Brian Reh is the president and CEO of Gorbel Inc., which manufactures and services cranes used to lift and move all kinds of products. Gorbel has had a factory in China since around 2006.
Reh was a panelist at the International Business Council's symposium Wednesday, called Business Under China's New Leadership.
"First and foremost, before setting foot on the ground in China, I would highly recommend getting teamed up with a good legal and accounting firm," he told the audience Wednesday.
Reh and the other three panelists have decades of experience doing business with China. They're sharing what they know with other local business leaders.
"China is the biggest manufacturing base in the world and the second largest consumer market – and soon will grow to be the number one consumer market," explained Heidi Hu Ames, Founder and President of Myland USA, which helps American companies do business in China. "They have the need to consume a humongous amount of products and services. Most of the services they desire would be American products and technology."
China's middle class alone is larger than the entire population of the United States, and it's expected to keep growing. Now under new leadership, these experts say the middle class is being encouraged to spend like never before.
"There could be some opportunities for companies that are looking to get their products into China and sell to the Chinese market. That really hasn't been an opportunity in the past," said IBC's Leah George, who helped organize Wednesday's event.
Sitting in the audience was Thomas Bienias and his team from the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara. His group is administering a three-year federal grant helping American-based medical device companies export to China.
"The Chinese people are very educated about health care," said Bienias. "It's a growing market but they're also educated enough to know that some of the high tech products coming out of the U.S. are better than anything else in the world, so they're anxious to import our products."
With so much opportunity, there can be challenges, which is why the IBC is hoping these companies can learn from each other.