“When we first went to set up an office here, the Chinese government told us it was impossible,” confides Breakspear, speaking from Rosetta Translation’s new base in the central Xuhui District. “We spent five months developing a business plan to convince the municipal government that we’d be a valuable addition to the Chinese market.”
The translation industry in China is worth some $3bn, so the move is a worthwhile investment. Rosetta has its sights set on the lively financial services sector in Shanghai. “There’s a high concentration of our target demographic,” says Breakspear. “Far better than even in Beijing.”
As the only foreign outsider operating in the city, £2.5m-turnover Rosetta also has the kudos of being a truly international firm. Managing director Eric Fixmer has the high-minded intention to introduce “international quality standards to the local Chinese market".
The plan is to launch a “five-year assault”, continues Breakspear. Set-up costs currently approach £100,000, but he predicts that the office will be profitable by 2009. After the five years are up, Rosetta will look at opening other offices around Asia, completing the international net.
Till then, the future looks rosy for the new site. Apart from the weather that is.
“One of our directors came over a few days ago,” says Breakspear. “He brought the English weather with him. It’s been raining non-stop.”