2 Replies Latest reply on Feb 7, 2012 10:46 AM by user289

    Business in China


      I'm hoping this question is appropriate for this forum. I have a FileMaker Pro 11 based product for job costing that we sell across the US, Canada and Mexico and there has been interest from a manufacturing company in China. We all have heard about rampant piracy of intellectual property in various countries including China. We don't want our ideas to be ripped off. We would like to hear from anyone who has knowledge of doing business with Chinese companies. What are our risks? What do we need to know to be successful in this arena? Should we even attempt to do business in China?

      Thank you for any advice you can offer.

      Walter Erskine, Developer

      TaskKlock, Inc.


        • 1. Re: Business in China

          Hi Walter,


          I've done business in China and South East Asia, but not in software. You are correct in thinking that piracy is rampant, and even though the mentality of businesses have improved in the past 10 years, it's still years behind the west as far as valuing software. The feeling there is that since there's no materials involved except maybe a DVD and some packaging, they perceive software of having a lower value than hardware. It also doen't help that it's relatively easy to copy software compared to hardware. Obviously you could put time bombs or licensing keys in your solution, but determined hackers can nearly always crack them. Of course, I'm generalising, the company who's interested in your software might be completely honourable. When we did business there we basically had someone on the ground there that I could trust, of course it could be difficult finding someone you can trust based there. It helps to have someone there to act as a go between, and they can discretely keep an eye out for piracy. It's also good to have someone there who familiar with the customs, and it's always better to have someone that speaks the language. Although we were dealing with manufacturers in mainland China, our agent was based in Hong Kong - and I think you might have a better chance of finding someone there, especially since they've been dealing with the west a lot longer than the rest of China. It's also easier to find English speakers in Hong Kong, whereas I found it difficult to find English speakers in the mainland - they're very insular, most of the people I met didn't even know where Australia is. From memory, there's a government department in Hong Kong set up specifically to connect businesses from the west to businesses in China, that would be a good starting point if you don't already have someone over there. Your local consulate/embassy's trade department should be able to help you.





          • 2. Re: Business in China

            Thank you Michael for the very helpful and thorough answer.

            I read your answer as "Be cautious." We will.

            We also realized that any FileMaker solution, especially something as simple - relatively - as job costing, can be reverse engineered by just seeing the interface we have designed. The programming behind the process is fairly obvious to a savy database programmer. That's the reality of programming, in my little opinion. Enough said.