ChinaSolved’s Least Wanted List #5: Training Your Own Competition
It may be true that Chinese businessmen are long-term planners, but that doesn’t mean that they intend to work with you forever. You may be a bit player in their grand epic story – and your role could be to supply them with technology, new products or business methodology. Know who your potential competitors are, and don’t treat them like partners.
Negotiating in China is as much about managing relationships as constructing business plans. Plenty of Western entrepreneurs and managers have had solid ideas that failed because they lacked suitable local partners – or had the wrong partner. You also have to remember that in China, the practical definition of “partnership” is much broader than it is in the West. You may run a WFOE or department of a western MNC that doesn’t have any Chinese equity partners, but from a practical operating perspective you can still be locked into a variety of exclusive partnerships or critical supply relationships. This discussion isn’t about legal details – it’s about negotiating with Chinese counterparts.