Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How can companies avoid trouble in the complicated and exotic China business landscape? Simple. The rule is this: Success in China is like a game of dodge ball: The winner is the last one standing.

There are no secrets that you have to uncover, no foggy path you must walk down, no secret incantation to utter at the proper moments. Just “avoid trouble.” Don’t get hit by anything. Wherever you see danger, go the other way! Be careful! Don’t step in anything! Duck at the right time!

Yeah. If only it were that easy, huh? Sure, on the surface it sounds like good advice, and in its simplistic way, it’s pretty helpful. The best way to avoid trouble is, well…to avoid it! Going beyond that beautiful simplicity, in today’s podcast I’ll talk about three balls businesses must dodge if they want to avoid trouble in China: ignorance, not looking for alternatives, and not paying attention to local competition.

By the way, in preparing for this podcast, I mentioned the dodge ball metaphor to a friend of mine working here, and he liked it a lot. However, he had a twist on it. He said that doing business here is like playing dodge ball in a cow pasture: You have to keep your head up to avoid getting hit by something and, at the same time, look down to avoid stepping in something. Here’s to wishing you 20-20 peripheral vision and a good pair of rubber boots!


At 10:43 AM, Blogger jonnyargles said...

Is there a financial services comparison industry in China, such as LendingTree in the US? My gut, and the restrictions on Western banks working in China, tell me that it's not likely to be a huge industry, if it's even a legal one, but if it is, could you throw me the names of some of the big players?



At 3:21 PM, Blogger ChinaLawBlog said...

I just gave pretty much the same advice to my 9 year old daughter at the gym yesterday while working on her basketball game. Especially the part about needing to keep one's head up to see what's in front of you, while also being careful not to lose the ball to those coming at you. And basketball is more international than dodge ball.

Good to see you guys are back on. I actually found myself here because I'm seeking to track down Steve's e-mail address because I just touted him for a speaking engagment in CA.


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