Running an office in China can be challenging, but gives us access to a highly efficient industry, a willingness to grow and enormous technological development.
(By NewTracks AS founder and owner, Julius Espedal)
First trip to Shenzhen in 2004
In 2004, I had my first trip to China. I visited factories in Shenzhen and met hard-working and skilled people, and a variety of manufacturing companies and capacities I have never seen before. We are still working on some of these factories.
NewTrack's office in China for quality assurance
In 2018, I established an office in Shenzhen for engineering, quality assurance and production follow-up.
Some times, we only get 3D models from customers, and then we prepare complete production data at the office in China. NewTracks China works with SolidWorks CAD program, like most of our customers. File transfer back and forth is therefore smooth.
Shenzhen - The Silicon Valley of China
Shenzhen (SZ) is a technological spearhead in China, both in development and production. Here we can produce everything! What characterizes the production is close cooperation between the factories where each factory specializes in one technology and outsources everything else.
Enormous development from 2004 to 2021
In 2004, Shenzhen was polluted and unsafe, but has today developed into a state-of-the-art city. The population has almost doubled in 15 years, and there are now 4 million people living in the city center and 12.5 million inhabitants in the big city. The metro system was just started in 2004, but now covers the entire city with 8 lines and 215 stations. This means, they have have opened one metro station every month for the last 15 years! Still, the plan is to grow further, and by 2030 the metro network will be doubled from the current 300 km to 1150 km (wikipedia).
Focus on environment and safety
In Shenzhen, almost all taxis are electric cars. Shenzhen is also the only city in China where wearing a seat belt is required. Sharing economy has come a long way and with WhatsApp on your mobile you rent a car or bicycle, pay in shops, restaurants or taxis. Cash is almost non-existent, and for foreigners with cash this can be challenging. It pays to have the exact amount when you pay in cash because there are few who have change.
BYD electric cars and electric buses
Most taxis are of the type BYD e6 and a taxi driver we spoke to says that the cars work very well. With a range of 300 km, a charge lasts about half a working day. However, a challenge is that many taxis will charge at the same time around lunchtime, which means about 20 min. in charging queue.
BYD, headquartered in Shenzhen, is the world's largest manufacturer of electric cars. They have delivered a large number of electric buses that run in traffic in the Oslo area and have just started selling electric cars in Norway.
New Tracks office in Shenzhen
Our office is located in the district Longgang, 30 min. from SZ center and 15 min. from Shenzhen North Railway Station. From there, trains run at 350 km/h to Guangzhou in one hour. The factories we work with in both Dongguan and Foshan are therefore within a radius of 2 hours. It is important for follow-up and quality assurance.
Quality assurance and audit of production
All the factories we work with have good quality routines. In addition, we check all deliveries before they are sent from China. For small shipments, the goods are sent to our Shenzhen office for inspection before being sent to customer. For large shipments, a NewTracks employee travels to the factory and checks the goods there.
Flexible production for small and large series sizes
The factories we work with are flexible and skilled, and can deliver both small and large series. Some factories specialize in prototypes, small series and short delivery times. Others are effective in larger volumes and thus less flexible.
When volumes increase, we help to reduce production costs. Since we work with a wide range of manufacturers we can offer the same product by CNC machining in low volume, vacuum casting in medium volume and injection moulding in high volume.
Differences in doing business in Norway and China
Running a business in China is quite different from Norway, and we had to learn how to do do the tax, VAT refund, reporting, transactions and more. Chinese business culture is also quite different, but thanks to our good staff in Shenzhen we have managed to handle these challenges very well.
An export license is required to export goods from China, and many of our cooperating factories do not have this license. As NewTracks China Co. Ltd. have an export license, we act as an export office for these companies.
Delivery of simple components or complete products
We try to take our components one step further by eg. by mounting locks in aluminum profiles, adding gaskets to components or supplying complete mechanics kits including screws and packaging, to help faster assembly at our customers side.