ABOUT US

We are a team of trade, training and business experts that can help your business succeed in the world’s second largest economy.

OUR STORY

Thinknao at Sanlitun Apple Store, Beijing

thinʞnao began as a mobile app development and management consultancy in Beijing, China in 2009. Its original premise – that people would want to learn on their smartphones if it was effective and convenient – proved to be a success.

The company would go on to achieve a number of major milestones, including #1 rankings for its apps in China, distinct recognition from Apple, and multiple awards for app innovation in Hong Kong. All told, the company would deliver 65 apps and over 8 million downloads until it ceased app development in 2013, the same year its founder returned to Canada.

During this period the company consulted for the US State Department, advising and executing upon a strategy for its China EducationUSA unit. That led to a 25% increase students applying to America universities and colleges.

thinʞnao was re-established in Ontario and is focused on helping companies in the Greater Detroit area seize the China opportunity. thinʞnao clients benefit from our considerable know-how about business in China and other Asian countries, as well as experience in staff and family relocation, training, strategy development and international coordination.

Focus & Knowledge on China

Our value to you includes a graduation certificate from  ‘the China school of hard knocks.’ We been through the difficult stuff so you won’t have to.

thinʞnao also brings years of formal education and training in both western corporate settings and institutions, in both small and large companies and projects. When you put our knowledge of the language and culture of China to work for you, you’ve got an edge in navigating the complexity of doing business there. That can lower your costs and increase your return on investment.

When thinʞnao assists you, you have our pledge that all partner introductions are vetted by us and pass our requirements for trustworthiness, integrity and reliability.

Our thinʞnao business advisors apply a broad knowledge of doing business with Chinese companies and governmental entities to ensure that you are aware of the risks that could affect your company’s success.

Can your company meet all of the challenges of doing business in China alone? Would you like to reduce your risk by having 100+ years of Western-trained ‘China hands’ knowledge supporting your venture?

Needs Assessment – A basic needs assessment is not enough.  Our focussed thinʞnao assessment not only systematically addresses gaps between the current and desired, but also includes the cultural and environmental needs that are unique to China.

Strategic and Operations Planning – Both your “operations plan” and a “strategic plan” increase in value when factors for China are in the plan. thinʞnao works with you to develop and set a direction, devise goals and objectives and identify actions specific to the region’s challenges.

Supplier & Vendor Negotiationthinʞnao can help you reach common ground with the partners that supply goods and services. Having negotiated hundreds of formal and informal agreements in China, we deliver practical negotiation strategies.

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

David and Harold grew up a generation apart in the Greater Windsor/Detroit area as family friends. Harold, who had spent years in China by the time David met him, also, by chance, added fuel to the fire that was young David’s interest in foreign cultures and business when he translated David’s name into Chinese.

After graduating with a degree in economics and business from his hometown university, David began his worldwide journeys. His business career started in Taiwan, selling fax forwarding services to local exporters. Then, returning to Canada he rose a number of levels in sales at Bell Canada, but the itch of working overseas remained. David left Bell to join Cable&Wireless / Hongkong Telecom in Hong Kong. After winning HKT’s largest outsourcing deal he was recruited to join Deloitte Consulting as one of the the principals in its new Telecom Strategy group. That work covered early internet and wireless projects in Taiwan, Indonesia and China.

After several years with Deloitte, David was asked to open an office in Tokyo for the joint venture between Motorola and Cisco Systems. He built and staffed a next generation wireless lab in record time, then moved on to head product management for the Americas in Silicon Valley, where he evaluated technology and established “app partners” for the joint venture.

The JV dissolved with the dot-com bubble, and David was asked to return to Asia to set up its successor, Motorola Professional Services. Singapore would be his family’s fourth home in less than 6 years, so when he was asked early in the assignment to move for a promotion in China he declined. David worked on major product launches in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and built operational processes and managed a team of systems integrators based in multiple countries.

Next came the allure of China and of increased responsibility. Nokia hired David to run its software division, where he would triple revenue to $120m. He was also instrumental in integrating the team that came together when Nokia and Siemens merged to form NSN.

Rather than move again with Nokia, David opted to stay in Beijing where he started thinʞnao. His team’s educational game app innovations won many accolades from the Hong Kong Department of Education. They also gained a prized award of Staff Pick from Apple China stores.

After returning to Canada and settling in Toronto, David incorporated  thinʞnao in Ontario. Soon after that, he and Harold resumed their friendship and became business partners.

Seeing greater opportunities in the Windsor/Detroit region, they made the decision to return “home” to Windsor and robustly develop  thinʞnao to serve Canadian and American companies seeking rewards in the vast China market. As a reflection of that idea, they have also oriented  thinʞnao to help Chinese and Asian companies find their fortunes in the North American market.

After 4 years in the USAF, Harold opted for Canada and earned an Asian Studies degree at the University of Windsor. His China career began in Harbin, Heilongjiang in 1977, followed by work in numerous other cities, culminating with his retirement in Guangzhou, Guangdong in 2010.

Harold had five years of formal study of Chinese, and worked as a teacher, a technical translator and a manager of Canadian government-funded HR projects in China. He not only mastered Mandarin, but also became literate in Modern Chinese.

As a sub-contractor to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Harold spent 8 years in Chengdu, Sichuan, overseeing Canada’s investment in the China Enterprise Management Training Centre. His interactions with Canadian business and government consultants, and with Chinese business and government leaders, provided a broad foundation of understanding of China’s business culture and its government regulation of commercial enterprise.

In 2004, Harold joined KEDA Industrial Group to set up their translation department. KEDA is one of China’s biggest manufacturers of machinery used to make ceramic tile and to process natural stone. At the end of the assignment in 2006, his team had translated all the company’s operation manuals and allied documentation into clear and concise English.

Finally, in 2007, he was engaged to manage a project for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Based in Guangzhou, Harold’s team provided pre-departure labour market information and employment assistance counseling for Chinese professionals approved for immigration to Canada.

David and Harold teamed up in 2012 when Harold was invited to become a director of  thinʞnao.

Stephen has had a long career as an entrepreneur and an international trader. He loves bringing together a buyer and a seller for a win-win result. Throughout his years in business he has taken pride in being decision oriented and self motivated. Steve is accustomed to challenging projects and to working effectively with people at all levels and functions of a team.

The son of an American father and a Canadian mother, he grew up in Waterford, Michigan. After high school he attended Michigan State University where he earned a BA in Mass Communication.

After completing that phase of his education he joined his family’s steel service center. Once there he made key changes in:  Credit and collection, reducing days outstanding on receivables from around 50 to 34; material throughput, which increased approximately 32 per cent; buying insurance as a result of a three-year project which reduced insurance costs about 25 per cent; managing site security by creating a security staff; the care of the company’s equipment by organizing a five member team specializing in repair and maintenance; and developing a response to the asymmetrical negotiating style of visiting Asian customers.

The company was sold in 2000, after which Steve started an international trading company Ossip Mercantile and Settlements.

Steve’s projects have included businesses in USA, India, China, Pakistan, and Inner Mongolia.

What Steve brings to the table is experience over a large canvas. He is more than ready to put that experience to work for you.

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