My friend Jeremy Gordon over at the China Business Services Blog does ocassional posts with titles that start out with “Don’t Quote Me.” with China quotes. I have always loved those posts and after seeing a great China quote in today’s Seattle Times, I cannot resist doing my own.  

The quote comes from an article on Costco President, Craig Jelinek. The article talks of how well Costco is doing in Asia and how many of its best performing stores are there. It then mentions how Costco is not in China at all and has no plans to go there any time soon: 

Jelinek echoed Sinegal’s concerns about China, where Sinegal has said the company does not plan to open any time soon. Sinegal tells a story about Costco people scouting a site in China that already had a factory on it. When they asked what would happen to the factory, the Chinese officials said not to worry, it would be taken care of.

“I’m not convinced China is a good place to go do business at the moment,” Jelinek said.

Just as I defended Apple from criticisms it was moving too slow on China, I will defend Costco for choosing not to go there. First off, Costco is a very well run business and I assume it knows its business far better than I do. Second, it very likely has very good reasons for not wanting to go into China right now. It would appear it is choosing not to go into China because it believes it can do better by expanding its footprint in other Asian countries where it has already proven it can succeed. It also appears it believes that going into China will force it to compromise its Code of Ethics

It appears Costco is not willing to compromise its global operations for one country. Who can quarrel with that?

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Photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network. 

Dan is a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network.  His work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

He was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), is rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (also its highest rating), and is a recognized SuperLawyer.

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and constantly travels between the United States and Asia. He most commonly speaks on China law issues and is the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog. Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed Dan regarding various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan is licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at his firm, Dan focuses on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.