I’ve been running an informal, non-scientific survey on the ChinaSolved linkedin group asking the question: What is the most difficult aspect of doing business deals in China? I offered 5 answers which would correspond to a general flow chart of a developing business deal.
- 1- Finding an appropriate counter-party
2 – Agreeing to clear deal terms
3 – Finalizing the deal and signing contracts
4 – Executing the deal (starting the actual business)
5 – Post deal compliance / QC
It’s been a five days and I’ve managed to gather 58 responses.
The general overall results are:
We’re seeing a lot of trouble at both extremes — starting the deal and managing post-deal compliance are both troublesome. This is a very naive, generalized view that is probably the source of many misconceptions about business in China. The problem? Newcomers and old hands are both showing up in the results and making it appear that there are friction points across the board. In fact, it seems that more experienced China hands are finding that it is much easier to start negotiations than to successfully conclude them — and that getting paid (or maintaining a profitable relationship) are harder still.
When we filtered for job-title or position, we began to see some more interesting results. Owners – who live or die by the bottom line – are most concerned about late-stage considerations, like compliance and contract. Managers are the ones fretting about generating deals and negotiating deal points.
The small sample size disqualifies the more extreme readings, but we can still see that older (presumably more experienced negotiators) are less worried about doing deals and more concerned about executing business and getting paid.
The gender results were a bit of a surprise for two reasons. First, it seems that far fewer women took the survey. Does this mean that women are less engaged with Linkedin on other online platforms (which seems unlikely to me, but I’d appreciate your input), are less involved in China deals or are less likely to volunteer for surveys. Whatever the the cause, women made up less than a quarter of the sample — and were the most likely to encounter friction at the early stages of China deal-making.
See for yourself by going to the Linkedin survey , take the poll and look over the comments of those that have already taken the poll.