China can't trade with British 'snobs'
Sunday 14 May 1995
"It's difficult to do business with the British," said Guo Hai Bin, chief representative of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in London. "The British are a little bit snobbish. They think their goods are the best in the world."
He complained that Britons are stubborn about the manner in which negotiations are conducted. "In China, we like to meet. We give more importance to friendship and mutual trust. In Britain, people want to do business their own way. They only want to do business with a fax."
British companies are poor hosts, he claimed. "They don't want to meet Chinese delegations. If you don't want to meet people, then you don't want their business."
He said other Europeans were more willing to adopt Chinese customs: "They try to adapt themselves to the Chinese way." Britain lags behind Germany, Italy and France as a trading partner with China, although it leads them in direct investment.
The President of the Board of Trade's week-long visit is aimed at promoting trade and investment. Delegation members will announce several new contracts on Tuesday, but none of them are expected to be large.
Mr Guo praised companies like GEC and ICI that have spent time and money on making a success of their Chinese ventures. "They have a lot of business because they have offices in China," he said.
But he criticised other companies for demanding too much. "Their terms are very severe. They want to lower all our prices." British exporters tend to insist on immediate payment, which leads their Chinese counterparts to fear being cheated. The Chinese also think UK companies are too quick to sue if they are dissatisfied.
Many of Mr Guo's comments were backed by Richard Young, managing director of Anderson Young and Associates, a consultancy specialising in business in China. "If you want to be in China, there are rules and ways to get it right," he said. "The days are gone when Western companies could go into South-east Asia and say: 'Here's a wonderful product. Buy it.'"
Understanding Chinese concepts of status is important. "The Chinese like to see senior people. They don't like meeting some 25-year-old with the ink still wet on his MBA," he said.
- 1 Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
- 2 Dad eats daughter's weed brownies, thinks he's had a stroke
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...