HOT POT IS AT THE HEART OF CHINESE CUISINE; A FLEXIBLE COOKING METHOD THAT ACCOMMODATES ALL MANNER OF INGREDIENTS. DESPITE THE SIMPLE APPROACH, THE RESULTS ARE STUNNING. WE RUN OUR BUSINESS ALONG SIMILAR LINES. WE MATCH DIVERSE GLOBAL BRANDS WITH OUR EXPERT KNOWLEDGE OF THE CHINESE MARKET, ENSURING SUCCESS IN THIS COMPLEX AND EVER-EVOLVING ENVIRONMENT.

Founded by Jonathan Smith in Beijing and London in 2012, Hot Pot was established to provide much-needed joined-up thinking for brands looking to enter the Chinese market.

With an early focus on localised messaging and Chinese social media, Hot Pot has since developed into a comprehensive brand and commercial consultancy, specialising in the digital innovation necessary to make an impact in China’s dynamic online culture.

We love our work. From teaching Chinese calligraphy to David Beckham, to creating localised products for Tangle Teezer, to running full fashion shoots for Mulberry, we’re inspired by the variety, depth and speed of the work we do to help brands succeed in China.

01. How we work

We know China. We’ve worked here as clients and as suppliers; we speak the language and we know how to get things done.

We’re collaborative. We like nothing more than getting as close as we can to our customers’ businesses, becoming an extension of their own teams.

We’re consultative. There are very few one-size-fits-all solutions in business, and none in a market as rapidly evolving as China. We constantly monitor our own performance to ensure that we’re working as effectively as possible, bringing our expertise to the parts of your business where they’ll add most value.

02. What we value

Integrity
While others may portray China as “big, scary and far away”, at Hot Pot we take pride in bringing transparency and predictability to the brands we work with.

Curiosity
Our team are a diverse bunch, united by their passion for Chinese culture in all its forms. With a truly global footprint, we’re able to bring a unique perspective to every single project we work on.

Innovation
At heart we’re all entrepreneurs. We love data and we love getting our hands dirty, helping our customers bring new products to market and carve out new opportunities in the world’s most vibrant economy.

Meet the leadership team

Jonathan Smith, CEO

I've spent more than fifteen years working in China, and am a fluent Mandarin speaker. During that time I've specialised in branded content, working alongside global brands to create shows for primetime Chinese television before turning my hand to digital 10 years ago.

I have a deep passion for all things China and am inspired by helping brands to succeed in the world's fastest-moving market. I also believe strongly that working in China forces brands to think differently, move at "China-speed" and develop innovative best practices back in their home markets.

Favourite Chinese Dish: Sichuan Hot Pot

Spice tolerance: High 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Cat Navarro, COO

I spent the first ten years of my career leading large-scale business transformations for government and enterprise organisations. I then moved to the UK and began leading talent and operations teams for early-stage businesses. Alongside having grown and scaled some of the most disruptive and fast-growth companies in London, I've also provided short-term leadership coaching and talent/operational consultancy services to a range of other SaaS and service-based businesses.

Favourite Chinese Dish: Anything Sichuan

Spice tolerance: High 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Adam Sandzer, Strategy Director

I've spent over 13-years studying and working in China. After achieving first class BA honours in Management with Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, including a year at the China Campus in Ningbo, I began my career with Pentland Brands, working on China strategy and business development for brands including Speedo and Mitre. I now lead on providing advisory and strategic services to some of the world's most leading brands that are seeking long-term success in China.

Favourite Chinese Dish: Gong Bao Ji Ding

Spice tolerance: Medium 🌶️🌶️

Stella Zheng, Partner Relations Director

I started my career as a fashion editor, working for some of the most prominent media publications in China such as Elle China, Bazaar China and Modern Weekly. Alongside this I was heavily involved in the media and influencer scene, being one of the first wave of Chinese digital fashion influencers. I now spend my time researching and sourcing China's best and most innovative platforms and providers.

Favourite Chinese Dish: Bubble Tea

Spice tolerance: High 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Ellie Adam, Project Director

I have over ten years' experience in project managing and consulting for some of the most reputable creative agencies and not-for-profit organisations across the world. Relying on my background in advertising, production, creative ideation and brand strategy, I build and lead cross-functional international teams to design and deliver a first-class project management experience for clients.

Favourite Chinese Dish: Beijing Roasted Duck

Spice tolerance: Medium 🌶️🌶️

Ashley Zhang, Campaign Director

After obtaining a Master's Degree in Fashion Retail Management from the University of the Arts London, I spent several years working in the fashion industry for companies such as YOOX Net-A-Porter, Burberry and Prada. I've lived in four cities - Shanghai, Milan, New York and London - and this has given me a wealth of local and international insights that I use ideating, planning and delivering creative campaigns.

Favourite Chinese Dish: Tomato fried eggs

Spice tolerance: Medium 🌶️🌶️

We’re always looking to add new talent to Hot Pot - drop us a line if you’d like to chat.