Eats, Crowds and Cheats; Doing Business in China Presents Special Challenges. Meals Are an Event, Efficiency Is Foreign, Counterfeiting Is Rampant. Some Tips from Our Globe-Trotting Correspondent

By Stone, Brad | Newsweek, September 26, 2005 | Go to article overview

Eats, Crowds and Cheats; Doing Business in China Presents Special Challenges. Meals Are an Event, Efficiency Is Foreign, Counterfeiting Is Rampant. Some Tips from Our Globe-Trotting Correspondent


Stone, Brad, Newsweek


Byline: Brad Stone

Google jumped whole hog into China last year, investing in search leader Baidu.com and doubling down on its own Chinese-language portal. Yahoo bet part of the farm on China last month, plugging $1 billion into the search engine Alibaba.com. These days, it seems like every major American Internet business is going to China, and so I did, too. My wife and I toured the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai, the bustling manufacturing centers outside both cities, sampled the varied cuisine, regularly got lost and subjected ourselves to widespread ridicule for our bungling of basic Chinese words. Naturally, the two-week experience now qualifies me as an experienced Sinologist. So here are some basic, hard-earned rules for conducting business in the world's most populous country, derived from some intriguing customs we encountered along our way: Get ready to eat. Yes, formal Chinese dinners are long, lavish and a challenge to the stamina of Americans accustomed to the dine-and-dash. Every Western businessman and investor must cultivate relationships, or guanxi, with local contacts to do business in China, and these allies will likely spirit you out for festive hours-long meals. A Silicon Valley refugee who had moved to Beijing told us that state-run companies are particularly prone to throwing toast-packed banquets for their Western business partners, and though we didn't do business with any, we did get to partake in some of the longest meals of our lives. Advice: have painkillers handy to blot out any developing leg cramps during hour number four. Bonus advice: the potent Chinese grain liquor, baijiu, should not be consumed in great quantities or mixed with pijiu (beer). Please, just take my word on this.

No efficiency software. There are lots of people in China. Yep, that's a bombshell. But nothing quite prepares you for the experience of walking into a department store in the shockingly vertical city of Shanghai and getting besieged by a soccer team of uniformed employees, each earning about 10 yuan ($1.25) a day and sweetly pointing to the merchandise in front of you. (This doesn't happen at your local Sam's Club, does it?) Labor is so cheap that companies seem to employ as many people as possible. Yet many American businesses these days are focused on using technology to wring inefficiencies out of the production chain and automating human tasks. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Eats, Crowds and Cheats; Doing Business in China Presents Special Challenges. Meals Are an Event, Efficiency Is Foreign, Counterfeiting Is Rampant. Some Tips from Our Globe-Trotting Correspondent
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.