Written By Basilio Chen

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What’s happening in China, is it still a good opportunity.  What should I do for my future?  I just finished my 2 year internship and am ready to pursue my dreams… (question by young professional in the architectural field – but applies to young professional).

In my simple view of things, China, as a large Emerging Country, has gone thru the same process as the US in the early stages.  If you read about the economic history of the US starting back in the mid-1800’s until 1980’s you will see some similarities (irrespective of the political system, I am speaking of economics – since you start to talk about business).

China past 30 years were the first major up move in the long trend for China’s future.  No major economy including the last 500 years (Spain – 200 years, England- 200 years then USA – 100 years) became great without its ups and downs.  Neither have a seen any company including the ones I had been involved that went straight up and in fact some of the them only get better with great adversities.  If you look back at your young life, you only get really good when you overcome a big problem.  Big changes creates big people.  Now China is in a correction and it will surely go to 2016.  We are monitoring monthly what the federal government is doing and also keeping an eye on the problem areas like debt.  China owes now 1/2 of the world debt.  As bad as it sounds, when China owes that much money, the problem is more of the one lending it.  Defaults would make lenders upset (especially if foreign lenders), however there is little you can do when the money is NOT in your hands.

San Francisco (Bay Area and specially the Silicon Valley) is one of the best places on earth to be involved in business (highly experienced entrepreneurs and management, best innovation centers and plenty of capital).  However, the major opportunities are in China.  Nevertheless, the environment is rather immature (is beginning to mature).  In addition, China will always be borrowing outside techniques and doing them the Chinese way.  What you cannot discard is that in the long term, there are many major areas that are not exploited including the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. So, where you pick your cities, I believe is important to have a sophisticated city as a headquarter however that is not where the opportunities can be.  We are in Shanghai and Shenzhen is a rival city, so is HK.  Big firms are obviously in Shanghai and eventually everyone should have a HQ presence there.  Not Guangzhou, even though I am Cantonese but I am a pragmatic person.

Regarding business, for a young person like you, and before you make any major personal commitments, is best to develop and do as much as you can.  This is the time you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  If you succeed widely, then nothing else has to be said.  If you succeed midway, you will have moved closer to bigger success next time.  If you don’t succeed, you would have learned something nobody can teach you.  Not succeeding and making errors makes you just a more capable person, as long as you learn from your mistakes.  There is not a successful person I know that has not made a big mistake in their career.  Including Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak (both of whom I worked with), and you name it.  Even Warren Buffet, the richest man in the USA, for 10 years ran a company into bankruptcy. They all learned to get better.  Steve Jobs had the worst out of Apple and Steve Wozniak had the easier path at Apple so you can see that Jobs go a lot bigger than Wozniak because Jobs had more struggle and problems than Wozniak.  T. Boone Pickens (who mentored my son for a short time), was a billionaire in the 90’s and then lost almost all of it, their family abandoned him, wife divorced him and he ended up in the mental hospital to only do a comeback, reinvent himself and now has a net worth 10 times. etc… I could simply go on and on… Just make sure that whatever you do, you do some research and is what you believe in and like, and give it all.

The other part of biz, is learn some basic accounting.  I can give you some quick lessons.  Good biz is knowing your numbers.  some key numbers.  It is NOT necessary to get an MBA.  Actually, all successful biz people have less formal schooling than more.  We are in a new generation as information is plentiful – too much sometimes.  Besides, I personally having studied from academia for over 18 years, feel that I could have done with a lot less studying and more doing.  Biz is all about having a goal, having a strategic plan, and taking decisive action.  If in doubt, double the action. Jump over barriers and obstacles, go around the mistakes, keep moving and keep taking action.

A Note for An Aspiring Young Professional, 1.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings