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Being effective in China means realizing that everything is political. Executives must have a keen grasp of political and social trends so they can position their business strategies and communications within that landscape. One example is the reframing of proposals for corporate-social-responsibility initiatives, to promote the "harmonious society" when that was proclaimed as a government priority.
Executives must develop a nonmarket business strategy, as well as the usual market strategy, for China. The nonmarket strategy includes plans for building a network that intersects with the government, business partners, suppliers, customers, and other industry and public stakeholders.
Successful executives develop their intuition, are receptive to learning from Chinese patterns, and thus begin to think and behave differently. The sort of linear analysis generally favored in the West divides a problem into its component parts and seeks rational solutions. Intuitive thinkers seek patterns and relationships between a problem and its context, including contradictions. "The Chinese don't polarize"”it's the last thing a Chinese would do; we get moving instead," says the Chinese head of a global life-sciences company.
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Keywords: doing business with China, international trade, Chinese business customs, Chinese politics, supply chain management, Chinese government relations
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