Why I’m Leaving China

Posted on by

The hassles and problems have been absorbable, but the greater opportunities lie elsewhere

Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Aug. 13 – After some 23 years in China – 20 with the firm I established, Dezan Shira & Associates – it is time to move on. But why? China has been very good to me of course; it took a 30-year-old with no real sense of direction in his career and turned him into a millionaire entrepreneur with offices around the world. So why change that?

There have been a number of fairly prominent expats leaving China recently, as a friend of mine said “It’s the end of an era.” Yet while some moan about never being able to become Chinese and about getting ripped off, I’ve never felt that way at all. One curious thing that may have helped me when I first began in China was that I couldn’t speak any Chinese. That contrasted with many expats who, albeit younger than me, could. There was a generation of expatriates that came to China armed with fluency. That may in some cases have actually inhibited them; over-confident in their language skills an arrogance developed; they too could be like the Chinese and they would snatch up all the opportunities. It didn’t quite work like that for many, and I’m inclined to think they never quite understood China as well as someone who had to really try hard linguistically as a result. Not having Chinese language skills, yet possessing some business experience proved for me a better platform for trying to understand China. Those armed with linguistic capabilities have in many cases either missed out on properly integrating and understanding the people and culture, or felt they really didn’t need too as they had fluency. Being fluent in Chinese is no guarantee of success in the country – China is far more subtle and complex than that. It also has a habit of rejecting expatriate arrogance.

All that said about the beginnings, there is never really just one simple reason for leaving a country one has resided in for a long time, although I have seen many expats after awhile become disenchanted and even cynical about China in particular. “If you don’t like it, leave” chant the slightly more patriotic of our Chinese friends. And they’re right, albeit up to a point. And the disenchantments about China are many and varied – it has ease of internet surfing that is amongst the worst in the world – an issue that I would imagine concerns all Chinese who want to gain an international education – and the standard of morality has plunged to depths well below that of 20 years ago. Amongst all China’s great recent accomplishments, the value placed upon human life remains poor and has been shunted aside rather in favor of the ‘to get rich is good’ mantra.

The Chinese answer lies with the Dalai Lama, but China refuses to contemplate a division of the Party and Religious authority, so instead he is branded as a splittist while monks self immolate. China is backward here too, with such huge resources and they can’t manage a transition as the Mongolians have done, who recently enthroned their version of the Dalai Lama. In Mongolia, the State sticks to politics, while the Mongolian Bogd Khan maintains the ethical and moral path of the nation, and it works. So much for a refusal to give up an inch of power and assume moral guidance for 1.3 billion. The Chinese system of dealing with morality and ethics simply isn’t working.

It’s not outside interference to comment on such matters. But it does interest expatriates and foreigners who do care about China. Because China never did exclusively mean the Communist Party; an arrogance lies within the assumption that it does, and that the two are and always have been undeniably intertwined. They haven’t, and basing claims to seas and territories on ancient maps and the modern renegotiating of old agreements (much of which date from when China was under Mongolian rule) should not signify a retrograde Communist Party authority. Yet it does, and it grates. So these are gripes, yet more intellectual and well meaning than disenchantment, expatriate cynicism and interference.

If that disenchantment exists, with me there is only one area where I feel truly disappointed, and that is the air quality. It is shocking, and this evil has spread across China like the Biblical Plagues. I used to live years ago on Lamma Island off Hong Kong, I could see all the other outlying islands, over to Lantau and right across to Aberdeen. Not any more. I can barely see Lamma itself from the Outlying Ferry terminal, even though that has moved a kilometer or so closer to the island itself than when I first took the route. North, to where I now live (and am shortly about to move from) in Beijing, the broken promises of the 2008 Olympics lie in the air quality. It was great for those immaculate three weeks of China’s Olympics, yet the CCP’s own mantra of “sustainable development” has been shown to come up short. The city air is filthy and worse than before. For a modern, developing nation talking of sending a man to the moon, the state of the capital city is a disgrace. Expatriates leaving China, although there may be other reasons for relocating, at least have that option. I feel sorry for the millions of Chinese who do not and who have to breathe in the filth. It’s China’s most pressing issue. But again, it’s not why I’m relocating – although I have heard many Hong Kong and China-based expats, especially with young children, provide it as a reason, and I would not disagree with their sentiments. China’s air is poisonous.

But while we can still breathe, the simple truth is that China is a young man’s game. At 52, I feel I don’t really want to have to put up with the daily hassles: bad air, stupid censorship, dreadful traffic, poor manners and a bureaucracy that is ruled by people who want to show their power – even small and insignificant pieces of required documentation are processed at the expense of demeaning subservience to the official. Simply put, it doesn’t have to be like this, and other places – even Mongolia – make the quality of life far easier. Dealing with such issues for 20 years in China has been tough, and to be frank, it’s time to move on. I have rather better things to do, and probably more enjoyable.

At Dezan Shira and China Briefing we employ several hundred people in China – all are younger than me, and to be fair to them, even though I remain the ultimate boss, many are rather smarter than me as well. That combination, of being both young, adaptable and clever, means it’s time for me to step aside and let them get on with it. I’ve had to devolve my responsibilities in doing so, and develop and test teams of people, from our services in business advisory and tax planning to marketing and even IT, and that’s taken two years. I didn’t tell anyone I was stepping aside, I just gradually did less, and gave more responsibility elsewhere. Lately, when asked “Chris, what should I do?” I’ve been answering “Whatever you feel is the right solution” which offers nothing in terms of practical advice, but does encourage staff to think and begin to appreciate the responsibility of making decisions. Which is a pretty good one to have when you get things right!

Chris Devonshire-Ellis: “China has been amazing”

Besides, some of the decisions we have to take now involve both rather a lot of money and in sciences that simply did not exist when I began the business. When Dezan Shira started, there was no email, and no internet. Record keeping was largely manual, and not very computerized. Today we have an entire IT department that discuss issues such as ERP systems and Microsoft platforms. I was educated with a slide rule (banned in exams) and logarithms. There’s no way I’m even capable of making any meaningful input into such discussions, and aside from wanting to know we’re getting the right operational and security apparatus in place, there’s no need for me to be involved. As an entrepreneur, growing yourself out of your own business must take place at some stage. And as we’re not selling, I have to replace myself instead – the task has been to instigate that with, as I said, rather brighter and smarter people than I am. I dare say that’s been relatively simple to accomplish.

Otherwise, relocation is to do with sheer growth. I’ve developed the business out of China – hedging our corporate bets one could say – and expanded into Southeast Asia and India. Actually, about six years ago I began to get itchy feet – having had the firm for 15 years at that stage and pretty much seen everything that could go on in China, I needed a change. Looking at Mongolia, and even North Korea, I ultimately recognized that what we basically knew in China could be broken down into three aspects:

  1. We weren’t intimidated by large countries
  2. We weren’t intimidated by massive populations
  3. We could handle the difficulties of doing business in emerging countries

In fact, to some extent, point three is what we actually do for a living; making sense of the legal and financial administration systems in emerging markets, that’s exactly what clients pay us to do in order to either set them up with a company, or ensure they are paying their taxes and handling their accounts correctly. After breaking all of what we really knew into those components, there was only one other country that offered those elements: India. So off I went.

India is a blast, totally different to China, and equally as capable of being incredibly frustrating. It’s also right in your face; there is no escape from the moment you land from the heat, the people, and sometimes the squalor. For some, that’s too much to take. However whereas in India, everything is on display, in China, problems remain hidden. In reality the two countries make fascinating comparisons, and the perceptions about India are largely outmoded. I’ve seen Chinese women pissing in the open in Wangfujing for example.

In terms of the bureaucracy – of which the dealing with it is what we really do as a professional service – India isn’t that much more difficult than China to be honest. In fact, in terms of setting up the equivalent of a representative office in India, there are two procedural steps less than in China. Comparisons are to some extent meaningless, all I can say is that the two can be equally problematic, but that they are so in different ways. Despite the media attention on India’s ramshackle politics, things are getting done, and both the demographic pointers and our own figures show that growth is now occurring at a more rapid pace in India than in China. Our Indian operations are developing accordingly, and we have many clients we originally assisted in China now investing into the Indian market. Increasingly, India is becoming an important destination for FDI – moving our practice out of China and into Asia was one of the smarter strategic moves I made.

We will continue to develop our practice in India – and recently relocated the German expatriate manager of our Shanghai office to Delhi. His descriptions of how he found the differences and adjustments he needed to make can be found here. Our sister website, dealing with matters of India foreign investment, is India Briefing and it can be found here.

Having taken the leap to India, Vietnam swiftly followed. While India is rather like China in that it offers both a large and established middle class consumer market and cheap labor, Vietnam is really a China play. As manufacturing costs increase, and particularly so in South China, that manufacturing capacity is being added in Vietnam instead. We have examined the operational costs of both China, India and Vietnam several times, and our complimentary report on the subject can be downloaded free from our Asia Briefing website here. Our popular Vietnam Briefing website is here. We are today an Asian practice, not a China focused one.

However, we haven’t finished with just India and Vietnam. We maintain huge interest in investing elsewhere in Emerging Asia, with our own recent Asia Briefing reports on Myanmar and Mongolia outlining the issues investors face. We’ve yet to establish our own operations there, but countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia are all of interest for us to establish a presence later. These nations (Mongolia excepted) are all members of the ASEAN trading and economic bloc, and we see the future of Asia – including China and India – very much tied to the developments in ASEAN. With the entire bloc coming into complete free trade in 2015, and with both China and India having double tax treaties with ASEAN, the dynamics of business in Asia are shifting, and it is important for businesses in or dealing with China to be aware of the implications. Many I feel have not yet understood what is happening – and it remains an important and little understood matter. I wrote about the subject here – Why ASEAN Matters For Your China Business. There is too much concentration of resources purely upon the China market in my opinion, and with the global slowdown still manifesting itself, the tides of investment and opportunity are changing. I also wrote about the perils of concentrating too much on China in “China Glare.” The entire issue concerning developing ASEAN is the reason we established a presence in Singapore last year, and that too is now doing well. As Hong Kong is an international financial center for China, Singapore is the same for ASEAN, and with low tax rates of 16.5 percent and 17 percent respectively, and no tax at all on dividends realized externally from their own borders, both remain and will continue to develop as international business hubs. We wrote a comparison between using Hong Kong and Singapore companies for holding operations in China and Asia here.

Another issue that is affecting my move from China relates to the client profile at Dezan Shira. About 50 percent of our clients come from the United States, and we recently established offices there. It is now apparent that as a firm we have added value – we don’t just sell China as an investment destination. And with those shifting trade dynamics in Asia I talked about, foreign investors now need to know more about China, the alternatives within the country and indeed in other nations throughout Asia and beyond. Doing that while being based in the US sounds like a pretty good job to me.

So in hindsight, although I’ll be visiting on a regular basis, the reason I am leaving China is simply that I have outgrown it, and so has my business. Despite the gripes, it remains a fascinating and amazing country to do business in and to live. And ultimately, they’ll fix the air. So thank you China, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, and I owe you a lot (although I have contributed huge amounts in various personal and business taxes over the years!) The Chinese people have been amazing, and the country has made me both in my career, provided security for the future and made me as a man. I’ll never really mentally leave, but for now, it’s time to be – rather like my waistline – moving ahead. And one last thing, dear reader – if anyone tells you China is not the place to be – they’re wrong. It’s just that now there are other destinations to be considered as being equally fascinating.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Founding Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates, which he established in 1992. The firm celebrates its 20th anniversary in November. Chris subsequently established China Briefing, now part of the Asia Briefing Publications Group, in 1999. Chris takes up his new position as Senior Partner for North America next month, however will continue to visit China and Asia on a regular basis. He may be contacted at chris@dezshira.com.

Related Reading

The firm’s website with details of all offices in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the United States www.dezshira.com

 

Our complete Asia Briefing bookstore, including titles on China, India, Vietnam, and Emerging Asia http://www.asiabriefingmedia.com/store/

39 Responses

  • What elegant words to run down the curtain on two decades in a country! Chris I salute your entrepreneurialism and your respect for your host nation -including speaking awkward truths. May your next venture be as successful.

  • DaXiong says:

    Been here for only 12 years, also ready to call it quits. China has been good to me, in a few ways, but I am also over 50 and too tired of the reality. The more Chinese language I learn, the more I wish I didn’t understand any of it. Wish China best in all things. “Be happy every day” said the insane inmate.

  • Alex R says:

    It is interesting to compare this with Mark Kitto’s reasons for leaving China. He is also a Brit and did some publishing: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/mark-kitto-youll-never-be-chinese-leaving-china/ but his experience seems rather different to yours.

  • Digby Ross says:

    Dear Chris, I am most interested to hear this and provides confirmation of what I have been thinking for the last year or so. The days of spectacular growth in China are behind us, and I think Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia will be where the 10% growth will come from for the rest of this decade. But I am surprised that Indonesia – with its massive domestic population, a system of governance that is inching ever closer to credibility, and all the investment that will invariably come to mining and infrastructure projects – rates so little mention. Would love to hear more from you on this topic and your future plans for the country?

  • Hi Digby, we wrote a lot about emerging Asia here, including a bunch of downloads and related links:

    http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/06/08/china-the-competing-asia-round-up.html

    Indonesia is fine, its just that the legal system is a complex hybrid of the local tribal laws, 19th century Dutch civil law, and Shariah, and it’s both weird and unevenly spread. Rules that apply in Jakarta don’t necessarily apply elsewhere. So its definately one for entrepreneurs with some sensible Asian experience that can be both patient and work out the road map without getting in too much trouble. But to handle Indonesia you must be in-country, and Dezan Shira will be looking at an office there in due course.
    Myanmar we feel, rather like Mongolia is too early – its difficult to get sustainable cash flow into business in these markets. So they’re on the back burner for now. I wrote about the practicalities of operating in Myanmar here:

    http://www.2point6billion.com/news/2012/05/18/myanmar-law-tax-and-operational-issues-11114.html

    Vietnam is fine, but like I said it’s a China play to a large extent. Our views on Vietnamese development are here, and we are expanding our business there and recruiting new staff as we discuss. See:

    http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/07/30/vietnam-vs-china-part-i-representative-offices.html (also has neat downloadable brochures).

    India remains the least understood, and I don’t deny it’s a tough one to crack. It also suffers from a rabid media that as its a democracy, picks holes in everything. The reality isn’t so bad, although I see the media is generally negative, we deal with FDI as you know and we are on course to bill 50% more this year than last. That’s quite a leap, and we continue to invest in that country. Growth in India is higher than in China. See also our wage comparisons between China & India here:

    http://www.2point6billion.com/news/2012/06/07/minimum-wage-comparisons-between-china-and-india-11264.html

    In terms of Asia, you really can’t go wrong I feel with basing yourself somewhere in ASEAN. Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia for manufacturing, Myanmar and Cambodia for front end early development, Philippines for outsourcing and Singapore as the financial and services hub. A link in the main article above explains ASEAN, where you go is partly dependent upon skills and talent and partly upon individual entreprenurial capabilities. Dezan Shira I am sure will have a full time presence in each of the above countries within the next five years, and probably Bangladesh as well – a developing market for global textile sourcing.
    And let’s not forget dear old China – we’re continuing to invest there too – our next offices will be Central and Western regions. See our views here:

    http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/07/18/joint-ventures-back-in-vogue-for-accessing-chinas-central-regions.html

    Hope that helps – Best wishes, Chris

  • Gery Emonds says:

    Hi Chris,

    Hats off to you, Chris, having established such a widely respected business not only in China but in the whole Asian Area. Myself having managed in various Asian countries, incl. the big shots China and India, can confirm that India is a whole different ballgame. Main issue here is that the potential, growth and opportunities for grabs far outreach the logistical infrastructure and supply of basic production tools, such as energy and the clean business mentality ( not to use corruption in my communication ).
    All goes well to you in the US, Chris, thanks again for all you have contributed to the successes of many entrepreneurs in Asia,
    Gery EMONDS.

  • Eunice Ku says:

    Editor’s Note
    China Briefing wrote about other Emerging Asian countries for China expats to consider in this article, China’s Ex-Expats – Emerging Asia Beckons

    http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2011/11/18/chinas-ex-expats-emerging-asia-beckons.html

  • @Michael Walker – Thanks for your kind words. I took a look at your website, that’s good work you’re doing.
    @Ced – Great to hear from you! Yes we don’t mention many specific clients due to confidentiality issues. But yes, I guess we have helped many companies, including some set up originally as very small businesses initially, become successful. It’s a really gratifying part of the job. I like to see people do well in China, I know how hard it is, and its great on the occasions when the individuals concerned have been able to retire with a few million in the bank!
    @Da Xiong – Thanks. A measure of insanity always helps in China, I agree. So does a very large, very cold and very strong Martini – on occasion I have needed one or two!
    Thanks also to those who sent personal emails today – much appreciated. – Chris

  • Jane Wang says:

    Chris it is the end of an era. You’re making the right decision I think though at this stage of your business. We worked together with PWC on a due diligence project in Shijiazhuang, remember? What you have accomplished is amazing – not one but two successful businesses, it is fair to say that everyone in China knows Dezan Shira & Associates and China Briefing. Both have great reputations and the professionalism is just the best. All you have to do is look at this site to see what you made happen! I personally always admired your own ability to make complicated legal and tax issues understandable, making it easier for the average business reader (and I am sure your clients) to understand. I’ve additionally heard you speak a few times over the years, and China’s loss is America’s gain. With that knowledge and your speaking talents they are going to love you over there. I hope to see you soon – are Dezan Shira having any 20th anniversary parties? (I attended your Beijing one a few years ago). Good luck for the future!

  • Santosh says:

    Hi Chris – Good piece, as always. I have been developing a India-China legal practice for an year or so now. Your work and writings have been a source of inspiration to me. I would very much like to meet you before you leave Beijing. I will be happy to drop by your office or we could meet over a drink. Please let me know if this is possible.
    Santosh

  • Wow a Chris Devonshire-Ellis Love-Fest! Makes a pleasant change…
    @Gery – Thanks for the heads up and comments about India. It’s tough but we’re enjoying ourselves there and making some money. I note you’re in Hong Kong, I’ll be passing through in about a week so drop me a line if you’ll be around and let’s hook up for a beer. My email is in the article credit.
    @Santosh – I’m flattered to hear we’ve been inspirational to you the development of your firm. I’ve sent you a private email, and thanks for being upfront about our being influencial.
    @Jane – I remember Shijiazhuang – due diligence on eleven retail stores across China for an IPO…some stories out of that one! Again, thanks for your kind words. With China Briefing however, the credit can’t all be mine. I wrote about the first 50-60 issues about China law and tax off the bat, but these days, we have an entire editorial and design team, including researchers and of course all of Dezan Shira’s professional staff to write as well. That’s why we’re about the best source out there and miles removed from any of the blogs. But my team do the real work these days, and they can all be seen here: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2011/09/29/meet-china-briefing.html The real credit should go to them.
    I get more involved in China/India/ASEAN comparisons in FDI legal and tax matters these days. And yes I get asked to speak a lot but I’ll let you into a secret – even today I still get nervous before I stand up and present. My legs are shaking behind the podium.
    As for parties (my favorite subject) – YES!!! There will be Dezan Shira & Associates 20th anniversary parties, and they will be in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou & Hong Kong. When we do these things as you recall we get a lot of people wanting to attend, and this time we have a whole pile of surprise events and giveaways – cool stuff as well, not just copies of our books! Friends of the firm and clients will be invited and the dates will be announced so look out for those and hope to catch at one of them in November. Best wishes – Chris

  • Ray Kelly says:

    Chris,

    Your story and history in China are an inspiration and the multitude of publications that you are responsible for should be required reading for any newcomer to China, not just from a business perspective, but life in China in general. I particularly find your travelogues facinating reading and the depth of your knowledge seems almost limitless. When reading Mongolia Expat magazine, whether the stories are about Ice Fishing, Hunting Wolves or whatever, your words leap off the page and give one a sense of being there!

    I will fondly remember our evenings of Iberian ham, vodka and oysters, fine wine and dining at The Capital Club and sincerely look forward to the opportunity to meet again and listen to stories about your new adventures.

    Take care my friend, stay well, safe travels.

  • Digby Ross says:

    Hi Chris, noting that you will be in HK next week I would also be keen to meet up if you have any spare time in the diary!

  • John McKillop says:

    Chris, China Briefing for online China legal, tax and operational content remains head and shoulders above any of the other China blogs out there. You’re the benchmark everyone reads. Others may have attempted to remove you from that position, or even copied what you do, but yours is the best, period. I’ve also enjoyed the recent intra-Asian comparisons you personally have written. I hope you’re moving to the US won’t affect the technical quality here. In any event very well done, you quite possibly qualify as a China Expat Legend if anyone compiles such accolades. All the best and thanks for what you’ve been doing here.
    Regards, John

  • @Ray – thanks for your kind words – we certainly had some great evenings at the Capital Club didn’t we! I’m retaining my full membership incidentally, I’ll be wanting to use it when visiting. Let’s get together when I’m back in November.
    @Digby – I connnected with you through Linked In about Hong Kong. It’d be good to meet, it’s been a long time.
    For those wanting to heck out Ray’s comments on Mongolia Expat – it’s here: http://www.mongoliaexpat.com. Matter of fact I’m in Ulaan Baatar right now. Cheers – Chris

  • Mike Dandridge says:

    I wish to echo many of the comments here, Chris has made an exceptional contribution to foreign investment and expatriate understanding of the business environment in China.

  • Mayra Collino says:

    Hi! Reading your article I felt some how you were describing Brazil – “bad air, stupid censorship, dreadful traffic, poor manners and a bureaucracy that is ruled by people who want to show their pow” – it could be, easly! And yet the feeling is the same, great country where you can leanr a lot! A mix of feeling!! It is impossible to forget the coutry! I am brazilian and I had an amazing experience living one year in China ! Planning to go back after my Compliance MBA.

  • Thales Silva says:

    Hello Chris,

    Try Brazil for a change. I’m sure you’ll love it.
    Moreover your firm has what it takes to do very well in this market.
    My best,

    Thales S.

  • Brad says:

    As always, i’ve greatly enjoyed you and your team’s articles, so hope they keep coming. some of the best stuff out there and so useful for my career in China (at least it makes me look smarter than i really am with the stiffs back in headquarter). can’t blame you for getting out of Beijing – air quality is just a deal breaker for many after awhile. Life is simply not worth it when you have to breath that stuff on a daily basis. Hope US treats you well.

  • Chris … great article! I arrived in S.E. Asia in 1993 then onto China in 1998, returning to the U.S. in 2011. Your article strikes home! All the best to you in the U.S. … Russ

  • Russ, Brad, Thales, Mayra, Mike, thanks for all your comments, and yes, Brazil does look interesting…I’ll be taking a look at it when I’m settled in North America. I fly out to Hong Kong on Thursday, then tripping around our offices in Delhi & Singapore prior to heading for London – then to Montreal for a week and then down to Dallas…and immediately into a long national US tour and lecturing schedule. I’ll be back to China and Asia in November for a month. It’s amazing all the crap you pick up while here – I just spent 30 minutes deleting membership of all the not-very-useful China focused LinkedIn groups I’d joined to free up some US groups space. Thanks for the comments and you can of course keep in touch here on click on our China Briefing Linked In page or our free App (which is pretty cool if you haven’t seen it).
    Best wishes
    Chris

  • Colin Clauscen says:

    Chris I think almost every expat in China owes you for your China Briefings over the years. Quite how you managed to sustain educating the entire expatriate business community for free I have no idea. I hope it is maintained as the superb facility it is and wish you all the very best in the US.

  • Jabba Shanghai says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable read – although i notice plenty of detractors on lesser blogs. Thats just jealousy. You have done a consistentiy excellent job and deserve pastures new after an influential time in China. As was mentioned above one quick glance around this website shows very well your accomplishments. The US is going to be’ a good move for you i think they appreciate winners there.

  • Thanks again guys, flew out of Beijing yesterday and now in Hong Kong – kissed goodbye to wife and daughter today at Chep Lap Kok as they fly out immediately; I will be to Delhi this weekend, then to Singapore, London, Montreal and finally the US mid September when schooling is sorted, paperwork processed and house hunting can begin…
    Note for the Property guys: We’re keeping our house in Beijing as we think it’ll continue to accumulate in value, and have rented out the other. We decided not to sell up our personal holdings in China. Again, I appreciate all the comments here, linked in and those who wrote to me personally. But I’ll still be contributing here.
    Best wishes
    Chris

  • Santosh Praveen says:

    Hi Chris I note Ambassador Rao of India in Washington DC has been tweeting about you and the 2.6 billion website you’ll be very welcome in the US I think to help investing into India and China. All the very best of good lucks!

  • Hi Santosh; Yes, we’re popular reading at the corporate and diplomatic levels – we do a lot of Government work both a Embassy, Consulate and Trade Organisation level, not just with India but also the US, Canada, and many other EU and other countries. Our 2point6billion website deals with China-India issues and can be viewed at http://www.2point6billion.com
    Thanks
    Chris

  • Just to say thanks for everything and have a successfull and happy time in the US, together with the family. Travel safe Chris.

  • David Fieldman says:

    Chris, although we have never met, I feel as though I have come to know you and regard you as a personal friend through your writings and reputation. I’ve been in China, primarily in Beijing, since 1998 and have struggled as many have done with all the inconveniences of life, visas and housing, but more specifically the horrid weather and heavy pollution. And although you consider yourself too old, you could, in fact, be either my son or my younger brother. But I am here for the long run putting up with everything that compels many to leave.
    My best wishes to you and your family in your new home and may you find the same success as we expect you will.
    By the way, you’ll love Montreal, my hometown. Please visit “Old Montreal”. Although it’s now quite commercialized, you’ll savor the feeling of what life must have been like when the French settlers arrived. Many wonderful restaurants abound, so you’ll leave with a full stomach and beautiful remembrances.
    Bon voyage.

  • Hi Bill, many thanks for the best wishes.
    @David Fieldman – Yes, Montreal is great isn’t it? I love that city, and we’ll be staying at Nelligans. My brother-in-law lives there so we visit often, and the Latin Quarter is just bohemian cool personified. However – before the rumors get out – that’s not where I’ll be based (unfortunately) ! I have a hectic US schedule coming up though – Dallas, New Joisey, Atlantic City, Charlotte, Ohio, Washington, New York…and that’s before mid October…

  • [...] Why I’m Leaving China | China Briefing News After some 23 years in China, and this year, 20 with the firm I established, Dezan Shira & Associates, it is time to move on. But why? China has been very good to me of course, it took a 30 year old with no real sense of direction in his career and turned him into a millionaire entrepreneur with offices around the world. So why change that? [...]

  • David Fieldman says:

    Chris, Please read up on the huge student movement that is now paralyzing Montreal’s central business district. Students are up-in-arms over the Quebec government’s hike in fees. Your brother-in-law can provide more complete details on this largest strike and protest to ever hit Quebec and Montreal, in particular.

  • Stuart Tobin says:

    Chris thought I’d give a few brash sentence. You and me never got along that good, but you always gave the time of day to all us. You have your detractors and acquired enemies. But I’ll tell ye Lad your a canny man, and a good man, and that’s all there is to it. Thas all people need to know. God bless and sail well. I’ll have a beer with yowse anytime. Stuart.

  • Ha Ha Stuart! Long time no see. Yes we had a few heated debates about China didn’t we? Anyway, I’m now in Singapore en route to the US. Ten years ago the talk was all about going to China, now it’s all about going to India. Every single one of my business meetings here have been about India, China is done. I talked about the problems of too much concentration on just China here: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/04/13/has-your-china-business-become-too-china-centric.html and it seems I was right.
    The game is Asia (including China) and that’s why I said in this piece I had outgrown China. It’s still good, but the opportunities are elsewhere – and watch out for India.
    Good to hear from you – cheers – Chris

  • Fascinating. Have you ever considered expanding into big, bureaucratic Brazil? No Internet censorship, lots of clean air and beautiful beaches. And there is a gym on every street corner. Your waistline might be shamed into stopping expanding so fast there.

  • @Stephen – There is no time difference between Rio and New York that would interfere in that, and the flying time is rather less than I’m used to having to absorb running between certain Asian destinations. Add in Carnival, an emerging market and Mohitos and I’m totally game for that. This Wednesday I will be in Dallas for a few days and I am in fact meeting up with our partner firm from Brazil while I am there. I’ve had several people mention the bureaucratic and corruption difficulties, and Dezan Shira is good at killing off those issues for foreign investors, so yes, when I have settled in a bit more in the States I’m sure that’ll happen. As a matter of fact we registered http://www.brazil-briefing.com and http://www.latinamerica-briefing.com plus their derivative domains some time ago, so it’s something we’ll be doing later on for sure. Plus of course we’re already in China, India and have a stake in Russia, and I need Brazil to make up the BRICs set!
    Thanks
    Chris

  • RAM says:

    Hi Chris ,

    Enjoyed your articles. is there any possibility of catch up convenient to you ? Regards Ram

  • Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    @Ram, I’m always happy to talk to people about China and Asia, from students to journalists to MNC COO’s. Please just reach out via Linked In or email me at chris@dezshira.com.
    Best wishes
    Chris

  • The latest “Letter To China, From America”, in which I discuss the demographics behind the surge of American exports to China, is here: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2012/10/22/a-letter-to-china-from-america-part-iv.html

Leave a Reply