An American, a Dutchman and a Brit walk into an open-air third-world bus stop just before dawn. They each need transport to the town – approximately three miles away. The local minivan and tuk-tuk drivers have organized themselves into a mean little mafia, and they are gouging the international tourists as they disembark from overnight buses.
The only thing the Chinese like more than saving money is saving face – so Madame Lagarde and the WEF planning people in Davos have given China the nicest New Year’s surprise ever.
China managers are well familiar with this persona, as we run into both the American and Chinese versions. The same confidence and conviction that gives them the strength to try something new can also be their undoing.
Chinese negotiators like building relationships as part of the deal-making process, but they aren’t typically big fans of the type of even-split, 50-50 partnerships that Westerners favor. Traditional Chinese negotiators are more comfortable with a clear hierarchy.
Mitt Romney is making many of the same mistakes that international managers make in China. How many of these are going on in your outfit?
Foxconn is a B2B outsourcer and doesn’t need a consumer-friendly brand image, but Apple can’t continue using the reverse Nuremberg defense, “it’s not our fault – we are just giving orders”.
American dealmakers pressure a counterparty by asking, “What have you done for me lately?” Chinese dealmakers say, “What can you do for me tomorrow?”
In China, there is a big difference between winning the deal and running a winning business. Getting a deal that can’t be executed is worse than not signing a contact at all.
If Chinese dealmakers are such long-term relationship builders, how come I just got dumped? Wham, Bam, Thank You American!
First is was capital, then technology. China Inc.’s next big move is to go after global markets – including the one in your backyard. Happy Year of the Dragon.