Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chinese way of doing business

Today everybody announces the 21st century to be the century of China, and this is not without a good reason. Never in the world history has an economy grown that fast for that long. The Chinese economy is opening up since the 1990s.

“The story is told of how the Chinese communist leadership in December 1992 sat through a special performance of Durrenmatt’s Romulus the Great. The barbarians (the Western democrats) are at the gates of Rome (Beijing), and the emperor Romulus (Deng) announces that he intends to save the empire (Communist China) by transforming it. The only hope, he says, is to go into business with the barbarians to avoid a catastrophe – defined as a collapse and annihilation, worse than the introduction of capitalism.” (published in "China: The workshop of the world?" by Jonathan Story in 2005)

Indeed, the Chinese way of doing business can be described as “selling anything possible for a maximum price”. Products manufactured in China for ridiculous costs are then exported to Europe and US with sometimes a 500% margin. If you go to China without the language, you’ll experience aggressive Chinese merchants. They will sell you anything, for a maximum price, and you’ll have a feeling that you made a good deal.

Chinese way of doing business is particular, no use to warn those who’ve already lived in this country. Confucius traditions and Chinese mentality are so specific, that it is makes it impossible to work with them “your way”. The foreign nation that is most successful in business in Beijing is: Germany. For sure, Germans have a very important thing in common with the Chinese colleagues: continuous thirst for…beer! :-)

Jokes apart, when the Chinese do business with you, they will never say "no" to any of your proposals, they will promise to arrange every problem, but it doesn’t mean that they will sign the contract at the end. They will do everything to please you, your business trip to China will be wonderful, but bear in mind that the Chinese always put their profit first. Maybe that’s what makes them most successful businessmen in Asia.