At our recent RSM Asia Pacific Regional Conference, I spoke about the importance of focus to ensure our success in the long-term future of RSM. This is about the focus needed to deliver on our ultimate goal of being known as the ‘go to’ advisor to middle market business leaders and having a market reputation for delivering The Power of Being Understood. To achieve this, we must continue focusing on having a deep understanding of our clients’ organisations and sectors and honing our ability to help them deliver their ambitions through proactivity, collaboration while embracing new technologies along the way.

To continue attracting and retaining the very best talent, our focus must also be on the continued investment we make in our people, delivering our brand values through our behaviours, as well as our work, and moving forward together with an inclusive approach in a culture of innovation.

Nowhere is this theme more relevant than in China, where we began an ambitious growth strategy last year with the addition of Huapu Tianjian Certified Public to our network. This year it has gone from strength to strength with its vision and impressive set of expertise in audit, tax, risk advisory and consulting, combined with its focus on supporting the middle market.

I am proud to be welcoming 1,200 new creative minds across 5 offices to our team in China as part of the next stage in our growth. Huapu Tianjian is merging with a significant part of a leading firm to create the new RSM China. This adds offices in Xiamen, Wuxi, Fuzhou, Nanning and Nanjing and will augment our offering in the specialisms of IPOs, M&A and securities markets. From 15 offices across the country, RSM China will provide our clients around the world with a greater depth of insight and understanding, while clients in China will gain access to the breadth of expertise across our network of 750 offices in 116 countries.

China has been reinventing itself for generations and today Chinese businesses are broadening their horizons far beyond national borders. The multibillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative has set out to improve China’s connectivity with the rest of the world, while the London Stock Exchange recently launched a ground-breaking stock market link, the London-Shanghai Stock Connect, allowing UK-listed firms to become the first foreign companies to be able to list in mainland China and China-listed firms become the first to list in London. China is open for business, and the opportunity for middle market businesses inside and outside China is enormous.

I believe this combination of deep on the ground Chinese expertise and an open international mindset is crucial for Chinese businesses operating in today’s world. We live in a period of escalating trade tensions and complex, often contradictory international rules. China’s growing role on the international stage will not come without friction. When international governments bump shoulders, it is middle market businesses who pay the price, unless they can call upon a network of international advisors to prepare them. That is exactly what the new RSM China can provide.

In a short space of time we have grown our presence in China by 40%. This is a crucial milestone in our journey to become China’s leading middle market accounting firm, but there is far more to come. With focus on our people, our clients and on innovation, there will be far more organic and inorganic growth from RSM China in the months and years ahead.