Canadian high-tech company upbeat about continued success story in China 2009-08-06 07:17:12   Print

    by Xinhua writers Zhao Qing, Yang Shilong

    OTTAWA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- It was not without hesitancy that Leslie Klein, president and CEO of Canada's C-COM Satellite Systems Inc., decided to start to actively pursue the Chinese market three years ago.

    He has never visited China at that time and read few positive stories by the local media about doing business in the country at the other side of the pacific.

    The decision was mostly made out of his business instincts: China is a very large country in terms of size and population, and its demand for C-COM's proprietary mobile self-pointing (iNetVu) antenna system, which allows the delivery of high-speed satellite based Internet services into mobile environments, would be very high.

    Yet his "big risk" paid off. C-COM's second quarter revenues posted an increase of 78 percent over the same period last year "due mainly to sales of iNetVu systems into vertical new markets."     


    "I think the Chinese market for us is very large. It is probably the largest single market for this type of product in the world," Klein told Xinhua in a recent interview. "If you look at it in terms of number of systems already sold there, and the number of potential systems that we have, it is very large."

    Just about two months ago, C-COM has delivered a number of the antenna systems to China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC)through one of its resellers. The units will be used to establish instant communication over satellite in such emergency situations as a pipeline leakage, gas explosion or Hazardous Material Handling incidents.

    Asked if he has ever met any difficulties in doing business in China so far, Klein said "No, actually nothing at all."

    "Essentially it is a very modern country," he said. "It is easier to do business there or just as easier as doing businesses in the U.S., for example, the terms and conditions are the same, we operate on the same basis."

    "It was a very pleasant surprise to see how fast the country has developed and evolved," he said of his first visit to China.

    "Before I went to china, obviously I assumed it was like a third world country, it was similar to Thailand and other places where the development has not taken place yet," he said. "But I was extremely impressed by the construction with the roads, with the quality of hotels, and in general, many people also speak English."

    Klein has been back to China two or three times since. Every time he went there he saw buildings that have been half finished or completely finished, and more and more buildings were going up, more and more cars were on the road.

    "It means prosperity, people are doing well and they are able to afford vehicles and able to travel, planes are full with people in both directions, things are good," he said.

    The 2008 Beijing Olympics were a culmination of three decades of profound change that China has undergone, Klein said, adding the country has "a tremendous influence on the market and businesses around the world."

    What makes him proud is that hundreds of millions of Chinese saw the Beijing Olympics torch relay through his company's technology, he said.

    One of the China's biggest Internet service provider used the iNetVu systems to run a streaming video live cast during the Beijing Olympics torch relay, he said. And Beijing authorities also bought a number of the systems as the communication security backup during the landmark games.

    "In case there was a failure of communication, our antenna would have automatically kicked in, because it does not require external power, you can run it from the battery of the vehicle," he said.     


    Klein, who immigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia more than 30 years ago, got a special angle to look at China's reform policies.

    He said when he was in Czechoslovakia, there was a similar system as that of China in those days. It was strict socialist, and there was no private enterprises.

    "If the (Chinese) system is the way it was, we could not have our resellers there," he said. "They (Chinese) actually encouraged these people to set up their businesses, to operate their businesses, and obviously provide them with some sort of financial incentives for them to do that."

    "That's why I think China is booming," he said. "Because it attracts company like ours, we can do business there pretty the same way as we do in the U.S., France or Germany ... We do not see any differences operating with Chinese companies for example."

    Klein said he was also surprised to see there exists a harmony and cooperation between the business and the government in China.

    And that makes it much easier for Chinese companies operate worldwide, he said.

    "In Canada we have to do everything ourselves. The government gives you some of the research and development funding whatever, but it's not directly involved in the business," he said.

    "On one hand it's good, on the other, it's not so good," he said. "Because you have a large organization like the government that finances your entire operation, you do not have to worry about laying people off, worrying about hiring people, you only have to worry about selling products."     


    Klein said he encourages more Canadian companies to go and see China, and try to do business with the rising Asian power, "because we found it very easy to do business with them."

    His encouragement comes not without advices and solutions. "I would say the best way to do is pretty much the way we have done it," he said.

    "It is, do not try to do it yourself, try to go there and try to do it with somebody who's already there. And provide as much support, as much flexibility as you can, and allow him to take your product to the market place."

    Klein also allays the fear that many Canadian companies have about people copying their product in China.

    "If the product can be easily copied, it will be copied I guess," he said. "It doesn't matter if you take it to china, or take it to Russia, whatever."

    "But if you can provide more than just a single product, you can provide the technology the way we provide it with. You will have a customer for life, who is really appreciative for what you are doing for them."

    Klein said he believes businesses play a very important role in promoting understanding and exchanges between Canada and China.

    "It is definitely a huge advantage that businesses have, and they generate tremendous amount of good will," he said. "It's great for them (Chinese customers) to come here to see Canada, it's very good for us to go to see china, and we develop very good personal relationships in the process."

    "It's a win-win for everybody and business makes it possible," he said. 

Editor: Lin Zhi
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