Prepare to Be Surprised in China

So you are interested in expanding into the world’s fastest growing economy – China. Take some counsel from those that are there already. One area of struggle is measuring progress. How do you estimate growth in the PRC when even the Chinese officials distrust gov’t GDP figures. These folks have a novel approach but I am not sure I would base my business on it.

China in the WTO – In 2007 I was asked to participate in business education in Vietnam as a part of a proactive government effort to prepare for acceptance into the World Trade Organization. Officials in Vietnam recognized that they were ill-prepared to compete with western nations in the global marketplace.

China made no such preparations and the ramifications of that are being seen now as detailed in this Wall Street Journal article. Admission into the WTO has made it more difficult, not less, for some western companies in parts of the PRC.

Fluid sources of information are impacted further by the Chinese custom of gift giving and reciprocation as detailed in this Business Week article. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) has changed the landscape and western companies have been slow to adjust.

What are the right questions to ask when determining your opportunities in China? How long does it take to build the relationships that will determine success? How much influence does the Millennial generation in China really have and how do they communicate? Participating in the world’s most robust economy can be a real boost to your bottom line – just do your homework first.

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