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China Reflection

In: Business and Management

Submitted By radray420
Words 1496
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China Internship Reflection Scott Smith
8/29/2012
International Business

The Other End of the Spectrum

The Chinese Experience My trip to China was a wonderful experience. There were so many good times accompanied with a lot of learning. Some would think it’s tough for an American to survive in China without knowing the language. In all actuality, it’s not too difficult; Chinese people are very friendly as well as welcoming. Beyond the cityscapes, China has beautiful colorful landscapes much different in wildlife and appearance than those found in the United States. I made a lot of new friends and some great connections. Overall, it was an incredible journey in which each day was a new adventure. Most of the time I spent in China was occupied with hard work and learning the ropes. I saw how every component played a role in the operation of the company, Hartford Technologies. In my downtime, I went to the skatepark to skateboard and make friends. I met people from all over the world; people from France, India, England, Ukraine and Russia. It was quite the humbling experience.

Chinese Culture Chinese Culture is much different from our American culture. To an extent, Chinese culture is very misrepresented in America. For instance, most Americans believe the Chinese diet consists of pork fried rice, egg rolls, orange chicken, General Tsao chicken and fortune cookies because they are labels as ‘Chinese food’ here; they couldn’t be more wrong. The true Chinese diet consists of a lot of boiled and steamed foods mostly. A lot of fish, pork and beef is eaten in China but with a big difference from American meats: every type of meat they eat still has all the bones in. White rice is a huge part of their diet and spicy foods use different spices than the kinds we are used to in America; they have a very unique heat to them. The major cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, are much dirtier than the cities of America. This is due to the staggering amount of people inhabiting said cities. The sky is a strange shade of gray almost every day because of the amount of pollution being pumped out by the large factories. I believe that this could be the reason most people you see walking around the city look generally unhappy. Apart from the cities, the rural areas are much more beautiful and unpolluted. The people that live in rural China also seem to be in a better disposition than the city folk. I moved around from place to place mostly by taking the subway in Shanghai. It is very cheap to ride but is always packed with people. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for several subway trains because of how many bodies are packed into such a small space. Another way to get around is via taxi. Taxis are more expensive than taking the subway but take you directly to your destination with more wiggle room. Communication, though, between the driver and yourself can be very stressful when you don’t know Mandarin Chinese; it’s best to have your destination written down in order to show the driver. I also rode on planes and trains within China that were similar to that of the United States. The currency in China is so inflated that you can live comfortably on the equivalent of fewer than five dollars a day. You can buy a solid meal from a street vendor for under a dollar. A half hour taxi ride in Shanghai costs about eight dollars. To the Chinese people it’s still a solid amount of money to live based solely on the amount of money they make working. They work harder and longer hours than most Americans but only make a fraction of what we make.

Hartford Technologies Hartford Technologies is a company based in Hartford, Connecticut with a subsidiary in Shanghai. They mainly manufacture ball bearings but also make needle rollers, pins, shafts, and dowels. The ball bearings are made from a wide variety of materials including chrome, stainless steel, brass, plastic and glass. They come in a wide variety of sizes depending on what they’re being used for. There’s a long process and many facilities that the materials go through before the finished product is complete. I visited many of the supplying plants and met a lot of the people in different cities that each play a part in this process. During my internship, I was moving around a lot. I spent time in Shanghai, Tai Zhou, Nanhui, Ruien, Wuxi, Guangzhou, Shaxi, Yingdi, Zhongshan and Guozhou. Each place was very unique in different ways. I usually met with one of three people each day to visit separate facilities: Edison, Jane or Kevin. From there, we would visit the supplyers together. I met with many people who either worked for or managed a plant. My favorite manager whom I met was named Peng. He had an open-air office with a very relaxed ambience to it. He was the head honcho of one of the metal ball suppliers and smoked multiple packs of Chunghuas a day (Chinese Cigarettes). We had dinner together and, even though he didn’t speak much English, he was hilarious and very easy to get along with.

Chinese Business environment I learned a lot from spending time with Peng. He wanted me to get the full Chinese experience so on the second day I was at his plant he had me put on a uniform and join the men on the floor operating machinery. It was a great change in perspective from hanging out in the top office with the head honcho of the company to joining the lowest and most hardworking branch for a day. It’s really all about the connections you make that determine your status and success in China. There are many differences between the way the Chinese conduct business as opposed to the way Americans conduct business. When Americans meet someone new that they’re interested in doing business with, they’ll having a meeting and get down to the point right away. Chinese businessmen are much more lax; before they make any business-related decisions with you, they’ll take you out to dinner once (maybe a few times in some cases), have a few drinks, and see what your all about before making any decisions. This relates directly to the Chinese principle called Guanxi: valuing human relationships over legal agreements. The Chinese like to feel comfortable with anyone they’re conducting business with, foreign or not. It’s the Chinese way. Guanxi is a very complex term that has multiple connotations. Guanxi can be a relationship that implies mutual benefit, a statement of confidence that the person will help a particular person if asked to do so, a way of giving face and establishing a relationship, and a networked view of the world, a problem-solving approach that uses contact networks to quickly find information or solve problems. There are five laws about guanxi: • Every person has a guanxi network. • Guanxi is not (necessarily) something one is born with. • Guanxi can be built and maintained in a systematic fashion. • Guanxi has to be built with patience and over time. • Guanxi should be built in advance, before you need them.

In Chinese business culture, success is dependent on the relationships you build between your partners. “Guanxi with government officials enables firms to understand the rules of the game better and, thus, to achieve an advantageous position, for example, in obtaining land, licenses, and distribution channels.” (Gu. Hung, Tse, p16) Having good guanxi can put you in a great position as a business owner in China. Whether your guanxi is good or not depends on what the people you deal with think of your personality and management style. “The managers' ability to establish and develop cooperative and trustful relations, through favors or gifts, allows them to extend their network to others' and ultimately receive financial and professional success.” (Warren, Dunfee, Li, p365) Guanxi can make or break a blossoming business in China.

Conclusion My trip to China was an incredible experience. I learned so much invaluable information about Chinese culture inside and out the business world while making some great friends along the way. I could definitely see myself living in or doing business with China in the future. I just need to learn the Mandarin language beyond the basics first. China’s slowly but surely taking over the world by using hard work and dedication to their advantage; it would be great to be a part of that while the country is still growing rapidly.
Work Cited

Gu, Flora F., Kineta Hung, and David K. Tse. "When Does Guanxi Matter? Issues of Capitalization and Its Dark Sides." Journal of Marketing 72.4 (2008): 12-28. Print.

Warren, Danielle E., Thomas W. Dunfee, and Naihe Li. "Social Exchange in China: The Double-Edged Sword of Guanxi." Journal of Business Ethics 55.4 (2004): 353-70. Print.

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