The high-profile stories of a few foreigners leaving China continue to make their marks. But, says business analyst Shaun Rein in BusinessWeek, the trend goes into the other direction as more foreigners than ever arrive. Which does not mean their life will be easy.
When crafting strategies, businesses need to do what the market demands and what the Party allows specifically for foreigners. Know your limitations and do not expect to operate with the same opportunities as Chinese. It is not an even playing field and never will be. Don’t try to make it one, or you will end up banging your head against walls as [Mark] Kitto [- one of the foreigners who left China -] did. Let your nation’s government—or larger companies with long investing horizons, such as General Electric—do the pushing…
The number of foreigners moving to China has been rising 10 percent annually since 2000. They need to remember that operating a business here is not easy, and they need to be patient. China is no longer a cheap place to do business, and competition from domestic companies is fierce. Successful businessmen will keep getting back up on the saddle if they fall off, and they won’t attack their host country with such anger as Kitto did. If Kitto ever decides to come back, most people will view him more as an interloper than someone dedicated to the China market.
Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.
Our first China Weekly Hangout also focused on the question why foreigners are leaving China.
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