Michael Crystal, Principal at Crystal Consulting 

It is my pleasure to recommend the services of TBL Consultancy, and specifically of Lily Liu, principle of that group.

While working in Beijing in the last 6 months I engaged Lily to help me with a number of tasks, making it easier for me to get things accomplished. I found that the Chinese culture, the language, of course, and the enormous size of Beijing make it a real challenge to get comfortable doing lots of everyday things, let alone conducting business at the same time. Things that seem simple can benefit from an experienced local’s help.

Here’s an example: Lily is a millennial, a digital native. She made sure I knew how to use all the options on WeChat, the most essential service in China. Seemingly everything, either commercial or social, takes place on this phone app. I’m in chat groups with colleagues when consulting there, and everyone expects you to be available on it. To do that you have to have a Chinese phone number. Picking the right mobile service provider and making sure I understood how to always keep enough money on my account was very important. Expats can’t easily link bank accounts or credit cards from home countries to Chinese phone companies or WeChat. If you run out of money on account while back home, you lose your number, your WeChat account, and all your contacts. You do not want this.

Lily does much more important things, of course, along with these everyday tasks. She is able to make connections for clients with other professionals, help with logistics for meetings, help to avoid mistakes in communications or to understand cultural norms, all things that are not easily provided for elsewhere, and certainly not from a single source.

Lily also offers seminars or individual sessions on a number of business topics. These aren’t China-specific, and would be just as valuable anywhere. She speaks both English and French, and offers courses in other countries upon request. The courses cover various business skills, with a focus on sales techniques. She intuitively knew I needed help on organizational skills and time management. Her emphasis on goal setting, writing things down and keeping them front and center, has helped me more than I would like to admit!

One other thing that I found to be helpful was her knowledge of and guidance in personal growth. She is a student of this, and very disciplined in continuing her own studies of methods and trends. Her approach is to interest others in new ways to get things accomplished, and to keep clients on track as they work toward goals. I hadn’t expected that sort of help, in fact didn’t even know to ask for it, but I have appreciated her frequent encouragement as much as any of the specific tasks that she has helped with.

I would recommend her to new arrivals or to expats who have been in China for a while but still need that insider knowledge to navigate a sometimes mystifying place.




Michael Crystal

US-Based Financial Analyst

Thorsten Fokert, General Manager, Beijing Shindler’s Food and Beverage Co. Ltd.