Are you a British entrepreneur moving to China? The Media Pioneers wants to hear from you

China is the new land of opportunity these days, from tourism to tech (Facebook is trying very hard to get in and Snap is reportedly eyeing a way in).

It’s also a tough nut to crack, with some American companies already deciding their big China opportunity is over. Some brands get it hopelessly wrong, and some people lose it completely.

As such, Chinese adventures make compelling television, as programmes like An Idiot Abroad confirm (though Karl Pilkington’s experiences were not a patch on mine). As luck would have it, TV production company The Media Pioneers is looking to hear from budding entrepreneurs who are leaving the UK to start a business in China for the purpose of chronicling their journey.

At a time when shows like The Apprentice feels passé (why start a business in London when you can have a go in the world’s second biggest economy?) and Brexit supposedly means Brexit, now feels a good moment to turn the spotlight on entrepreneurs in Shanghai rather than Shoreditch.

If interested, email: ubutt@themediapioneers.co.uk or mliang@themediapioneers.co.uk (and good luck!).

Leftover travel cash? There’s an app for that

Android phone with US currency

At the time of writing, I have a curious variety of foreign currency stashed away from recent travels in nice plastic wallets (for want of a better system): China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iraq, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and yes, my home country, the UK (on an unrelated note, it’s interesting how similar the notes are, and how easy it is to confuse them).

A new app, Spendal, promises to do away with all that, through visually showing exactly what to take out of one’s wallet, if I have understood correctly, meaning no leftover cash from foreign travels.

It sounds intriguing, and it appears there is a problem in need of some sort of a solution: Spendal’s landing page reveals that $156 in foreign travel cash is what the average UK citizen has dusting in the back of a drawer (according to Zopa Study). I’ve probably got that wedged in my pocket alone.

Perhaps a nicer remedy would be to give the surplus coins to charity, or to somebody less privileged encountered when travelling.

Be bold in post-Brexit 2017

Shanghai skyline by night

It’s fair to say that 2016 was a year of upsets. One after another, punches rained down on the status quo, beginning with a flurry of celebrity passings. Authoritarian Duterte was elected leader of the Philippines, Trump landed the presidency and Leicester won the Premier League. It doesn’t get much odder than that.  Oh, and the UK voted to leave the European Union.

While we still don’t live in post-Brexit times, because Brexit technically hasn’t happened yet, there has been an awful lot of conjecture, hand-wringing and strained voices. Many people are unhappy, which is understandable. But we can’t go back, only forward. To undo a democratic vote would set a dangerous precedent. Besides, we’re better than that: pragmatism and resilience amidst adversity are two British strengths (I’d take those over cheery optimism any day).

Turning crisis into opportunity

I’m not a cheerleader for Brexit (I voted Remain), but we have to survey the changing landscape and recognise that there are golden opportunities. The rest of the world, beyond the EU, helpfully sees Britain in a positive light: a survey from the British Council and Ipsos MORI revealed that worldwide Brexit has had a more positive impact on the attractiveness of the UK. The survey, As Others See Us , polled 40,000 Milliennials in G20 nations:

Rapidly growing economies in Asia, from China to ASEAN, signal new possibilities in this increasingly topsy-turvy world of ours that we should pounce on.

Adman Sir Martin Sorrell recently called on young people to obtain work experience in China – an idea that Chelsea’s Oscar has apparently fully embraced with his mega-move to Shanghai:

And to use a football metaphor, the goals keep coming as China and Britain are now gelling nicely, from arts and culture to trade and education:

Another so-called BRICS nation (is the term still used?), Indonesia, is already popular with digital nomads who flock to the gentle rice fields of Ubud. But there is so much more to this sprawling archipelago than Bali:

That’s not to say the UK should turn its back on Europe. Far from it. But there is simply little point in looking to the government for direction, or huffing over a democratic outcome. The world keeps moving.

If anyone in the UK is curious about opportunities and needs pointing in the right direction, from Brazil to Vietnam, I’d be more than happy to help.