China Business: The Rules of the Game

By Carolyn Blackman | Go to book overview

1
A lot to learn:
‘Nowwhere else in the
world is it like this!’

An executive who has only a passing acquaintance with China, if any, might say, ‘Well, we are all human beings underneath’, with the implication that there is very little that is different about the Chinese and about doing business in China, and therefore little to learn beyond how to present one's business card politely and how to ganbei (make toasts) at a banquet. Let us start with the banquet and see if that is the case.


Banquets

There is a certain formality about banquets in China. Everyone sits in an anteroom first; if you are the honoured guest you will be seated next to the most important people, with others ranked around according to the hierarchy. Tea is served. After ten minutes of chit-chat, everyone gets up and walks into the banquet, which is usually held in a private room. The honoured guest sits facing the door.

There might be fifteen courses, and there will be maotai: the host makes a toast, and then you respond with a toast. As the banquet proceeds, you start to notice that some people are becoming very raucous. They are mixing scotch and other wines together. They are

-3-

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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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