2014-15 Canada-China Business Forum Magazine - Page 48

SMALL & MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES “I find, more and more, I’m getting people who want foreign expertise, skills and ears for the different styles of music that are becoming popular in China now,” says Matthew. “We know that there is an expanding Canadian presence in China,” says Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s ambassador to China. “But there’s always a challenge to find out exactly how much Canadian investment is really going on.” Watching him produce a vocal recording session with a young Chinese singer, you can see Jarome wearing Spend a few minutes talking to Ambassador Sainttwo hats. He is both a talented music producer who has Jacques and he can list off a veritable Who’s Who had radio hits in Canada, and a young Canadian with of the well-known Canadian firms doing business a cultivated sense of the subtleties of Chinese language here. From the french fry kings at McCain foods, to and culture. He stops the singer from time to time to IMAX Theatres and Bombardier. Mark Morabito, ask if she can phrase her words differently, trying to founder and executive chairman of Alderon Iron maximize her musical impact while being mindful of Corporation, says his project is shovel ready and how changes in tone can actually change the meaning is poised to start shipping about 60 per cent of of the Chinese words. the iron ore produced in It is a tedious balancing Newfoundland’s Kami site to “Nothing is permitted, but act, and when you ask China, hopefully beginning everything is possible.” Jarome why he is not in 2017. But what Statistics - Jarome Matthew doing this in Vancouver Canada’s trade numbers may or Los Angeles, what he not be seeing are these new will tell you is simple: and small operations like he loves China and, like Matthew’s that are broadening other business people here, and deepening the Canadahe sees massive market China business relationship. opportunities screaming to They are as many and as be realized. varied as the narrow alleyways you take to get to Matthew’s “There’s definitely a Hutong sound studio. You huge potential because have never heard of most of the world’s looking for them, and chances are, you what’s going to come out never will. But with the sheer of China,” he says. “It’s number of projects like this very exciting because everything is new and developing, happening, the possibility that one or two of them whereas in the West, it’s sort of all been done and there’s could break out in a big way is high. Matthew’s goal a lot of people in it.” is nothing short of discovering and developing the next Chinese rock star and taking him or her global. Watching Matthew at work you get a sense of the Wouldn’t that be an interesting new statistic for the evolution of Canadian business in China. Sure, ambassador’s talking points? much of Canada’s role here is still in supplying raw materials, but there are more and more Canadians Ambassador Saint-Jacques says as healthy as the like Matthew popping up in China; the entrepreneur I growth has been in recent years, it can and should met from Hamilton with the one-off craft beer brewery be stronger. “I’m not 100 per cent happy because I that sits in the corner of a Beijing restaurant; or the know we can do better,” he says, adding that many young Vancouver woman whose independent media Chinese still think of Canada as primarily a supplier consultancy offers specialized Canadian-developed of commodities. In his view, Canada could learn a expertise to Chinese firms. Start adding up just the ones thing or two from Germany, the Netherlands and you know about and you see the trend is no longer just other countries that have developed a reputation growth in big, strategic commodities, but diversification for higher-end goods and services. As the Chinese and growing personal linkages in smaller enterprises middle class grows, he sees opportunities in the solike Matthew’s. More complexity. More nuance and called third-tier cities, places few Canadians have interdependence.