From the China trip report created by Msc Bus Dev students in May 2011
During the trip, we visited different companies and met with foreign managers as well as with the Chinese. In all cases we discussed the local business ethics and the law. As a result we got a lot of practical and useful information. During meetings and presentations differences between European and Chinese managers were particularly strong appeared.
On the one hand, during the presentation one of Chinese companies we visited we have seen Chinese manager, who acted in conformance with the Chinese view of the business. At the meeting we have seen the following important characteristics the Chinese approach to business:
Low importance of the signed contracts and agreements. Manager did not value the signed papers, but concentrated on relationships with customers.
The importance of establishing friendly relations with customers. He repeated several times that the company is developing partnerships with customers, to learn the needs of clients and strives to improve products.
During a meeting we noticed some wariness of Chinese managers to European students and our questions about the law and dealing with clients. However, when after the presentation of Andrew and Vasiliy came to him and asked about his relations and clients in Russia, he instantly changed the mood and very kindly started a discussion about the possibility of cooperation with Russian companies. We saw this as a signal of great importance for him personal contacts and understanding of the partner's interests
Another interesting thing we learned during the meeting with alumni. Some Chinese companies hire foreigners only for the presence in the office for negotiations with foreign partners. I think it makes sense, because pure Chinese businessmen and Western businessmen can find common ground with great difficulty.
Additionally, during the meeting we asked the manager about the type or kind of suppliers. He replied the significance of a cordial and prosperous relationship with them. We inferred this behavior relates to the importance of Guanxi Chinese's business culture.
On the other hand, other western companies have shown us the consistency of the Western approach to doing business in China. Managers of these companies showed us that a French business model was successfully developed in China and local managers have been adapted to the European business culture and ethics. Another manager ,brilliantly replied to us on our question, whether or not a company strict contracts and legal support business.She said, "Yes, we are actively using the services of an international law firm, it's expensive, but it works perfectly"
Furthermore, one of the answers the manager delivered was the disposition of Chinese's business culture describing that Chinese people have a tendency to learn and the company is caring about teaching them another important point is that Chinese's people care for the luxury brands, using even more than foreigners.
However, all foreign managers in China noted the difficulties associated with the differences and peculiarities of the local business ethics. For example Chief Leadership Consultant pointed out that China's corruption problem is a challenge for employees of international companies, following the European and American business ethics.
Another important issue in China is in compliance with the copyright laws and international patents by Chinese companies. The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China supports French companies in China, during the meeting welearned about several cases of industrial piracy and the limited possibilities to solve the problem by legislation. Local firms copy Western products and make minor changes, and a local court refused to recognize this is a violation of copyright.
In addition it should be noted that currently in China there are significant changes in legislation and the local business ethics related to the principles of sustainable development. New five-year plan to set new priorities in the development of China, and the problem of reducing pollution, improving the lives of the citizens declared a major challenge.