While many things about China remain challenging—bridging the cultural divide and getting on the same page on basic ways of
doing business—the nature of Western involvement in China is clearly moving up the value chain. And the key to this movement
is the recognition that China is not only emerging as a nation of consumers, but also is becoming a much more sophisticated
economy, with a large and well-educated workforce.
"We are a Chinese company in China because we want to contribute to the local economy, and be a Chinese organization that
people will be proud of. We are there to innovate," Savoie says.
That is a whole world from just a few years ago, when working in China was about getting it done for less and bringing it
back to the West.
DEEPER INVESTMENTS HELP EVERYONE
The growing number of international biopharm companies investing in China through mergers and acquisitions, rather than joint
ventures, suggests a sea change in how the industry is approaching the Chinese market. This is a natural progression for both
As China sees the advantages of more FDI, it has eased the path for companies looking to invest more deeply through equity
participation in Chinese companies. Likewise, Western and Japanese companies are finding they are more comfortable investing
and developing a local footprint through this approach.
Joshua Brandt is a San Francisco-based freelance writer.