David Sullivan

I am a technology executive with over 20 years of experience in China. I have worked with and advised close to one hundred Western consumer and enterprise technology companies on entering and expanding in the China market and partnering with China’s leading technology companies. In 2001, I founded Alliance Development Group (ADG) to assist emerging technology companies to expand their presence in China. ADG executes China strategic business development, corporate development, and market expansion initiatives for global technology companies. We identify opportunities, create go-to-market strategies, and execute partnerships for distribution, licensing, joint ventures, and investment across consumer and enterprise technology segments.
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Recent Posts

Western technology companies can and must leverage China’s innovation and globalization explosion.

By David Sullivan | 12/21/17 10:11 AM

Innovation in China is accelerating and being driven by multiple converging factors including:

  • VC investment is pouring in and is getting close to US VC investment levels
  • A huge domestic, mobile first market and user base – to build a launch pad for new business model innovation and global expansion
  • A large hungry educated young generation seeking to be the next Jack Ma (Alibaba) or Pony Ma (Tencent)
  • Government reforms and support for innovation, entrepreneurs, and “going global”
  • Years of accumulating knowledge via cooperation and competition with the global players – including hardware leadership, which is becoming critical for connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT)

With the world’s largest population (~1.4B), second largest economy ($11.2T vs US’s $18.6T), and a mobile internet population of over 800 million users, the challenges and opportunities posed by China for Western technology companies have never been greater.

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3 things to know before making a major investment into the China market

By David Sullivan | 11/6/17 10:12 PM

The China market for technology companies is huge and Chinese technology companies are getting stronger and going global at an accelerated pace.  While China shouldn’t be ignored, most Western technology executives have heard the many stories of failed or loss making China efforts or have experienced it themselves. Even in China today, it is still easy to be fooled by the lure of huge numbers and opportunities.  Attractive deals and partnerships do exist but they often come at a cost. 

We typically don’t recommend entering China unless you are committed and have the resources or need to be in the market.  However, for those that have made the decision to address China or cooperate with Chinese companies going global, there are ways to de-risk the program and significantly increases your chances of success.

Consider many of the strategies often used to engage with China. Many companies start with a China “fly-in-fly-out” strategy trying to develop China from afar by leveraging their investors or relationship network for introductions to start having conversations in the market.  Many others start by setting up a China legal entity and hiring staff and beginning the process to see how and with who they can monetize China. 

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ADG China Insights November 2017

By David Sullivan | 11/6/17 10:07 PM

November 2017 - ADG China Insights

 

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Developing Major Markets with One Resource Is a Bad Idea—and China Is No Exception.

By David Sullivan | 10/20/16 6:00 AM


What do the most successful Western companies know about doing business in China? They know that when attempting to forge meaningful ties, a sales force of one just won’t cut it.

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Why Your China Deal Isn't Closing

By David Sullivan | 9/6/16 1:55 PM

As China overtook the United States in 2011 to become the world's No. 1 producer of manufactured goods and the second largest global economy, it has become a must-do market for many, if not most, Western technology companies.

Take the smartphone industry as an example. In Q1 of 2016, IC Insights reported that 8 of the top 12 smartphone manufacturers (or OEMs) are based in China. Put into real terms, in 2016, these eight Chinese manufacturers are expected to globally sell more than double the volume of Apple or over 520 million smartphones.

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Mobile Technology Companies, Go to China

By David Sullivan | 8/30/16 6:00 AM

For most companies that are in the business of providing hardware for mobile devices or developing the software or services that run on them, dreams of working with Apple, Google, or Samsung may dominate your plans. It's natural - not only because they are the names we are most familiar with, but also because of where they are headquartered.

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