An example is the X-knife by the German company Leibinger GmbH. The surgical tool costs upward of $350,000 but the money can be repaid within a year.
While such novel business practices help explain some investor skittishness, it was Congress that gave the biggest blow to Chindex's stock price.
$317,000 loss in 1995
Last autumn, the Export-Import Bank was set to give them an $8.4 million loan to help Chinese companies buy their products when the government shutdown pushed the loan into 1996.
That caused Chindex to lose $317,000 last year, compared with a $507,000 profit in 1994. The company lost 9 cents per share, vs. a 23-cent profit in 1994. But with the bank loan now complete, the company is probably set for a record year.
Results for the first quarter showed a 1-cent loss per share, vs. a 6-cent loss in the year-ago period.
While the recent trade spat between China and the United States over intellectual property rights did not directly affect Chindex, Lipson said, it and annual debates over China's trading status hurt U.S. businesses by creating a climate of uncertainty that competitors don't have to overcome.
"When the Chinese think they have to hold their breath every year, then they think, why not choose a partner where you don't have this yearly trial and tribulation," Silverberg said.
"The approval process for purchases is so tortuous that, if there's any doubt, people will hold it up."
At their office in central Beijing, however, Lipson and Silverberg seem immune from the political ups and downs in Washington or Wall Street.
Natives of New York, they are now married, have children and no plans to leave.
Lipson, 41, lives on the company's grounds, while Silverberg, 39, even brought her retired mother to China to live.
Building on their dominance in the medical equipment field, the two plan to open a Western-standard women's and children's health care center in Beijing.
The idea is to give expatriates living in China an option of having children here rather than having to fly months ahead of time back to the United States or Europe.
The deal is a natural in a city with 80,000 foreigners, many of them young, but it hadn't been tackled before because all hospitals in China are managed by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
Thanks to their years in the field, Lipson and Silverberg have landed the academy as a partner in the $2.5 million project.
"The main difference between us and other companies is that everyone in the United States is waiting for an instruction booklet," Silverberg said.
"I think it's from that earlier period that we know we can get things done. It may not have been done before, but it can be done."
Pub Date: 6/30/96