Economy

High Five

Written by Susanne Baillie with Sarah Lisi and Marion Raycheba

China
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BATTLE PLANS: How to win in China

DO:
befriend the Chinese. A Mandarin or Cantonese version of your website, membership in Chinese-Canadian business associations or support for Chinese youth studying in Canada are simple ways to prove your interest and support for China, where relationships rule business.

DON’T:
be dazzled by the numbers. Yes, 1.3 billion people populate the country, but many of them are poor.

DO:
look for local partners, not just customers. Many firms don’t need or can’t afford Western products and know-how, but they can hook you up with companies that do.

DON’T:
expect your business practices or made-for-Canada products to fly. The Chinese insist on adapting products, systems and services to their needs and ways.

DO:
offer innovations and top quality. China doesn’t have a great appetite for “me too” products — it can make them itself. Bring added value to the table.

DON’T:
MR

* WARNING!
Watch out for … bureaucrats

Long silences, sudden reversals and a totally different political reality await you in China, where central and provincial governments still own or control chunks of most businesses, keep most economic activity under their thumb and don’t operate transparently. — MR

© 2004 Marion Raycheba

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com