A few days ago, our CEO Tom Van der Heyden participated as Chinese Business expert in an interview for NLive Radio, the local radio station for Northampton (UK). The conversation was broadcast as part of the Open4Business program and focused the sourcing from and exporting to China.
Tom Van der Heyden talked about his experience in S3 Group, a business venture started in 2003 when two fellow MBA students proposed him to start a “business model of offering companies to act as a bridge between European companies and the Chinese market”.
Some of the basic features of this commercial bridge turned out to be the key to its success. “The vast majority of companies that offer services in this field to connect companies between Europe and China are only present on one side of that bridge: they are either in Europe or they are in China” – Van der Heyden clarified. Just a small minority – such S3 Group – are positioned on both sides. That is definitely part of the secret of its success.
Tom Van der Heyden also talked about the most important parts of import from China. “The process is more important that the product” – he assured – and insists that it is essential to “correctly understand what the customer in Europe wants”, while trying to find an appropriate solution in China.
Finally, the interview also clarified a number of doubts about the differences between looking for suppliers as a direct initiative or working through a specialized partner. Van der Heyden explained that nowadays – particularly through internet portals – it is very easy to find suppliers and get in touch with them. But the problem is not the easy way you can contact these companies; developing with the supplier the entire project is much more difficult. Here the value of having the help of a company like S3 Group is obvious: “if something during the process goes wrong, we also fix it”.