Any Rubber Stamp Will Do.

So i’ve started blogging for The Drum A UK design publication. from time to time i’ll duplicated my posts here.

Although I talk to people everyday about my experiences in China, not very often do I write it down. This first post is a little introduction as to how on earth I ended up where I am.

Firstly, for the record I’m no jet setting businessman, I’m not a award winning designer with a vision for Asia, Shanghai just suits me.

2005 doesn’t sound like a very long time ago, but when I arrived in Shanghai, there was only a handful of bars you could go to, your social group was CEO’s to the left of you, English teachers to the right, and a freelance designer in the middle. Depending on which way you looked networking was easy and there was no shortage of work.  Before long I was given a free desk in a Taiwanese design studio (because having a white face looks good to clients).

It was there I met my now business partner Louise Lai, a business consultant from Hong Kong with a lot of clients that needed design. We started Thread and the fun began. Things I needed to get my head around included:

  • You can’t register an English word as a company name
  • You can register an English logo, but it takes a year and isn’t linked to your company
  • If you’d like to start a company you must have £200,000 capital invested
  • If you ask a Chinese person to do this for you it’s reduced to £80
  • The owner of the company is really just the person that holds the rubber stamps for stamping contacts
  • Any rubber stamp from any company will do

These rules also change weekly and you are generally informed during application.

There is always the option of staying freelance and profit sharing? Yes, just remember all freelance wages must be declared for tax or face large fines. However there is no visa that allows you to work freelance, so declaring money earned without full time employment would be illegal and you’d face large fines.

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