I chose to read the book "The Coming China Wars" by Peter Navarro for the trip. Basically this book tries to point out all of the problems that China is/can/will present to the world and world economy. It covers a lot of different topics ranging from counterfeit products, pollution and overtaking the production market to their overpopulation, oil usage and problems with their government. While you have to be skeptical about all of the facts he uses in the book, there are a lot of things that I did notice while on the trip that he did mention in the book. Things such as the heavy pollution, overpopulation and especially the counterfeiting market. You couldn't walk down a shopping street without being dragged into a back alley store where they sold knock off products for 10% of price of the real deal. I think this book made a lot of good points that should be seriously looked at but at the same time you have to use an open mind on some topics and see if they really are what he says and not just used as a scare tactic for anti-Chinese growth. Either way the book was a good read and pretty interesting.
An American's Guide to Doing Business in China gives United States businessmen the basic information needed to create and keep a business relationship with China. It helps by starting readers out with the basics on how to begin your journey in China and go further into the many ways your business practices can succeed in China. Although this book is dated back in 2007, it is still a helpful resource for those starting business relations in China.
In the beginning, the book describes the basic necessities of doing business in China for the first time. It gives a little bit of background on China, such as its growth in the business world and economy and health and safety precautions. They also give a little detail on the political climate of the country as well as the relationship that China has with the United States. It states how the country is trying to establish its place in the world economy through changes it has made such as accommodating those who are moving from the countryside to the big city, decreasing the income gap and changing the laws on private property.
Later in the book, they discuss the culture and customs of the Chinese people. The third chapter discusses the importance of understanding the language in China. They emphasize the difficulty for Americans to understand Mandarin and the importance of how you speak to Chinese people in order to have the best communication with them. The next two chapters discuss the changes in culture for old and new China as well as proper etiquette. This includes how relationships are formed, the importance of one's status/image, how to understand Chinese behavior and how to be respectful.
The later chapters discuss what you need to know about Chinese business. It gives an overview of things such as banking, transportation, laws, and shipping between China and America. With these things in mind, business in China should become easier to handle.
This book is a great way to understand how to perform business operations in China through learning how to act and negotiate with the Chinese.
First off, I have to say the fact that this book is written by a very successful graduate of UMD is awesome. I truly enjoyed this book for several reasons. The first of which I just stated, it is written by a UMD graduate. The second reason is that it goes through a little bit of the history of China, explaining certain important events throughout China's history and the Dynasties during which they happened. It was interesting to see how events that happened so long ago could still have a major effect on doing business in China today. The first 30 or so pages are simply lists of all of the main characters and what they do/did that was so important to China. I will admit, the book was a slow start, but once it got rolling, I had a hard time putting it down. McGregor goes through different case studies to explain to the reader what to do and what not to do when attempting to bring your business to China. At the end of each chapter, he recaps the main points that he wanted to get across in the section, which was truly helpful to me because there was a lot of information in each chapter. The thing that I really liked about the book is that the reader can really tell that McGregor truly knows what he is talking about. He offers many warnings to the business man going into China, along with other humorous stories. He also explains how the higher officials in Chinese businesses and even the government obtain their positions. I found that part to be extremely interesting. It is almost as though he is trying to scare the reader out of doing any sort of business in China, but then he explains that most of the country is not operating the way that he describes. He explains that a lot of what he talks about is the more corrupt parts of China's past, so a lot of the things that he is saying does not apply to simple business transactions with the country. Although the book was published in 2005, it still is an excellent source of tips and tricks for doing business in China. I highly recommend that you all read this one. It is truly an eye-opener.
Reading this book after the trip makes me wish I at least read the beginning before we had left. Doing Business in China by Tim Ambler and Morgen Witzel covers various topics about business differences between the Chinese culture and the Western culture. Starting off with an intro about some differences, the book also covers why you should want to go to China, ways to prepare for your trip (including things you should understand before you go), differences in culture (from values to beliefs), and suggestions on how to fit your business into the Chinese environment.
While the book was published back in 2004, the information it provides is still quite valid. The introduction alone is worth the read, as it talks about the different cultural shocks that the author experienced in doing introductory business in China.
The most important thing you can do before heading to China is to do some preparatory study beforehand. Understanding cultural differences is the most and best thing you can do before you head over to China. You should understand that there is a group attitude in China, and depending on if you are in or out of that group, people will treat you very differently. Along with understanding in-group/out-group behavior, you should understand the difference in power distance in China. You should also understand the general geography of where you are going, along with the etiquette/manners that are expected.
The book also addresses Market Research; however this part of the book seems to be dated. Back in 2004 there wasn't a lot of information about the Chinese market because we were only just starting to interact with China at the time, but now that we have had about six years, there is a bit more information about what the market demands.
As the book goes on, it gets more and more in depth toward how to succeed in business in China. The book even covers a few Chinese values such as Guan Xi, your on-going relationship with another person, what influences it, and why it is so important. I would definitely suggest reading this book if you intend to pursue a business career in China. I would even read the first two chapters if you're just planning to visit China, no business involved.
I can't believe it's finally over. We were finally leaving China, and I wasn't ready to go (I don't think a lot of the group was ready either). Waking up around 5am wasn't fun, either. I will miss all of the fun I had in China. What I learned throughout the trip was a lot deeper than I thought it would be. I already have made many changes to the way I approach things in life. I will always remember the places I've seen, the people I've met, and the experiences I had on this trip. If I get the chance, I would like to go back to China and visit my new friends (I plan on learning the language before hand, though). I hope everyone had a great of a time that I did. Thanks to everyone who helped make this journey possible.
Today was the last full day we had in Shanghai. It was a relaxing day for the group. We started out visiting one of the famous Gardens in Shanghai. A shopping area surrounded the garden, and we got to explore the area after we were done. We had 5 hours to explore, but a few people wanted to go back early (including myself), so we decided to take the subway back to the hotel. We had taken it the night before, so we knew how to get around on it. It was a different experience. I had never been on a subway car before Shanghai. It was good that we only needed to ride one train to get to back to the hotel. However, once we got off the train, it was a different story. We kind of got lost. By 'kind of', I mean we thought we were lost, but we were actually going the right way, so we asked for help and got pointed in the wrong direction which caused us to actually get lost.
During all of this, I found out one cultural similarity: people love street performers. Apparently, when two people walking down the street get tired of looking for a hotel and begin to beat box (make cool noises with their voices that sound like music), passer-byers begin to clap and enjoy that music. It was cool to know that people in China wouldn't be freaked out or confused by two American kids making strange noises down the street. It was a nice way to end the trip.
PS: The taxi drivers in China are INSANELY FAST AND AMAZING DRIVERS!!!!!!!!
Before we left to go on the trip we were assigned a book to read to get us into a Chinese mind set. I choose The Coming China War by Peter Navarro.
The book I felt was written as a scare to the American people about some of the practices that go on in China. One of the biggest is the coping of products. I saw this in the knock off market in China. There are actual stores and markets that sell designer bags, watches, and anything a person could think of. I know if i was the one that made these products I would be upset, not just from the losing of income but some of these products are really inferior to the product of the real nature.
Peter Navarro has listed many things that the world needs to worry about from pollution, to population and China's ability to have such cheaper labor due to it's large population down to political upheaval. I thought it was a very good read and addressed a lot of the problems that we see in China and what we need to do to solve this before it becomes an actual shooting war with real bullets instead of bullets.
Today we went to the Pearl tower to get a better view of the city. It was so cool to see how big the city looked from as high up as we were. While we were there, we got to see images of how much change Shanghai had went through in the past 20 years. The changes were drastic. I was amazed at how fast the city has grown. My favorite part of the day was the time we spent at The Bund. It was one of the largest shopping streets I have ever seen. There was so much to do there. I loved the atmosphere of the people and sounds everywhere.
What I noticed about this place was the amount of effort people put into getting people to visit their shops. I'd find vendors left and right trying to get us to go to their shops. Their would be people trying to lead us to many shops that they work for on the streets. It was different from the US, where the only thing stores do is use advertising and PR; they don't physically drag you into their stores. It was fun, either way.
I was taken by surprise when we got to Shanghai. It looked just like we entered a city in the US, only ten times larger. It was amazing! The part of the day that stood out was when we headed to the shopping area later that night. It looked nothing like what I expected it to look. I had more of a European look and feel to it. From what I was told, the shopping area did have European influence, so that may be why it looked the way it did. Everything looked so tall. It was like being a mouse in a mansion... or something like that. I didn't realize how modern everything looked here, especially in Shanghai. This area also seemed like it was a hot spot for tourists. It threw me off a little to hear English being spoken almost everywhere I went in that shopping area. It was cool to see how far Shanghai has come from even ten years ago. It was a good first night in Shanghai.
Today we are heading to Hangzhou, but before that we went to a well known silk factory in Suzhou. It was cool to see how silk cloth is made and the amount of effort is put in to make one garment. We started the tour with an introduction to the silk factory followed by the tour and ending with a showcase of the products made with the silk. Throughout the tour, we saw the way silk was made in the past and how it is made in the factory today. It was cool to see how similar the methods were to get silk was from the past and today. Even though they use heavy machinery to make gathering the silk easier, they still had workers that did they very detailed tasks: checking for bad silk chrysalis, checking water temperature, etc. It seems that when people in China create something of value, they put a lot of effort and time into it. I saw it in their cakes and meals, performances (such as the one we saw that night) and the image of their cities. If I learned anything today, it's that I need to put effort into the things I do.