Interviewing entrepreneurs in China: Build an influential corporate culture in Chinese business

China Paradigm interviewed Matt Conger, the co-founder of Cadence Translate, a leading provider of translation service in China and the US, to learn the current trend in the financial market in China and how to build a strong corporate culture in Chinese business.

Matt Conger, a due diligence specialist, Chinese market expert, and the co-founder of Cadence Translate

Matt Conger completed his undergraduate studies at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, Matt joined Bain & Company, one of the world’s best consulting firms, as the Assistant Consultant. In 2008, he graduated from Stanford University with a Master of Science in Management Science & Engineering.

After graduation, Matt had been providing investment advisory for several companies until he shifted his focus to the financial market in China. He started to provide training to the mid-level executives at China National Petroleum Corporation since 2013.

In 2014, Matt co-founded Cadence Translate, originally named SeekPanda, in Beijing and successfully developed it into the leading translation service in China and the US for global players in the financial market in China and the US.

corporate culture in Chinese business
[Matt Conger, founder of Cadence Translate, the leading translation service in China and the US]

Cadence Translate: enable cross-cultural communications in business in the financial market in China and the US

After discovering a surprisingly open space in the translation service in China for the financial market in China, in 2013, Matt reached to a freelancer on Google, called Jonathan Rectman, and pitched him on his idea of building a platform to better facilitate the financial market in China and the US. Nowadays, almost every company in the financial market in China and the US has heard of or even used Cadence Translate as its translation service in China and the US.

premium translation service in China
[Cadence Translate, premium translation service in China and the US]

Cadence Translate primarily serves for the financial market in China and the US, from investors to consultants to expert networks. Based on clients’ business objective of, the platform will match the most appropriate translators for them from its community of 2,500 linguists all around the world.

“For us, the problem is always our clients,” said Matt, “It is how we can bring a simple solution so that no matter where our clients are, we can be there to help them out as a translation service in China.”

In order to maintain the quality of service, Matt Conger and his team strive to make sure that the entire community understands how the financial market in China and other areas work.

“We are not trying to make people better translators, but help them better understand the financial market in China and the rest of the world,” said Matt.

How a strong corporate culture in Chinese business facilitates the success

According to Matt Conger, most of the linguists at Cadence Translate work remotely in WeWorks all over the world. To better manage the cross-cultural communications in business, Matt Conger set up a shared corporate value and built a common corporate culture in Chinese business around it, which is to win the referral.

“One of my most important jobs is to inspire people to build and live a corporate culture in Chinese business that we all want,” said Matt.

The top thing Matt would consider while hiring people is whether this person is intellectually curious about the financial market in China. To him, the passion for winning a referral and how the financial market in China works is what keeps the company sustainable in the long term.

In order to inspire people, Matt would introduce big corporations with good scores on employee satisfaction to his team and have them emulate their practices. He would also ask team members to catch up with the ever-changing trends in the financial market in China by reading in-depth analysis online, such as the website Muddy Waters Research.

“To me, the employee satisfaction and a strong corporate culture in Chinese business is causation, not a correlation,” said Matt.

The ongoing challenges of doing business in the Chinese financial market

Like almost any industry, the financial market in China is completely different from its counterpart in the rest of the world. During his entrepreneurship in China, Matt Conger has witnessed and experienced some major challenges in the financial market in China.

As two westerners trying to build a pipeline in the financial market in China, Matt and his co-founder Jonathan met their first challenge of doing business in China, which was finding the best talent in a foreign country. They had a difficult time deciding what methodologies to adopt to assembly their workforce, sticking with Silicon Valley-style or integrating some local Chinese ones.

Other than that, the Internet restrictions in China caused huge inconvenience for the payment process of the Western clients and the CRM Salesforce of Cadence Translate, which greatly reduced the work productivity.

However, for Matt and his business, the biggest challenge of doing business in China they are currently facing is that in the current financial market in China, the concept of compliance is not respected as well as in the other countries.

To address this problem, before working with companies in the financial market in China, Matt would first take a careful look at their background to see if they understand the importance of compliance and remind them the serious repercussions for not following it.

“It is an endless challenge of doing business in China. I live in fear that it just takes one little slip-up and a whole house of cards can collapse,” said Matt.


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