Archive for January, 2007

Social Responsibility. Required.

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

While it may be glorious to get rich, blind greed is not welcome in China these days – according to a report in People’s Daily, quoting Cheng Siwei, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress: “The practice is serious and widespread among Chinese firms. Like other countries, China can no longer tolerate […]

To Get Rich Is Glorious. But Not Harmonious.

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Deng Xiao Ping famously said that “to get rich is glorious”…and many took it to heart. Some even made it happen. Indeed, China’s super-rich just got even richer according to Business Day: “The combined wealth of China’s 40 richest people jumped 46% from a year earlier to $38bn.” So, who are these people? The top […]

Its Hard At The Top (Of The Luxury Market)

Monday, January 29th, 2007

The corporate world has been having a long-distance love affair with the energetic, young Chinese consumer. But as with many long-distance, cross-cultural relationships, there is plenty of room for misunderstanding and emotional pain. High fashion tends to have high expectations, and Seattle Times reported recently that: “When Eric Douilhet opened China’s first Paul Smith and […]

What Next for the Trade Surplus?

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Trade surplus stories are never far away, as they excite politicians almost as much as economists…and create much demand for star-gazers. According to a recent report in, China’s National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) has estimated a surplus of around US$210 billion for 2007 (up from US$177.47 billion in 2006 and US$102 billion in […]

Getting Guanxi Up To Date

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

“Guanxi” (connections), is an especially mystical Chinese word that, for a long time, has been used by suppliers, officials, pundits (not to forget “chundits”), and others to impress, scare or confuse the hapless foreign businessperson in China. It has been getting quite a lot of press recently, so I thought I would put my oar […]

Busted for Blue-Chip Bribery

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Corruption stories in China often focus on the misdeeds of officials – such as the Shanghai Party Secretary – but there is plenty of traditional commercial corruption about as well. The recent case of Zhang Enzhao is a case in point (and one that straggles both worlds, as such senior people in the banks are […]

Business Confidence is High. Economic Freedom is Mixed.

Friday, January 19th, 2007

The Economist Intelligence Unit has just put out a preview of their China Business Confidence Index, based on a survey in October, and here is a brief summary of what 400 executives are saying: • Confidence remains high: The (newly established) Business Confidence Index is 62 (out of 100), with a lot of excitement about […]

IPR Protection in China. Not A Contradiction in Terms.

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Despite many (often emotional and unsupported claims) to the contrary IPR enforcement in China does happen – even for foreign companies. Granted, the threat of IPR abuse is real (and is consistently one of the top challenges reported by businesses in China) but, despite developmental challenges, the situation is improving – and the courts are […]

How to Scupper a Scammer

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

A lot of people are facing the highs and lows of the China Buyer Scam (which I reported on last year). I have a steady stream of clients coming to me with great hopes of a big sale…alongside niggling doubts that it all seems too good to be true. And it usually is! It goes […]

FDI: Up, Down, Shake It All Around

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

FDI figures are out again and, depending on the headline you read, they are either up 5% or down 4% (all will be made clear below). In any case, there was a lot of it. • China Daily notes that FDI in China was US$63 billion in 2006, up 4.47 percent from a year earlier, […]