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January 2011

The US is from Mars, China is from Venus (reprint)

This was originally published on in November, 2009:

Obama’s rolling into town in a few days. He’ll have with him an entourage, a few gifts and a burning need to transact. Like most visiting American representatives he wants to drop by, do his business and then get on with his life. What does China want? Beyond the treaties and the high-level discussions on military cooperation and currency, China wants something deeper and more meaningful. China, like so many geo-political actors who came before, wants The Relationship.

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The Yao Ming economy.

China’s economy is starting to show signs of stress – inflation is raging, resources are running low and the income gap between rich and poor is becoming difficult to reconcile with socialist principle. Instead of embarking on a path of moderation and serious rehabilitation, Beijing seems to be taping up and running even harder.

US-China Negotiation in 2011 (sung to the tune of Rock the Boat – Don’t Rock the Boat, Baby)

The future of US-China commerce depends on counter-parties’ ability to manage chaos and change. The same reality will govern individual businesses and industries. When entrenched players begin to lose ground to competitors – or are weakened by environmental factors – the stage is set for disruption and hyper-competition. This is not a scenario that favors soft-landings – or steady recoveries.

Managing in China: Bite the bullet or drink the Kool-Aid?

the problem facing Westerners making business decisions in China. Do you take huge strides in infrastructure as a positive indicator and push to give your company’s China project a big thumbs up? Or are you more concerned by the persistent bottlenecks? This isn’t just about attitudes and outlooks – some business models are optimized for blue skies while others solve problems. The challenge is to stay objective about your business potential in China and send useful analysis back to the home office.