Access China was formed in Jersey in 2009. It has its origins in the values and experiences of its founder, Tim F Nash. Here’s how it all began …
TIM F NASH
Balance: the ability to hold opposites in tension
From the earliest age, Tim F Nash was surrounded by different languages and cultures. At school, Tim won accolades as much in practical subjects, like woodwork and engineering, as he did in academic subjects, like maths and languages. At Oxford University, he studied both classical and modern Chinese. Tim’s ability to hold opposites in tension is reflected in the Chinese name he was given (中平), which points to the pivot of weighing scales in balance.
Education: the responsibility to share understanding
Tim believes that the more you have received, the more you have a responsibility to share. In view of the privileged education he had received, Tim trained to be an educator at Cambridge University. He has taught on a broad range of subjects in a variety of settings ever since.
Commerce: the test of practical value
Tim is convinced that the value of education should be demonstrated in the ‘real’ world in which people strive to feed, clothe and house their families. In other words, the value of education for Tim lay not in academic but in commercial results. He moved into Sales & Marketing roles, learning ‘at the coal-face’ how to harmonise the goals of a company with the needs of the market.
Technology: the way to restore balance and deliver consistent value
As a language learner, Tim realised that the majority of his classmates were developing not just a distaste for other languages but also a disdain for the speakers of other languages, who were consistently portrayed in the teaching materials as bizarre, behind the times and two dimensional.
As a language teacher on his first sojourn in China, Tim discovered that the majority of students were receiving poor service because anyone non-Chinese was assumed to be not only a native speaker of English but also qualified to teach.
Emerging internet technologies offered a means to overcome both of these problems by bringing ‘real’ people together and providing consistency of product over vast distances. Tim joined the world’s largest independent Internet service provider as they built a fibre network that circled the earth and pioneered advances such as live video streaming from space.
Relationship: the real differentiators are not technical
Building a global network involved an ambitious sales programme and acquiring 9 companies in 18 months in Europe alone. Tim discovered that the message clients the sales team was presenting was very different to that which they were experiencing from the marketing, installations, accounts and customer services teams. The different departments of the same company were not working together. The problem only got worse as you tried to integrate operations across national borders.
After his European management role, Tim gained a second degree in Inter-Cultural Studies from the Open University before managing multi-cultural teams in China for a third sector organisation.
The opportunity to bring all these experiences together emerged in 2008.
In 2008 the British Island of Jersey faced a world that was changing fundamentally.
Though small, over 50 years Jersey had steadily grown to become the world’s number one offshore finance centre and as a result the Island enjoyed one of the highest per capita incomes on the planet. Now all that was changing because of the crisis in the West, the Internet revolution and the rise of China.
Tim returned to his native Jersey to work as a consultant to the Chief Minister’s Department and Jersey Finance, the voice of its largest industry, as they considered their options. A year later, Jersey appointed a native of China to be the Island’s first overseas representative and the occasion was marked by a visit to Jersey of the Chinese Ambassador.
At the end of her visit, the Chinese Ambassador asked two questions of the Island that led Tim to establish Access China:
1. “Do you really want to engage with China?”
It doesn’t look like it when none of the service providers have anything online aimed at Chinese clients.
2. “What can you connect the Chinese to?”
China knows where it wants to go, but it needs people to help it get there.
Tim discovered the following needs:
- Individual businesses in the West needed help to attract and serve Chinese clients and thus find new growth.
- Those businesses looked to government for support, so Ministers and Civil Servants also needed assistance.
- Schools wanted to prepare their students for the changed world they would be entering so asked for input too.
- Individuals, working in businesses that were slow to respond to the changed world around them, were keen to take action to safe-guard their personal careers.
Access China was established to meet those needs.