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Ticket to "Greater China"
Vladimir LukashevExpert on China and South-East Asia
This meeting made me interested in the question, who among Russians is doing business successfully in China? The main business of “ours” in China is the organization of purchases of goods for Russian stores. In fact, the same "shuttles", that in 1990-x, but already without the traditional trunks. Instead of trunks, there is a pen and knowledge of Chinese reality. But China is big and each province has its own specialization. Do you work with toy stores in Moscow? In China, toys are made in the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Go there. For spare parts for cars in Shandun, and electronics is better to buy in the province of Shenzhen. For those who are not in the know, the devil will break his leg. So another business was formed for the graduates of ISAA and MGIMO. They advise those who want to buy goods in the Middle Kingdom and already know that not everything is so simple there.
And the company? I asked this question to my old Chinese friend. The answer can be formulated as follows.
First, companies operating in China save a lot. The cost of products manufactured there is much lower than in Russia, not to mention European countries. This applies not only to cheap labor, which, by the way, is slowly becoming more expensive. In China, you save money on low rent and preferential tax policies. But here, too, consultants are needed. Otherwise, the savings can go sideways. Each region has its own rules, and it is desirable to know them. Here, the Chinese partner can provide invaluable assistance, which must be chosen carefully and competently.
Secondly, political and economic stability. If you know China, there will be no surprises. And if, in addition, China knows you too, consider that life has been successful and the business is stable.
One interesting observation. Despite the fact that the Chinese direction at the moment is the most promising, no Russian oligarch has a serious business in China. Recently, shares in Chinese technology companies bought A. Usmanov, but he is also a portfolio investor. I think this is not the result of the short-sightedness of the Russian oligarchy, but rather the proof of the high competitiveness of those who seek to enter the Chinese markets. Those who have received their capital on 1990's mortgage auctions are clearly not able to compete with aggressive and well-prepared international business.
A very different picture for small and medium-sized businesses. Here, Russians have a clear advantage over Europeans and Americans. Our people received very good training in 1990. And the experience gained by shuttles, they still use. In addition, the Chinese mentality is very close to us. And not only positive features are close, but also negative ones. The success of China and our failures in the field of reform are based on the fact that we have accepted our shortcomings. And they are fighting. Here, for example, is corruption. In Russia, the last 25 years are talking about the need to fight corruption. In China, the war on corruption is an everyday reality. However, there are completely ineradicable shortcomings. So, an entrepreneur who knows China will never work there on a 100% prepayment. And he will never pay the entire amount without checking the product thoroughly. By the way, I think that the next step of the leadership of the PRC will be made in the direction of increasing the responsibility of its entrepreneurs. "The first goal is quality, and profit itself will come" - this is the slogan by which China will have to live in the near future.
But enough about business. It's time to say a few words about food. Chinese food, which is so strongly associated with the business. The Chinese have a cult of food in some way. Friendly relations are possible only with the Chinese you dined with. Even better, had dinner. About Chinese food can talk for hours. A more interesting topic is only Chinese tea. In my opinion, the most important feature of Chinese cuisine is how Chinese food adapts to a particular region. Like Chinatown, let's say in New York. It seems to be geographically America, but at the same time not America. Chinese cuisine adapts to the national characteristics of the countries in which it exists, and includes their traditions, while remaining a purely Chinese invention. And it is clear that only Chinese can cook Chinese food. And no one else.
I will also note the special role of the traditional duck in Beijing. In China, this is the most popular dish. And the most famous. The most delicious "Peking duck" I ate, oddly enough, in Taipei. And the most amusing in Novy Urengoy. It was at the end of roaring 1990. We went there to one popular local restaurant, which has nothing to do with China. And my friend saw in the menu "duck in Beijing". She ordered it. As a result, we brought a hefty goose, roasted on a spit.
"What's this?" - My friend asked suspiciously.
“Peking duck,” the waiter answered without batting an eye.