Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sex, porn and their lessons for business - Shaun Rein

shaunreinShaun Rein by Fantake via Flickr
Shaun Rein uses the lessons business can learn from the mixed messages the government is sending on porn and sex. On the internet it is porn crackdown all along the line, while sex and prostitution are everywhere commercially available.
The lesson is so obvious, many veterans like Shaun Rein forget to explain it to relative newcomers in China. In Forbes he makes up for that omission, The government is not one monolith with one message, but a conglomerate of competing interests, You have to be aware of this minefield of conflicting interests to survive in China. At a central level - and the internet is strictly controlled by that level - pornography and prostitution are not done.
At the local level police and other officials face different issues. Police and local officials are way underpaid and aren't allowed to move into the private sector after they've reached a certain rank. Even relatively senior local officials often make only several hundred dollars a month. They get lots of benefits, like housing and cars, but they don't have much personal money of their own. One result is that corrupt officials protect brothels for protection fees.
These corrupt officials and police don't want to lose that income, so they let brothels operate freely as long as they don't become hubs for more serious crimes, like drug sales, or violence--and as long as there isn't overwhelming political will to shut things down, as there was around the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the run up to the World Expo in Shanghai this year. Many brothels throughout the country were shuttered in the three months leading up to the Olympics, but most were up and running again soon after.
More important lessons in Forbes.

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Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.
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