What position do you hold at CRCC Asia? What has your career path been like so far?
Edward: I am a co-founder and co-director of CRCC Asia. After graduating in Chinese from Cambridge University, I decided to pursue a Masters in International Management, part time, and gained a couple of years work experience in London too. My first job was in the London office of China Eastern Airlines - a great insight into working for a Chinese State-Owned company (along with enough dinner party stories to last a lifetime). I then worked in Asset Management for a company with about $2.5Bn under management. This really helped my understanding of the finance industry. I was tasked with finding prospective additions to the portfolios of two China-focused funds.
In 2006, myself and our co-founder Daniel set up CRCC Asia, knowing that there was a demand for China related Market-entry services among European SMEs. Internships were a sideline that we were very happy to see develop, and has now become a major part of our offerings - we've now arranged over 3000 internships, and it's been great to see young people paying more attention to China in the last few years.
What are the core principles CRCC Asia strives to achieve?
Edward: We are focused on people, professionalism and building a global perspective. We aim to create perfect matches between our program participants and our partner companies out in China. We want program participants to gain a deeper understanding of China in all its shapes and forms, and to be able to carry that understanding with them throughout their careers. We believe that even those who don't speak Chinese should be able to access professional development opportunities in China.
What separates CRCC Asia from other internship providers?
Edward: Being one of the largest providers means we have unparalleled access to host companies in China. We also have a great infrastructure with over 20 staff members on the ground in China all year round. This means the accommodation, induction and social program are constantly developing to ensure that program participants get a really great insight into China and enjoy their time there. By providing high quality accommodation (no dorms or homestays), participants can really focus on their professional work experience. Likewise, with programs of up to 100 students in each city, each month, and past participants from over 60 countries, the networking opportunities are incredible. We proactively maintain our alumni groups, and regularly organise events, so that program participants stay in touch and continue to benefit long after their program finishes.
What does the future hold for CRCC Asia?
Edward: We recognize that the single biggest barrier for most program participants is the cost of the programs. We recently sent our first group of government funded interns out to China, and we will be continuing to push for more funding to make the program accessible to those who do not have the resources to pay the program fees. We already fund ten scholarships per year, which have been welcomed by universities worldwide. We also hope to strengthen collaboration with institutions in North America, Europe and Australasia - we have already made this happen in several cases, ensuring that students can receive academic credit for our programs.
CRCC Asia is also keen to build its own portfolio of forward-thinking companies. We recently made an investment in The Dragon Trip, a leading China Backpacking company offering affordable trips to some of the best attractions in China.