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17.10.2010
09:39

Doing business in China

This really has gotten to be a key topic during my studies here at Tsinghua University. One of the most important reoccurring concepts which must be considered in the Chinese business environment is Guanxi. This term basically addresses the type of relationship which one has to build in order to do business in China. Take supply chain management for example. Supplier-buyer communications and information sharing is an essential ingredient in effective purchasing. To promote this a personal relationship or Guanxi must be established, over time to build trust and understanding between the two parties. This informal but strong tie to each other allows parties to open up towards each other, and business in China will not succeed without it.

An example of a company who broke Guanxi with their partner can be seen from the Danone Wahaha joint venture. The relationship between the two companies quickly turned sour due to a dispute over Danone’s increase in ownership of the joint venture. It was a small but high impact stake increase as it made Danone the majority shareholder with 51% ownership. The Chinese partners, feeling betrayed, would no longer cooperate with Danone and there was nothing Danone could do. Not even their newly acquired majority ownership allowed them to control the organization. The end result of the small stake increase was the loss of trust, which ultimately led to Danone’s exit of the Chinese market. So remember, when in China build a strong Guanxi and don’t forget to maintain it, your business depends on it.

30.09.2010
08:58

First impressions

So far Beijing is a really fascinating place and it seems the city never sleeps. It has a very massive feel to it as the skyscrapers rise around you. Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City are also stunningly huge and show some of the incredible achievements of the Chinese culture. At night the city turns into an illuminated neon jungle.

My first impressions of Tsinghua University are no less stunning. The university has a student population of about 40,000 from all parts of the world studying various disciplines. The campus is huge and it incorporates buildings which include modern architectural structures, traditional Chinese buildings as well as buildings which have a communist feel to them. People here are all very friendly and I'm astounded at everyone having a high focus on fitness. Wherever you look you can see the Chinese training or playing sports. They seem to put a great emphasis on a high level of discipline and seem to try to apply it to all wakes of life. I can say that at least for the people here at this university. 

27.09.2010
08:43

Class Composition

I have been in Beijing for about a week now and now it is time to start to get serious. That's right today was the first day of class. Today I will give you my first impressions of class at Tsinghua University. The first thing that is immediately apparent is that the classes are bigger as compare to the EBS. Typically the classes here have about 50 or so students. This can be positive especially in his situation because most of the students in class are also a foreign exchange semester. The level of diversity is no issue if concern for as most classes at the EBS had a similar level of diversity. It is however possible to see a difference in the composition of the diversity. Here there is a higher level of Asian representation in the classroom. Unfortunately the number of Chinese students in class is less than what I maybe expected but they are present. I definitely look forward to working with all of the class members.  

25.09.2010
10:30

Starting in China

So let me start by saying that china really is a completely different world. Upon arrival I was quickly introduced to the unique driving culture. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. To me, a proper German driver; it seems like there is no order whatsoever. Traffic laws are mere suggestions here as one lane can quickly turn into a three lane. During our student orientation we were informed that it is theoretically no problem to rent a car in China. However, it is unadvisable unless a person is truly familiar with the driving habits of the Chinese. It is really survival of the fittest on the road here but somehow everything just flows. I think the Chinese have applied the concept of feng shui to getting through traffic. I think the key is to just keep going and flowing and everything should be fine. Now I bought a bike so I am slowly getting accustomed to it because bike traffic is similar. 

07.09.2010
12:58

Getting ready for the middle country

It is about four days before I start my trip to China for my foreign semester at Tsinghua University. The excitement is building more and more each day. There is still a lot to do before I get over there though. A lot of things are already taken care of like visa, class registration, and travel arrangements. Now it is time for things like finding a place to live for the next six months, making last minute improvements to the Chinese skills, and getting an initial orientation of Beijing. A friend from EBS and I will be going to the same university, so we have been helping each other out through the process and have decided that we are going to share an apartment while over there.

The exchange students going to this university from all over the world have already created a rather helpful network providing information, insights, and assistance for the time in China. It looks like it will be a diverse group with many interesting characters and I look forward to meeting them all in the coming weeks.

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