Monday, July 11, 2005

Country Correspondent Report: China

Welcome from China ...

Be a local Chinese company in China.

China is a strange country and market to enter for most foreign companies. If your company is seriously interested in China mainland market, you should dispatch some high level executives to work in China.

If your company does not have any office in China mainland, it is hard for you to know what is happening in China, and how to deal with your Chinese partners and customers. Sometimes your distributors will exaggerate their marketing investment, they may have some special discount with advertising media and exhibition organizers, and if you agree to share the marketing cost with them, you have to pay more than you should.

Chinese customers have different requirements from American customers, and if you do not understand and cannot meet their special requirements, you will not get the deal. One friend of mine works at an American company's Beijing sales office. After she negotiates with customers, her U.S. team leader always believes the contract items are ridiculous. He will ask her to talk with the customers again to let them reconsider their requirements. But of course, they will not modify their requirements. Then, he will fly to China to negotiate in person with the customers -- trying to encourage acceptance of U.S. business rules in vain.

If, by chance, the China office or company representing the U.S. firm is not authorized to run their business in China independently and operate like a Chinese local company, it is hard for them to compete with their local competitors in China. In turn, they are far from achieving success.

Dong Wang reporting from China.

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