How Important is China to Your Business?
by Aditya Jha, Head of Global Branding
How important is China to your business? Is it a salad dressing that’s fashionable, or is it being prepared to be the main course? There’s a simple test you can take. Your organization structure should, theoretically, reflect the priority of your organization. So, the test is: do you have a Chief China Officer?
Why do you require a Chief China Officer? Because doing business in China is slightly different and more complex than doing business elsewhere.
Doing business in China requires building trust. Building trust requires an understanding of individual drivers and the dynamics of the bureaucratic-political network. Building trust requires an appreciation of subtlety of cultural nuances. Building trust requires being on top of the current and projected industrial and monetary policy trajectories. Building trust requires insights into geo-political fault lines within China (example: Taiwan/Hong Kong/outer provinces) and the socio-economic fault lines within the consumers (example: jeans vs free speech; the influence of the conventional loneliness of the only child on the importance of virtual communities).
If you are a non-Chinese company competing in the Chinese market, it may be worth while to remember that the Chinese companies are better placed to crack this code. Unlike market projection data, these can’t be bought off the shelf. To run your operations, you need a person who is plugged in, not only operationally, but also culturally, socially and politically.
So, do you have a Chief China Officer?