Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the
August 29, 2001 edition of U.S. Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Chamber Fair: Doing Business in the Pacific Rim
It can be easier to establish a business in the Pacific
Rim than it is to do so in the Route 1 Corridor — or much more
difficult. Dan Fleming talks about opportunities and pitfalls when
he addresses the Princeton Chamber’s annual trade fair on Thursday,
August 30, at 10 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal. Call 609-520-1776.
Fleming is a founding partner of Wong Fleming, a law firm with offices
at 821 Alexander Road, and has a specialty in representing mid-sized
companies doing business in the Pacific Rim, and particularly in
The firm also works for Pacific Rim companies and for law firms doing
business in the United States. Fleming’s path to this specialty was
one of serendipity.
Fleming graduated from Villanova in 1981 with a degree in French.
"I wanted to go into the Peace Corps," he says. He had thought
proficiency in a foreign language would make him valuable to the
but soon discovered that a background in a practical skill, like
was more in demand. Next he considered a career with the United
as a translator. "You have to translate simultaneously, without
mistakes," he says of that organization’s requirements. Not quite
up to that level, he bowed to his parents’ will cheerfully enough
and obtained a J.D. from Catholic University, where he discovered
he enjoyed the study of law very much indeed.
After doing criminal defense work in Washington, D.C., and working
for several New Jersey law firms, he was thinking of going out on
his own. Attending a seminar on discrimination against Asians, he
asked the speaker about an incidence of what he believed to be
against an Asian client of his. "Call Linda Wong," the speaker
At that time Wong was assistant director of civil rights in the New
Jersey attorney general’s office. During their discussion of Fleming’s
client’s ill treatment at the hands of a multinational bank, he
that he was thinking of quitting his job. "It was a little
he recounts. "I hadn’t even told anyone at the firm, and here
I was telling a stranger."
Wong replied "`Me too,’" and the two began to meet to discuss
their future. They soon learned they shared an observation: New Jersey
was becoming more and more international, and no law firm was serving
mid-sized companies doing business in the Pacific Rim.
"The big international firms will always have representation,"
Fleming says. But companies he defines as middle market, those with
sales of between $2 million and $100 million, were on their own.
in 1994 to serve that market, Wong-Fleming is now up to nine
and about to hire number 10. The firm handles litigation, and also
does deals, helping companies establish a presence in Asia. Here is
some of Fleming’s advice on doing business in the Pacific Rim.
where it is especially easy to do business, Fleming does not hesitate.
"Yes, yes. Hong Kong. It’s a semi-autonomous territory of China
now," he says of the former British colony, "but that hasn’t
changed the way business is done. The playing field is absolutely
level." Establishing a mail drop company could not be easier,
he says, and there is no way for anyone to know the company doesn’t
have a substantial presence in Hong Kong.
reason to turn to a Chinese manufacturer is to take advantage of that
country’s cheap labor, Fleming says. What often happens, however,
is that the factory owner ends up taking advantage of his U.S.
"The Chinese aren’t stupid," Fleming says. If the factory
owner knows an entrepreneur has a market for his product, and just
wants to save money on its manufacture, it is not unusual for him
to try to muscle in on the market himself. This is done by getting
ahold of manufacturing drawings, making the same — or a very
— product, setting up a U.S. sales office, and selling the product
to the U.S. client’s customers for a lower price.
Fleming says this is a very common practice. "It doesn’t have
to be something scientific or technical," he says. "It can
be anything." In two recent cases, he represented a U.S. medical
device company, and a company that makes pipe flanges. In each case,
a Chinese factory to which they had outsourced manufacturing had
their product and was trying to sell it to their customers.
The best way to protect against this abuse, he says, is to have the
Chinese factory owner sign specific agreements that clearly outline
ownership of absolutely everything involved in the transaction.
many Chinese businessmen are significantly behind their U.S.
in accepting the concept of trademark, copyright, and intellectual
property rights. "They’ll sign anything," he says, "but
they won’t look at it." This being the case, he says it is a
to include assets or technology in a joint venture agreement.
a license to use," he says, "or in China you risk losing
in many countries in the Pacific Rim. As an example, Fleming says,
in this country drugs are marketed to hospitals and doctors, and are
issued to consumers by prescription. This makes it easy for
to track consumption of their products. In China, there are no
and doctors dispense drugs directly. Having a sales force that knows
how to market and track sales in that environment can be important.
In each industry, there are local people who know the system and can
help U.S. businessmen. Finding them can be an important ingredient
in success. Over time, the Wong-Fleming firm has gotten into what
Fleming terms the "non-traditional" business of finding such
individuals for its clients.
Corrupt Practices Act forbids Americans from offering bribes to obtain
overseas business, or to facilitate that business. Most U.S.
don’t set out to bribe their way into a country, Fleming says, but
can easily be trapped by subtleties. "We have to give so-and-so
a gift, or we have to give so-and-so an interest in the company,"
is how bribes often begin, he says. Not only do business owners have
to resist, but they have to make sure their employees do so, too.
"You’ve got to make sure they sign an agreement," he says.
"You don’t want to be a test case." Such an agreement is
— free — on his website, www.wongfleming.com. Click
It’s the second listing — International Distributor Agreement.
in college, ended up with a career in Asian/American law and business
instead. Has French been a part of it? Well, yes, as a matter of fact,
it has, Fleming says. And again, serendipity was at work.
"I was on my own, doing criminal defense in D.C," he says.
"I was so broke that I went to happy hours, making that my
At one such happy hour, he overheard a group speaking French, and
joined it. It turned out that they were diplomats from the nearby
Moroccan Embassy. He stuck up friendships with the Moroccans, and
stayed in touch.
After he moved to New Jersey, one of the Moroccans called him. A
of his needed a New Jersey lawyer in a divorce case where the Moroccan
wife wanted to take her child back to her homeland. "Don’t abduct,
get an agreement," was his advice. The wife did so, and then
took her child back to Morocco. The husband changed his mind the next
day, and filed to have the child returned. A trial court ruled in
the father’s favor, but the ruling was overturned by the Appellate
Court. The decision was recorded, and other bi-national divorcing
parents read it, and called on him for help in similar cases. So,
while Wong-Fleming doesn’t do matrimonial law, the firm does handle
that part of it that has to do with international child custody.
perhaps, that no education is never wasted.
Dan Fleming says his firm knew, or anyway guessed, that
it would not get a lot of business from its website
Instead of making it a sales tool, the firm decided to make it a
for clients. Designed by a Villanova student, the site is full of
information for any business thinking about establishing a presence
in Asia. It is also a great find for anyone who is planning to visit
Asia, or is just interested in learning more about that part of the
Under "Doing Business in Asia," the site has sections on
Taiwan, and Hong Kong. China is where Fleming’s firm finds most of
its work, and the section devoted to that country is the most
offering sections on background, economy, foreign investments, foreign
trade, settlement of disputes, and political systems. The settlement
of disputes section leads visitors through an easy-to-follow
of how to take a dispute to arbitration in that country. It talks
about jurisdiction, how to apply for arbitration, fees, how the
works, and how to collect an award.
A little more sketchy, the sections on Hong Kong and Taiwan include
historical background, information on those countries’ legal systems,
governments, and business culture. Fleming says more information —
and more countries — will be added soon.
The website included an impressive list of links to information of
all kinds on China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia,
the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. International and U.S.
with information on the Pacific Rim are here too. There are 51 links
for China alone. For the businessman, there is China Economic Window,
Asia Business Connection, SinoSource, Chinese Patent Office, China
Research Corp, and more. Among the links of interest to travelers,
students, and the curious are China Central Television, Harvard China
Review, China Travel Net, China Internet Directory, and China Window.
Worth a bookmark, the Wong-Fleming website is a good place to research
business issues in the Pacific Rim, or to plan a trip to the Great
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
A few years back, it was standing room only at Princeton
Investment Club’s meetings. The room at the West Windsor library where
the group meets was routinely lined with prospective new members,
along with individuals looking in to see how they could start their
own investment clubs. Even in the most foul weather, intense interest
in learning how to profit from the bull stock market drew large
making the Princeton Investment Club an exciting place to be. The
club, one of the best-organized investment clubs in the area, is still
going strong, but some of the fizz has evaporated.
"This is a time when people have a great deal of
says David Smith, who has been president of the club for four
years. Now at 25 members, the club is below ideal strength, and would
like to recruit five more. It next meets on Tuesday, September 4,
at 7:30 p.m. at the West Windsor library.
Along with a great many individuals, and even some analysts thought
to be practically clairvoyant just a year ago, the club "has lost
value in the last year," Smith says.
"We’re trying to determine if we are caught in the old economy/new
economy paradigm," he says. His club, like most investment clubs,
follows the principles of the National Association of Investors
(NAIC). That organization, which has a website at
urges members to carefully research companies, looking for those whose
history and financials point to above average growth, and below
price for that growth. The goal, Smith explains, is to find companies
with relatively low price to earnings ratios that will return a solid
15 percent a year.
At some point during the period of stock euphoria just passed,
the club gave in to temptation and went for a few high fliers. It
was hard not to. The thinking, Smith says, went something like this:
"Six months ago you said `It has a high P/E; I’m not going to
get on it.’ Now it is double what it was. Was I stupid?" This
pattern repeated over and over as the spread between price and
got wider and wider, and the stocks kept going up — a lot. At
some point, Smith says, nearly everyone agreed that, yes, it was
not to get in on these meteoric stocks.
"It leaves you in a bit of a quandary," Smith says of the
decision whether to accept that a new economy has arrived, and the
laws of gravity have been suspended, or to stick with the old rules.
Having done a little of each, and seen at least a few of its 30 stocks
fall to ground, the club is "going over each stock and
it," says Smith. "Do we want to hold or sell?"
The sector reports and other educational presentations, usually
by one member each month, have been suspended. "This month, and
for the next two months, we are evaluating our stocks," says
The club is still buying, and for the moment its choices are running
to solid, old economy businesses like oil companies.
The Princeton Investment Club does not exist to make its members rich.
Members are required to make a minimum monthly investment, but it
is under $50. "The purpose of the club is educational," Smith
says. "Anyone who does any major investing does it outside of
the club." The club does operate with real money, but, says Smith,
not enough so that a dip in its portfolio hurts anyone too much.
we happen to make a dumb decision," he says, "we’re not losing
Anyone who would like to join is invited to attend a meeting or two
to see how the club works. The club asks for prospective members’
resumes and interviews them before voting on whether to accept their
applications. Requirements are not too stringent, though. "We’re
looking for people who participate, but are not disruptive," says
Smith. Participation is important. The whole idea of the club is
about the financial markets, industry sectors, individual companies,
and investment principles. And members teach one another. "We
don’t just want someone who puts his money in, and hopes to get
Smith, a Lawrenceville resident, joined the club because his wife,
Cecilia Mann Smith, a psychotherapist, was a longtime member,
and was enthusiastic about the club. He holds an undergraduate degree
from the University of California at Berkeley (Class of 1968) and
a masters of science from M.I.T. He designs the equipment that makes
active pharmaceutical products. Now an employee of the Washington
Group in Philadelphia, he is about to start a job with Burns and Roe
in Mount Laurel.
Between them Smith and his wife, both of whom were married before,
have six grown children. And are any of the children investors? Smith
laughs as he answers: "They all have some stock. Some have lost
a bit more than others."
Central New Jersey companies represented more than 20
percent of the statewide Deloitte & Touche Fast 50 list this year.
The national accounting firm ranked companies by percentage of revenue
growth over the last five years. The average five-year revenue growth
of the firms on this list was $77.4 million, $16 million more than
the winners last year.
For any firm trying to write a business plan, this list serves as
a good thumbnail version of Princeton’s business community. It could
be used as justification for moving here, because the companies on
this list well represent Princeton area business types. All are in
high tech areas such as Biotech R&D, Fiberoptic/Electronic R&D,
and Software Development. The Princeton area has lots of
Service companies, and the two that made the list — Simstar and
Newton Interactive — could be listed in the Multimedia category
To be counted on this list, it doesn’t matter whether the firm is
bleeding red ink. The important number: How much revenue? Perhaps
that’s why RCN squeaked onto the Fast 50 list at Number 49.
For the second year in a row ITXC got the Rising Star award, given
to companies younger than five years, and who therefore have no
SimStar Internet Solutions, 202 Carnegie Center,
Princeton 08540. David Reim, president. 609-378-0100; fax,
Home page: www.simstar.com
No. 14. Strategy, development, and servicing of
E-business solutions for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
(Also often listed under the category Multimedia). $9,351,024 revenues
last year, 1,184 percent growth.
Newton Interactive, 2425 Pennington Road, Pennington
08534. Debra Newton, president. 609-818-0025; fax, 609-818-0045. Home
No. 21. Digital media for healthcare and pharmaceutical
industries, web-based solutions — web-based training, websites,
intranets, extranets, and CD-ROMs.
Princeton Video Image Inc. (PVI), 15 Princess
Road, Lawrenceville 08648. Dennis P. Wilkinson, president and CEO.
609-912-9400; fax, 609-912-0044. Home page: www.pvimage.com
No. 50. Development, manufacturing, and sales of
computer hardware and software for video processing for television
Medarex (MEDX), 707 State Road, Princeton Gateway,
Suite 206, Princeton 08540. Donald L. Drakeman, president.
fax, 609-430-2850. Home page: www.medarex.com
No. 16. Biopharmaceutical firm doing therapeutic
product manufacturing, particularly human and monoclonal antibodies.
Integra LifeSciences Corporation (IART), 105
Morgan Lane, Box 688, Plainsboro 08536. Stuart M. Essig, CEO.
fax, 609-799-3297. Home page: www.integra-ls.com
No. 28. Tissue and organ replacements, including
artificial skin, cartilage, and nerve conduits.
Fiberoptic and Electronic R&D
Anacom Systems Corp., 1 Possum Town Road, Piscataway
08854. Henry Wojtunik, president. 732-564-9000; fax, 732-564-1990.
Home page: www.anacomsystems.com
No. 27. Design, development, manufacture of fiber-optic
Discovery Semiconductors Inc., 186
Road, Building 3-A, Princeton Junction 08550. Abhay Joshi, owner &
CEO. 609-275-0011; fax, 609-275-4848. Home page: www.chipsat.com
No 30. Design of custom semiconductor chips for
NASA and U.S. Air Force, optical photoreceivers for
PD/LD Inc. (Photo Diode-Laser Diode), 30
Road, Hopewell 08525. Vladimir Ban, president. 609-564-7900; fax,
609-564-7900. Home page: www.pd-ld.com
No 32. Fiber coupling and packaging of fiber optic
NovaSoft Information Technology Corp., 505 Lawrence
Square Boulevard South, Lawrenceville 08648. Neil Bhaskar, CEO.
fax, 609-588-5577. Home page: www.novasoftinfo.com
No. 9. E-commerce, migration and outsourcing
and training with offices worldwide.
HexaWare Technologies Inc., 5 Independence Way,
Second Floor, Princeton 08540. Avi Lele, president. 609-951-9195;
fax, 609-951-9638. Home page: www.hexaware.com
No. 36. An IT consulting firm for Euro, E-commerce,
maintenance outsourcing, consulting, and enterprise resource planning.
ITXC Corp. (Internet Telephony Exchange Carrier)
(ITXC), 750 College Road East, Princeton 08540. Tom Evslin, CEO.
609-419-1500; fax, 609-419-1511. Home page: www.itxc.com
Rising Star. for the second year. International
Internet telephony services carriers — wholesale call routing,
Q&S and settlement.
RCN Corporation (RCNC), 105 Carnegie Center,
Suite 300, Princeton 08540. David C. McCourt, chairman and CEO.
fax, 609-734-7551. Home page: www.rcn.com
No. 49. National single-source facilities-based
communications services to the residential market — regional
service provider, local and long distance phone, and cable television.
Corrections or additions?
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