An interview With Connie Hong, Founder and General Manager of China Imperative International Ltd.
The international professional team of China Imperative International Ltd. uses a holistic approach to doing business in and with China. Their comprehensive business solutions include legal, tax and accounting, public relations and marketing service perspectives.
Q: Tell us about your career path to your current job.
A: I started out as an accountant along with training in Management Information Systems. I worked as an accountant for over six years for an investment bank and professional firm with international business. After my study for my Master’s in International Management from Thunderbird, I realized my strengths are in managing, communicating and working with people with different cultural backgrounds and international experience. Five years ago, I decided to start my own business so that I can have a platform to put my skills, knowledge, resources and professionalism into helping others while also testing myself.
Q: What is your role at your place of business?
A: I manage the overall business and development strategy for the company. I like what I am doing and have a strong sense of satisfaction. I like to try out new ideas, talk to people and share knowledge. I believe that I can always learn something from everyone who has different background and life experience, and sharing with people can be very inspirational.
Q: Have you made any breakthroughs – as a business professional or company – that make you proud?
A: As a small, new firm, we won trust and confidence from reputable and authoritative German trade organizations and experts. We proved our strengths, unique expertise, knowledge and dedication, sharing the same strict work ethic the Germans are known for. We also won an international brand and a listed company as our retained client soon after we started our company.
Q: Why did you choose to locate your business in the Bellevue/Seattle area? What were the key selling points about this area?
A: We looked at different cities in Washington when we relocated from Olympia. We were in need of good middle and high schools, a highly-educated population, a small town type of warm community but with proximity to metropolitan areas. I am more of a city person, loving all the action and energy that a city can present, while also enjoying quiet living environment and reasonable access to good Asian food. Bellevue has all of these qualities.
Q: What resources in the Bellevue/Seattle area would you recommend that investors from China tap into?
A: Bellevue Office of Economic Development, Washington State China Relations Council, and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle are all good resources. In addition, professional networking opportunities and organizations in the greater Seattle area are worthy of joining. These resources provide connections to people who can offer useful and practical advice for trade policy, business practice customs, and guidelines for doing business in the U.S.
Q: Please share a brief anecdote about a favorite business-related memory or event that happened during the time you have worked in the Bellevue/Seattle area.
A: I noticed Mayor Conrad Lee’s statement in the newspaper early last year, sharing the ambitious thought about developing Bellevue into an Asian fashion hub. I was excited and believed I could make contribution in this area as one of the industries that we serve is apparel and accessories. We help American and European fashion brands enter China and we help Chinese brands that are going international, so we have built connections and resources which I thought I could maximize to help the city to test out the plan. I contacted Tom Boydell, the manager for this project and we have been making good progress. Again, this is my personality: daring to try out new things. I am happy to see there are people in this city who dare to think big! Although we may be making small steps forward, as a Chinese saying has it: a thousand-li journey begins with the first step.
Q: What business and/or professional opportunities in the Bellevue/Seattle area do you recommend professionals and/or investors from China pursue?
A: Bellevue is an excellent choice for any business that requires a highly educated workforce, open-minded government, and a culturally diverse population. It is also very easy to travel between China and the Bellevue/Seattle area, and this area has reasonable taxes.
Q: What practical tips would you offer to business professionals in China who might want to do business in Bellevue/ Seattle area or in your industry?
A: Three things:
- Be proactive and resourceful
- Maximize the resource of the Office of Economic Development for the City of Bellevue
- Due diligence, as you usually would for doing business at home