Mariia Gorchakova came to China 8 years ago to work in the educational industry and fell in love with Chinese culture. She believes that living and running a business in Chongqing is interesting and inspiring, but it comes with its own challenges. She hopes more local people can try our coffee and more expats can visit Chongqing in the future
Enjoy her story!
INTRODUCTION – Personal relationship with China
How did your experience with China begin? Was it a casual meeting, related to your work, for pleasure?
My journey in China began eight years ago when I initially came for a work opportunity in the educational industry. It was a professional decision that turned into a life-changing experience.
How has your relationship with China evolved over time?
Over time, my relationship with China has deepened significantly. Initially, it was primarily work-related, but gradually, I immersed myself in the rich culture and developed meaningful personal connections.
What has your personal experience in this splendid country taught you?
Living in this country has taught me the importance of adaptability, patience, and building relationships. Chinese culture values strong interpersonal bonds and a harmonious way of life, which has influenced both my personal and professional outlook
BUSINESS in China and with China
How has China changed compared to its early years from a business perspective in your specific sector? What are the differences that most affected you positively and negatively?
China has undergone substantial changes in my specific sector since I first arrived. The positive aspects include a growing appreciation for specialty coffee, increased consumer awareness, and a vibrant market. However, challenges include intensified competition and adapting to evolving consumer preferences.
Tell us about your experience at You&Coffee. What is your role and what are the main results you have achieved over the years?
At You & Coffee, I am one the founders . Over the years, we’ve successfully established ourselves as a premium local coffee brand, emphasizing quality and sustainability. Our main achievements include opening our first brick-and-mortar store and fostering a loyal customer base.
How important is it to know the local culture and language in your business?
Understanding the local culture and language is paramount in my business. It not only facilitates smoother operations but also enhances our ability to connect with customers on a deeper level, building trust and loyalty.
Have you noticed any changes in recent years compared to your arrival from a work point of view? If so, what were the most significant?
In recent years, I’ve observed a growing emphasis on sustainability and technology in the business landscape. This shift has influenced our strategies, leading us to adopt eco-friendly practices and leverage technology (WeChat mini- program) for efficient operations.
How did the pandemic affect your business and what strategies have you implemented since its outbreak to respond to the crisis?
The pandemic presented challenges, but we quickly adapted by strengthening our online presence, implementing secure deliveries, and prioritizing the safety of our customers and staff.
What are the main challenges you have encountered in your experience as a successful manager in China? What are the positive surprises?
Challenges as a manager/entrepreneur in China include navigating complex regulations and intense competition. Positive surprises include the warmth and support from the local community and the resilience of the market.
How important is the role of technology in your business? From this point of view, is it an advantage for your company to be able to operate in China?
Technology plays a crucial role in our business, from online ordering systems to smart roasting processes. Operating in Chongqing has advantages, as the city embraces technological advancements and has a dynamic consumer base.
Why does it still make sense to focus on the Chinese market for a foreign company and what are the opportunities in particular in the part of the country where you operate?
Focusing on the Chinese market remains pertinent due to its vast consumer base and growing middle class. In Chongqing specifically, there are opportunities for niche markets, and the city’s rapid development creates a conducive business environment
Interview by Marco Bonaglia