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Don’t Quote Me…On Working The System

A very nice post, entitled “Floating Houses, Conflicting Laws, And Really Nice Governmental Officials. China Law Practice Writ Large [1]” from Dan Harris over at China Law Blog, who picked up on a piece from Stan Abrams’ China Hearsay [2].

The concluding message is the focus for the purposes of our “Don’t Quote Me” series:
“Bottom Line: If you are a foreigner in China, you cannot expect to work the system. Instead, you should assume the system will work you.”

So very true! Many people try to use (often weak / temporary) “guanxi”, rely on “advice” from local partners, or just close their eyes and hold their breath…Sadly these approaches do not usually provide long-term fixes. More often those clever folk end up in a fix of their own making. As Dan advises:

“Your defense to that is to follow the law to the letter and if the laws are in conflict, then know what your risks are and be prepared to weigh them against the rewards…Got it?”

Stan, in the original post [2]has some more, blunt advice:

“…if you ever get any sort of “approval” from a government authority, investigate the shit out of it, particularly if it has been issued by local authorities…No magic bullets. Do your homework, be aware of what could happen if things go bad, and know your company’s tolerance for risk.”

So, know the law, take professional advice, do the due diligence, and give clear direction to in-market staff about how plans should be implemented. And do a regular review – laws, as well as appetite for risk, change over time.

Got it?