Anatomy of a China Outsourcing Start-up


    I’ve just interviewed Jeff Wu, a vice president for Worksoft, a China-based service provider with US venture capital money. I profiled Worksoft a few weeks ago after hearing their presentation at a Silicon Valley gathering.

    I’ll be running that interview soon enough. But Jeff turned me onto a USA Today article that profiled Worksoft’s efforts to find funding — as a model for what Chinese companies and US investors are trying to achieve. Useful read.

    For example, I was blind to the fact that China is just beginning to develop its own investment options for start-ups, and that’s why many firms are looking to the states for their funding. Also, companies want the expertise that American VCs can offer in international business savvy.

    One interesting statement: “…In 2004, [Chris Chen, Worksoft’s founder and CEO] ordered his largely U.S.-educated team to reconfigure Worksoft to meet the needs of U.S. investors.” What could that mean? Apparently, Chinese firms have a propensity towards keeping multiple books — one for government officials, one for accreditation bodies (that prefer to see healthy profits), and probably another for reality’s sake. The article doesn’t explicitly explain that that’s the reason Mr. Chen did a makeover for his company; but I suspect there were many Americanisms that needed addressing.


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