Frank Zwerts, Managing Director of POM Limburg. [Photo provided to newsgd.com]
Q: What advice can you offer for Cantonese companies on going global under the Belt and Road Initiative?
A: Guangdong is considered to be the factory of China, and to bring goods to a wider audience it needs a logistics chain. I would be very interested to help those companies to get that chain set up in Europe.
They should explore logistics flow from an early stage before they even have the idea of implementing it, because at the moment there is a big race going on in China to be number one in specific application. They have to put a lot of efforts in innovation or marketing to be the best factory.
Guangdong companies should stay open to receive innovative ideas coming from the other side, so that they are also open and provide access European companies to their market. Hence, they can learn from the behavior of the foreign companies to adjust their practices if they go abroad.
Q: What can Chinese enterprises learn from their European counterparts?
A: China is very much interested in a long term plan for the country. If you want to have a long term plan, you need to do this together with the US and Europe.
Chinese enterprises can learn a lot about European market from Belgium, since it is like a mini-Europe.
If you launch a product in Belgium which is a market of twelve million individuals, it's like a mega city in China. The market is controllable and durable because the Belgians are more conservative and a little bit like the average European. A lot of large international companies like Coca-Cola first launch a product in Belgium to test the market, then later they will become more successful in launching the product across Europe because they can still adjust the product.
Furthermore, the Chinese government might consider injecting more creativity into enterprises in the future. What I see today in China is creativity here and there but it doesn’t exist at a scale where it has been put on top of the matrix. There should be a day where we copy ideas from China, a cross-fertilization through interaction.