China is moving into high-tech computer services, with the head of a new Dalian Information Center in Chicago promoting the service and looking for joint venture partners.
Kang Ming, who had headed up the state of Illinois' China office, is now head of the international business division of Dalian Information Center, and back in Chicago to promote his operation's computer services.Mr. Kang, who headed up the Illinois China office when it opened in 1985, has been with the Dalian Information Center for almost a year.
"We're like a Dun & Bradstreet service," he said. "We provide information to foreign and domestic companies."
The Dalian center has information on 150,000 companies throughout China, available on computer tapes or disks, and a staff of 100, most of them computer programmers available for other computer tasks, he said.
Dalian is in the Liaoning Province, on the southern tip of Northeast China, with a major international port operation second only to Shanghai. Like most operations in China, the information center is government-owned but enjoys the independence of a province operation. Dalian can approve joint venture projects under $30 million, Mr. Kang noted.
The information center evaluates and grades companies and operations in China. "We're selling that information, not giving it away," Mr. Kang noted.
He's hoping some U.S. firms will take advantage of lower-cost Chinese programmers at the center, who can develop and tailor computer programs to a company's needs. Back in the states now for almost three months, Mr. Kang said the Dalian center is close to setting up a joint venture or subsidiary operation in the United States.
In an interview, he was a bit critical of the way U.S. firms approach doing business in China.
"U.S. businesses aren't as patient as the Japanese, the Koreans, even the Germans. They want to get a deal right away and that's impossible."
He advises U.S. companies to use consultants who are familiar with Chinese business practices and Chinese customs.
Government red tape in China can be a barrier to doing business with his country, he acknowledged, "but we need hard currency and we want to see more business development."
Mr. Kang can be reached through the Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs in Chicago.