Andy came to MIUC on 27th March to talk to our students about ‘Doing Business in China’. His lecture started by covering the economic background of China, explaining the incredible growth experienced in the country over the last 30 years, and the recent slowdown, illustrating the economics with examples of how the growth is highly visible in the massive infrastructure projects across the country, the ceaseless building of skyscrapers in every major city, and the incredible digital transformation that has swept Chinese society in the last few years.
Andy lived in a city called Dalian, in the North East of China, which he often calls ‘The Biggest City You’ve Never Heard Of’, which is the title of his forthcoming book on life as an expat, due for publication later this year. His lecture explained the role of Dalian as host to the Summer Davos World Economic Forum and serves as a great example of how many major, ultra-modern cities in Asia are virtually unknown in the West.
Using real world examples from the factory projects, joint venture negotiations and numerous business start-ups that Andy was involved with in China, his lecture highlighted the many challenges that Western businessmen experience in trying to take their Western style of doing business to China and explained how to deal with them. Political involvement, a different approach to drawing up legal contracts, and Chinese style negotiation techniques were all covered in depth during the talk, which also explored some of the day-to-day cultural challenges that Westerners experience when living in China. Hopefully, our students now better understand the importance of having a flexible approach, respecting other peoples’ points of view and building long term relationships in their future careers in international business.