Investing in China: Carte Blanche

A combination of energy and work ethic attracted greeting card business Carte Blanche to China and chairman Stephen Haines has nothing but good to say about his experience of doing business in the country.

Carte Blanche has been sourcing from China for some ten years and decided to invest in its own factory in 1999. What impressed Haines most – and persuaded him to make this move – was the energy of the Chinese, both in Hong Kong and on the mainland. ‘There is an attitude of “we can turn our hand to anything,” and that, combined with the work ethic, makes it a compelling place to base an operation,’ he explains.

It was not the low costs of production (the factor most often cited by foreign investors) that drew Haines to China. Indeed, he believes it is a mistake for people to approach the market with that perception. ‘I hear business people in hotel lobbies boasting about how much they have squeezed their suppliers,’ Haines says. ‘All they are doing is driving down creativity and making life difficult for their business partners. My approach is exactly the opposite: I want my suppliers to feel they can build a good business from their relationship with me. That is what sustains successful business.’

Article provided in partnership with Ernst & Young

Marc Barber

Raven Connelly

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

Related Topics

Business Pitching