Laws and policies have a paramount impact on the day-to-day life of everyone. Staying up-to-date with changing frameworks of rules help businesses, individuals, and institutions to ensure that they are operating within the legal framework. Non-compliance with the laws and regulations can lead to financial losses of the company and damage to its reputation. Ignorance of positive legal changes can result in missed opportunities that the company could otherwise leverage to grow strong. Law and Policy Information Providers guide businesses and individuals to understand the complexities involved and make informed decisions.
SINOTALKS® LLC addresses the growing need for a trusted resource highlighting China law and policy to help decision-makers around the world find strategic solutions to problems affecting China and beyond. In a very formal discussion, Dr. Mei Gechlik (Founder, CEO) shed light upon the specific journey of the company, and difficulties it faced in the beginning. Here are some excerpts from the exclusive conversation.
1. Could you provide more specific information about the company?
After building a three-decade-long career in think tanks and academia, I founded SINOTALKS® in 2021. The organization is a think tank and consulting business based in Silicon Valley. It empowers professionals and business leaders with knowledge about China law and policy and helps them seize global opportunities and minimize risks.
2. What obstacles or difficulties did you encounter in the beginning?
Although many people know about my experiences as a professor teaching China law and business at Stanford Law School (2007 to 2021) and as the founder and director of the school’s groundbreaking China Guiding Cases Project (2011 to 2021), SINOTALKS® was completely new. I had to focus on branding⎯neither locally nor nationally, but globally!
3. What specific event or factor catalyzed the growth of the company?
One week after SINOTALKS® was launched, LinkedIn gave me an opportunity to have my own newsletter. I immediately launched SINOTALKS® In Brief, a newsletter that carries this description: “demystifies China law, policy, and business to help you craft evidence-based strategies for your China-related issues.” Many people saw the value of the newsletter and the number of subscribers grew quickly.
Now, there are nearly 5,000 subscribers, many of whom are judges and policymakers in different countries as well as business leaders in their industries. Among my most valued insights shared via this newsletter are those shedding light on little understood topics such as China’s strategic policymaking and judicial decision-making processes.
4. Could you provide some insights into how the company’s performance metrics and data have evolved since its establishment? Can you share some statistics or figures to illustrate this change?
In less than two years, the website of SINOTALKS® (i.e., sinotalks.com) has attracted more than 100,000 users from nearly 160 countries. Most users are based in India, China, the United States, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Kenya, and the Netherlands. Apparently, readers value our bilingual publications. In addition to my own newsletter mentioned above, two other publications stand out.
First, SinoExpressTM, a monthly newsletter that delivers select significant updates pertaining to China law, policy, and business, has gained more than 1,400 subscribers since it was launched in July 2023. Second, SinoForum&ForesightTM features excellent articles authored by lawyers and other experts from different countries, including China, Israel, and the United States. Because of these and other achievements, I was identified by The Women Leaders Magazine as one of the “20 Most Inspiring Women Leaders 2022” and was invited to have a speaking tour in China in June 2023.
5. What factors or elements do you attribute to your company’s sustained success over time?
Trust and confidence are the two essential elements of my company’s success. My track record of success and the transparency of my work over the past decades help us build the trust needed for this type of business. In addition, the formation of the SINOTALKS® Advisory Board, which consists of ten distinguished individuals inside and outside China, allows those who don’t know me to feel assured that we have won the trust of many outstanding people. Confidence accumulates when readers notice the quality of our published insights and when our clients see how we apply our in-depth knowledge to solve their problems.
6. How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
Solving clients’ problems is important but is a rather passive approach. A more proactive approach is to play a leadership role to help shape the future of the global business landscape, in the hope of creating a better environment for our clients’ long-term success.
That’s why I feel honored to serve as a member of the U.S.-based National Small Business Association Leadership Council and as an advisor to a Nigeria-based organization committed to training young entrepreneurs in Africa.
7. Have there been any recent additions to your lineup of products or services? Is there anything particularly exciting or noteworthy that you’d like to highlight or discuss?
Connecting SINOTALKS® with the global audience is significant. I am very excited that two important articles written by me were recently published in The Rio Times, one of the most influential English newspapers in Latin America. In addition, I was interviewed by a well-respected podcast host to discuss a wide range of topics related to U.S.-China relations.
8. In your opinion, what are the duties and obligations of an entrepreneur?
Every entrepreneur has two key responsibilities:
- Update your Vision regularly – stay educated (by reading and by talking with real players etc.) to update your vision about opportunities and risks lying ahead.
- Conduct Self-critiques honestly – examine thoroughly your own strengths and weaknesses.
The acronym “VS” from the words Vision and Self-critiques stands for “versus”, meaning “against”. To be fully prepared for your competition with others, work against yourself first. Constantly challenge your own ideas and actions so that you are fearless when others criticize you and/or your work.
9. Could you provide a concise overview of your professional background and experience?
Prior to the establishment of SINOTALKS®, I led Stanford Law School’s China Guiding Cases Project (“CGCP”), a groundbreaking project that I founded in 2011. As the Director of the CGCP from 2011 to 2021, I managed a team of nearly 200 members to bring the project’s analyses—contributed by U.S. and Chinese judges, officials, other experts, and the CGCP team—to nearly 250,000 readers from over 100 countries. The high quality of China Law Connect (《中国法律连接》), a bilingual quarterly journal that I launched and led my team to edit, was widely recognized by academics and legal professionals.
In addition, I have presented at various forums, including the World Bank, the Open Government Partnership Global Summit, U.S.−China Legal Exchange Conferences, the Supreme People’s Court of China, the Guangdong High People’s Court, and the Belt & Road Initiative conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
At Stanford University, I also taught China law and business at the law school from 2007 to 2021 and served as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution from 2010 to 2012. Prior to this experience, I worked from 2001 to 2005 for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, to analyze China-related topics, including trade, intellectual property, and the impact of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization on the country’s reforms.
I have testified before the U.S. Congress on various topics regarding mainland China and Hong Kong and have advised the United Nations and the Chinese government on implementing rule of law programs. During the important years immediately before and after Hong Kong’s handover to China, I was a tenured professor in the city, teaching constitutional law, administrative law, and business law.
I have also served as a visiting professor/guest lecturer, teaching China law and/or business at Peking University (at the Shenzhen campus), Renmin University (in Beijing), the University of Vienna, and Harvard Law School.
I am admitted as a barrister in England, Wales, and Hong Kong and is a member of the Bar in New York and the District of Columbia. I received an M.B.A. in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) from Stanford Law School. At Wharton, I was awarded the two-year Joseph Wharton/Sheldon K. Tsu Scholarship. At Stanford, I was named an Asia-Pacific Scholar and awarded a two-year full scholarship.
10. Is there a particular experience or interaction with your clients that stands out and you’d like to emphasize or share?
During my speaking tour in China in June, I met with a group of officials in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered. Like many other officials in China, they faced economic challenges and had to think of a plan to improve the economy. Based on the unique qualities of the city, I presented some key ideas for their reference. They were surprised to learn how I could help them see a “limitation” as an “asset”. This is an example to illustrate that sincere outsiders can often help insiders think outside the box. More importantly, it’s extremely important for policymakers to deepen understanding through dialogues like this.
11. In such a highly competitive environment, how do you manage and thrive?
I see that I am bringing solutions to good teams and empowering them so that they can win in the rat-race. Helping keep the race fairer motivates me to stay active.