Small- and medium-sized companies trying to enter the Chinese market should begin with a strong Internet presence to capitalize on opportunities made available by China’s full membership in the World Trade Organization, according to Kevin Jameson, the director of operations at Purafil Inc., a Doraville-based air purification systems exporter.
China, with its large population, heavy industrial base and rapidly increasing reliance on automation and electronic controls that must operate in purified air, is an important market for the company, said Mr. Jameson during the Eighth Georgia Tech Global Business Forum on April 10.
Purafil experienced difficulties when initially trying to generate sales in China, he said, but its first successes resulted out of investments in the company’s Web site. The key for small businesses, Mr. Jameson said, is to have a clear Internet presence, investing in Mandarin translation and getting the company’s name onto Chinese servers.
He noted that the main obstacles facing small companies in penetrating the Chinese market are lack of resources, cost of materials, freight and duties and protection of intellectual property.
“The U.S. Department of Commerce is extremely helpful to small businesses in China,” Mr. Jameson said, noting that the department has a representative in Shanghai who can give companies market entry and other assistance.
He also said that companies can save time and money on consultants by accessing customers through suppliers and vendors that already have Chinese clients. Purafil’s vendors in China and independent representatives in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan are effective in marketing to Shanghai because they are established in China.
Mr. Jameson asserted that voicing the company’s support of trade policies by contacting congressional representatives is important when dealing with China. Part of Purafil’s success in China could be attributed to its public support of China’s entrance into the WTO, he said. The company also openly supports giving President Bush Trade Promotion Authority, or the right of the president to negotiate trade deals without congressional amendments.
Purafil’s technology helped restore Michelangelo’s art in the dome of the Cistene Chapel in Rome. Its air purifiers are used in commercial, environmental and industrial operations worldwide. Some 60% of Purafil’s sales to pulp and paper companies, petrochemical producers and museums are abroad.
Contact Purafil at (770) 662-0567 or visit www.purafil.com. Visit www.doc.gov for Commerce Department information.