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Chinese economy

Is China ready for the global BIG Time?

Before China can step up to global leadership it needs to address 3 BIG challenges:  Branding, Innovation, and Globalization.  It’s just not there yet.

The Trump inauguration and British exit from the EU may very well usher in a new era of isolationism. Every 10 years or so, pundits like to ask if it is China’s turn to step up to take center stage in global politics.   Even China’s foreign ministry has said it will reluctantly step up – if it was necessary. The truth, however is that whatever the external situation might be, China simply has a set of BIG problems that will contain China to a regional power for the time being.

China map - doing business in a regional power
Still Regional, after all of these years

 Branding

 Innovation

Globalization

Branding:

Still all Party. Chinese corporate branding tends to be very vague (at least by international standards) or very “talking head” (think Alibaba’s Jack Ma or Wanda’s Wang Lianjin). It’s very hard to separate the image of China brands from the CCP itself, and that’s a problem that isn’t going away. Global brands like Apple, Disney, Mercedes, and L’Oreal have their own identity – so they can manage their international image at will. You have your own view about Google or BMW. You can make it personal. China Inc. simply doesn’t work as a consumer brand, and even the few Chinese privates with global heft don’t have much identity apart from their owners or the Party.   (For a detailed examination of Chinese branding download BrandZ’s Chinese Global Brand Builders )

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Is it Still Worth it to Do Business in China? (Part 1)

Guanxi-building gifts, premium pricing for prestige brands, and closely guarded trade secrets used to be the hallmarks of a savvy international management team in China – now they are prosecutable offenses.   

Glaxo SmithKline.  Mercedes Benz.  Yum.  McDonalds.  The list of Fortune 100 MNCs getting into high-profile legal trouble in China has been growing – and the

10 China Negotiating Mistakes - Buy the eBook on Kindle
Learn from the expensive mistakes of expats who have come before you.

severity of problems growing more intense than ever.  With the conviction of a well-known Western consultant and the widespread deployment of China’s Anti Monopoly Law, even the most die-hard Chinapologists are having a hard time arguing that international firms are getting fair treatment from Beijing.  In the past the biggest problem facing Western managers and negotiators in China was the lack of consistent laws – now the problem is too much law and uneven enforcement.

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Negotiating with (Reluctantly) First-World Chinese Managers (Part 2)

How to do business with Chinese managers who are still in denial about their changing role in the world.

10 China Negotiating Mistakes - Buy the eBook on Kindle
Learn from the expensive mistakes of expat negotiators who have come before you…

Forget the Financial Times headlines about China’s rising international clout, and super-lux marketing campaigns targeting elite buyers in Beijing and Shanghai.  Chinese media is still carrying the Party line about China as the struggling developing market – and your Chinese negotiating counterparty believes it to some degree.  When approaching a Chinese negotiation, you have to take into account the conflicting roles that Chinese managers are grappling with.  On the one hand they are brought up to see the Chinese Nation as  perennial victim of foreign aggression, but they are also confident about their growing economic power.

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USCBC 2013 China Business Survey – The Verdict is “Tempered Optimism”

International managers must learn to deal with a more mature, independent Chinese economy – and that won’t be easy.

USCBC 2013 China Business Environment Survey Results:
Tempered Optimism Continues Amid Moderating
Growth, Rising Costs, and Persistent Market Barriers

Sign up for the ChinaSolved newsletterThe US China Business Council has published its annual “China Business Environment Survey” results, and it is a mixed bag for international managers in China. The Council keeps using the phrase “tempered optimism”- but that seems to be a euphemism for “new reality that Westerners must deal with.”

The Council puts on a brave face and mines the data for bits of good news, but the upshot is that the problems facing international managers in China are A) daunting and B) not going away any time soon.

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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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