This question has frequently been posed to me by two ethnic Chinese friends of mine who work/worked for massive “international” Chinese companies and one American friend who works/worked at a massive “international” Chinese company.  All three of these friends have lived in the United States for around twenty years and three of them are eminently capable businesspeople who could easily get high level jobs at American companies or have already done so. All three are completely fluent in both Chinese and in English and all three of them have excellent understandings of the business cultures of both the United States and China.  All three joined large Chinese companies to assist those companies in conquering the American market. The three companies for which these three worked are amazingly different in terms of their products/services. My conversations with these three people have been completely independent in that the other two were not present.  To better hide identities, I am turning these three people into a composite.

Okay, so here are the comments and musings I have been hearing, with at least 100 expletives removed, and camouflaged a lot:

  • When I joined the company, I really believed it wanted to become international.  I still think that was what it actually wanted five years ago, but it has gotten so far removed from that I do not think it even understands what that means any more.
  • In my early days, the company was committed to spending the money to become international, but now it is focused only on next month’s revenues. We are financially sound, but “like just about every other Chinese company, our services/products have become completely commoditized” and the focus is only on keeping up earnings from month to month.  We have gone from talking about what sort of company we will be three years out to making sure we hit our numbers three months out.
  • I am never going to work for a Chinese company again. “They just don’t get it.”
  • We recently brought on a new American employee. When I asked what his qualifications were, I was told that he spoke fluent Chinese. After it became clear to me that was his only qualification, I commented that there are 1.5 billion people who speak Chinese and why don’t we start hiring Americans who actually can help us on the business side in the United States? The response was that we can’t afford those sorts of people. We can afford them. They are just not considered important.
  • We have lost virtually all of the Westerners we initially hired because we refuse to compensate them accordingly. We are now in the process of losing all of our Chinese employees who truly understand the West as well. When I complain about our brain drain, I am told that I am “too concerned” about our employees and that anyone can be replaced. When I tell them how the American companies with whom we do business value continuity among the people with whom they work, they just shut me out.
  • Our home office views our employees as rats that can easily be replaced on the treadmill.  Our employees are viewed as commodities. They truly do not seem to care when someone leaves.
  • We used to communicate among the international offices in English, now it is just in Chinese. I continue to write in English because that was part of our plan towards becoming an international company, but I now get criticized for that and I have become known as the Chinese person who speaks Chinese but insists on speaking English.  There are still other Chinese in the company who want to speak and write in English, but I am sure most of those people will be leaving soon.
  • The home office does not seem to value the knowledge of the United States that some of us bring to the table. They act as though we Chinese here in the United States can easily be replaced by a young graduate who has never been here, but speaks English. They seem not to appreciate that we are two very different countries and being able to speak English does not mean you know how to do things the American way.
  • I am treated as suspect when I try to point out how things should be done in the United States, as though my believing there might be a better, non-Chinese way of doing something makes me anti-China.  It’s ridiculous. They don’t even seem to want the opinions of those of us here in the United States any more.
  • Look at the Chinese companies that have done well internationally. Almost all of them are in commodity businesses and almost all of them succeed on price.  Our plan was to rise above that and we had the capabilities to achieve that, but not the willingness to stick it out and really try.  Not the willingness to spend the money long term to achieve this.
  • Look at the big American companies doing business in China. They have adjusted to succeed over there.  Why are Chinese companies so unwilling to do that?
  • Will a Chinese company ever be truly international?

Does the above jibe with what you are seeing out there? Are there Chinese companies that operate internationally in a way like Proctor & Gamble or Caterpillar or McDonalds or Mercedes Benz or Siemens or Samsung or Nestle operate internationally?  Haier?  Lenovo?  What, if anything, needs to change? Will it change? What about Dalian Wanda’s purchase of AMC? How do you see that going?

You tell me…

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Dan Harris

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

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My 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.

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

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). 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 me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus 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.

  • steven

    Not all Chinese companies like that, big companies like Huawei, ZTE, Sany hire hundreds of Americans. Some companies learn the lessons and change quickly. Some hire American GMs to manage all Americans employees. Some even started to act as a responsible corporate citizen and to give back to the communities. – You have been to Atlanta and met some of them.

    I think the companies in your case are not big enough, they are not really ready for internationalization – no clear version, no commitment , mentally, fiscally.  

    • Lao Why?

      I have worked in a Chinese SOE for 5 years and the manage,ent and culture were abysmal. No communication. No trust. No personal risk taking. Everyone wants procedures so they can have a safe harbor and do a medicore job for six hours a day and then go schmooze with higher ups, which is how you really get ahead. Any company with employees like that in the US will get killed.

      Frankly, i can’t wait to see how Wanda struggles with AMC. Hey, Apollo, Bain and Carlyle can’t make it work. How does Wanda think they are going to do so? Probably, your typical Chinese Lingdao that has a wet dream and wakes up, goes to work and gives an Imperial command to go buy AMC and then all the Eunuchs cower and get the deal done at any cost. Good luck with that!

  • Schmagwaggit

    No. They are driven by politics ahead of commerce. You’re more likely to see Indian companies become international – that trend has already begun as they are entrepreneurial and globally savvy way beyond their Chinese counterparts. The only Chinese companies going global are massive SOEs on G2G deals looking for commodities. Some exceptions like Wanda (but check Bo Xi Lai’s holdings in that company) but the Indians will advance ahead of China. It’s already happening in the US you can count them.

  • Brinton Reed

    I worked on the U.S. side of two small-medium sized Chinese (one was Taiwanese, technically) companies and many of the points mentioned above sound all too familiar.  I got the feeling that the owner of the first company was more interested in getting his wife out of Taiwan (she ran the U.S. office) than actually expanding business.  I believe they just didn’t trust anyone enough to manage their growth.  The second business, I am convinced, was kept open so that the owner who lived in China could have bragging rights. I left six months after he began letting his young, uneducated girlfriend in China run the company.  She was stealing money for purchase orders and blaming it on the U.S. office. 
    I think maybe the gap between Chinese and American business culture is such that Chinese companies have a difficult time trusting foreigners and making the investment necessary to hire qualified people. 

  • Lucifer

    I see AMC on the block again in less than five years time. I agree that the whole deal lacks synergy and its doubtful the Chinese company who is engaged in so many other businesses and running theaters seems to not be a core business, will be able to run a successful enterprise in the U.S. It’s obvious the company has gained advantage in Chinese through favors or connections, but how will that business style translate in the US, especially if the company is unable to turn around….will they keep sinking money into it?

  • Niklas

    heh
    i have a friend who works for Ericsson and is on an assignment with a major Chinese IT-company. His complaints are:

    “Well, i got this assignment to help them make product xyz. They always make mistakes, so i fix it and then try to report it. First they don’t answer my mails. I mean, i really want to show them how to do it.. But i get never get any response. So then i called… and they nearly hung up before i managed to tell them!”

    I also heard stories from the same source, on how Huawei recruited engineers from Ericsson. Apparently, all of them are disgruntled after having been thrown around in both Huawei and the world like ragdolls.

    Wouldn’t Huawei be considered an international company? They’ve made it outside China.

  • The topic of this article is really interesting! There are many things to be done for chinese companies that want to be international, because first of all they should be open to the world and hire people from different countries (from the US in this case) in order to have a person who is  knows  another culture and is aware how things work.

  • Ethan

    Yes, of course they will be.  

    But it will take three generations.  

  • Chip

    Many large Chinese companies retain characteristics from its earlier command-economy days which stand in the way of being truly international.  Much of upper management consists of party members there from SOE days or individuals put in place based on guanxi, neither of which are necessarily qualified for the job.  State-sponsored unions place more emphasis on employment rather than profit.  The generation gap between management (uneducated) and employees (increasingly educated and independent) is just as significant between the cultural gap between international and Chinese companies.  

    When will this change?  When creative, independent, and internationally-minded individuals like Liu LiLi (great summary at Tealeaf Nation below) are immediately hired and promoted rather than insulted, that’s when you’ll see Chinese companies take off.  http://tealeafakenation.com/2012/01/on-chinas-twitter-children-of-the-80s-take-the-stage/

  • Guest

    Your boss thinks the technical experts are not all that and are overpaid? Your boss start a program with pie-in-the-sky vision but not realizing the necessary expertise needed to bring to the table? Boss “just don’t get it”? Boss thinks any college grads can do your job? Boss oblivious to the exodus of productive employees?

    While these complaints rings true to me, they are not really “China-specific”…

    Success has to be driven by people; there’s no magical institutional structure that “drives itself.” And if the “boss” isn’t “driving” anything and is merely doing the administrative items, you simply have a lousy boss.

    On the other hand, these complaints also has a tint of self-rationalization for not doing as well as expected.

  • Anonymous

    Western company. Chinese office. Chinese Managed. Constantly hiring cheap idiots. The cheaper the better, apparently. Idiots can’t do the work and work slowly. Everyone overworked and underpaid. Producing shit work. Doesn’t matter to manager because we’re meeting targets due to cheap payroll. Room for growth? Nope. Potential for someone overworked and underpaid jumping out of a window? Byeeeeeeeee……

  • Moses

    Foreigners who work for Chinese companies should be given a special “dispensation” from legal liability under U.S. and foreign law for at least trying their best in Chinese work environments.   I’m not joking….

  • Robert Walsh

    What’s being described is Korean corporate culture in the late 70’s-early 80’s, when it comes to pie-in-the-sky dreams of going global.  One demographic difference is that the old guard seemed to have gotten out of the way quite a bit earlier, making room for younger leadership with a little clearer idea of what is needed.

      I have worked with a big, NASDAQ Nanjing pharma company since before they IPO’d in the states.  Their stock has been in the doldrums, despite good profits, largely because they can’t bring themselves to hiring real in-house (vice outsourced) IR people.  But as it’s a company I know pretty well, I feel safe in summing up their corporate culture this way:  “Talk globally, think locally”.

  • I lived and worked in China for many years; managed Chinese staff and factories and still do so from abroad. 

    I don’t see Chinese folks or companies putting in the effort anytime
    soon to become international.  They may pay the idea lip-service, but at
    the end of the day, their mindset is still grounded in “that’s Western
    matters, we only focus on Chinese matters” sort of thing.  

    Similar to the above points closer to the bottom;  because of their
    nationalistic, communistic, closed-off background;  China is still the
    center of the world and their is not much need to stray too far from
    home.  They don’t seem to think in terms of globalization and
    international community, but China and then everyone else. 

    Much training and attempts at improvement from Westerners or from
    Chinese who are attempting to help the company become more
    “international”..not Western but “international” are looked at as
    opinion but “not how we do it here”.  It seems to be their way or the highway.   
     

  • Ken Heggem

    Ken Heggem • I read your post. Boy, I have to say; “FINIALLY” someone else has and/or is experiencing what I’ve gone through the past 4 years. Your article hits the nail firmly on the head. I agree wholeheartedly.You take a company’s dreams and goals, come up with a plan that will bring it into an operational reality and it all goes up in smoke. My experience has been that when a China company’s desire to enter into the international market stops when: money, image, integrity, honesty, employee relations/treatment and investing in the future come into play. The buck stops there. They just do not get the big picture or what is absolutely needed to be a global powerhouse.If you’re lucky, they will “cherry pick” areas that they feel comfortable with. But forget about doing the whole package. It’s just a pipe dream.My experience: After over 5 years a Chinese Automotive equipment manufacturer attempting to go international, (and failed), they hired my company.1. years ago I was hired to convert them into:A USA style company with high quality products , American integrity, construction of 2 new factories and upgrading the other 2, improve employee relations and working environment. Setup global contracts with International distributors, redesign web pages, catalogues, bring uniformity and consolidation to their product lines. Basically just do a “ground up” remodel.When I reviewed the company 4 years ago, I saw 18 year old girls on a dirt floor, screwing parts together. Did I have a huge challenge, Geeezzz, you have no idea the hundreds of hurdles I encountered.The pay was decent, but every day was a constant struggle. Challenges were constantly put in front of you, I do embrace challenges, but this was like a swarm of locus at times.So, my humble opinion, China will have “Chinese” companies in the International market, BUT it will take time. (or being aquired by a western company) They will adjust and change if and only when they “absolutely need to”… Otherwise, what you see is what you get. If anybody gets hired to do what I did, just accept your decent pay, China is China.I left the project 4 months ago, if you can believe this, I’m looking for another project

  • 罗宝亮

    First and foremost, the Chinese business climate is difficult for foreigners. Americans don’t acclimate well overseas. We are not renown for being capable of, or willing to transfer personal abroad in sizable numbers, which is one reason why American companies so often employ foreigners while operating internationally. Furthermore, the restrictions on voting, the strong arm of American regulation (legal exposure), and taxation levied on any person no matter their domicile (income tax, we are the only other nation besides North Korea that taxes its citizens abroad), means that Americans are more expensive to employ overseas if they are operating legally. 

    I think it is very important to keep these factors in mind when discussing China. Because China could not be a more different environment, nonetheless a different business environment. This makes it very hard for foreigners (ABC or otherwise) to operate in China. Furthermore, I completely reject the notion that having Chinese ethnicity makes you more capable of understanding modern China – through observation and experience I have found quite the opposite to be true. Everyone is an individual, and as Americans, no matter what our ethnicity we will bring American biases to the table. When you are cognizant of this fact it makes it easier to reverse. 

    My favorite question to pose to the many expats I meet while in China, is how many Chinese friends do you have? How often do you meet with Chinese socially outside of work? Nine times out of ten the answer is none. And nine times out of ten that American eventually returns to the United States.

    Taking these things into account I do believe that China is in a transitionary period, and the fault of the inability to understand China’s thinking lies both with the American worker and the Chinese employer. With 94% of the Chinese population claiming the same ethnic identity, and only 590,000 foreigners in China, Chinese individuals and thus businesses receive far less cross-cultural exposure than their American counterparts. I do believe in some ways this hinders their ability to operate in the international market. Furthermore, the Chinese are not well renowned for hiring or recruiting non-Chinese talent. Very often Caucasians receive executive status simply because having a white English speaker in a windowed office, gives your company a sense of international clout. 

    But overall, when we look at the historic trend, we find that Chinese businesses are ever expanding outward. China’s continued investment in South America and other emerging markets, as well as the desire of Chinese companies to purchase foreign corporations as a method of internationalizing Chinese brands, has increased steadily over the past thirty years. 

    The Chinese people adapt well. Unlike Americans, you find sizable overseas Chinese communities in whatever nation you choose. Thus, just like the huayi that litter the world, eventually so too will Chinese companies. 

    And as Chinese companies proliferate, I strongly believe we will both become better at working together…

    [I am a student of the Masters of Agribusiness Program at A&M University, conversational in Mandarin. I received a Bachelors of Science in Economics from the University of Houston and completed a Minor of Chinese Studies through the Beijing Youth Politics College in Mainland China. These are solely my personal opinions and observations and are not meant to reflect on anyone. I do not assert them to be correct. And give them based on personal experience, emphasizing that they are removed from my sphere of work relations.] 

    • Kat

      Just as a minor point: US only taxes citizens abroad when they’re earning more than 95k USD a year or 190k USD if they happen to be married. That’s a lot of money even in the US and well into middle class. In China, that’s well over 500k RMB for a single person and is a very comfortable lifestyle.

      Citizens aren’t even taxed on the 95k. They’re taxed on the money that exceeds that. Earn 96k USD abroad? Pay tax on 1k USD. At that point, it seems very odd to say that paying taxes is such a burden.

      • 罗宝亮

        I am unsure at to your particular situation, but the IRS Tax Code is quite clear concerning expatriated Americans and the necessity of paying taxes. 

        http://www.irs.gov/faqs/faq/0,,id=199670,00.html

        You must be included among the following to even qualify for foreign income exclusion.

        “A U.S. citizen who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year,A U.S. resident alien who is a citizen or national of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty with a nondiscrimination article in effect and who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year, orA U.S. citizen or resident alien who is physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months.”If you are single and making more than 9,500 USD you must file a tax return. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch01.html#en_US_2011_publink100047318There are only two main deductions given to Americans working abroad: 1) the foreign earned income exclusion, found here [http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2555ez.pdf]; and 2) a general housing deduction. For most U.S. businessman they may be working seasonally, or traveling endlessly, and thus do not qualify for the foreign income exclusion. Recall Timothy Geithner’s embarrassing IMF screw-up? The head of the IRS owed back taxes while working abroad. There is a recent article in the New York Times about this very issue. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/us/11iht-expats11.html?pagewanted=allI have to disagree with your assertions. We have plenty of prime examples of how the IRS has a long reach, and the tax code isn’t nearly as simple as you assert. If the Secretary of the Treasury can’t even get it right, I think its not a burden to be taken lightly. I cannot speak to your particular situation, but it would seem that most workers fall well outside of it. 

      • 罗宝亮
    • Well, I have to disagree on some of your points relating to American, or foreigners in China.

      I do realize that these are your opinions but I would like to offer a different view.

      “Americans don’t acclimate well overseas.” I dislike when people post
      such concrete statements. I know it’s hard to talk about theories, and
      speculate without judging and saying things that we can never prove, I
      have to say, this is a guess at best. I could just as well say that
      Chinese don’t acclimate well overseas. And give you examples of students
      at colleges and so on and so fourth. I don’t know if we can prove it or
      not. Overseas also includes Europe right? Thus personally I think I
      could do pretty well in London. Also I don’t think it’s fair to say that
      we Americans don’t acclimate well overseas when we are talking about
      China. Which I could also argue is especially hard for ANYONE  not of
      “Han” decent.

      “The Chinese people adapt well. Unlike Americans, you find sizable
      overseas Chinese communities in whatever nation you choose. Thus, just
      like the huayi that litter the world, eventually so too will Chinese
      companies.” You may find sizable communities outside China, but I could
      also say that they don’t venture out of those communities. What about
      that “community” in Prato, Italy. From what I hear it’s not as rosy as it may seem.

      Chinese friends. Well, there are several aspects to that. Who are
      you asking. Students or CEO’s of businessmen. Because I would argue that
      businessman have on average less friends then a college kid. What about
      income. While some could argue that rich can be friends with poor,
      that’s probably a pipe dream. Where do they live? Also what if it’s not
      the “Americans” fault. I would love to have more friends, but it seems
      in the town I live in, no one wants to become one. If they do, they only want something from me. English, a job. I have no time nor interest in giving my time to someone like that.

      And let’s be honest. Transferring personal overseas. America is pretty
      cake. Who really wants to work in a different country. Most won’t (a guess). So
      it’s maybe not a matter of can’t transfer but a matter of can’t find
      anyone desperate enough to go.

      Good deal. Thanks for the post. I just wanted to give some of my thoughts in regards to what you wrote. No worries.

      • 罗宝亮

        I must respectfully disagree with your assertions. 

        1) “Also I don’t think it’s fair to say that we Americans don’t acclimate well overseas when we are talking about China. Which I could also argue is especially hard for ANYONE  not of “Han” decent.”

        I acclimated to China extremely well and I am not of Han decent. I am Caucasian, Jewish, and very American. I prayed every Friday and observed the Sabbath. I had a healthy and regular group of friends that were mostly Chinese, but I also had a few expat buddies. 

        2) When I say this is my personal experience, its because it is… I saw many of my friends come to China and promptly leave. They either became trapped in the teaching English bubble, or were so overwhelmed by the difference they couldn’t survive. I approached things differently. I learned the language, respected the culture, stayed away from the bars, the xiaojie, and the all too interested local women. When in Rome be as a Roman. 

        3) “You may find sizable communities outside China, but I could
        also say that they don’t venture out of those communities. What about 
        that “community” in Prato, Italy. From what I hear it’s not as rosy as it may seem.” You are correct in pointing out that they do not always venture outside of their communities, but at least they establish them. What is more, they are often excellent vehicles of transferring capital both into, and out of the country where they are found. Need to transfer money to China, no problem, go to the Chase in Chinatown. Have a product you need shipped, no problem, there is a store for that, in Chinatown. Want some authentic vegetables, we have that too, in Chinatown. The British were very good at bringing Britain with them, we Americans on the other hand are not very good at exporting our communities. It doesn’t make us inferior, it just is.  “While some could argue that rich can be friends with poor, 
        that’s probably a pipe dream. Where do they live? Also what if it’s not 
        the “Americans” fault.” Once again, I myself, married to a Chinese woman, an abundance of Chinese friends. If you do not network in a foreign nation with the locals what hope do you have of a stable and successful future? You will never be operating at your potential. As for rich / poor comment. I cannot even begin to go there. In American and in China I have friends from every socio-economic background; that includes both CEO’s and students. After all, you never know where someone is going to end up. Never judge a book by its cover. “And let’s be honest. Transferring personal overseas. America is pretty cake. Who really wants to work in a different country.”Uh, me? I’m 25 years old. The American economy is in the toilet. I get payed more, have a higher standard of living, and my children have a better education in China. That is just the hard facts. Do I like it? Not really. I would love for both America and China to be doing equally well, but their not. It has been my experience that many more Americans would be attempting to leap the pacific if they could conquer the language barrier and acclimate to the cultural differences, especially among my generation. Sorry if I threw you off with the Chinese name, but well, never judge a book by its cover…

        •  

          “1) “Also I don’t think it’s fair to say that we Americans don’t
          acclimate well overseas when we are talking about China. Which I could
          also argue is especially hard for ANYONE  not of “Han”
          decent.”

          I acclimated to China extremely well and I am not of Han decent. I am
          Caucasian, Jewish, and very American. I prayed every Friday and observed the
          Sabbath. I had a healthy and regular group of friends that were mostly Chinese,
          but I also had a few expat buddies. “

           

          You just contradicted yourself. First you say that Americans don’t acclimate
          well. Then I state that it’s not fair to say that we Americans don’t acclimate
          well based on you encompassing all Americans in your statement. Then you say
          you acclimate extremely well. So perhaps you are the only exception? I’m not
          going to argue semantics. If you would of wrote. Most, 90%, just about everyone
          I have seen, etc rather than “Americans”, I wouldn’t care. But what you wrote
          sounds like all Americans don’t acclimate well overseas. Which, you yourself
          disprove, right?

          My point is that it’s hard to do a number of things in China that you need to start a sizable community. There are also things in China that most foreigners would agree are things that also make it unattractive to start a long term community. Thus, for the most part, anyone who has not lived their entire life in China as a Chinese person, it’s especially hard.

           

          “I learned the language, respected the culture, stayed away from the bars,
          the xiaojie, and the all too interested local women. When in Rome be as a
          Roman. “

           

          Fair enough. But if you really did as a Roman in Rome would do, you would of
          participated in everything China had to offer. Which included everything you
          listed.

           

           

          “3) “You may find sizable communities outside China, but I could
          also say that they don’t venture out of those communities. What about 
          that “community” in Prato, Italy. From what I hear it’s not as rosy
          as it may seem.” 

           

          You are correct in pointing out that they do not always venture outside of
          their communities, but at least they establish them. What is more, they are
          often excellent vehicles of transferring capital both into, and out of the
          country where they are found. Need to transfer money to China, no problem, go
          to the Chase in Chinatown. Have a product you need shipped, no problem, there
          is a store for that, in Chinatown. Want some authentic vegetables, we have that
          too, in Chinatown. The British were very good at bringing Britain with
          them, we Americans on the other hand are not very good at exporting our
          communities. “

           

          I wonder if the British are better at it because their rule extends to a
          good number of colonies. I’m not going to argue that American’s don’t go abroad
          and establish communities. We would have to define what a community is. But
          since we could go round and round with that. I will concede and say that, yes.
          American presence abroad is few and far between, and yes it is smaller than
          Britain’s for a number of reasons.

           

          I can only imagine what the Chinese government would do if part of an
          American community here in China wanted to have special privileges for transferring
          money outside of China. Also, so are you basing a “good” community on
          the ability to ship and send money abroad?

           

          “”While some could argue that rich can be friends with
          poor, that’s probably a pipe dream. Where do they live?

           

          Also what if it’s not the “Americans” fault.” Once
          again, I myself, married to a Chinese woman, an abundance of Chinese friends.
          If you do not network in a foreign nation with the locals what hope do you have
          of a stable and successful future? You will never be operating at your
          potential. As for rich / poor comment. I cannot even begin to go there. In
          American and in China I have friends from every socio-economic background; that
          includes both CEO’s and students. After all, you never know where someone is
          going to end up. Never judge a book by its cover. “

           

          First thank you for telling me not to judge a book my it’s cover. I didn’t
          know that… ..

           

          I’m being sarcastic. I didn’t judge you at all.

           

          I also never said it wasn’t possible. 
          My point was that, super rich powerful people on average socialize with
          other people on the same socioeconomic level. Sure there are probably some
          people who really have friends ranging from poor to rich. But from my
          experience, it’s few and far between. Especially in a status driven
          country.  A person making over 100K
          USD a year is probably not going to become a good life long friend with a
          person making 12K USD a year. Can it happen, yes. Will it, maybe. But it’s
          awfully idealistic to think it’s common. Also being a CEO, rich, or even
          powerful usually comes with constrictions on time. If you are running a
          multi-million dollar business there is a good chance you don’t have time to
          frolic around. Again, notice I used “good chance” rather than a more concrete
          term. Because again, it’s possible but probably impractical.

           

           

          “And let’s be honest. Transferring personal overseas. America is
          pretty cake. Who really wants to work in a different country.”Uh, me?
          I’m 25 years old. The American economy is in the toilet. I get payed more, have
          a higher standard of living, and my children have a better education in China.
          That is just the hard facts. Do I like it? Not really. I would love for both
          America and China to be doing equally well, but their not. It has been my
          experience that many more Americans would be attempting to leap the pacific if
          they could conquer the language barrier and acclimate to the cultural
          differences, especially among my generation. Sorry if I threw you off with
          the Chinese name, but well, never judge a book by its cover…

           

          Hard facts. Well, those are opinions, and subjective at best. We all have
          our own ideas about education and standards of living. Unfortunately I must say
          that every single expat (probably is in the hundreds) that I have met disagrees
          with China having a better education. (public education). Most would also
          disagree with China giving a higher standard of living. While in some areas it
          does, other areas it doesn’t not. So to each their own. I’m glad you are happy.
          Most are not.

           

           

          Again, good discussion. 

          • 罗宝亮

            We respectfully disagree about nearly everything, such is life. 

            I’m going to stick to my guns. I do not believe Americans acclimate well overseas. The number of Americans with active passports is only 4% of the population, roughly 12.6 million people, and it has been falling. 

            http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppi/stats/stats_890.html

            My singular experience does not change the reality of the numbers. Keep in mind that a reality is not the same thing as a plurality, and exceptions to the statistic (outliers)  exist. 

            As for most foreigners not wanting to start expat communities in China. The French quarter in Shanghai is alive and well. You can eat croissants, listen to the many French that live there babble away, all while you enjoy the French channel. The Jewish community in Shanghai is also healthy. The Germans are all over Guangzhou. And I need not mention the British, they still dominate Hong Kong and there presence in China is ubiquitous. In Beijing, its even getting easier to find a Canadian restaurant than it is to find an American one. [This excludes McDee’s.]

            I was in a taxi in Guangzhou, the driver turned to me and asked me why in the 1980’s Americans where everywhere, and why now we are comparatively nowhere. It was a good question. 

            The saying 入乡随俗 means that when in a nation, do as the natives. Your average Chinese person has three sexual partners. Prostitution in China is illegal. Therefore, by taking advantage of what China has to offer in those regards, not only will I not be acting as a Chinese person, but I will also not be acting like a decent ambassador for my country.

            http://www.data360.org/pdf/20070416064139.Global%20Sex%20Survey.pdf

            Again, not touching the socioeconomic stratification thing. 

            As for standards of living, 

            higher life expectancies in Shanghai, and rising throughout China. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/opinion/01kristof.html

            http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=China&country2=United+States

            Enjoy the above calculator, it jives pretty well with my experiences. Want to eat out? China’s cheaper. Want to rent? China’s cheaper. Want to do anything that involves normal necessitated activity? China’s cheaper. 

            We all know well that Americans have higher purchasing power parity, but considering the costs of all the necessities are so much higher in the United States, when comparing across boarders, for a young graduate with a master’s degree, the standard of living as well as the career opportunities are far better in China. 

            As for education, I have a GED because of the state of Texas mandated a law that prevented me from graduating. I am currently working on a Master’s degree. This is the beauty of the educational system I grew up in, an educational system with a dropout rate of 45%, and one that I will not subject my children to. 

            By every metric China has surpassed and is surpassing the United States in education:

            http://www.econmatters.com/2012/01/education-in-china-vs-america-tiger-mom.html
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/19/china-social-media

            Keeping in mind that, at to education, this does not apply to the Western and undeveloped central regions of China. 

            I do not know what age you are. For many older Americans, especially those from the Baby Boomer generation, America is without a doubt the place to be. But for young people like me, if your bilingual, often the action and the better life is to be found in developing nations. Currently, the American economy is still in a period of depressed wages, economic data proves that if you begin your career in a depressed period, your wages stay depressed throughout your lifetime. 

            I end my statement with a quote, “Unfortunately I must say
            that every single expat (probably is in the hundreds) that I have met… most would also disagree with China giving a higher standard of living.” I wonder if that is because they didn’t acclimate well? 
            Learn the language, live the culture, befriend the locals – or keep your bags packed. It is the same life lesson no matter what nation you go to, whether that be China or France, it is just a lot more extreme in China. 
            Good luck to you and thank you for the conversation. 

          • Fair enough.

            You and I share different China experiences. I don’t even feel like
            rebutting anything. Not because I don’t want to, but mostly because
            it’s pointless. Two people with two different perspectives with
            different experiences. No one is correct.

  • Twofish

    [q]Look at the big American companies doing business in China. They have
    adjusted to succeed over there.  Why are Chinese companies so unwilling
    to do that?[/q]

    Because Chinese companies are already “over there” because “over there” is here.

    Chinese companies are not going to go international any time soon.  In order for Chinese companies to even consider moving into US/Europe you are going to have to have a recovery, and that’s going to take another three years at least.

    US companies started branching overseas in the 1950’s only after US growth started to saturate.  There are a ton of domestic business opportunities, and there is no business driver for Chinese companies to make the difficult effort of going overseas, particularly to the developed world.

    There are other factors.  Much of the effort to “go global” was based on the theory that by copying the business practices of global companies, that Chinese companies would improve their domestic business practices.  After the financial crisis and given that the US and European economies are stuck, there is no great desire for Chinese companies to copy US and European companies.  The financial crisis really killed the “American brand” so that when you tell people that they should do things the “American way” they will look at you say ask “WHY?” 

    Furthermore, US and Europe are not welcoming Chinese companies.  If any Chinese company tries to set up shop in the US they are looking at major protests and CFIUS reviews from heck.

    There are also cultural factors.  There are some very talented and entrepreneurial Chinese, but these people start their own companies, but because they don’t have a lot of capital and because there are so many domestic opportunities, they aren’t going to go overseas.  The companies with the capital to move overseas really don’t have the incentive.  They are big and bureaucratic, and it makes no sense for them to move into an “unprotected” environment.  There is are a very small number of companies with both motivation and resources.

    When a Chinese company decides to go overseas, the US or Europe is the *LAST* place that then are going to set up shop.  The first place they are going to look at is the Middle East and Latin America.  Chery for example has given up the US market, but it’s expanding very heavily in Brazil and Egypt.

    Finally, it just makes *ZERO* business sense for practically all Chinese companies to even try to set up shop in the United States.  Since any rational, well-run Chinese company is not going to set up shop in the US, it follows that any company that does try to set up a US office is likely to be badly run.

     

  • Twofish

    Also I think that your interviewees vastly overestimate their importance.  The number of Chinese with deep knowledge of American culture is not very small, since you have hundreds of thousands of Chinese that have lived for many years in the United States.

    The thing that is rare are Chinese with deep knowledge of Egypt, Iran, or Brazil.

    And yes, Chinese companies don’t care about the “American way”.   Why should they?   It’s not as if the US economic system is obviously superior.  This isn’t the 1990’s.  In 1990’s, China was jealous of the United States so you had these public displays of indignation followed by quiet copying.  All that ended in 2007.  So Chinese companies have no interest in either copying the US or moving into the US, until the US economy starts picking up.

    Now if you talk about the “Singapore way”……

    • Thomas Paine

       “The number of Chinese with deep knowledge of American culture is not very small, since you have hundreds of thousands of Chinese that have lived for many years in the United States” – There you go again! You are confusing ethnicity with a value system. The Americans of Chinese ethnic decent are American! They believe in American values and they understand how to work and maneuver in the American system. Just because their parents or grandparents were born in China does not mean they share the same cultural values that their parents brought with them from China.

      And for a person of Chinese decent and born and raised in China and then living in the United States for a few years does not make him “understand” the United States. The United States is too complex and too sophisticated a society for any mainland born and educated person to ever understand.

      Its the same thing here in China, right? Actually, its even more extreme. The bias here is that no matter how much you study China, live in China, raised in China, etc, unless your genes not Han, there is NO WAY you could ever fully understand China. I get this all the time here in China.

      Dan’s post is classic, as an American in China, all you ever here is that “you have to do it different here”, “you dont understand China”, “Chinese (Chinese) are different”. While yes, I do agree to an extent that that is true, but that is true everywhere. And any good business leader knows that you have to adopt to the local market you are working it (without giving away your core principles as a company).

      But what Dan’s post seems to imply is that in China, you MUST do it the Chinese way, but when in American, screw it, just keep doing  it the Chinese way. The managers don’t want to listen to their American counterparts because :”that’s not how we do it in China”. Its a great double standard and its been a part of Chinese culture for centuries. China is at the center of the universe, all other are on the  periphery and are subordinate to China. Same old song.

      My 2 cent assessment of why Chinese companies will never become international is that there is not one company in China that’s mission is to create a 100 year old business. The meaning being that there is no vision. As stated, those that are sell commodities. They are product focused and most compete on price. That does not make an international company. An international company is where the leadership has a vision far beyond themselves and there own personal benefits. Sure, to get rich is glorious, but the sign of a true business leader is to do both at the same time. That is to build a company based on values, customer centric, and with a vision to build a 100 year old business, AND to get rich while doing it.

      And lastly, the “American way” has created the greatest period of sustained economic growth and wealth creation the world has ever seen. 230 years of solid growth and wealth distribution that has not only benefited the American people, but people from all over the globe cannot be negated by 4 years of an down turn in the economic cycle.

      The difference between the “American way” is that our system has a great propensity to “right itself” because the flexibility build into the system. The “Chinese Way” is a high speed train running down a straight track in the middle of the night hopping that the “management” is in control and that there are no obstacle (another parked train, perhaps), in the way. Once you have gone to far, you cannot slow down and you cannot avoid the crash.

      In the next 50 years, I will be better my chips on the “American way” rather than the “Chinese way” because history has proven to me that while American hits bumps along the way, it always rights itself. And a study of Chinese history tells me that just does not have that same propensity (but who and I know know that, Im just a white guy, I could never fully understand Chinese history). And I dear say that not only am I making that bet, but thousand of mainland Chinese who have benefited from this breif period in Chinese history of fenominal, but unproven growth who are all trying to emigrate overseas. They are making the same bet too.

      The reason thousands of Chinese are making that bet is because they do don’t believe the “Chinese way” is sustainable and they want to hedge their bets by obtaining foreign passports and invest in foreign assets.

      • kwc

        America is in decline whether you want to accept it or not. The country is the largest debtor in the history of the world. As we are discussing about culture, I do not want to sidetrack into economy here. Americans were great decades ago right after WW2. No doubt about that but things changed after 70s. People there became procrastinated. They are lazy and demand more than what they produce.

        Americans are now harvesting the fruits of hardworking and smart immigrants who migrated there to find a good life. Steve jobs, wozniak, steve chen, just to name a few. A good life definitely entails vibrant and healthy economy but as the country is losing that, plus your government keeps blaming everything on foreigners, I believe it will not take too long before those people will move out of the country in droves.

        Yes you are right that China now does not respect work ethics or culture of foreign countries. They may be snobbish now and will see their companies falling in global arena such as LiNing, BYD and other companies trying their luck internationally without much success. This may be due to their bloated confidence after seeing their country rise up from ashes 20 years ago to beating other countries but one in their ascendency. But i remind you not to be too contented as to think they may not learn forever. Hardworking and determined people are here to stay and will definitely learn to improve themselves to compete better after they fail and China has plenty of these people. I know many people there who are willing to work twice as hard as americans to make it in life. Americans have the same spirit many decades ago but they somehow lost it along the way.

        Do not be too optimistic that America will be great forever. British were many times stronger and have colonies in every continent but crashed before they even noticed their problems. You may not notice or unwilling to acknowledge america’s decline just as british did not after WW2 only to find it in shambles and taken over by America.

        Another good reason why I think Chinese will triumph is that they did the right thing by working hard, saving and investing for their future. many Americans meanwhile, just party, party and party but when they are broke, ask government to bail them out or rely on governments handouts to survive.

  • Roberto

    Great and interesting post.

    Here’s my take, with 20+ years of China experience and having lived the past 10 in Japan: for companies in countries with large domestic markets, “international” is nice to have, not have to have. Usually the impetus for “becoming an international/global company” comes from a senior executive (often a founder) who sees that corporate transformation as part of his vision of himself as transformative business executive.

    Executing that vision, on the other hand, requires wholesale refashioning of the way the organization works, internally, externally, among employees, and with suppliers, partners and customers. Standing in the way of change are hundreds or thousands of upper- and middle managers who are heavily invested in the status quo (e.g. they have attained or expect to attain high rank without speaking a foreign language or working in/with an overseas subsidiary/partner or otherwise “thinking globally”).

    Where the vision breaks from reality is usually (of course) in the details. Not enough thought and effort is put into figuring out how to motivate the company (i.e. the commoditized workers) to pursue the strategic goal. New communications infrastructures and procedures are required. Evangelists must be identified and rewarded for helping to move the ball downfield. The process must be revisited regularly, the evolutionary course changed to reflect realities. And so on. 

    It all seems like quite a bit of hard work, really, and unless the founder/CEO whose vision it was is REALLY committed, i.e. monomaniacal in his intention to “go global”, the process can and will be sabotaged by the thousands of people in whose interest it is to maintain the status quo.

    As some commenters have pointed out, this is not really unique to China. There are, of course, “Chinese characteristics” (hahaha!), but this is a “big country, big market” problem.

  • Adam

    There is still a tremendous amount of political control of the largest Chinese companies, be they SOE or private. That distorts the incentives. Anybody who dreams of running a major division or becoming a CEO isn’t really there only there for the money, though that’s obviously important too, it’s the power and respect that get them out of bed. If power and respect ultimately come from the government, then they’re ultimately calling the shots. It’s hard to build a successful company so if focus is pulled off of pure business success then company will suffer.

    The best you can hope for with a social or legal system is that you incentivize human nature to throw off as many positive externalities as possible- people are no more greedy or power hungry now than they’ve ever been, but now they’re not working on a zero sum game. You’re rather see Michael Dell work to sell the best, cheapest computers in the world, then devote his talents to figuring out how to climb the government ladder.

    Chinese aren’t any different than anywhere else in that respect, just the incentive structure is different. Fix that and the Chinese will apply their ample talents to business more directly.

  • Here’s my prediction. This breakthrough will come from some unknown genius Chinese techie kid, who is innovated and internationally minded. I’m meeting lots of 20-somethings from China who have good English, are curious and ambitious. Many are going overseas to study, even for a year or two.
    I just talked to a young Chinese woman who is in Hong Kong for a year, who goes hiking and partying with kids from all over the world. She’s going to have a much better, more natural sense of international tastes and cultures than some middle-aged executive sitting in an office in Beijing, trying to communicate with one foreign employee or consultant.
    Like commenters said above, it’s probably not going to come from a giant company filled with old guys who are mostly concerned about pleasing their political / business contacts domestically. And if they can make big bucks in China, why bother with the huge effort and money it takes to expand to the (frankly, suffering) economies of the West?
    Let’s see if my prediction comes true — that there is a Chinese Steve Jobs or Bill Gates lurking in some comp sci department right now. No guarantees. If I could predict how companies did in the future, I’d be playing the stock market more!

  • Dan (another Dan)

    I’m not discounting anyone’s comments on this, but if we are going to rely primarily on personal experiences to form any assessment, I suggest that we all give out some more info, as in what do you all (or you all’s “friend, co-worker, associate, etc.”) do in terms of job duties. Sometimes, we ourselves don’t see the entire picture as well, because our job responsibilities limits us to certain perspectives and pressures. Sometimes, we can see what the problems are, but in a lot of cases, it simply isn’t the same without stepping in the same shoes. 

    From what you all are saying, even if we assume there weren’t the cultural or political obstacles, the main theme I am seeing is that a lot of Chinese are and would still be clinging onto domestic priorities. Like another commentator mentioned, the main drive for Chinese companies to go global would be if it were force to, as in it was in reaction to something. Overall speaking, it isn’t that bad of a scenario if you all think about it. 

    For now, the reality is that all these problems you all mentioned aren’t going to go away anytime soon. So, maybe the focus should be how these Chinese companies going to improve in their domestic situations. For a lot of international big companies, each of them is supported by a dozen to a hundred or so smaller companies and institutions, carrying out specific operations and projects. Also, in this day and age, many skillful workers have become very mobile and freelance, aka consultants. Many of these individuals move around providing their own skills and ideas to support the dozen to hundred or so smaller companies and institutions or departments which in turn helps the bigger international companies overall. There’s other stuff going on, but it’s probably that perspective that many Chinese should be working on. Improving the network between the skillful individuals and smaller groups and working out to improve specific operations and projects. 

    This is sort of irrelevant, but it’s almost the same argument you can make for the case of innovation in China. The main focus shouldn’t be the ground-shaking, original stuff, but all the so-called “micro-innovation” going on. All the small improvements they can make for each design, operation or service, because all that small stuff does add up and provide some benefits. Also, the micro-innovation can work out in tough environments such as financial constraints, cultural obstacles or political pressures. 

    Maybe if they work on those areas, maybe just maybe we’ll see more global Chinese companies. Maybe. 

  • Ed

    An acquaintance works at the US office of a Chinese financial services provider (household name). He says their biggest operating expense is taking care of VIP customers.

    I’ve linked an article a colleague wrote on the issue recently.

  • Anon this time

    My company is in the business of providing software testing around the globe for big and sophisticated technology companies.  Those companies have basically told us “no more China”, at least for anything which requires regular customer-contact. Getting software testing done by our China team takes longer and costs more money than it does in countries with much higher labor-costs in places like Eastern Europe and our customers simply weren’t happy with the results. The high turnover in personnel was also a serious issue for them, and we were never able to attract lasting local customers there. So, many years after launching a big drive to off-shore work to China, we are actually about to start a round of lay-offs in China.

  • G-DRILLER

    Mostly the Chinese companies that come to US Soil to enter the US market with their commodities, products, services, etc. just cannot get past the cultural differences and/or overcome their immaturity in the private business environment (having only been in it for some 35 or so years). IN a nutshell there are several things/reasons many are not allowing themselves to do better. Over the last 5 months I’ve been in a business dev role for a very large Oil/Gas Manufacturer from China (15 year old – privately owned and supposedly successful according to them) that has been in the US since 2012. Also abroad in 50 some nations with, I am guessing a similar setup in each. I was hired as I have extensive relationships among the Oil/Gas drilling contractors based here, both those that operate solely in the US and those that operate here and worldwide. That market is SLUSH – non-active and when it will correct and become active (where there are opportunities that we would be capable of offering help with) remains a mystery. So the ongoing kindling of relationships, aligning close communications with all is really all that can be done within this market. The majority or really only business that is likely obtainable for those companies (including this one) including this one currently is Production based. Completed wells still need tie ins and systems for bringing product to surface, into trucks, pipelines, etc handle. Well site construction projects, let’s say. Interesting is one of the largest opportunities with a Huge organization wanting the gain economic advantage, and just a click away from literally being put into place after months of meetings, travel to China (by corporate execs) for manufacturing facilities visits, procurement processes; the very qualification processes that without, no real business opptys or relationships would ever be attainable. So it is that this multi-millions (in the Hundreds of according to the growth strategy) beginning with a qualification process initially, growing into a full-on 100 percent undertaking of their company’s oil/gas manufactured products to the Western Hemisphere Market… This was days away from the agreement being inked with an MOU. Again, to start with a test phase of product manufactured, sent to US and tested, qualified for go to market inspection pass and BANG – it’s wide open. Approaching 60Million USDS for 2016. All this and as I mentioned a mile back up this page, The DILEMMAs that the setup faces, that being the Chinese Company in US and a diseased situation that there seems no escaping.
    First – TRUST. I have never witnessed a culture/people whom are less trusting that the Chinese I have been around in this US office. And that does NOT only o for their thoughts of the US employees; it is any and all employees, here in the US or wherever in the world, including China Headquarters or Manufacturing. None of them trust anyone for anything. It is (I’ve found that my humor is the only thing) nearly impossible to comprehend it. And let’s move on to the other things that are absolutely catastrophic cancers to have running thru a company or system that needs fluidity to run. Well, to sever the story here, just this past week the Salesperson that had brought this all to the table, had all the relationship (even to the point that the customer here has expressed that there would be NO deal without this relationship/salesperson whatsoever!!!!) was in the last few weeks abandoned by support staff overseas, her direct reports were mysteriously re-assigned or eliminated, new supervisor ignoring communications and just this past Friday and email was received from corporate China that her services were no longer necessary. That company owned equipment (laptop, etc) be returned and any and all work be transferred to the US office. Essentially they rode the back of this US citizen salesperson with the relationships, acted accordingly in the background while only pretending to be aboard, awaiting eliminating the position and thinking they could just go it without them and secure the contract/s. Unreal, just Unreal absolutely. They’re in for a RUDE awakening as they go into their hunt and destroy mode in the coming days. I will laugh my ass off as I see them blunder around and, don’t for a second understand why it got away from them…
    -Hiring of young grads of Chinese descent – sending them to US without any experience whatsoever. At best a 50% understanding or ability to speak English. All with some ridiculously over implied Job Title on their business card, and all full of a work ethic that is unbelievably no where in the scale. No training or trained by a work culture of sitting and waiting to be told what to do every minute of every day. They can sit and do nothing like no others I have ever seen. Pretending to be busy is their art form! Sending out emails to potential customers or those I’ve introduced them to about nothing, yet riddled with grammatically retarded sounding writings seemingly written by a 2 yr old. The professionalism is sacrificed and it doesn’t even register with them. They may (on the rare occasion) try to make a cold call or spin into an office where they’ve been intro’d prior (of course without letting anyone know) and can and will sit all day without being seen… Not caring a bit that the truth is they would never be seen yet they are oblivious. I’ve set it up with all my clients (or potential ones) that the supposed support staff of Chinese may certainly go and visit with the companies which are represented in my black book. The only thing I’ve expressed is that overkill is a difficult thing to over come and that if they want to work an angle or have an idea that they run it by me first. We’ve done many sit downs with these client relationships to fully intro the company capabilities, etc to various groups within their organizations, so there isn’t much that could be accomplished, but again, just a heads up (some sort of organization – which is a completely different subject and discussion) to what is up. I don’t care for blind sided calls from any direction.
    -These young Chinese are here for a few months, then go back to China for a month or so. Sometimes they have to slide off to Mexico or Canada for a couple weeks and back into the US to satisfy their work visas. Many do not return to US office, which Corp knew anything about wasting money or how to run a business (at any level or anywhere) none of them would be here. (maybe one or two, as they must have their eyes/spies on the ground)… The very basic basic basic procedures/day to day business/office activities are inherently non-managed and never a semblance of any are recognizable. Absolutely ZERO communication between US and Chinese unless provoked toward them, and then, it becomes more and more apparent they could care less… there are performance level reports that are sent monthly starting in Jan (Based on our target numbers – set by corporate) that show each person’s grading on results… The first one last month show me at 8.2% (Grade D) based on $400,000.00 USD revenue I split out to cover the $6 Million target for 2016 they’ve assigned me. The other US (non-Chinese) employee (and only contributor of actual transactions since I’ve been employed) was at 12.5% (grade D). The remaining 8, maybe 9 employees (All Chinese) on this graded performance results report were lowest 88%, highest 411% and grade A of course. This report is used to send to corporate so that the Chinese employees are not docked their monthly salaries. For those not aware, Chinese companies (business culture – success killer #4) set salaries for the Chinese employees. If results from each employee are deemed acceptable, pay the salary, if not accepted, some, most or all of the salary is kept FROM them. This goes on thru the entire year. On of the funniest things about this is the incentive it puts on the Chinese employees to root for the American employees to accomplish their goals plus enough for them to magically place in their columns… They do nothing, literally and absolutely nothing. I’ve never seen anything like it – embarrassing and unprofessional, like two year olds running around an office. Headphones on all day, sleeping much the day. internet surfing, Chinese Chat APPS with friends/family members back home… occasionally a phone call – and rapid Mandarin talk, sometimes even the chopped up English language is required. Oh, and the office attire ranges from (for the Chinese) Suits, or Sport Jackets w/slacks (mostly resembling a $5 Thrift Store or Gymboree quality) sometimes the more stylish guy will have on his coat and Gloria Vanderbilt style jeans. The gals usually jeans and shirt, no big deal.. One guy splits his time wearing the nonmatching (never washed) Black on Faded Black Suit and what I call Soccer Sweatsuit attire (Futbol for the real soccer-ites) complete with Adidas or Chinese copy flip flop/sliders. No kidding that is his attire… And has worn it with the North American GM in town, whom by the way will wear his pajamas or so it seems to the office. Came to a meeting with the one client I have, that is actually pursuing an alliance for worldwide work and we are now in contract stages as well, brought into the fold, wearing the sweat jacket over the button down and wrinkled slacks into a meeting at their office with all company execs in attendance. As before mentioned, Unbelievable… OMGosh their is pages and pages more, but I need to get on with this day..!!!!