Who’s Who Interview with David Jacobs
Here is out latest Interview with a Local Expat Professional. Mr David jacobs
Shenzhenstandard: Tell us a bit about where your from.
David Jacobs: Actually I have 2 in Australia. I was born in Melbourne, the city that hosted the ’56 Olympics and is Australia’s financial capital with a population of around 5 million and home to the famous MCG and birthplace of Australian Rules Football. My current “home”, where I spend time when I return to Australia each few months is Adelaide. It is sharply contrasted to Melbourne and is really a big country town of about 1 million people. But the best wines in Australia, and some say the world, come from there, including the famous Grange. How very different to the bustle of Shenzhen with its 15 millio
Shenzhenstandard: How long have you been in Shenzhen / China?
David Jacobs: I began to visit S.E.Asia in the 70’s and spent a lot of time in Hong Kong when I worked with General Electric, but did not come to P.R.C. until 2003. Since then, although I have spent some time in other mainland cities, my visits to and duration of stay within Shenzhen has grown each year. I now spend about 65% of the year in Shenzhen.
Shenzhenstandard: What brought you to china?
David Jacobs: Initially I came to sightsee but within a few days I wanted to get involved in a business when I saw the potential of this and other Chinese city markets. I spent about 18 months evaluating various businesses from a “true meaning” translation service (no more chinglish like signs in a hotel foyer proscribing “LIVING GUESTS ONLY”), to lanolin based skin care products before settling on the wine trade. As Chairman of an Australian wine export company and operator of a Chinese wine import and distribution company we manage both sides of the equation and minimize any issues involved.
Shenzhenstandard: What business are you currently involved in?
David Jacobs: I have interests in 3 Aussie businesses and 2 in China. In addition to the wine exports in Australia I am involved in a promotional merchandise, clothing and marketing business and, interestingly a business that provides low cost sheep & goat ear tags that growers must have to satisfy Australia’s National Live Stock Identification Scheme (NLIS) legislation. Although a relatively new business it is growing at around 50% annually. In China, in Shenzhen, I was disappointed that there were no true expat bars in the Futian district and about 18 months ago decided to open Xpats bar & lounge with my colleague and friend Ian Jones. Of all my business interests it’s the one I enjoy the most, although most of our customers don’t realise just how much effort actually goes in to making it look easy.
Shenzhenstandard: What changes have you noticed that affect business in Shenzhen / China, are these positive or negative?
David Jacobs: Well, having been a regular visitor for some time, where do I begin. The relentless construction is obvious and the quality of that construction is improving all the time. I have great admiration for the central and local governments at their senior levels for being able to plan and execute the infrastructure improvements necessary not just to support the growth but to improve the quality of services for both locals and the increasing number of expats. We all know that China has an enormous potential linked to its unmatched population; and many of us recognize that it is a massively complex task to even just manage to maintain, let alone improve the average living standards of a nation that just 50 years ago was still so isolated and with severely limited home grown technology. What I see has not changed is the tenacious determination of China’s central government to join the advanced “world” but at a pace and in a way that is manageable for them, not within a timetable dictated by others.