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Blog entries from Karen Fierst during her stay in China and attendance at the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Show Beijing, China.

March 23, 2010

Today I went to visit a boutique, American owned consulting company which has been doing business in China for 10 years. One of the two owners, Steve, has actually been doing business in China for 15 years, and living here for the past 10.
I met the China based partner today as well as his staff. The U.S. based partner, Michael, sought me out about a year ago and we met near DC at that time. Today’s meeting was interesting and I plan to stay in touch with this company.

Steve picked me up at the hotel in his private car with his driver. After our meeting he had the driver take me to my next meeting destination. I know that manu people in China have drivers, but this was my first time enjoying this set up. Frankly, it doesn’t get much more convenient than this.

The second meeting of the day was with the President of the China Automobile Maintenance and Repair Trade Association (CAMRTA). While this is a ‘non-profit’, unlike associations in the US, it is basically a government agency. The organization services both the mechanical/maintenance industry sector, as well as the collision repair sector. Unfortunately, the association does not distinguish between the two sectors when collecting and/or analyzing data. In spite of that I was able to get some basic information about how the association runs.

China Auto
Maintenance & Repair Trade Association (CAMETA) founded in October 1983, is
a national Class A association, with over 400 members from enterprises engaging
in auto maintenance and repair equipment manufacture, auto maintenance service,
and relevant research and design institutes, universities, IT and individual
expert and scholar. In the CAMETA there are Marketing Committee, International
Cooperation Committee, Sales Agency Liaison Committee, Membership Development
Committee, Expert Committee, Education and Instrument Committee, Training
Center and Secretariat.

The business scope of the CAMETA

1. To conduct
industry survey, collect and process basic information about the industry, to
study the industry development strategy, and to develop by-law of the

2. To assist
relevant government departments in the formulation of the industry related laws
and regulations, industry development policies and guidelines, as well as
technical standards and quality specifications;

3. To conduct
quality inspection and acceptance for the maintenance equipment and services,
issuance of production permits, statistics and market forecast commissioned by
the government;

4. To
coordinate the relations between the government and the industry as well as the
relations among the enterprises within the industry;

5. To
organize industrial exhibitions, conference and product ordering meetings;

6. To
organize technical exchanges, new product promotion, application of new
technology and materials in the industry, to promote upgrading of the

7. To advise
the government about the industry needs and to protect legal right of the
industry as well as the enterprises;

8. To provide
information exchange and consultant service, and professional training courses;

9. To
maintain international relations with overseas counterparts and stakeholders,
to promote international cooperation, exchange and marketing activities;

10. To
provide legal service to the industry and the public, for protecting
intellectual property right, and for dispute arbitration;

11. Other
activities entrusted by the government, members and relevant departments;

12. To
publish publications of the industry.

There are ten categories of products manufactured
by the CAMETA members, covering such areas as automobile inspection and test; diagnosis
and maintenance equipment; retrofitting, spray painting, cleaning equipment;
automobile lifting and transport equipment; lubrication equipment; car
decoration and special tools.

After our meeting at CAMRTA my translator,Louise, and I attempted to do some shopping. It was not a successful shopping excursion, but I learned how to use the bus and subway systems, which is invaluable.

Beijing has a population of about 20 million people and approximately four million cars. In short, it is CROWDED – especially during rush hour which is when we found ourselves attempting to use public transportation. It was indeed an adventure!

After parting from Louise I went to the home of the American born parents of a friend of my
younger son’s. They are in Beijing for at least a year on a business assignment. It was indeed gracious that they invited me to their home for dinner – sight unseen! It was a fun and relaxing evening. I took the subway alone back to my hotel. Ah, sweet independence!

I am staying in a hotel which is on the far west side of Beijing. I am pretty far from most
places I need to go to. However, my friend Susan Zhang, from Motor China recommended that I stay near here office and home. Her thought was that in case I needed assistance it would be easier for her to help me. She has indeed proven to be my “lifeline”. I told Susan I needed
internet and to be near the subway. This hotel has/is both. As a result of the distance, I had to learn how to use the subway which is very easy, clean, convenient and safe.

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Comment by larry wagreich on September 4, 2012 at 2:15pm

Hi Karen, Very interesting. I've been to China four times now but all business, I'm importing auto paints from Guongzhou China. Let's compare notes sometime.

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