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Trade Tensions, Page 2

Taiwanese and Chinese Negotiating Tactics Compared

Taiwan and China welcome foreign negotiators the same way – but say goodbye differently.

Sign up for the ChinaSolved newsletterI was recently asked by a member of the ChinaSolved Linkedin group  if there was difference between the way Chinese and Taiwanese negotiators behaved. It’s a great question that comes up often, but seems particularly appropriate now.

The bottom line is that negotiations with Taiwanese and Chinese counter-parties start out the same, but end up in different places. Westerners can be successful in both cases – but have to understand how negotiators from Taiwan and mainland China think about VALUE.

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China Bribery Scandals: Of Witch-hunts and Warlocks

Is it a witch-hunt if the people implicated were really practicing witchcraft?

CS-logo-print-2.pngIt’s getting hard to keep up with the growing list of Western and MNC firms implicated in Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign.  Drug companies have been the prime suspect, but baby formula and luxury autos have also been implicated.

Western observers are sensitive to any indication that the business environment is shifting against foreigners in China – and we have good reasons to be watchful.  But if the companies in question are actually guilty of bribery and market manipulation then claims of a xenophobic witch-hunt are completely baseless

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Risk Reduction in Chinese Business: Relationships

Western managers who delegated the “guanxi” or relationship-building function need to audit their China operation.

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Ever since I published the  eBook – Guanxi for the Busy American  – I’ve been on the receiving end of an endless stream of jaded Old Hand derision and criticism.  It usually takes the form of a fast-paced 2-Step.  First they declare that they are tired of hearing the overworked and

misused phrase, “guanxi” and they don’t bother with it anymore. The next step is to delegate the entire relationship-building process to a trusted Chinese associate or agent.  (A typical response to any mention of the g-word:  “I don’t bother with guanxi nonsense since it isn’t really necessary and never helps westerners anyway.  Instead I have, over the years, built up a strong relationship with my Chinese partner/lawyer/director/wife/classmate.”)

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Negotiate Lower Risk in China

Western negotiators in China can lower their risk with smarter negotiation techniques.

Negotiating in China used to be about reducing costs, but since the crash of 2008 it has been about accessing the market and integrating supply chain.  Since both of these goals require substantial and long-term commitments, the job of negotiators in China has fundamentally changed.  Nowadays, negotiating in China is about reducing risk.

Rule Number 1: business intelligence is your responsibility.  Not your counter-party, supplier, partner or even key staff.  You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do have to know the right questions — and have some way of assessing the answers you are getting.  That is not something you’ll grow into or pick up over time.  If you are too busy to learn about China and develop your own channels of business intelligence and market information, then you are simply too busy to succeed in China.  It IS that simple.

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