The first China Boot Camp ended with great success. 10 start-up leaders have returned all prepped-up for charting their penetration plans to the Chinese market. Following the rave reactions and rising demand - registration opens for another round in this fall.

China Boot Camp is a free intensive training program that comprises workshops and expert presentations, case studies, group meetings, tours and networking. The start-up executives who attended the round that just ended arrived fully focused and the work atmosphere was excellent.

Relaxed introduction, entrepreneurial spirit, and beer

One of our first visits was to the Chinaccelerator, where the start-up executives met with managing director, Willian Bao, who presented them with the business model and gave them tips along with anecdotes on the success of failures of the large tech corporations in China (both domestic and foreign). The presentation was concluded with an informal meeting over beer.

A visit to ChinaNetCloud allowed the participating start-up managers to form an impression of the Chinese scale: as China's largest and longest standing Cloud Infrastructure Company, "ChinaNetCloud provides cloud service to one billion people", CEO Steve Mushero told the boot camp participants, including servers, maintenance and network connectivity to Aliyun or Amazon, which in turn, lease out the infrastructure to end users.

The Company's extensive understanding of the infrastructure aspect of the Chinese technology market was well reflected in the CEO's presentation. Among others, the start-up managers learned about China's large cloud service companies and their relative edge, the infrastructure limitations and constraints of China (which contrary to popular belief is highly distributed among regional providers, as opposed to monolithic State-owned corporations) and the prospects awaiting foreign cloud companies that seek to enter the Chinese market.

Matchmaking and networking

Another important get-together was held with the representatives of AiHeHuo, an organization comprising some 25,000 Chinese technology professionals who are planning to start their own companies and are looking for co-founders. Yuchen Zhang, former senior developer at Philips and currently the managing director of AiHeHuo, listed the benefits of the Chinese market for startup companies and described the matchmaking platform of his organization – probably the largest in China – which is meant to bring together local and foreign entrepreneurs.

Zhang was followed by a mentor who consults to startup companies and by several graduates of the platform, who already established their startup company in China or are in the process of doing so. This meeting resulted with an intuitive insight among the boot camp participants: the Chinese young entrepreneurs form an attractive talent pool. Since some of them are "between jobs", they could fill the need for high-caliber local managers that foreign tech companies are looking for.

The managerial and operational aspects: challenges and solutions

On top of the meetings and the tours, the curriculum of the boot camp focused on management with lectures and workshops on how to design a business plan for China, managing Chinese salespersons and other professionals, legal aspects of setting-up a company in China, financial management, marketing and distribution practices, e-commerce and more.

Starting business and sales operations in the Chinese market involves dealing with local partners, Knowledge transfer, work methods, controlling the business from afar and recruiting a local team. These are intricate challenges, to use an understatement. The workshops are meant to draw attention to the range of considerations that need to be taken into account when planning the entry to the Chinese market, so that on top of their technological and commercial challenges, the companies' managers will be able to prepare for the managerial and operational challenges in China out of awareness to the implications these aspects may have on their future ability to run a company in the Chinese market.

"This boot camp in Shanghai proved to be one of the most important experiences in my business life. We learned a great deal and came out with important tools which are vital for any company seeking to do business in China. The seminar was highly professional and very well organized. The material was conveyed clearly and the presentations focused. The guest speakers covered a range of important perspectives, the forums were highly informative and the visits to the accelerators very instrumental.

I don’t think anyone can succeed in China without guidance and my recommendation of the PTL Group team is unequivocal: they are top-notch pros, very welcoming and very apt in conveying this important message".

Nicholas Rose, Director at WorldCom Finance

"The PTL Group team did a wonderful and professional job with a seminar that gave us a comprehensive view of the Chinese market and how hi-tech companies can enter this huge market step by step to do business there. The agenda in particular was very well structured with the right topics and excellent speakers".

Yaniv Ben Haim, CEO & Nadav Luninski, BD at Mer-Cello Wireless

"I've been living in China for 10 years now. The boot camp made me realize the move I was about to make is wrong. Therefore, I strongly advise anyone considering entering the Chinese market – whether it's a new app, online service or product you are launching - to hear what you have to offer".

Rami Zaken, CTO at Gamesmart

"As a company present in some 50 countries worldwide, we believe it is extremely important to understand the local culture and how business is conducted in a certain country. The boot camp helped me meet with excellent professionals and understand what steps I need to take next to move ahead and advance our business in China. During my daily routine, I would have never been able to make the time and pay the necessary attention to so many speakers and absorb such an amount of information in a short time. During this long week in Shanghai I held some 30 meetings, some of them organized by the boot camp itself. This is a highly intensive work rate. The PTL Group staff was extraordinary: warm and service-oriented, I could see they really wanted us to have the most".

Joshua Behar, President and CEO at Ericom Softwar

"I would like to thank PTL Group team for the kind hospitality, the goodwill and the efforts to host and educate. During the week that we spent together, I found a professional and enthusiastic team that know the Chinese market in & out, with "out of the box" solutions to day to day challenges".

Rami Orpaz, CEO at EZface

"This is a chance for busy CEO's to get away of the daily 'noise' and immerse in learning, while promoting business opportunities in China in the course of the boot camp"

Matan Naftali, CEO at Maradin

The boot camp did not neglect the technical side of managing operations in China. Yotam Neuthal, IT manager at PTL Group reviewed common IT challenges in China and presented some solutions, including his newly-developed, soon-to-be-launched technical solution for common problems in China such as slow loading or distorted display of foreign companies' websites hosted on servers outside China.

What does it really mean to start doing business in China?

More than anything else, the China Boot Camp helps start-up managers and entrepreneurs get a grip on the practical aspects of starting operations in China, understand the professional and managerial considerations and emerge with a toolbox that helps them address all these, in a much better position to draft a sound plan which is based on knowledge, experience and firsthand acquaintance with the field.

The China Boot Camp targets start-ups in Round A phase or higher. Each class includes some 10 companies which are selected in the application process. The selected startups are invited to participate in the Camp at no cost (except for flight and hospitality expenses). The China Boot Camp is an initiative of the PTL Group and is held at the Group's Shanghai headquarters. 

Have a look at the graduates of the previous round: friendly, serious entrepreneurs, each with a world of ideas and plans. We're looking forward to meeting the next round…

China Boot Camp is organized and hosted by PTL Group in its headquarters in Shanghai. PTL Group provides management and operational support for international companies in China, utilizing extensive local experience to manage and control diverse business operations in the most efficient and effective way. The China Boot Camp is our way of investing in the next generation of start-ups, and guiding them toward success.