Doing Business in/with China: Ukrainian Entrepreneurial Perspective

How to get behind the closed doors of tech giants and see them with own eyes? How to join global business community and find partners there?

17 January 2020

Ukrainian entrepreneurs and executives shared their experience of visiting China and studying at CEIBS for MIM-Kyiv’s international module.


Mykola Gryshchenko, CEO of the Gryshchenko Medical Center, SE MBA student

Which company out of those that you had visited impressed you most of all and why?

Alibaba. I was amazed by the scale of operations, the beauty of the concept and elegance of implementation. The platform nurtures Chinese small businesses and helps them to enter the global market place. Unless Alibaba opened the whole world for most of them would have been very local micro-entrepreneurs. 

It’s more than business for me. It is a philosophy in itself. 

What were your learnings and what you could apply immediately?

I run medical business which is a very conservative organization wise and for the good reason. But in China, I understood that we are living in the digital world. So, I’ll introduce digital instruments in my business.


Iaroslav Ianushevych, advisor to the CEO of the 

 Ukrainian State Centre of Radio Frequencies, SE MBA student 

Which company out of those that you had visited impressed you most of all and why?

Winner because they are very technological. Their visual recognition system provides enormous data for analysis. Then the data could be applied to find the best place for a shop, put goods in the right shelf or target advertising. I was also impressed by the Pinduoduo, a startup. At a glance, it may look like yet another marketplace but the business is underpinned by the idea of group buying and group discounts. The network effect makes the business successful. It took the Pinduoduo only 2 years to go public and raise $1.6 billion. 

I was so much impressed that if I were given a choice, I would have bought shares of Chinese tech companies.

What’s the difference in doing business in China and Ukraine?

I think it’s the Communist Party watching you. Your business will succeed if the party gives go-ahead. In such a case, you obtain licenses, tax benefits, and governmental investments. 

The authorities think long-term. To become the #1 economy globally, they are ready to put up with short-term and mid-term losses. 

For employees working 9-9-6 or from 9 am till 9 pm 6 days a week is an unwritten rule. 

How did you profit from the trip?

Networking was very good. I was among my peers. We all became a really close-knit community. 


Oleksandr Hlukhenkyi, investor, retail chain owner, SE MBA student

How did you profit from the trip to China?

I did understand first-hand that I joined the global club of MBA which opens many doors. During the trip, I managed to meet the CEO of a Chinese company, the global leader in its industry. Right before the trip, I wrote to a Jeff lu, one of my LinkedIn contacts from the industry I was interested in and asked for a meeting. In my communications, I referred to my course in CEIBS because he was also a CEIBS man. He agreed to meet me in person in Shanghai. I was even luckier that day because earlier we had had a lecture in negotiations with Chinese counterparts. 

The meeting was a revelation. My vis-a-vis was the Jeff Iu, the President of the Chinese office of the YooZoo, and the CEO of the Hamburg office. YooZoo is the global leader of mobile games creators with 6 billion linked screens and more than a billion users. Due to our studies at CEIBS, he received us like his peers and friends. He invited us to Hamburg for negotiations. It might be a good business opportunity. 

The module participants took an academic course in CEIBS, #5 business school in the world (FT ranking) and visited such companies as Huawei, Shang Gong Group (manufacturing), WPG (water processing), Zhangjiang International Innovation Сentre (tech cluster) just to mention a few. The program was complemented by the discussion with an executive from Alibaba.