China Business: The Rules of the Game

By Carolyn Blackman | Go to book overview

Preface

This book began with the question, ‘What is it like to operate a business in China?’ The question came about when I was interviewing people for my book on negotiations in business in China. It was always difficult to keep my interview subjects to the strict topic of negotiations, as they would invariably want to talk about their other experiences in China: the Chinese business people and bureaucrats they had met, the banquets they'd attended, the factories they'd visited, the places they'd travelled to —everything that had preceded and followed the actual negotiations. I realised that there was a rich field here to explore and that the experiences of these business people were worth telling.

Thus I began to talk to all kinds of business people, from the CEOs of multinational companies and their managers in China, in operations and marketing, to the sole traders, sometimes operating on the edge of the law and certainly on their wits. My focus was on what happens after the negotiations.

I wanted to get close to the real experience of Western managers, of what it feels like to be operating within the Chinese context far from home. I didn't want an idealised portrait. I wanted the day-to-day experience as it is lived. I wanted to know what those generalisations—‘relationships not law’, ‘joint venture partner conflict’ or ‘same

-viii-

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China Business: The Rules of the Game
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface viii
  • Glossary xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Quick Reference Chart to Aspects of the Chinese Business Scene xix
  • I - The Chinese Face of Globalisation *
  • 1 - A Lot to Learn: ‘nowwhere Else in the World is It like This!’ 3
  • 2 - Sustaining Competitive Advantage 16
  • 3 - Corruption: ‘legitimate Loot’ 24
  • 4 - Communication 40
  • II - Strategic Plans Meet Chinese Reality *
  • 5 - Disappointed Expectations 55
  • 6 - Hidden Agendas 68
  • 7 - Corrupt Practices 83
  • 8 - Trust 94
  • III - Foreign Managers, Chinese Staff *
  • 9 - Shared Management 107
  • 10 - Culture Change 116
  • 11 - Skills Differential 133
  • 12 - Supervision 142
  • 13 - Manager Quality 151
  • IV - Bureaucracy and Business *
  • 14 - The Socialist Market Economy 169
  • 15 - Local Government Power 175
  • 16 - Exorbitant Levies and Sundry Taxes 185
  • 17 - Mutual Co-Operation, Mutual Benefits 194
  • 18 - Talking to the Bureaucrats 204
  • 19 - Conclusion 215
  • Bibliography 222
  • Index 226
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