Jon Geldart has just completed a series of lectures on the key findings from the research. Jon was the keynote speaker at events in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Stockholm. The main questions people asked after hearing of the complexities and challenges but significant opportunities in China were around how to distil everything down to a few simple lessons?! Broadly this is not possible but here are a few tips from Jon to think about when doing business with or in China.
1. Expect complexity. Things are multi layered and multi faceted so expect to have to take a very broad view of the situations you are in. This will include appreciating even the smallest of details such as complimenting people on their hair or clothing through to the discount available on a negotiated deal.
2. Seek the middle way. The Chinese will always assume your first offer is just that…. Your opening thoughts on something – after which they will consider things and make another suggestion, you think and respond, etc until you find the middle ground between you where everyone is happy.
3. Expect to be super agile. Things can take a long time to discuss and think through in China but then when decisions are made things can happen very fast indeed.
4. Listen. Mot just for the words you want to hear but all those with hidden meaning and layers of complexity, listening for what is NOT said is as important to listening to those that are!
5. Respect the competition. Expect to ‘give away’ Interlectual Property, or at least that which is easy to copy, because, with no copyright law to speak of in Chna, it will be copied. However, what can never be copied is the relationships and respect you build with your Chinese colleague, then and only then will your IP be safe. By sharing it you will, rather ironically, protect it the more.