It’s been more than 30 years since China opened its doors to U.S. companies, but many companies still view the nation as a mysterious place to do business. But when you’ve spent most of your career there, it’s not nearly as confusing.
“I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan who followed Horace Greeley’s advice, to go west. But I went past California to China. I helped First Chicago Bank open a branch in China at a time when the country didn’t have Coca Cola or flush toilets or bread,” said Philip S. Carmichael, who was recently named president of IPC China.
Plenty has changed since then. China has become a manufacturing powerhouse for electronics, making it a huge market for IPC services, including training and standards. Carmichael, who’s starting his new IPC job in January, is also making a significant change.
“I’m coming in with a large corporate organizational background. IPC is probably the smallest organization I’ve ever worked with,” Carmichael said. “Most people say that you need to do things differently in China. Certainly while the language and culture are different, business actions are essentially the same. There shouldn’t be any mystery in operating in China. If a young guy from Chicago could be successful doing it in 1976, just four years after Nixon became the first president to visit China, people should be able to do it now.”
Though IPC has been in China for a decade, it’s still a relatively new entity there. That’s something Carmichael intends to change. “We need to increase IPC’s brand recognition by reaching out to more manufacturing facilities and explaining IPC’s value proposition. We need to introduce IPC standards to these facilities and illustrate how these standards can improve the quality of business. As more Asian manufacturing facilities see the benefit of IPC resources, we will help IPC grow its membership which ultimately will benefit the global electronics manufacturing industry,” he said.