Shanghai SME interview


Name: Sebastian Wegener

Position: Executive Director Operations

Company: EunaCon HR Solutions and Services

Location: Shanghai

Company size (no. of employees): 13

Sector: Consulting (human resources)

Core business: Executive search and organisational development

When did you come to China?

I came to China (Shanghai) at the beginning of 2007.

Why did you come to China?

During that time, I was still obtaining my bachelor degree and an internship abroad was one of the criteria we had to fulfil. China was already a rising star with sustainable growth rates and the potential not only to be a production area, but a huge market to sell the products as well.

Where is your company located?

Compared to other consulting companies we have quite a special location in Shanghai. We are close to the German Centre in the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park (Long Dong Avenue 3000).

Why did you choose that location?

We experienced that a huge percentage of our clients from Europe arrive at Pudong airport and it’s quite convenient for them to come and see us here when they arrive in Shanghai or before they leave.

What is the biggest challenge for SMEs in China?

There is a lot of research into and evaluation of the biggest challenges – there are some that I think top the list, but they’re not necessarily applicable to all companies.

One of the biggest challenges currently is to find—and afterwards retain—the right employees (both, commercial and technical-related staff). Even though China’s GDP rates are not as high as in previous years, we are still talking about a candidate-driven market. Compared with large multinationals, SMEs have to be more innovative in finding ways to retain their employees rather than just increasing their salaries. Being close to and understanding the needs of your employees and also understanding and evaluating their reasons for leaving is very important. It can help you to be proactive and take the right actions to avoid this happening in the future. The process should start with identifying the right employees and making sure that they really have the intention of pursuing sustainable development within your organisation.

What is the biggest challenge for SMEs in your particular sector?

The service sector in general still faces difficulties in China, as the people here are still not accustomed to spending money on services, as the output is not as easy to measure as with products they can see. So even though human resource issues, like finding the right employees, is one of the biggest challenges for foreign SMEs here in China, our biggest sectoral challenge is demonstrating the value of consultancy services to Chinese clients. There is a general trend here for finding quick solutions with little or almost no consulting approach. This makes it complicated for SMEs in our industry to show potential clients our value.

Are you aware of EU-funded support services for SMEs and have you ever used any?

Yes, we are aware and we inform/advise clients in this area. For us, we never actually considered using them, one of the reasons is the bureaucracy which is quite time consuming.

EunaCon HR Solutions & Services Ltd is a member of EunaCon Consulting Group, established in 2002, and is an officially licensed German HR consultancy with a focus on executive search and organisational development. For more than ten years, we have been dedicated to identifying key employees, from senior managers to executive level, for our German speaking clients. In conjunction with our colleagues from EunaCon Finance and EunaCon Business Consulting, we are able to find and evaluate candidates for a wide range of industries.