Xi'an as a location
Our company is already active in doing business in and with China since 1996, building on the long term China experience of its founder Joos Horsten, the man behind the successful joint venture of Janssen Pharmaceutical in China. Xi’an-Janssen is based in Xi’an, capital of the Shaanxi Province and one of the first joint ventures in China, set up in the mid eighties. In those years nobody understood why Janssen set up its joint venture in the middle of China, but as my father used to say: one of the reasons for the success of Xi’an-Janssen was its location, as they got indispensable support from the local government.
In 2001 we decided to open our office in China, run by two of Joos’ long-time friends and previously co-workers in the Janssen China project, Mad.Lian Minjun and Mrs.Wang Xiumei. Since both ladies were living in Xi’an at the time, evidently we decided to set up our China office in Xi’an.
Whenever I told people about this, they would ask me: ‘why the hell Xi’an?’. It would have been more obvious, especially in the early years 2000, to open an office in one of China’s 1st tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, the most developed area of China.
As most of China followers will know, Xi’an is a famous historical city in China and attracts a lot of tourists. It’s the oldest of the four ancient capitals of China, home to 13 dynasties, the Terracotta Army, the starting point of the Silk Road and the first city in the world to reach one million people in population. The city also offers a lot of business opportunities and is one of the key cities in the Go-West policy and the new “One Belt One Road” development strategy of the Chinese government.
Today, almost 15 years later, we still have our office in Xi’an, with 7 consultants working there. Whenever I tell people now that we have an office in Xi’an, nowadays the reaction is often “hmm, interesting”. It is clear that, with the increasing costs of living in China’s 1st tier cities, 2nd tier cities such as Xi’an become more and more interesting, both for Chinese companies as well as Western companies, both as a manufacturing base but also as a potential consumer market. Horsten International has a lot of experience in doing business in China, and we are convinced that, with the further development of China’s 2nd and 3rd cities, the location of our office in Xi’an is certainly a good place to be in China.
Although Xi’an is definitely not the only 2nd tier city in the Chinese inland with fast development – cities such as Chengdu and Chongqing are even developing faster – it’s definitely an important city in China’s economic future. As a result, there’s no reason for us to ever consider closing our Xi’an office and moving to Shanghai or Beijing. And to be honest, in the meantime the city has become my second hometown and a favorite place to travel to during my regular China business trips...