When you hear Carlos Martins talking about doing business in China it should come as no surprise that his company has already made a great leap forward in the country.
Wizard recently signed an agreement with the Shanghai Overseas Education Institute (SOEI), an arm of the Shanghai government. The agreement gives the SOEI the rights to Wizard's training methodology, in Shanghai and surrounding provinces.
Secondary school English teachers recently completed their training, which ran from June to August this year, and the effect has been overwhelming.
This agreement means that Wizard's tried and true teaching methods will eventually reach 3,000 teachers and 10,000 pupils and students across the vast urban area.
This is also a clear indication of greater things to come from the Wizard-China relationship. In Martins' words, "Wizard is committed to China for the long term and we see immense growth potential for English learning."
But, it is not just Wizard's being here and its first steps in China that are causing the excitement, but the way they have approached the market as well.
Wizard hired Steven Tam, a successful American Chinese entrepreneur, as general manager in charge of China operations and Tam is convinced that Wizard has the products, services and resources to prosper in this market. He also says the company has the ultimate goal of helping all Chinese to become more competitive and integrated into the international marketplace.
Tam was the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Tianjin, from 2001 to 2007, so his intimate knowledge of government policies and the Chinese culture and traditions will be an important part of Wizard's venture in China.
He opened the first school in Tianjin in 2010, and has had more than 1,000 students from the general public, corporations, and the government, including Tianjin Airlines employees, the China Railroad Design Institute, and public school English teachers.
As soon as Wizard has consolidated its position in China, it will begin using the franchise model that has been so successful in other countries. The plan is to have 100 schools operating by 2015.
Martins explains that he is used to balancing ambition and patience. Wizard filed an initial request to register its trademark in China in 2009 and the government approved it 15 months later, in March this year.
(China Daily 09/13/2011 page36)