The change of China
Hong Kong, 21st August 2014
As I am still in Chinese territory I may as well continue on how I perceive life in Asia and in China particularly. As followers from my blog will now I am regularly in China/ Hong Kong (a bit less then I used to be, but that is just because I am taking it a bit easier and have a team on the ground in Shanghai), so I am experiencing the changes that are taking place in China comparing to what it used to be in the so called “early days”. I am talking about the way of doing business specifically. Most of you may be aware that the Chinese government is clamping down on corruption, or so they want people to believe. The truth is that old habits die hard and while it certainly happens less in the open, the Chinese are finding other ways around it.
Potential clients still need to be feted and the bigger the business often the bigger the “expectations”. Wining and dining, karaoke’s, girls, trips, gifts have and are still part of life in corporate business. Crackdowns however are focussed on the obvious and in-the-eye sort of activities, specifically when it comes to government officials. No longer can you invite them for dinner and drinks in restaurants or public places, now it all goes private and underground…but it still happens. Girls and gifts also do still happen but similarly not so much in the open anymore. While the new generation may frown on these practices it is the old generation who still keep these “traditions” (can we call it that?) alive.
In a recent discussion in regards to new business opportunities with an old hand in doing business in China, I was confronted with it again. You need to “invest” to get new business he was saying. While I was trying to tell him that we do business the straight forward way, he kept on hammering that I would need to make some financial provisions to lure the potential new clients our way. Not wanting to upset him I told him to first produce some serious contacts, before starting to rant about money even before we have moved into any action! In that respect I guess China will never change… 🙂
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