Chinese Business Culture Notebook
Friday January 4, 2008
Leave Vancouver, Canada at 2:15am
Saturday January 5, 2008
Arrive at Hong Kong airport and flight to Guangzhou at 12:15pm.
We had lunch at the hotel immediately after getting settled into our rooms. Lunch was
our first taste of Chinese food on the mainland. This was also our first experience with
the popular food dim sum. Following lunch we took a walk to the near by campus of Sun
Yat Sen University. The campus is fairly large and has a great layout.
Sunday January 6, 2008
First Class Lecture: Understanding Chinese Culture
-Dr. Lin Shengdong
When looking at the cultural dimensions of China the Chinese use intuitive reasoning and
also predict more change in the future than most other cultures. Their outlook is put into a
process and everything is seen as the big picture and therefore they are not focused on
one moment in time. This is due to the East Asia cognition and formed from the Holistic
Differences between world views: Dualism vs. Yin-Yang
The two main world views of the Chinese culture are Dualism versus Yin-Yang. These
two theories coexist as two contradicting parts. Dualism sees a process from small to big
and reduces the whole into parts. While Yin-Yang sees a process from big to small this
can be seen when comparing the human body to the universe. Dualism is focused on
traits, consistency and stability while Yin-Yang sees energy and compares ideas like a
soldier’s vigor in war is like a rainbow. Dualism is seen as cause and effect therefore
people will do the right things regardless of the situation, instrumental rationality and
they will ask “do what and why”. Dualism is seen as a linear relationship while Yin-Yang
is based on correlations. Yin-Yang integrates traits with situations, harmony between
human and nature, and the question asked is “how to do”. This can be seen as nature runs
in this way. Though these two theories are very different they coexist as two
contradicting parts in the Chinese culture.
Thinking and Culture
China sees harmony with nature while America sees independent of context and believes
that this will be socially desirable. Therefore Chinese believe from the Yin-Yang and
ZhongYong thinking in a collective way due to the Confucian background of the Chinese
culture. These views are used to the fullest advantage for many marketing ads and
campaigns. This can be seen in commercials for products like Shampoo that advertise a
100 years of love and mention nothing about the product itself. This type of advertising is
using emotional appeal to reach consumers to purchase their products.
Time after Class:
After our first lecture we had lunch on campus in their restaurant called Mingdian. After
lunch on campus we visited the Mausoleum. Later in the evening we took a night cruise
on the Pearl River that included a buffet dinner. The Pearl River was lit with many neon
lights and buildings displaying various types of advertisements. The cruise offered many
amazing views of all the river cruises and neon lights of Guangzhou.
Monday January 7, 2008
Four Lectures on Campus
Second Class Lecture: Current Situation of Chinas Economy
GDP Supply and Demand
WTO Faster trade helped economy to grow.
The market consists of the demand side and the supply side. The demand side includes
resources, supplies, labor and capital. The demand side consists of investment (domestic),
consumption (foreign) and trade.
2008 was the last year of the 30 year plan that called for reform and open policy. Deng
Xiopeng helped to open China in 1978. Deng supported the idea of a sociality market
economy. In 2001 China joined the WTO which greatly helped the economy.
Capital increased faster because of foreign investment. Multinational corporations are
most important for capital investment. In the long run resources are a problem such as
land and oil. Each year Chinas GDP increases an average 11 percent.
The government consists of a central and local government. It is very competitive
between local governments. Therefore investments have strong incentives. Currently the
government is stressing a “cool down” economy. This is due to their concern about the
economy growing too fast. Among these new concerns are worries about the “Three Big
Mountains”. The “Three Big Mountains” education (expensive), medicine (government
provides only small fraction), and housing (priced to high). Reform will soon be needed
in order to combat these problems.
Third Class Lecture: Business and Investment Practices in China
- Prof. Guangyou Liu
When thinking of China many immediately think cheap, cheap and cheap. Though this
used to be partially true, China now offers better infrastructure than in India however is
inferior to Thailand. Looking at the financial services industry there is very low
efficiency and the majority of bank loans go to state owned enterprises. Therefore there is
a demand for funding channels for small/medium enterprises.
Due to the Confucius Ideology and Business in China there is a weakness in competition.
Many people are not willing to leave their hometown, while many businesses are not
willing to expand to outside markets. This can also be seen in the religion of China that
prescribes internal values that overpass oneself in success. Further looking at the Chinese
ideology many believe that “In China well learned people cater for political profession”.
The Chinese business style is a Maoist bureaucratic learning style and uses Sun-Tzu
strategies. When comparing between China and Americans the way business is
conducting, China is very indirect and static. Further they make friends before a business
deal which involves the building of guanxi. However the stereo type of the US is that
business people are very direct, plain, friendly and open. They are ready to get to the
point of the meeting and rely greatly on contracts as verification. This is very different
from the Chinese point of view that people can settle their problems not the law.
Fourth Class Lecture: Marketing Practice and Trends in China
- Dr. Jane Peihsun Wu
China: A rising market
-Disposable income increasing per year by about 9%
-Country disposable income increasing 5% per year
Before 1945 Generation of “Socialism Believer”
1945-1960s Generation of “Loss”
1960-1970s Generation of “Luck”
1970-1980s Generation of “Transformation”
1980- After Generation “E”
Chinese Consumer Behavior
The Chinese consumer behavior has many influencing factors. These come from their
culture and values that influence their behaviors. The society is collectivist therefore the
importance of family is greatly stressed. This collectivism can be also seen through the
importance of guanxi or relationships. The Chinese consumption represents one’s social
status and identity. Not only do they consume the product itself, but also the meaning the
product can convey for example in China Benz, Rolex means success for business
people. Currently the average income in China for the ages of 35-45 is $5 million.
Though 5% of the 1.2 billion population has this type of income that leaves the rest of
country to be concerned. The government is taking action though and allowing farmers
no tax, education free, medical free and therefore this is helping to increase their wealth.
In the long run this is helping to bridge the gap between rich and poor and beginning to
create a middle class in China.
Segmentation and Localization
As this middle class is formed businesses need to explore the Chinese consumer’s needs
and wants. Thus channel diversification becomes important for retailing and new
emerging channels. The new emerging channels can be reached through direct marketing
and ecommerce. This is also helping to bridge the consumption gap. This follows along
with the new trends in the new century that include internet and the Chinese country side
as a new market.
Time after Class:
We had lunch as a group at Mingdian which is the restaurant on campus. Lunch included
a bento box of curried beef. After our break from class we met and went to Karaoke in
Goldmine. This buffet style restaurant had a Cantonese taste. The Karaoke bar was hug
and had many individual rooms for groups of various sizes. It was very interesting to get
the full experience of Karaoke in China.
Tuesday January 8, 2008
Company Visit: Zhujiang Brewery Group
The Zhujiang Brewery was established in 1985 and has become one of the largest
brewers in China. Currently they produce over 1 million tons per year which is great
increase when compared to their initial start of production that was 50,000 tons per year.
Through focusing on quality excellence, technological advances, experienced managing
and building brand name they are continuing to excel in China’s beer market. Production
began in 1997 for their most popular beer, the Draft beer. Since production began the
Draft beer has become the highest selling beer throughout China. The technical advances
that the brewery has been using allow them to create an environment for the draft
production that is clean, pure and kept at a certain temperature in order to provide a
quality product to their customers.
Wednesday January 9, 2008
Company Visit: Toyota Motor Company
- Joint Venture
This joint venture was set up by Toyota Motor Corporation with China’s Guangzhou
Automobile Group to produce in the capital city of Guangdong Province. The venture is
Toyota’s biggest and fourth vehicle JV in china. They chose Guangdong because they
believe in producing where there is a demand for their product. Toyota’s goal is to
control 10% of China’s automobile market by 2010.
Company Visit: Nansha Grand Hotel
Tour of the five-star Nansha Grand Hotel. The hotel has an American designed interior
and garden. This hotel is invested by Henry Fong and employees 700 people. Currently it
is mainly used by business people for meetings and accommodations. The future relies on
the hope that the Chinese people will find the need of relaxation which would help to
increase business. In the area of Guangzhou hotel competition is great because there are
many new hotels.
Thursday January 10, 2008
Company Visit: Jet-Tern Marine Co. and Selene Trawlers
-CEO Howard Chen
Selene Trawlers factory is located in Dongguan City and manufactured by Jet-Tern
Marine. This company has been in business for 10 years and rated top 3 in boats. Most
companies use a low profit margin strategy however Howard Chen has a high profit
margin because he owns his own brand. His profit is gained from sales and
manufacturing. Twice a year he raises the sale price of the boats in order to combat
consumer psychology. This helps consumers to think that their boats are gaining value
and help gain customers with the same psychology. Seattle is the biggest market for
Friday January 11, 2008
Fifth Class Lecture: From Planned to Market- A Correct Solution for Chinas
-Prof. Dr. Qi Su
Current Economic Situation:
The current annual growth rate of the last two years in China was 9% for each year. The
expected growth is 8% during the 11th 5 year plan that is currently in place. Chinas
economic situation is facing a high investment rate and is reinforcing rapid productivity
growth with a GDP that ranks sixth in the world. The current economic predicament
holds the problem of the gap between rich and poor that is continuing to grow. State
Owned Enterprises are also facing the problem of meeting severe managerial and survival
problems. Overall the economy is on a numerically upward sloping track, particularly
after its transition from a planned regime to a market one.
Two Stages of Economic Development:
1949-1978: Followed the path of former Soviet Union, centrally planned and
commanded. Large scale government role in economy to collect all strengths of the
country and achieve self sufficiency and self dependence.
1949-1952: Recovering period of national economy
1953-1957: First five year plan (finish socialist rectification of agriculture, handicraft and
capitalist industry and commerce)
1958-1965: Second five year plan during which adjustment period of national economy
took place. (3 years of natural disaster, unrealistic plans exceed capabilities of people)
1966-1976: Ten years of Cultural Revolution that devastated the whole country. The
Gang of Four deprived of their political power in 1976. China slowly recovered from
1976 to 1978.
1979-Present: Second stage of economic development. China has faced economic reform
since 1979 to develop the functions of market mechanism and release productivity.
Chinese Socialist Market Economy (1992 – Present)
1. “A planned economy supplemented by market regulations” (Dec 1979-Oct 1984)
2. “A planned commodity economy” (Oct 1984 – Oct 1987)
All cautiously named so as not to confuse people
3. “An economy where state regulates the market and the market regulates the
enterprises” (Oct 1987-June 1989)
4. “An economy with organic integration of planned economy and market
regulations” (June 1989-1991) Period of governing and disciplining, targeting
price and inflation.
5. “Chinas Socialist Market Economy” (Oct 1992-Present)
Summary: The five sub stages of the period embody a gradual and incremental transition
towards market economy in China. During this time the people have also faced idea
changes and currently are facing more change which requires Chinas growing up to
depend on the growing up of the thought of Chinese people.
Sixth Class Lecture: Foreign Investment Enterprises and Law in China
- Prof. Xiaoqiang Yang
Forms of Foreign Investment
-Equity Joint Venture
-Contractual joint venture
-wholly foreign owned enterprises
-Sino-foreign joint stock co.
Investor owns independent management.
Profit under RMB could be converted to foreign currencies and remit to other countries.
Intellectual property is protected independently.
Chinese Foreign Equity Joint Ventures
Legal person in China
Foreign investors hold at least 25% of shares
Minimum amount of LLC is RMB 30,000 Yuan of registered capital
Excellent cooperation partners will bring industry experiences
Risks from cooperation partners
Chinese Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures
Both Chinese and foreign investors
Widely used on hotel projects and land developing, reduce expenses on land transferring
No minimum amount investment required
Non-direct operational institution
Representing its foreign enterprises
Resident representative is only an organ for liaison
Low cost instrument
Representative can’t carry on any business operation
Not legal person
Generally two industries banking and insurance
Have a rep office in China for two years
Minimum working capital not exceed US $10 million
Sino-Foreign Joint Stock Co.
Blend between EJV and a stock company
Minimum paid up capital: RMB 30 million
The Legal Process of how to set up:
1. Examination and approval
2. Business license within 30 days of approval
3. Tax registration state and local bureau
Company Visit: Zhujiang Piano Company
The tour of the Pearl River Piano Co. showed us the production stage of their pianos.
This involved the already assembled pieces, the production and assembly line, testing
rooms, and finally the show room with their assembled pianos. This company is a State
Owned Enterprise that is owned by the Guangzhou Local Government. Previously it was
a joint venture and Technology Coop. with Steinway Inc. and cooperation with Yamaha.
The Pearl River Piano Co. exports to more than 450 countries and has been in business
for 50 years. This SOE has worked out very well when compared to other SOE’s. The
working environment is run by a strong management that creates an inspirational
Saturday January 12, 2008
Visit to the Chen Academy
Visit to Qingping Market that is known as a famous jade market.
Shamian Island and White Swan Tour
Sunday January 13, 2008
Individual Visit: Guangzhou Zoological Garden
This was a very unique experience to go to a zoo in another country, even more unique
that this zoo is in China. The zoo was your average zoo until we saw numerous
Pomeranian dogs caged up also to view. This is very different for Americans to see dogs
at the zoo. This was also a sad experience because all but a few mammals and reptiles
were individually caged in small areas with no food or water. We observed a few of the
bears seemed to be unsettled and acting abnormal due to these conditions.
Monday January 14, 3008
Final day in Guangzhou was spent packing and getting ready for Shanghai. Farewell
dinner at restaurant next to our hotel where we received our certificates from SYSU from
the dean and said our farewells to Annie and Connie.
Tuesday January 15, 2008
Early morning and check out from hotel to head to the airport for our next destination. It
was a very busy check in at airport in Guangzhou to head to Shanghai. Arrived to cold
weather in Shanghai and headed for the Captain Hostel which is located near the famous
bund. Took short walking tour of the city and headed off on our own. Took walk down
Nanjing Road which is known to be very busy and filled with shops of all kinds. During
this walking tour of Nanjing Road we ran into art students from a Beijing fine arts school.
After talking with them for a few minutes about their schooling and why they were in
Shanghai they invited us to take a look at their art. Their art was located in a small room
in one of the bank towers. Individually we were each walked around to each painting and
explained the meaning of the symbols, pictures and characters.
Finally we all realized what the situation was really about after we were asked what our
favorite painting was out of the collection. The next step was to purchase the painting.
Initially this seemed like a fine idea however after comparing the pricing to the quality
that we had previously seen it became evident that this set up was a scam. The situation
ended with great art knowledge, a few people buying scroll paintings and I getting yelled
at by the “professor” because I would not purchase anything. In order to leave the
situation we used the story that our class was meeting for dinner and finally escaped our
first scam on our first day in Shanghai!
Wednesday January 16, 2008
Early morning to head off to the subway station located on Nanjing Road. We took the
subway to the Museum of Urban Planning. After the Museum of Urban Planning we
went to Xin Tian Di which is famously known as the cultural street in Shanghai. Xin Tian
Di was the location that I was most excited to see on the trip. In a previous marketing
class our project was to move an Italian restaurant from Italy to Shanghai, China, more
specifically in Xin Tian Di.
A student in our group chose this location as a great place for the restaurant because she
was from Shanghai and said it would be perfect. This are is restored to look like
traditional stone gate houses with narrow alleys. The area is filled with modern
restaurants, cafes, and a mall and movie theatre. This area would have been a great choice
for an Italian restaurant however I was given the impression that Xin Tian Di was larger
and had more to offer than a small area of shopping and restaurants.
Thursday January 17, 2008
We took a short walk with the group to Yuyuan Garden. After the Yuyuan Garden and
lunch we all headed for the Pearl Tower. We took a ferry across the river and then walked
to the Pearl Tower. We then toured through the history museum of Shanghai that is
located in the bottom of the Pearl Tower.
Friday January 18, 2008
Company Visit: US Consulate General in Shanghai
-Commercial Officer: Kevin Chambers
There are five offices located in China. The US Consulate works one on one with US
companies to help them integrate into China. Shanghai is the “Commercial Capital of
China” with a population of 18.6 million people. The realized foreign direct investment is
$6.8 billion into Shanghai alone. Shanghai has the advantage of concentrated resources
that include manufacturing activity, twenty industry parks and trade zones and
multinational corporation regional headquarters.
With a great business environment Shanghai offers provincial status, relative
transparency and less risk. Currently East China is an “Economic Powerhouse” with an
ideal geography and location for businesses and offers great infrastructure. The American
Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai has over 3000 members with about 80 new members
every month. Shanghai has the largest AmCham following Tokyo which is the largest.
The prosperity of the AmCham can be attributed to China’s WTO membership.
Interestingly enough statistics from the AmCham say that US company objectives are
mainly to produce goods or services in China for the china market. Most people have the
perception that is the complete opposite. 14% of companies produce goods or services in
China for the US market while 62% produce goods or services in China for the China
market. The future market of China holds many opportunities in the marine and port
technologies, energy, water and waste infrastructure. Though there are many
opportunities, challenges include macro risks such as wealth gaps, lack of transparency,
corruption and role of law. While micro challenges such as IPR infringement, staff
recruiting and retention, power outages and traffic congestion.
In order to understand the market in Chine the most important thing to remember is to
think of all the opportunities and challenges China has to offer. First one must visit to
understand the opportunities and further must know and sell what the market demands.
Next you need to manage realistic expectations by balancing between the market “hype”
and doomsday. Also one must conduct due diligence before entering into China and
further have a market exit plan incase things do not go as planned for your business
Company Visit: Toys R Us
-Managing Director of China: Dr. Eden Y Woon
When retailing in China both opportunities and challenges exist. The first half of 2007
retail sales in China was 4.2 trillion RMB. This market of retailing has created jobs,
balanced prices and maintained the economy. With a new generation in China people are
gaining more ability to consume more which allows their children to consume as well.
Retailing is looking very prosperous however there are still challenges that need to be
considered. The first is the speed of development versus the cost. With new labor laws in
place in China the cost of manufacturing is continually rising. Next are legal issues that
follow the new labor law such as the hiring and firing of an employee and their wages.
Therefore the cost of doing business is going up as more unions are formed.
Following these challenges is the market of retailing itself which is newer to the Chinese
people. Companies must look at competition branding and consumer psychology. Culture
in China is the number one competition because people are not ingrained with the toy
consumption. Therefore companies must distinguish themselves like Eden Y Woon has
done with the large neon bow on the side of the mall in Shanghai displaying the Toys R
Saturday January 19, 2008
Individual Visit: Shopping at Yuyuan Garden
Group Visit: Acrobat Show at the Ritz Carlton
It was a great experience to see the acrobat show at the Ritz Carlton. This was not only a
fun and entertaining event; it showed us more of the Chinese culture that we were
continually looking to find on our trip.
Sunday January 20, 2008
Group Visit: Chinese New Years Alumni party for Sun Yat Sen University.
Individual Visit: I ♥ Shanghai
This was our first visit to I ♥ Shanghai bar, which is owned by Jeff, a man from Des
Moines, Washington. This was another great experience meeting someone from the states
but even more interesting that he was from close to all of our home towns. The bar had
the grunge feel of Seattle which gave away his age and love for the music that made
Seattle famous. Most of the customers were visibly American however there was a great
mix of Europeans and a few Asians. This was surprising to see a bar resembling Seattle
so busy and prosperous in Shanghai, and even better to get a little taste of home.
Monday January 21, 2008
Individual Visit: Underground fake good shopping market.
The only restaurant we could find within walking distance of the underground shopping
market was a Bavarian restaurant. Once again we were surprised at all that Shanghai has
to offer of different cultures. After a long day of shopping underground in the subway we
decided to test shopping on Nanjing Road with one of the individual sellers on the street.
This proved to be a very interesting experience where we went from store, to hotel, to
store and another hotel with what seemed like our own personal shopper.
Tuesday January 22, 2008
Company Visit: General Motors Plant
The Shanghai GM was founded in 1997 as a joint venture between General Motors and
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. Shanghai GM manufactures and sells
Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac vehicles to the mainland of China.
Wednesday January 23, 2008
Interview: Scott Tong
This interview was with a gentleman named Scott Tong who works for National Public
Radio. He was sent to Shanghai on a three year contract to set up NPR in Shanghai. He
has lived in Shanghai with his family for about a year and previously lived in Washington
DC. His background includes an education at Georgetown and previously he worked on
Capital Hill. He currently works for the market place and writes about the Chinese
business economy. This is basic information for Chinese citizens however it is very
complex for the US.
He says that it is occasionally difficult to get current news because websites like BBC are
blocked. Also information on human rights is difficult to find and there is personal
monitoring that goes on in China. Tong says that there has been one knowingly time
where he has been followed from work or around town. During this time people he
worked with were asked questions about him. He said the biggest risk is getting the
people you have talked to into trouble.
As far as a lifestyle in Shanghai Tong says that it is difficult because everyone is there
because they want to make money. He further went to say that many people invest into
China not just Chinese goods for the US. This however is soon to change due to the
“China Price”. Though China has always been know for cheaper labor and products this
will not last forever. There are other countries that are able to produce cheaper than China
such as India and Vietnam. The slur term “Made in China” will change just like it has in
the past for other countries.
Thursday January 24, 2008
Early morning left the Captain Hostel at 6:00am to head to the airport and off on our way
to Hong Kong. Landed in Hong Kong and took a travel bus to the YMCA. On the way
we had our first view a clean body of water since leaving the United States. After
checking in we took a walking tour as a group to the walk of the stars which is located
along the water.
Initial thoughts of Hong Kong are definitely not what I expected. Hong Kong has many
extravagant cars and stores located near our hotel. It is much unexpected to see people
our age shopping and buying from stores such as Prada and Gucci. This is interesting
because many people say that Hong Kong is becoming more Chinese. How does this all
fit in together when comparing the mainland and Hong Kong.
Friday January 25, 2008
Early morning to head out and get Starbucks before meeting as a group. We went to the
museum with the group and then ate lunch at the YMCA. We then took the subway to the
other side of the water to meet with Erik a PLU Alumni. Erik took us to his apartment
where we discussed Hong Kong and living abroad as an expatriate. It was very
interesting to hear his view of living in Hong Kong alone and then compare with Scott
Tongs view of the mainland and living in Shanghai with a family. After our meeting we
took the ferry back to the other side of Hong Kong.
Saturday January 26, 2008
Tour of the SOHO area in Hong Kong
We had lunch at a Sichuan restaurant that ended up being pretty pricy because it was near
the famous SOHO area. We then walked through an antique street and dried foods street.
After this we toured a botanical garden and a very interesting aviary with different
tropical birds. Took the ferry back home and attempted to see the famous laser show of
Hong Kong. This did not work out as well as planned though because our view from the
California Kitchen Pizza was not that great.
Sunday January 27, 2008
Individual Visit: Hong Kong Museum
This was one of the most interesting museums that we went to. Not only did they have a
variety of ancient scrolls and art there was a modern art section. It was very interesting to
see the modern art. This included scrolls with modern comments on society like one that
was called IPR and had a picture of an animal mouse and a computer mouse looking at
Individual Visit: Temple Street Market
Night market on Temple Street defiantly not the same as the mainland of China. No one
was interested in bargaining and the quality and options were not as good as the
mainland. This was an interesting place to walk around in Hong Kong however
disappointing after all of our bargaining practice on the mainland.
Monday January 28, 2008
Individual Visit: Peak of Hong Kong
We took the ferry across to the other side of Hong Kong and then took an open top bus to
the tram. Then we took the tram to the top of the peak where we ate lunch at Bubba
Gump. After a little bit of observation, shopping and walking around we took the tram
down in order to save time and explore more of Hong Kong. This was our final night in
Hong Kong and we made it to see the famous laser show on the waterfront of Hong
Kong. Once again this was a great experience to end our trip with. After the laser show
we had dinner at Japanese restaurant with a few people to celebrate our final evening in
Hong Kong and the end of our Jterm trip of 2008.
Tuesday January 29, 2008
It was an early morning to head of to the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce. I am
amazed at the morning commute made by all of the citizens. The subway was filled with
people and yet it only took minutes for a new train to arrive and pick up more people.
This commute was the most interesting of the trip because it took four or five trains
before we were able to squeeze on the train with everyone else. The public transportation
is amazing in Hong Kong and I wish we had more options in Washington for
Company Visit: Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce
-CEO: Alex Fong
The HKCC is the oldest chamber in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was initially developed by
the British when the started it as a fishing and trading port. During the Cultural
Revolution in China, Hong Kong was known as a safe haven. Following Deng Xiopeng’s
opening of China in 1978 many began to see a slow change in China towards a socialist
market economy. In 1997 HK changed from British to China sovereignty. HK’s economy
faced the worst problems in 2003 during the SARs epidemic. After this HK needed
something to restart the economy therefore projects like Disneyland were invested into.
Currently the integration process between the mainland of China and Hong Kong is
continuing to proceed.
Hong Kong offers no political risk however high economic risk because there is
opportunity for growth. HK also offers a great place to do business with a firm legal
structure. Currently the government needs to bring in more projects to the HK area in
order to help the economy continue to grow. This is difficult because the HK government
is not that aggressive.
Wednesday January 30, 2008
Arriving back into the United States is extremely more difficult than compared to
anything we experienced when going to China. Though a few things were interesting or
potentially shocking in China there was never a point where I felt “culture shock”. If
anything I am more surprised by what I did not see while I was away from home. Coming
home is difficult because explaining China to people is a very complex process.
Most people have a negative perception of the country or do understand why someone
would travel somewhere if it did not involve your typical vacation experience. Having
taken a modern history course last semester China was not only what I imagined but
made all the reading and research I did even more important. Many people throw history
to the side however history is so important. Not only does it tell a story but it describes a
culture and the people of that culture.
Prescriptions for Practice
When thinking of China many people automatically have a negative perception of
this countries culture and the products that are produced there. Some Americans go as far
as to attempt to not purchase anything labeled “Made in China”. This attempt however is
far fetched and outrageous for many reasons. Having spent three and half weeks in China
my perception of the “Made in China” slur has changed just from experiencing the
culture, meeting with different businesses and various people along the way. This
perception can only be changed by first hand experience in and around China.
Initially when heading to China many people will send you off with their
opinions, jokes and thoughts as to what will be experienced. Some will be welcoming to
hear while other people’s comments will leave you worried or wondering where these
wild ideas came from. The first thing that must be done when arriving in China is to
throw all of these ideas away and dive into the culture and begin to make your own
opinions. This is the only way to explore any country, mingle, get to know people, see the
sites and try all you can to get the full experience.
Before going to China one must learn at least the basics of the history of China
and the current economic and political standing. By learning from the past you will be
able to realize that history repeats itself and be able to prepare for the future. In order to
begin learning about the history of China you must read controversial books like The
Unknown Story MAO by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. Even more interesting is the
memoir the man who stayed behind written by Sidney Rittenburg and Amanda Bennett.
When comparing different sources like these two books it only scrapes the surface of how
controversial the history of China is and begins to show the struggles of the different
generations and their opinions of the Chinese culture. Once you have a basic
understanding of why people act the way they do, your understanding will be greatly
increased and further help you in all situations.
After gaining a sold background and understanding of the Chinese culture next is
to consider the current challenges and opportunities that China has to offer. The current
Macro challenges/risks include wealth gaps, lack of transparency, corruption and the role
of law. Micro challenges/risks include IPR infringement, staff recruiting and retention,
power outages and traffic congestion. Opportunities are beginning to grow as more and
more people have access to the internet and continue to purchase computers. Though
internet access is readily available, information is not as accessible. Major sources like
BBC, Wikipedia and other information are blocked from use. With information like this
blocked it makes it difficult for businesses to find information that could help them
develop their products or find new locations to open.
Most significantly mentioned to all who go to China is the importance of guanxi.
Before entering China it is important to have good guanxi and if using a third party for
help, conduct due diligence before trusting someone to work with. Most important when
going to any country is the ability to dive in and mingle. Whether it is at a local bar,
meeting students on the street or a professional business person, the ability to talk and
connect is very significant. Just simple conversations can lead to more understanding of a
culture or great opportunities to explore the area. Without connecting with local people in
an area what is the point of traveling if you are not ready to learn about the people,
culture and gain more experience of our global community.