Pay Me, Don’t Play Me

Related entries: Business Issues, General, Strategy

Negotiations are always an issue for people doing deals in China (see an earlier post here). Luckily there is a lot of good writing on the subject – including a new blog from Andrew Hupert, called Chinese Negotiation. China Law Blog also posted a good article on the subject the other day: “Chinese Business Negotiating – When To Walk Away”. All this negotiation talk reminded me of a conversation I had recently, which underlines the fact that walking away from a deal may indeed be then best option…but that it need not be the end of the story.

A couple of years ago a contact of mine pitched for a contract to supply materials for construction of Olympic projects in Beijing, including the main stadium. At the time, after dazzling the audience with his presentation and excellent offering, he was invited to supply the materials…for free. The thinking of the local officials was that the contract would give him such face, fame, and business in the rest of China (not to mention guanxi with them ) that he would jump at the opportunity. He did not (but he did feel just a little temptation!).

Forward wind to the present – not all construction projects are progressing according to plan (some impressive exteriors are little more than empty shells) – the officials are back again (with a healthy dose of panic), and are actually offering to pay for the supplies they need.

It seems that sensible negotiation and a firm line can, and will, win out in China. Especially where a self-imposed Olympic deadline is looming!

One Response to “Pay Me, Don’t Play Me”

  1. andrew Says:

    HA! I hope your man delays and drags his feet until the last moment, and then hits them with a suitably high price. Put them at risk of losing face if they can’t get the materials they need.

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