Thoughts on China from London....
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Thoughts On China And You…
Dateline: London, England
I am typing this from my notebook computer in London. Just got here last night from a visit to Shanghai, China. I was only able to be there for a few days but gained a lot from what I saw.
Appearance To The World
China has devoted enormous resources to put forth a clean, efficient image to the world, particularly as you make the roughly 1 hour drive from Pu Dong airport to the center of Shanghai. I was impressed with the cleanliness and beautifully planted flowers. It reminded me of Holland with respect to the cleanliness and alignment with nature.
Then I saw the massive amount of apartments. You can tell many of these were constructed recently. Laundry hangs from the rafters---much like in Hong Kong. However, the people there have a much better life now than just a few years ago. When Deng Xia Peng made the statement several years ago that “It is glorious to be rich” he changed a lot in this communist country. The average person is, to put it mildly, a hustler. They are working hard to get ahead. This is all part of the appearance that is so noticeable to the world.
The pollution of Shanghai is something that is real. It is the worst I’ve seen in any country I’ve been to, and I’ve seen a lot. Even on a sunny day, this is something that permeates the atmosphere. This is one of the things that Huo Jintao told George W. Bush that is bothering him greatly. This was last year in their high-level meeting that he shared this. China will need to clean up that image --- literally --- to survive. This is a side-effect of a strong, growing economy. My feeling is that if they continue to unleash the human spirit of getting ahead they will succeed in managing the environment as well as grow. Think private property and non-fossil fuels for starters. Think breathing and living long---and the benefits of that for the biggest impact.
Hustling In Sales
The Chinese have always been incredibly good merchants. They have a persistence that can be somewhat overwhelming at first encounter. I experienced that in stores and with street merchants. They aggressively pursue the sale. Then, even if you buy, they go even stronger in the up-sell.
This attitude can be a help to many in sales. Rather than give up when the customer says a first “no” by continuing to make the offer better, more sales could be made. I found the Chinese on the street would continue to ask me to buy and offer more and more in the process. What I didn’t want for 100 RMB (renminbi – the Chinese monetary system), they would quickly try to sweeten the offer with additional merchandise for the same price. If I balked in the store over a shirt, they would get the calculator and shave another 10% off the price --- “Just for you, today only.”
Communism Still In Force
Let’s face it---communism is a terrible scourge on the world. We must not forget the 50 million that were brutally killed by Mao Tse Tung. The horrors of the cultural revolution can never be forgotten.
The same Marxian principles of government knows best are in force. They believe that those in government know better how to lead the lives of the people than the people themselves.
I witnessed a group of police officers in a restaurant demanding payment from the owner for protection. Friends I was with translated for me what was happening (once we were safely out of earshot). A lady who was one of the owners was vociferously complaining to the offices that she had paid their money for the month and should be protected. Apparently the police offers were applying some sales tactics practiced by the sales people on the street.
China is slowly chaning. They are smart enough to know they have to change to survive. I am confident that the brutal communism of the past can be and is being replaced by a free market. No it won’t happen immediately. Things can move slowly in China.
Yet, the opportunities are there for those that embrace it. For you and your business, this is an area you need to recognize. As a supplier it is incredible. As a producer of goods China represents good quality, very low prices and an aggressive workforce (a formidable combination in the marketplace).
You can see some of this for yourself on my Blog with video. Here is the link you’ll want to use to see the videos I produced (6:30 length) of Shanghai today including the information about Noritz and what they are doing for manufacturing excellence.
In this video you’ll also see an interview with the VP of Finance for a large Japanese company doing business in China. Principles of high quality, devoted customer service and innovation are proving successful there.
Well, I’m off to activities here in London. It feels good to be in a country where you can trust the police (I think you can anyway!) and, for me, I understand the language --- at least most of it!
Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.
Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.