It is quite easy to understand why there is a lot of cash in the Chinese banking system; it is required to inject a great deal of cash to start a company, it can only come from designated sources, and taking the money out of ones own accounts is onerous. Bank of China The Bank of China declared our Capital Account open on 14th November, the account for foreign funds to be injected to the Chinese Wofe. A foreign investor must inject 20% of their working capital into this capital account within 3 months of company incorporation. In our case Sept 12. I have therefore just under a month to inject US$160,000. I made an expensive mistake in our incorporation documents - for some reason I nominated the currency as US$ instead of GBP. I have had to use GBP to buy US$ in HSBC Hong Kong to remit to Beijing Bank of China funds which will be converted to RMB. When I remit funds to Morgan Motor in the UK, it will have to be in GBP. An expensive lesson on reading the fine print. To make payments to Morgan Motor Company (MMC) is an exercise in patient paperwork, which is not my forte. The Bank must have our dealer agreement, duly chopped (it is emboss stamped not ink chopped which is causing an issue), and car invoice precisely with the names of the bank accounts, two companies and dealer agreement all matching. If I ever start another company, I will ensure that the company name is very short and easy to spell - Malvern Morgan Cars (Beijing) Co. Ltd. was too long for the HSBC internet banking forms and the absence of the final 'd' meant that the funds were rejected by the Bank of China. Once we have injected the funds required we can proceed to the capital verification stage. This is to prove that we have invested the 20% of our registered capital. The balance is required over 3 years. This procedure takes 6-8 days. With this verification we can then apply for the import license for the cars from Morgan. This money can then be transferred to our RMB current account for certain types of usage including renovation, salaries and inventory. Assuming that we one day make a profit, the repatriation of this money and exchange for foreign currency will be another exercise in patience. As we are a long way from profitability or cash flow positive, I shall worry about that later. Today the showroom work was allowed to start again after the Communist Party Congress. Our appointment as dealers for Morgan cars was November 2011. I had submitted our request to be dealers in December 2010. The wheels of industry are rolling, but not not at great speed. New Proud Owners Meanwhile the saddest part of all was the departure of our beloved Roadster. In order to finance the business I had to take the decision to sell her. As a foreigner we can only bring in US$50,000 per year and my investment in the Morgan business exceeded that long ago. Only now with the capital account could we bring in sufficient money for our investment in the roadshow, showroom rental , legal expenses and paying our own living expenses. We had believed that she was the first Morgan in China, only to find that there was one which arrived 6 months earlier in Beijing belonging to a Chinese pop singer called Yang Cun.
That didn't stop the joy though. A family holiday in France, driving around Tiananmen Square and the feeling that I had my 'little piece of England' in the garage in Beijing. As the relatives of the new buyer came to collect this rare vehicle, Amity, my 5 year old daughter, kept asking why these people were in our Morgan. Halo, my 3 year old, had refused to let me park in the garage earlier because then she would not be able to see it.As the pregnant woman eased into the Roadster, memories of Amity and Halo in the back seats, and Erika laughing as we sped through the Britanny countryside with the roof down came flooding back, enough for my eyes to swell. Erika overhead the man driving the car make a comment about the length of the bonnet, only for the woman to say, "it is no longer than the tractor you are used to driving." It isn't only the rich and famous who are going to be driving Morgan cars in China.