SIB:EWMBA China post 2

Wow, has it only been four days here? We’ve been so busy and had so many adventures in that it feels way longer and yet I would like it to be just the beginning, as it’s clear that we have just scratched the surface.

In the days since my last blog entry we have visited three other companies and a University. There is a trend emerging from all the companies we have visited, that one cannot do business in China without being able to localize the mentality and business practices. Many Western companies have failed here mostly because they are not able to do so. It’s also clear that the business opportunity here is immense, and capital is shifting from international to investments from within. To have an idea of why this is happening you only need to look at the rising individual wealth and investment opportunities. The government limits the areas in which you can invest so investing in local companies is becoming more attractive.

There are a couple other topic trends emerging, the first is that relationships (guanxi) are critical. Everybody we’ve met lives by it. Now, it’s not only about knowing someone but really understanding them and making  sure that you take the time to build trust. The second trend is the advice to do what you love and the money will follow; “find a place where you make a life and then a living”. And third, speaking with proverbs is pure awesomeness.

On Wednesday, we met with the local Haas alumni that were kind enough to share their experiences with us. And, the following day we had a similar opportunity to meet with local students from the Tsinghua university. Both of these experiences were extremely valuable as they provided us with individual perspectives on all types of subjects.

Last night, the group adventured to the “special” food alley way. We were reminded by our candid tour guide, Arthur, that the Chinese do not eat these exotic foods. Nevertheless, we found our way there by taking the most exciting subway ride all of us had. We got into the subway in pure rush hour. There were so many people there that there was no space for an extra pin. Once out we found the street to find live scorpions (small), huge scorpions, sea horses, frogs, sea stars, and the list goes on and on. And I have to say, we have a very brave group because most of us tried the small scorpion. Kenji and I ventured to try the big one which we have to say it was not a pleasant experience. The group also continued to master the skills of negotiation as for me I wouldn’t mind a few more days to practice.

We’re off to the Forbidden City! More later…

Company visits: Lenovo, Tencent, Tsingua University and China Fortune Capital
New ingredient micro blog: scorpion

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