Professor of Franchising

UK franchise consultant becomes an Honorary Professor at Beijing University

Franchise Development Services (FDS) Managing Director Roy Seaman has been named an Honorary Professor of the International Franchise Academy of the Beijing Normal University in China. The announcement was made at an annual convention of the International Franchise Association in Palm Springs, Florida in March by the academy's President Liu Wenxian.

Liu Wenxian said: "Our institute has gained worldwide attention and support from people in the field of franchising and I want to take this opportunity to thank Roy Seaman. Thank you for your advice on our establishment of this academic subject and institute. Beijing University, a famous university with more than a hundred years of history once again takes the lead in bringing the franchising academic subject to the most beautiful campus in Asia - Beijing University at Zhuhai - in much the same way as introducing advanced academic subjects to impel the progress of China early in last century."

The International Franchise Academy is the product of cooperation between Beijing University and FDS, and offers an undergraduate major in Franchise Management which covers five aspects: commercial franchising, franchise marketing, franchising laws, investment in franchising and international franchising.

"I first assisted the development of franchising in China in 1985, when we organised a seminar with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce," reflects Professor Roy Seaman. "I spent several hours explaining the concept of 'Business Format Franchising' to assist in the creation of a new and relevant mandarin symbol for 'franchising'. I then went on to assist the Beijing University in creating a number of publications including a franchise directory, an introduction to franchising and various guides to owning a franchise.

"I saw that China was serious about developing an academic course in franchising so that graduates could be in a strong position to mastermind indigenous franchise development, understanding the benefits of China importing franchise systems and learning first hand by working with mature brands. The Chinese government has recognised that China can create new franchise brands for its own products, rather than allow them to be exploited by foreign companies who apply their own branding before selling to their customers. For example, many famous fashion retail brands source their products in China because the quality is now equal to that of any other garment producer. Through franchising, China can fully benefit from the global village."

Professor Roy Seaman founded FDS in 1981, providing consultancy to businesses developing franchise opportunities, advising investors seeking franchises, and publishing a range of magazines and directories including the UK's leading franchise publication The Franchise Magazine. FDS is headquartered in the UK in Norwich, and has franchised offices in Reading, Manchester and Birmingham as well as associate offices in Paris, Barcelona, Moscow, Cairo, Dubai, Jeddah, Beirut, Muscat, Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong and Beijing.

"A lot of people with insight in the world have predicted that China will become the most enthusiastic franchise market across the world," added Liu Wenxian. "We hope we can provide this market with more well trained people, education and research findings. In 2008 China will hold the Olympic Games and the Chinese Olympic Committee is taking advantage of franchising to raise funds and help domestic and overseas franchised brands to develop quickly. Fortunately, our first 200 students will graduate from this university before 2008 and I hope they will become business elites with franchising spirit, momentum, knowledge and ability and bring new vitality to our institute, which is always their franchising dream garden."