Entrepreneurship is no easy feat. On top of that, doing business with China can be another challenge entirely. As Ted Acworth, founder & CEO of Artaic, discussed, building a business relationship with China is a challenge with immense rewards.
Ted Acworth, founder of Artaic, kicked off InTeahouse’s first CEO Roundtable with Q&A session moderated by InTeahouse’s VP of Business Development, Chris Ilsley. Ted shared his first adventures exploring the rural fishing village of Shenzhen in 1991, which at the time, was in the process of building its first highway. Since then, the city has undergone immense social and economic growth alongside China: “within a lifetime, it has transformed into a highly developed country.” As he observed China’s growing interest in robotics, Ted sought to expand his robotic mosaic customization company, Artaic, to China. Due to its uniquely structured traditions, legal, economic and regulatory environment, Ted encountered some obstacles trying to navigate the Chinese market. “China is radically different from American culture.” Reflecting on his experiences with China, Ted expressed the importance of treading carefully and performing due diligence when exploring the Chinese business environment.
“In doing business with China, it is less about the paper and more about the relationship.”
Ted emphasized that having a partner who is able to facilitate these strong relationships with the Chinese and has a deep understanding of the Chinese market is essential for successfully executing business in China. Acworth found this partner in InTeahouse, finding value in working with a company run by a China native.
Participating in InTeahouse’s U.S.-China Robotics Summit back in October 2016, Ted was able to foster relationships with many Chinese investors and strategic partners. InTeahouse helped Artaic continue the dialogue with these investors, and Ted eventually received a $2 million co-investment from “the IKEA of China,” Lesso, and InTeahouse. Ted added that he “wouldn’t have gotten this round that just closed without InTeahouse.” He characterizes business with China as not only a “ bold undertaking” but also an “exciting, challenging and mind-opening experience.”
Ted continues to see China as a valuable opportunity for investment and a market for the future as it remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Acworth says he “can’t imagine China straying from wanting U.S. or Western exports,” noting that the maturing Chinese consumer class seeks increasingly higher quality, genuine products rather than cheap, knockoff goods.
“We consume so much from China, let’s get them to consume as well.”
– Register for the next event in our CEO Roundtable Series will be August 16th featuring Humon founder and CEO, Alessandro Babini.