PwC looks to the future in China, with a focus on BXT

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06 June, 2018

PwC held its most recent Analyst Day in Shanghai on May 23-24, 2018. The event saw 30 analysts, six major clients and PwC leaders from China, Hong Kong, Japan and the US converge at PwC’s Shanghai Innovation Centre. Patrick M. Heffernan, Principal Analyst & Practice Manager at Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR), was there and has written about what he learned about PwC today in China in this new TBR report – Deploying BXT and being local – PwC and the next decade in China.

PwC Analyst Day Shanghai 2018

The impetus for holding the event in China was to explore the evolving Chinese business environment, which has recently seen an increased desire to expand abroad, consistently sustained economic growth, a willingness to spend on consulting and the backing of a government which is focused on open trade.

PwC executives and clients walked analysts through client case studies and PwC’s consulting and advisory offerings and capabilities, including blockchain and PwC’s Business Technology Experience (BXT) approach. According to TBR, they believe this ‘was the first major global analyst event in China by one of the Big Four firms or their consulting peers’.

The report discusses a number of the sessions from the day, including:

  • How PwC kicked off the day with an overview of the Chinese market by Randy Browning, Global Advisory Markets Leader, and Shirley Xie, PwC’s China and Hong Kong Consulting Leader; notably asserting a belief that half of the world’s business transformations will occur in China and the expectation is that Chinese GDP will surpass that of the US by 2030.
  • Elton Huang, PwC’s China Markets leader and Shanghai office lead partner, explored the topic of Chinese and US relations. In terms of the political landscape, he noted that talks of a trade war between China and the US lead to clients seeking PwC’s advice on how to navigate regulatory compliance. Huang highlighted that execution matters to businesses more than political issues.
  • PwC brings local and industry knowledge to the China markets. Speaking on local expertise, Xie noted PwC’s knowledge base was both a differentiator and a challenge. Xie discussed PwC’s Workforce of the Future initiative which focused on developing IT and HR in the China market to become a way of upskilling and developing culture.
  • PwC’s industry knowledge was presented in a client case study for supply chain digitization, where PwC, utilizing its BXT approach, brought in design thinking and creative strategy skills. The client trusted PwC based on existing collaborations in finance and HR and eventually developed an external marketing campaign based on the new supply chain strategy.

In his report, Heffernen concludes with TBR’s assessment of PwC in China, “One PwC Consulting leader summed up the firm’s relationship to its clients with two simple points, saying the first thing PwC brings to the market is trust and the second is an ability to help clients get their humans to behave differently. His comments echoed a client’s earlier assessment that PwC had understood the local market, including what the government was doing and why, and also understood the client’s operations, strategy, metrics, and culture, allowing PwC to put newly collected data and enhanced analytics into context matching the client’s reality. Trust is being built around expertise and a positive track record, but also on the ability to change behavior and the knowledge of what current behavior is and why. While not unique to the Chinese market, what PwC intends to deliver matches well with what the Chinese clients want to do: grow outside China, improve compliance and build ecosystems. In addition, clients want PwC to bring its many services, not just consulting or audit or tax. And while traditionally, Chinese clients have insisted on purchasing tangible items, making it hard to sell consulting services, PwC’s on-the-ground leadership believes that dynamic has changed as Chinese companies appreciate keeping pace requires behaving differently than in the past.”

Read the full report here

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Rob Donnelly

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