Medical Gateway to China
1. What do you do today and who is your employer?
My name is Adv. Guy Tal, Director and Chief Operating Officer of SinoSciences, a Chinese-Israeli joint venture that distributes and manufactures medical equipment and medicines in Greater China. We currently have 20 experts in 3 offices located in Israel and China, and are going to open an operational branch in Europe.
We work via a singular channel to with access to the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA/CFDA), which significantly shortens the regulatory approval process. This channel is appropriate for innovative companies that have a significant unique advantage in their field and already hold regulatory approval from a western country (FDA, CE, etc.).
Our company purchases the relevant product quantities and performs the regulatory procedure with a local partner. The model is an exclusive long-term agreement in Greater China, and SinoSciences has signed several of such Israel-China agreements.
The company's role in Israel is to manage their contracts, to develop potential companies and to carry out a scientific and commercial evaluation of the products concerned.
2. When and how did you start working with people in China?
It started about three years ago when I was invited by an Israeli entrepreneur to accompany him to several potential business meetings and conferences in China, and to advise him on the business and legal process.
As a result of this visit, we developed a strong relationship developed with Chinese entities, which has formed the basis for SinoSciences’ current capabilities.
3. How many times have you visited China and has COVID-19 compromised that?
4 times and for long periods. Despite the current travel limitations placed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEO of our company (an Israeli citizen) lives in China. He speaks Chinese at a high level, which simplifies the process considerably and strengthens business relationships.
3. What has been your experience in doing business between Israel and China?
My experience ranges from transactions with Chinese businessmen, to the establishment of joint ventures and various cooperation agreements with government departments and public companies in China.
The Chinese business culture is completely different from the Western culture in general. Guanxi (关系), with whom we have built a deep relationship, is an important step for successful and fruitful business with the Chinese people. It takes a lot of patience and composure to negotiate with Chinese entities. In most cases, agreements are hampered by communication. Too many Western entities fail to understand the objectives, mindset and motivations of the other party and sometimes doubt the seriousness of the Chinese side. They are then at a point of no return and the prospects of an agreement will remain in a drawer only.
4. We hear mostly about China's interest in Israeli technology companies. Do you think there is room for more Chinese involvement in non-technology-related projects?
Chinese operations are also activein real estate, infrastructure, ports, etc. Some of my colleagues have been partners in insurance and sports deals in the past - some did not materialize, but the advanced negotiations indicate China's intentions to work with Israel.
The potential is not even close to being fully realized, and there is a demand to significantly widen the circle of cooperation and transactions between Israeli and Chinese entities. Currently, the State of Israel and even the western world is only seeing the tip of the iceberg! While the recently published Chinese five-year program has a clear strategy for achieving its goals and objectives, the Jewish people have the ability to take an active part in this development, and not just watch from the sidelines.
5. Do you have any advice for Chinese companies and investors negotiating with Israeli partners?
The nature of the negotiations is causally related to the nature of the transaction, regardless of its length, so it depends on the transaction.
For Israelis, I can advise first to establish a deep relationship, to fly to China, to build real trust, to see the potential partners face to face, to get to know their environment and their motivation in the deal. During the transaction, a lot of patience is needed, be prepared for concessions and substantial alteration, even at an advanced stage of negotiations - be prepared for this from the beginning.
And in general - the less you trust the other side, the less they trust you too. Put yourself in their shoes and make decisions accordingly. In crises and during negotiations, focus on the desired outcomes and be creative in the way you obtain them.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, and how do you see your industry in 5 years?
In 5 years, my goal is to manage the operations of the largest and most important foreign medical development company in China. To play a significant role in the development of healthcare in China and to strengthen the paths and business activities between the western world and great China in the medical industry. I wish to be a trusted player in the expansion of the activities of exporting the knowledge of western medical technology to the Chinese power, its assimilation, and integration in China.
In 5 years, there is no doubt that records in the medical field in China will be broken by itself. There is much room for improvement in the healthcare system, accessibility to remote areas, quality of care, preliminary diagnosis and more.
From a player that mainly acquires medical technologies, China will eventually become a player that produces and develops such technologies. Research and development collaboration in the medical field will develop with the great resources that this country holds, and will lead to groundbreaking conclusions in world medicine for the benefit of all the world.