Thursday, January 03, 2013

Dealing with China is getting tougher, not easier - Janet Carmosky

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Janet Carmosky
Dealing with China has never been easy, but - writes China veteran Janet Carmosky in Forbes - things are becoming tougher in stead of easier as the country gets more organized. She summarizes 30 years of working in China by her friend Hank. 

Janet Carmosky:
30 years of working in US-China business has taken Hank into some fairly ugly situations. There was a time when the business landscape in China was nothing but regulatory gray area, and when business plans went well into execution phase before it became clear that they were based on massive misunderstandings. Someone had to figure out what went wrong; ask the questions no one asked before. Fire people, carefully, who were holding hostage the operations; renegotiate deals that took two years to negotiate the first time; track down the holders of fraudulent paper. Headquarters never wanted to know the details. I had to do some of those things. Hank did it more – chasing down bad joint venture partners, bad deals, bad loans. I got death threats once in a while, but I’m pretty sure Hank had bodyguards on speed dial... 
But hey, Happy 2013! It’s been three decades since people like Hank and I first arrived in China. Hasn’t it all become so much more civilized? Rising disposable incomes, full citizenship in global trade regimes, a growing Chinese middle class, more interaction with the west….freely available coffee, wine, sandwiches, cheese. Bigger houses. A stock market. All these things were supposed to make China’s business environment friendlier: more win-win, more give-and-take, less volatile, less hostileEveryone thought that modeling the structure of western capitalism would cause commercial behavior in China to evolve. We expected that Chinese would focus economic growth around the logic of The Firm, rather than the logic of The Nation. Hank thinks that the current unpleasantness – that where the giant household name multinational he works for, which has invested billions into China over decades, which employs many thousands of Chinese in many many Chinese cities, pays lot of Chinese taxes and etc. is getting worked over by Chinese regulators and partners – is “payback for America’s handling of ZTE and Huawei.” In other words, Chinese enterprises felt they were treated poorly in America, and turnabout is fair play.
More in Forbes.

Janet Carmosky is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

In October in the China Weekly Hangout Janet Carmosky, together with Greg Anderson and Fons Tuinstra, discussed about innovation in China.
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