I’m in the Air China Club in the Beijing airport waiting for my flight back to Los Angeles. In Beijing it is 12:28 pm on Friday February 2nd. My flight arrives at LAX at 11am on Friday February 2nd. I am saddened by leaving this land of the future.
Here in China the next two weeks will be basically a long holiday. Almost everything is closed for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Everyone travels home, and it is one of the major holidays of the year in China.
This morning I had two last meetings and these both were excellent. This was a very successful trip to China for ABS. I expect to be back again in March. China is a dynamic and exciting place. It is an excellent place to do business and it is a critically important market for ABS.
The trip has been very important for ABS and a great experience for me as well. I have come to appreciate both the history and culture of China. I am committed to learning as much Mandarin as I possibly can and will be able to use a lot more of it on my next trip. I would recommend every parent or grandparent to have kids begin to learn Mandarin. It is the language of the future. In business and life, you better get acquainted with China.
I made it to Beijing and am really enjoying the city. The people here are very friendly as everyone smiles and appears very upbeat. Everywhere I go locals have been very willing to help with anything I have needed. It is a surprisingly friendly reception for such a large city.
An Ocean of Bikes – Go Ahead and Take One
Beijing is very clean and very, very busy. There are remarkably large numbers of cars, motor scooters and thousands of bikes. It sometimes feels like an ocean of bikes. Bikes sit on every corner and people just ride one and drop it off wherever their destination might take them.
I had 3 meetings this morning. All of them went well and I am excited at the scope of the opportunities in China. Heart disease is a global pandemic killing 17M people a year. In many rapidly developing economies like China, aging populations, more western diets, more dairy and red meats and more sedentary office jobs mean that we need new tools to address heart disease in all its forms.
Talent, Capital and Opportunity
Beijing has a highly skilled work force with many university educated engineers. We discussed a facility in Shenzhen with potential for a joint venture with a fund in China. Shenzhen is in southeastern China and links Hong Kong to China’s mainland.
Meeting this afternoon with State Development & Investment Corporation (SDIC). SDIC is the largest Chinese state owned investment fund and they last reported assets of over 461.7 billion RMB yuan a few years ago.
That is it from Beijing today. I have dinner tonight and will finish late. Tomorrow is Friday here and I have more meetings in the morning and then I am headed to the airport and back to LA.
It is Wednesday night in China. I checked out of my hotel and went to the train station in Shanghai, so I can travel to Beijing. The train station was amazing. There were more people than a sold-out USC Football game at the LA Coliseum!
I am looking forward to my trip to Beijing. I have a very full schedule including a business dinner and investor meetings Thursday and Friday. I still hope to take
in as much of the city and culture as I can.
Travel in China heating up because the Chinese New Year is this Friday. Thursday night many Chinese will hold reunion dinners and their family members will travel across the country. This annual celebration has been called the largest annual human migration in the world.
I feel lucky to be in China for their New Year celebrations. Friday marks the end of the year of the Rooster and the beginning of the year of the Dog. Many will decorate their windows and doors with red color paper-cuts and wishes for the new year like “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. They also celebrate with firecrackers and by giving each other money in red paper envelopes for luck.
Luck is very important in Chinese culture. 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture because 八 sounds like 發 (fa), which means “wealth”, “fortune”, and “prosper” in Chinese. I will take that as a sign that my 8 days in China will be very productive for ABS.
Today was my third and final day in Shanghai. Tomorrow morning, I leave for Beijing. I am looking forward to seeing the city and am excited at how well the trip has gone.
Most of today I met with some great people from the global company Terumo Corporation.
Terumo is a medical device company with over $4B USD in annual sales. They have lines of business including general hospital devices and supplies such as catheters, thermometers and monitors as well as a business that produces a broad range of blood management devices and supplies. And, of course, they have a cardiac and vascular business as well.
We started out early this morning and covered everything about ABS and our platform. After a few hours we dialed in Doctor Mehran Khorsandi, ABS cofounder and chief medical officer, to cover some questions that were specific to interventional cardiology. Again, after Mehran spoke he answered their questions and left our hosts with no doubt about the ability of cardiologists to transfer to the ABS system. I look forward to follow-up meetings with Terumo at their corporate headquarters in Japan.
This was our second set of meetings with Terumo. We last met with them at the JP Morgan in California a few weeks ago. We also met today with Fosun Pharma and Lilly Asia Ventures. Both meetings were good, and their representatives were well informed on the Asian market. We discussed the regional potential for companies like ABS. Heart disease is a major global problem and kills over 47,000 people a day. So, the hard work by the people at companies like Advanced Bifurcation, Terumo and Fosun Pharma is important to everyone.
Today was a very busy day and the jet lag is catching up with me a bit.
Hěn-gāo-xīng-rèn-shí-nǐ – Now Let’s Talk About A Global Killer
Monday was exciting because it was my first experience with Shanghai on a workday.
Our first meeting was at China Renaissance Group. It was a large, modern office building but everyone was wearing overcoats or scarfs because the building had minimal heating. So, people bundled up, except for me, and it did not seem to bother them. The meeting was excellent, and some large opportunities lie ahead for ABS.
We had five more meetings today and then we have a business dinner meeting tonight. I am also starting to be a fan of Chinese food and, after many attempts, I can finally use chopsticks credibly.
We met with many excellent funds and got very excellent feedback today on Advanced Bifurcation Systems. One thing that shocks people is the scope of the public health and economic costs of heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a global pandemic and we can do so much more to help. CVDs are the number 1 cause of death worldwide. In 2015 the WHO estimates that 17.7 million people died. Cardiovascular disease is 31% of all global deaths. This includes 7.4 million from coronary heart disease and 6.7 million from stroke.
Two that were very interesting were C-Bridge capital and Lyfe Capital. Both were excited about the opportunity ahead for ABS and in fact Lyfe wants to have us meet one of their investment portfolio companies. There is something here that might be beneficial to both us and their portfolio company that could give ABS significant exposure in Asia.
We were very lucky to have Dr. Khorsandi on both calls. He was in LA (16 hours time difference). Our meetings included MDs, so Dr. K provided a more credible depth of detail to the conversation. We have lots of follow-up but the opportunity is very exciting.
All in, today was a very good day even though I was freezing all day long. Now it is off to my dinner meeting at 6:30 pm local time. We are having Japanese food. This has been as wonderful day with lots of excitement. It is fun to talk about the mission of the company and every conversation makes me even more proud of ABS and what we hope to accomplish.
It is funny when experienced travelers make rookie mistakes. My second full day in Shanghai was very cold and windy. In the hectic run up to my trip this moron from Southern California did not pack an overcoat even though he owns three of them. Oh well, I will just have to brave the weather.
I have not adjusted to the local time. I started following up with contacts in New York at 3:30 am China time and made some valuable calls to our company advisors.
I am enjoying practicing my tourist Mandarin. I have started working in some basic greetings.
Hello “Nín hǎo.”
How are you? “Nĭ hăo ma?”
Nice to meet you “hěn-gāo-xīng-rèn-shí-nǐ.”
I am learning more every day although. The locals laugh at my pronunciation, so I tell them that I will get better. I remain so impressed with the people. They are great, polite and friendly.
China does not allow Gmail or YouTube services. But, it looks like the government may approve them shortly. Many people use a VPN (virtual private network) to get around restrictions and improve privacy.
Yesterday afternoon Greg and I visited the local underground knock-off flea market. It was amazing just to walk around and see everything from luggage to baby clothes and every “brand” you could imagine. This is the so-called “off label” China market. Learning to understand a new culture is very enlightening.
This is the second installment of my blog posts from my trips to Asia on behalf of Advanced Bifurcation Systems.
After the politeness and friendliness of people, the next most noteworthy thing is how incredible the infrastructure is in China. Every road I have seen in Shanghai is in perfect condition. Even traveling in the snow is surprisingly easy because of the condition of the roads.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is beautiful and very well maintained. It made me think about the appearance of LAX and JFK in New York and what these airports communicate about China and the United States to international travelers. An airport is an important first impression to international travelers and China seems to be doing a much better job in that area. Customs was crowded but fast and polite and I cannot say the same of my many experiences at LAX.
My hotel room overlooks the Huangpu River and this morning there was a parade of boats carrying coal that went on for hours. I could only think how the last U.S. administration destroyed the domestic coal industry and the potential for U.S. exports to international market that could provide hundreds of American jobs.
This morning I was reading about Beijing, whose population is 22 million. I am very excited to do business in China. Tomorrow I have meetings for ABS with 7 institutional funds and am looking very forward to these meetings. Healthcare is a huge topic in China and ABS could be a major player in this country. The last week in March, I will attend the China Health conference and I am meeting with the largest hospital group.
The food here is awesome and people cannot do enough for you. Travel can be rewarding but also draining so the people you meet play a key role in your comfort. I will write more tomorrow, and I will sign off in Mandarin
Today I flew to Shanghai for a series of meetings across Asia. Heart disease in its many forms is one of our top global health challenges, killing over 17M people every year. So, there is tremendous interest in the ABS platform.
The United Airlines flight to Shanghai was excellent. Every traveler loves having an empty seat next to them, so you can imagine what a luxury it was to have that on such a long flight. It was a very good flight overall.
I arrived in China Saturday night local time and the people have been spectacular every step of the way. Everyone I have encountered has been extremely polite and friendly. Most of the people I have met speak English. I have been working to learn Mandarin and practicing a new language is a lot easier when people are patient with you and speak your language.
I am Staying at the Hyatt on the Bund and the hotel staff are the best I have ever experienced. Every trip has its small hiccups and my first one was transportation from the airport to the hotel. The Hyatt planned to send a car to the airport to get me, but the car did not show up. The airport was very busy, but a very friendly lady arranged a cab for me. The driver was good but spoke no English and my Mandarin is not strong enough, so we communicated via sign language that would have been funny to watch. The cab cost 650 Yuan which is $102.92 USD.
When I checked in I told the hotel desk that car did not meet me. They were very polite and sincerely embarrassed. I told them it was just a mistake and dropped it at that. It is important to give feedback to companies you do business with. How they take that feedback tells you a lot. While unpacking in my room there was a knock on my door. Sunbeen Wang, the hotel manager, personally came to apologize for the car. She bowed and told me they were very sorry and then she gave me 700 CNY for their mistake. I was shocked and know that would never happen in the States. So, they actually paid for the taxi ride. Just unbelievable. It is a great reminder of the importance of focusing on the customer as a person.
Harvard Business Review did an article on How to Persuade the Young and the Healthy to Buy Medical Insurance. This seemed to strike a conversation among some of us in the healthcare industry.
Not having coverage is fine if you never leave your house. However, the cost of a catastrophic event could destroy a young person from a financial viewpoint. In turn, could have a major impact on their credit.
The cost of insurance for a young healthy person, who does not have coverage from their employer is very important and worth the cost. Employers will many times pay for part of the cost. If not, then this is a question every young employee should ask their employer. They need to find out the correct answer.