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How to do business in China by examining how to cross the road

2011.11.15

  It is world-widely well known fact that Chinese never abide by traffic signals and freely cross the road. Then, there is one interesting phenomenon that some people never cross the road immediately at the green light but carefully look at right and left. As observed them carefully, they could be categorized in two types. One is to ignore the traffic signal in front of you is so usual, thus, only look at their right and left before crossing. Another is, even following the traffic rules for themselves, too scared to just follow the green light but also look at their right and left before crossing because of the risk of bumped by someone ignoring the traffic rules.
The preceding phenomenon reflects the social environment in China, in which there is less reliability to the society and others. Although the social order gradually has been getting better, yet, it is not optimistic in fact. There are rules and regulations, which have been ignored in general. It is necessary to protect oneself whether or not following the rules, as well as to keep in mind not to rely on relevant departments of the government. It is not because the relevant departments never concern with you but there are too many matters to deal with, instead. If the matter were to be hit by a scooter or a bicycle and got abrasions, it would be easier to solve it by making the fault on yourself. Because it would require a lot of time and energy far beyond expectations if one should seriously pursue responsibilities of opponents.
By considering the written above, as starting the business in China, one must take a distinctive approach. Otherwise, there would be no way but being a loser.
Here, I describe several experiences.
Case No.1: Being but not to follow. It is required to be able to sense the governmental action, but it is not necessary to take an action immediately by piggybacking on the governmental action. The following description is based on exemplifying the real estate market. It better not follow the central government that announced to reduce the land value a few years ago, and issued several policies. Someone dropping the land price at that time was considered as a fool. One of major real estate owner stated through the media that there was no such a fall on the land value. What the central government says has no effect on matters but just being like a traffic signal for most of real estate agents. Looking closely at how vehicles come and go in order to dodge them, ultimately leads you to give a chance to cross the road faster than someone just following the rule. Apparently, ignoring what the central government states as well as making sure about the condition of the surrounding let you think nothing but how to make money faster than others.
Case No.2: Ascertaining which wind direction leads the better way. There is a saying in China “a person brighten with the ongoing situation is genius.” Even though not to be a quick follower of the governmental agenda, there is a tendency to be a victim of it if a person has no clue on the situation. In case of the real estate market, again, at the time the central government, not only just clamed but, tried to lower the land value by intervene the real estate market early this year, namely, tended to continuously carry out the strict sanctions to dealers ignoring the governmental order, it was for sure not good idea at all to try increasing the land value but supposed to at least keep unchanging the value in order to avoid to be a victim.
Case No.3: To retain self-protection awareness. Never consider there is no hurt if you follow the rule. It is not that the government is unwilling but there are many cases the government is simply unable to control since Chinese land is massive with extremely high-speed economic growth. Hereby, there are many cases either the rule violators have disappeared or have no chance to be sued for what they have done. Therefore, it would be crucial to get away from the matter endangering oneself. It may be burden but it is imperative to observe opponents carefully to gain the ability to evaluate them. As I mentioned above, that is why you would avoid crossing the road without attention even though a green light is on.
In many actual cases, there are “implicit rules” although there is sufficient legislation in Japan and the public properly follows it. In China too, there are “implicit rules” in many cases hidden under a few visible parts of the matters. Determination is totally depending on how fast the individual or the company could perceive the rule and adjust to catch it. One must remember that obtain the skill for survival in the society without wasting the time by making a complaint.

Jia Liu

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