provided upon the understanding that production would increase and quality become higher. It appears that whilst quality remained similar, production actually declined, hence Vance's visit.

Having just experienced dealings with the guy near North Korea, Vance is in no mood to take prisoners, and determined to get what he is paying for, or relocate. He arrives in a rural village and is greeted and treated like Royalty by everyone he meets. The difference here is that he can see where his money has gone, and the factory boss assures him of far better business co-operation in future. Again, some things are missing in the documentary, but Vance becomes aware that his money and this factory are the only means of employment in this village. If he were to pull out, the local economy would die, and people leave for the cities. He comments to the effect that without him, this village would return to growing a few crops and selling a few chickens, as apart from local forests, this place has nothing!

Here Vance shows his compassion, and continues to support the factory for humanitarian reasons - for the potential saving of a few pennies on sale price in UK, does not equate well with the hardship, social upheaval and decimation of this community, his pulling out of this village would cause everybody who lives there.

Compared to the above mentioned, Peter is a very different type of person; more traditionally British and 'Stiff Upper Lip'. Peter has made contact with an Agent in China, and travels to Shanghai area for their first of many meetings. He is understandable tense, as he ha has an invention that needs to be manufactured for worldwide sales. Potential profits are enormous, and his over-riding concern is that someone will rip him off, and take the invention as their own.

There then are a series of meetings with potential Chinese partners, and of course a lot more going on behind the scenes. During one highlighted meeting we see Peter and his Agent, plus potential partners engaged in a traditional Chinese business meal. Everything is in Chinese, and like many of us before him, Peter really doesn't have a clue as to what is being said. Basically, Peter has to either place his trust in the Agent, find another agent or producer himself, or pull-out.

Again we skip a few steps, but Peter decides to stick with this Agent, hands over the device and its technical details, and waits hoping the Agent will come through for him. There is a period of sporadic contact, followed by nothing, and even his telephone calls are not answered or returned. Obviously Peter is dreading the worst, but keeps a very good face through this exacting time. After ten days of nothing, and preparing to admit his worst nightmare has become a reality - he suddenly receives a call from his Agent, who states he is in Guangdong (The Pearl River Delta), and has found the ideal partner. You can visibly see relief flood over Peter, and his mood immediately changes from despondency to euphoria. Later meetings go very well, and the device is put into production, which is where we leave this story

Making it Easy

These tales highlight contrastingly, the agonies faced by entrepreneurs when trying to start something new in China. It is not for the faint-hearted, and most give up. There are rogues in China, as in every corner of this world. These are far outnumbered by the honest and honourable Chinese businessman. That does not mean they will never try to increase their profits, but it does mean they will not sell you down the river without a paddle.

All the above would have had far easier experiences given a few simple things: A translator that is wholly on their side, an understanding of how Chinese go about doing business (It is very different from the West), and a local person or company such as ourselves, who they can rely upon for local help on the ground here in China

Final Tale

We will now add one further tale which China Expats was directly involved with some years ago. I had become socially active with another Brit who was sourcing product in The Pearl River Delta. China Expats had assisted with some associated sourcing requirements, but basically he already knew his main suppliers and wanted to generate more direct business and Agency Agreements with them.

I met Tim one evening for a beer and general chat, only to find him on the verge of tears and stating he was pulling out of China. We chatted for a while, and it transpired his Export Agent was pretty useless, shipping dates were virtually lost, one factory was well behind with product for a container that should already have sailed. There is more, but basically it all came down to lethargy, incompetence, and emotional strain these placed upon Tim

Having identified the exact nature of the problems, it became apparent to me that communication was also a key factor. I offered to help, and with my team we turned things around. Our own Export Agent took over and containers left for UK immediately. We met with factory bosses and sorted the problems, one of which was as simple as them actually being an assembly plant, not a true manufacturer. They were building these products for the first time, and did not have the staff expertise to do it properly. We sent in a team to the factory, got the Boss to employ two new personnel in key positions, with experience of what was required. We were very hard on QA, and physically oversaw all aspects of production. Finally we physically tested every function of every product before it was loaded onto the containers.

The end result was that Tim got exactly what he was paying for, and since then his confidence and working relationships have improved to such an extent, that he now has bought his own premises in China, and is opening a Chinese company with our assistance. Some turn-around! Apart from his Distributor Contract, whom we also service as required, we now take care of all of Tim's souring requirements - simply because we always get the job done.


From these examples you will note that doing business in China can be a most harrowing experience. It can also be most rewarding for the determined amongst you. Having someone on the ground here, and on your side, is essential for your peace of mind and the prosperity of your business

We suggest that anyone seriously considering business in China, and especially manufacturing, watch this enlightening documentary. Someone has uploaded this program on Youtube, where it is split into 7 parts. You can watch it via this link:
China or Bust

In Conclusion

During the documentary there is a very insightful meeting between Peter and his Chinese business partner Sessel Pih, where Sessel outlines the 'Four Cs' which are essentials for anyone wishing to be successful in China: Connections, Clout, Cash, and Culture. Both Tony and Vance also practice this philosophy in their own differing ways

Here is China!

Associated Links

Main Players:
* Tony Caldeira
* Vance Miller
* Peter Williams - Sorry no link yet

Related Links:
* Youtube Video
* SourceJuice
* Real Business

This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
Search this Website
Search Query
Our Friends
Image: ChinaBiz21 logo
Professional Visa Services
Company Formation Packages

Excellent & Free Online Chinese Language Portal
Cantonese Sheik - Free Online Language Resources
Thousands of free print-friendly Chinese reference sheets, tests and revision aids.
Easy Learning format &
Listen to Spoken Words
British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
British Foreign Office

Resource and Advice for Travellers Worldwide
Chinese Embassy in UK
Chinese Embassy in UK

Information About China
International Relations
Visa & Consular
British Consulate General in China
UK Embassy in China

Information About UK
International Relations
Visa & Consular
Excel Education - Dedicated to Promoting International Languages, Cultural Exchange, and Understanding between Peoples Excel Education
Languages Courses
Study Abroad
Summer Camps
Information for Teachers
The Dreamscheme - A Place where all disadvantaged children can be empowered to make a difference to: Themselves, Their Local Community, and The World!
Excellent and relaxing base to explore this most beautiful of regions in all China!
Down The
How We Traded Our Ordinary Lives For a Global Bicycle Touring Adventure
Tim and Cindie Travis
See Us in China
The Dreamscheme - A Place where all disadvantaged children can be empowered to make a difference to: Themselves, Their Local Community, and The World!
Empowering Disadvantaged Children & Their Communities = Worldwide
Martinos Cafe - The Best Western Restaurant in Foshan
China Exploration and Research Society
Based in Shangri-la,
Yunnan Province
Dedicated to Exploring Remote Areas of China
Committed to Nature Conservation and Preserving Ethnic Cultures & Traditions
Travel China Guide - Your First Call for Holidays and Information about China. Free Community resources, including City guides written by Foreigners who have been there
Based in Xi'an,
China's Premiere Travel Agency and International Travel Community -
Committed to providing:
Best travel deals & current information for all International Travellers
Large Tourist Resources and Galleries
Pearl Dragon

Vast Online Trading and Information Resource
Link goes to Chinese Tourism and Galleries Section
China or Bust
The Main Characters
Vance Miller
Vance Miller
Tony Caldeira
Tony Caldeira
Peter Williams
Peter Williams
Page Navigation: Top of Page
Link to: - Excellent Hosting and Support Services
Image for Decoration only
    Copyright Webmaster @ ChinaExpats Links