One Billion Customers: Crucial Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China Paperback – 17 Nov 2005
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"James McGregor's knowledge of how business is done in China is extraordinary. As a journalist and businessman, he witnessed first hand China's remarkable transformation in the space of two decades from a backward country to a rising economic power. With his extensive hands-on experience in China and his formidable storytelling skills, he has produced a book, "One Billion Customers," that is filled with valuable insights and advice for both knowledgeable business persons and ordinary readers interested in gaining a better understanding of China's rapidly developing market economy." Henry Kissinger, Chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc. and architect of US-China rapprochement as assistant to the president for national security affairs (1969-1975) and U.S. Secretary of State (1973-1977). "James McGregor combines long experience and an acute eye to capture one of the great dramas of our times - the interaction of China and the world economy. He offers not only insight into this relationship and how it may evolve, but also wise advice for those who would be part of it - advice to be ignored only at their peril" Daniel Yergin, Author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning The Prize and of Commanding Heights: the Battle for the World Economy "This is a defining book on how to, and how not to do, business in China. Jim McGregor brings to life the stories of the pioneering entrepreneurs who, through their efforts, expertise and errors, blazed the trails for the broader business community in one of the world's most important markets. I strongly recommend it as must-reading for anyone with a stake, an interest or a dream in China." Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce"
About the Author
James L. McGregor is a journalist-turned-businessman who has lived in Beijing for 15 years. He is currently a China business investor, advisor and entrepreneur. He serves as Senior China Advisor for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and is a Senior Director of Stonebridge International LLC, an international strategic advisory firm. He also is a founding partner of BlackInc China and was a pioneer of the Chinese Internet, serving as an advisor to many Chinese Internet startups and as a board member of Sohu.com during the company's NASDAQ listing. McGregor's China career began in 1985 when he backpacked through China to explore the country and decide if he wanted to learn Mandarin and focus on being a journalist in China. In 1987, he and his wife Cathy, both age 33, sold their belongings and moved to Taipei, Taiwan, with two suitcases each and began studying Mandarin. McGregor established a freelance news service, and within six months was hired as The Asia Wall Street Journal Taiwan bureau chief. In 1990, McGregor moved to Beijing as The Wall Street Journal China bureau chief. From 1994 to 2000, McGregor was chief executive of Dow Jones & Co. in China, and a vice-president in the Dow Jones International Group. Starting with himself and one assistant, McGregor built a portfolio of media businesses in China that employed some 150 Chinese professionals with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. James McGregor speaks and reads Chinese and is a frequent speaker and commentator on China.
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For example, it is frightening when you read the following in One Billion Customers:
Page 23: "The belief that foreigners strong-armed their way into China in the past two hundred years in order to plunder the country's wealth is deeply ingrained in the Chinese psyche. They are taught from childhood that China was the world's mightiest empire, the best at everything, until the foreigners came knocking at the end of the eighteenth century to ruthlessly exploit a people who had done them no harm."
Page 56 (The very first piece of advice in "The Little Red Book of Business"): "Fatigue, food, and drink are negotiating tools. If your Chinese counterpart wants to finalise a deal after a mao-tai-soaked banquet, it is better to throw up on the contract than sign it."
Page 294 (one of the last pieces of advice): "The Chinese appear to the West to be a collective society. They eat together, travel together, and have fun together. But always simmering just below that collective veneer is a dog-eat-dog competitive spirit that makes the Chinese among the world's most individual and selfish people."
After reading Dr Wei Wang's The China Executive and drawing on my own 15 years of experience in China, I now understand that the Chinese people are actually one of the nicest peoples in the world because they have built their society on the basis of human-heartedness rather than any big Western-style ideology. Therefore, in the Chinese psyche are actually mutual respect and mutual benefit. To be sure, these qualities are not enough to deliver collective results, which require a collective ideology, but this does not mean that the Chinese are among the most individual and selfish people in the world. You only need to look at the comprehensive ways in which they look after their family members and friends to understand that they relate to each other in ways that are completely different from how we relate to each other in the West.
Indeed, instead of being negotiating tools, food and drink are the most fundamental Chinese way of showing respect to Westerners, which, the Chinese believe, will energise those who get tired after travelling from the other side of the world. And remember, mao-tai - the most famous and expensive (and really the best) Chinese liquor - is only reserved for the most respected guests whether they like it or not.
It is also obvious that because the Chinese have put historical Western aggressions behind, have opened its door to the West, and have, on the whole, adopted a learning attitude in the past twenty-five years, China is today becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world.
Of course, The China Executive offers much more than the above.
I highly recommend The China Executive because you will be immediately enlightened by this book when there is a mismatch concerning the record flows of foreign direct investment surging into China and the growing list of books on doing business there.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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