Stop Whining!

Friday, April 27, 2007 6:51

Iain McGregor writes into Shanghai Daily a fantastic article entitled Don’t whine about China business

They’re intransigent, they leave everything to the last minute, they don’t know what they’re doing, they are trying to rip me off!

Sound familiar?

To me,after 5 years of being here… this is unfortunately all to familiar, and the article is very timely as this was a discussion I just had with a friend over lunch while watching a foreigner go ballistic at a cafe over the fact that a waiter spilled salad dressing on his lunch date’s skirt.

As discussed previously in the post QC Failures Start in the Home the first outlet for many foreigners who see things go wrong is the Chinese… their Chinese partner, their Chinese supplier, their Chinese tour guide… and that damn cab driver.

However, after my time here, I have come to realize one truth about China. If something goes wrong IT IS MY OWN FAULT .. .not my Chinese partner, my Chinese supplier, my Chinese girlfriend… and that damn cab driver (It is always the cab drivers fault!).

After all.. it is my fault if I do not manage a supplier close enough, I do not check my goods often enough, if I try to force a negotiation, or if I try to make the round peg fit into the square hole of real estate transaction
Things go wrong in China. Suppliers will look to save costs just as you once did before moving your goods to China, and they will test the limits.. developers will bury things in their books… JV partners will look for opportunities to expand (with or without you).. and sometimes the truck driver needs extra cash a couple days before Chinese new year, so he takes a ton of your aluminum to the scrap market for you…

now that you know this, plan accordingly, cause now that you know it is your responsibility to put into place the plans, process and controls to make sure that your negotiations, operations, and organization are protected from those things that can be planned.
McGregor wraps his article up well (and will wrap up this post well) when he says:

The etiquette of better business is the practice of mentally swapping sides, changing places across the table, then looking for the common ground that brought you both there in the first place.

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One Response to “Stop Whining!”

  1. China Law Blog says:

    April 29th, 2007 at 5:29 am

    China Business Is Like Business Everywhere Else…

    Excellent and pithy article in the Shanghai Daily the other day by Iain McGregor (the pen name for a former senior aerospace executive, intelligence officer and diplomat who is a novelist and occasional commentator living in Shanghai.) on what it reall…