OUR
TEAM

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We are independent collaborators happy to work together for the collective. We are all overachievers with a healthy disrespect for the "impossible". We are LITAO.

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LINA BARTUSEVIČIŪTĖ
Founder & Managing Director
Personally consulted 50+ companies & 100+ individuals over 7 years in China Blog on cultural experiences in China was picked up by news platform delfi.lt & reached 200,000 people in Lithuania Master’s in International Relations from top university in China (courses in Chinese), with thesis on Lithuanian-Chinese economic diplomacy One of the first Lithuanians to settle in Shanghai & often hired as interpreter for Lithuanian cultural missions in China
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LINA ČIAPAITĖ
Brand & Marketing Strategist
Talented story-creator who published a series of novels in Lithuania in her teens Chinese major with three years of living and working in second-tier Chinese cities (Ningbo, Chongqing, Kunming, Suzhou) before Shanghai Major goal = dispelling myths & stereotypes about China
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SHARON SHAUN
Communications & Sales Lead
Local Shanghainese English major who works administrative magic in China Unafraid of cold-calling hundreds of clients, then building relationships of trust Successfully led sales from 0 to USD 500,000 for one client in a month Blends a love for ancient China (calligraphy, classical poetry) with the modern country (foreigner friendships, language-learning, photography)
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YI WANG
Outside Counsel
China and US-licensed attorney-at-law and businessman admitted to China and New York 17+ years’ law practice with major international and local law firms in both US and China, and with Fortune 500s; built up FCPA practice while being a partner at a reputed Chinese law firm Practices in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and anti-corruption/trade litigation
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GIOVANNI BORDE
Creative Director & Brand Consultant
Colombian/Italian art director & designer with 8+ years experience in China & Europe Five award-winning ad campaigns in Spain Formerly head of Asia-Pacific market design for Starbucks
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LEI WANG
Global Market Analyst
Chinese-American writer & Yale grad: born in Shanghai & educated in the U.S. Former corporate due diligence investigator & Hong Kong-based journalist Passionate about cultural trends and the intersection between economics and psychology
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ATISH KAPUR
Sourcing Expert
Accountant by profession who built a successful trading company connecting the UK, India, & China 10+year-old Shiil's trade volume currently exceeds 9 digits a year, or one 40” container a day Known for pulling off the most difficult bespoke orders, such as gold-plated lighting systems for 7* hotels in India Mission = showing the world how sourcing can be price-efficient & hassle-free
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LYNN HU
Bureaucracy Guru
Years of experience in WFOE registration & daily operations for start-up companies Independent service platform GEEservice takes care of red tape & logistics, so companies can focus on main business instead Formerly operations director at international start-up incubator Yulink
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MILDA KELBAUSKAITĖ
Hong Kong Representative
Graduate of International Tourism Management & expert at negotiating between cultures while providing great service Worked in luxury industry for 7+ years across London & Hong Kong Sales & marketing expert from years of organizing and supervising exclusive club & hotel events
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ROBERT VAN AERT
Business Development Representative
Dutch law school grad with deep knowledge in China business law Managed foreign expansion projects across real estate, hotels, F&B Based in Chengdu, China
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TED GOURNELOS
Strategic Advisor
CEO of Story|Strategy, a market research and media strategy firm PhD (Communications), MBA & MFA degrees Featured on CBS, ABC, Fox35 News and TED Global

FOUNDER

BEGINNINGS

2002-2010

A born leader:

Lina became interested in China at a time when no one predicted the country’s meteoric rise. By the age of 15, she was running operations for three EU-recognized youth development networks. And by 2009, she was in China proper and writing about the local culture for an audience of 200,000 back home.

calendar 2002-2006

Lina, thirteen years old, learns about China for the first time. She is fascinated by how a culture half a world away uses “pictures” as written language and is determined to learn Chinese. As a teenager, Lina manages and represents youth at three EU-recognized non-profits: a local UN-sponsored community health initiative; the Eurodesk service network; and a Lithuanian union of 30+ youth organizations.

founder with diploma
calendar 2006-2010

At university, Lina majors in Chinese Studies, a program which admitted only 10 students nationwide every two years—but also a controversial decision at the time as China to Lithuanians was still a country of cheap fakes. Her first time in China, Lina blogs daily about the differences between Chinese culture in texts versus on the ground, unexpectedly attracting 200,000 followers when re-published on delfi.lt, Lithuania’s largest news platform. Awarded Bachelor’s degree with thesis on Confucius’ Analects. Obtains HSK Level 6, highest rank on China’s only standardized Chinese exam for foreigners. Travels alone through 10 different provinces in China.

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FREELANCE
CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS CONSULTING

2010-2014
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FREELANCE
CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS CONSULTING

2010-2014

Lina consulted for 50+ China projects across industries including luxury real estate, food & beverage, manufacturing, and education, all while simultaneously obtaining a Master’s degree from a prominent Chinese university. As the token interpreter who was often the only one who understood everything being spoken in any given meeting, she learned to hold her own through negotiations with high-level company executives of any stripe or culture. Her Chinese proficiency was such that the Lithuanian government approached her to translate its legally complex Railway Statutes from Lithuanian into Chinese. After seeing her at work, other companies tried to steal her away with spontaneous full-time job offers and benefits, but Lina chose the diversified route of freelancing, ultimately crafting her own vision for LITAO.

calendar 2010-2011
REPRESENTED

Lithuanian Ministry of Environment at Shanghai Expo

INTERPRETED & NEGOTIATED

cultural shows and performances for Murat Etilgan, a world-renowned classical Turkish painter of ebru art

multi-million luxury mall and villa deals for architectural design team, including travel to Hainan, Taiyuan, and other up-and-coming Chinese cities

MYSTERY-SHOPPED

for Marks & Spencer’s market research department

SOURCED

rare fish from Colombia to China for high-end aquariums

founder in expo
calendar 2012
REPRESENTED

Lithuanian meat traders through Glardo Versme at SIAL China, Asia’s largest food exhibition

SOURCED

custom materials from China: cashmere for a bespoke sweater brand; Traditional Chinese Medicine ingredients for massage therapists in Lithuania; quality Chinese tea for Lithuanian enthusiasts; and PVC/wood flooring for a renovation firm

LOCALIZED & ADAPTED

Maple Leaf Education’s global English language curriculum for mainland China market

TRANSLATED

the complex jargon of the Lithuanian governments’ Railway Statutes as well as the casual lingo of Lithuanian dating web-site (ieskok.lt) into Chinese

INVESTIGATED

a corporate scam, ultimately helping a Lithuanian company get money back from Chinese con artists

calendar 2013
LOCALIZED

youth development social enterprise Me to We from Canada to China, organizing all press tours and Chinese social media marketing as well as establishing parternships with 10 international high schools and top Chinese educational company New Pathway

FACILITATED

youth development workshops for hundreds of teenagers as project officer of Me to We, ensuring the cultural appropriateness of each workshop exercise

ORGANIZED & HOSTED

Canada mayor delegation with mayors of six major Canadian cities for Confederation of Greater Toronto Chinese Business Association

SOURCED

custom-made art and furniture pieces from Lithuania to China

calendar 2014
INSPECTED

garbage recycling plants in China for Lithuanian project worth EUR 10 mln

QUALITY-CONTROLLED

custom food processing and packaging equipment, signed contracts in Chinese factories on behalf of clients

SOURCED & RUSH-DELIVERED USD 100,000

of telecom components from 11 suppliers in China to Lithuanian client’s warehouse in less than one month—a logistically improbable feat

REPRESENTED

Flintas and sold copyrights at the International Children’s Books Exhibition in Shanghai

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MASTER’S DEGREE AT FUDAN UNIVERSITY

2011-2014

Lina obtained a Chinese government scholarship for an MA in International Relations at one of China’s most prestigious universities -

the place where top Chinese officials graduate from and send their children and so on. Educated by the Communist elites themselves on how to navigate China, she knows how to communicate to Chinese leaders in their own language.

Master’s Thesis

Lina read over 200 original sources and interviewed all major stakeholders in Lithuania-China interactions for her thesis on Lithuanian economic diplomacy towards China. Defended thesis fully in Chinese. Pan Zhongqi, Lina’s thesis advisor, was once First Secretary of the Chinese Mission to the EU.

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calendar 2014-Present

LITAO Founder and
Managing Director

Towards the end of 2014, Lina’s workload was growing too large and high-level to handle with individual discretion. She submitted the business registration documents for LITAO in October 2014 and obtained a WFOE business license for mainland China in February 2015. While she has always cultivated a large network of China experts, she was finally able to hire her first Chinese employees fully dedicated to LITAO. In July 2016, an additional branch of LITAO opened in Hong Kong, officially forming the LITAO Consultancy Group.

VALUES,
MISSION
AND VISION

founder with Kongming lantern

VALUES

Compassion
Action
Fit
Fluency

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COMPASSION

Compassion is for businessmen
as well as Buddha.

square It is feeling what it means to be in someone else’s shoes, in someone else’s country. It is the true consideration of the people who buy your products and services as well as the people who make them, their joys, sorrows, and humanity. Compassion means responding to differences without clashing, and treating even obstacles as opportunities for understanding. We believe success without compassion is money without meaning.

FLUENCY

Fluency is not limited to language.

square It is understanding but also flow, also grace. Vocabulary and grammar alone does not guarantee fluency; it is the connections between words that give sentences their meaning. Fluency is the ability to do things and convey meaning with ease and efficiency. We help you to find your cultural fluency, to do things naturally even outside your home country so you can translate your success anywhere in the world. Fluency comes from the same root as fluidity, a measure of the extent to which a liquid can move freely and without obstacles. Fluidity is even a part of our name; the “TAO” in LITAO comes from the Chinese word 涛 (tāo), meaning wave.

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FIT

Everyone knows a custom-made suit fits better than one from the department store.

square LITAO is the reverse of mass-produced consulting: we take your measure carefully to find solutions tailored to your specific needs. Of course, it’s not the clothes that make the man or woman; it’s ultimately the person inside. Yet without good presentation, the personality is obscured. At LITAO, we want you to show your best self to the world. We take your dreams personally.

ACTION

We are not a group of
theorists floating ideas in the sky.

square We are down working on the ground. Whatever we know, we know firsthand. We consider ourselves gardening experts for cultural pioneers: by helping you understand the local environment and warning you of potential pests and storms, your seeds can safely take root and grow. Wherever we operate, our local teams dig deep and get their hands dirty so you don’t have to.

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MISSION

Serving Greatness

There is always a gap between who we are and who we want to be.

Closing the distance between those two points is the definition of greatness. It is doing what you have always dreamed; it is going beyond your comfort zone; it is being a pioneer. We are here to help you close that gap in service of greatness: to help you go further and farther than you ever thought you could. To exceed even your own expectations. Because that’s what great people do. Because that’s what you are. And we want to bring more greatness into the world.

VISION

Effortless Work

Effortless does not mean no effort.

It is by no means laziness. Effortless is simply doing what feels most natural to you: waking up early not because you have to but because you want to; going the extra mile for your client or project or company or country because you believe in them; working tirelessly out of love. We love our work: we imagine a world where everyone is passionate about what they do, and so even the most complex goals become readily attainable. We are here to simplify your obstacles, clarify your choices, and accelerate your dreams—to make your work life effortless but no less ambitious.