Just got back from the other Washington and as I always do when I return from any trip, I unloaded my briefcase of all the articles I read on the trip that I thought important. In my new stack was one that I have unloaded at least two or three other times, never quite sure what to do with it, but also unwilling to just throw it away.
It is a Time Magazine article on Apple in China, but because I saved only the first page of it and I cannot find it on Google, I am not even sure when it ran. I’m guessing it was at least a couple of months ago. The reason I can’t just toss it is because I keep coming back to one paragraph that I just love. Here it is:
Apple’s relationship with the People’s Republic embodies some of the global economy’s brightest opportunities but also its thorniest dilemmas. An American tech giant decide must decide how much to adapt its practices in a faraway land. Should Apple represent the best of the West in the Middle Kingdom, or must it conform to the less salubrious way China Inc. operates? From China’s side, how much longer will an increasingly nationalistic government allow foreign companies like Apple to profit so handsomely on its shores? Caught in the middle are the 1.3 billion Chinese whose toil in factories and taste for luxury products will dictate the future of the world’s marketplace.
I just think this paragraph does a great job summing up so many of the China issues with which so many are grappling, including the following:
- Do you as a company “bend” to China’s ways? Do you modify your products to suit China or do you pitch yourself as the foreign company and take advantage of that fact? Do you operate less “salubriously” in China than you do elsewhere? Might doing so hurt your reputation in China and elsewhere? See the following posts where we previously addressed China and the glocalization issue:
- Everyone (us included) is always complaining how tough it is for foreign companies in China. But let’s look at it from the China side for just a moment. How much longer will China allow so many massive international companies to keep gaining market share in China at the apparent expense of their Chinese rivals?
- What is China’s future? Hong Kong-wealth? Thailand-wealth?
We welcome your thoughts.
Update: It comes from Time Magazine’s International edition, June, 2012.