Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Urban Chinese Think of Foreigners?

Above: The People's Bank of China, PBoC. When Chinese level of income increases, the traditional humbleness disappears. Photo gallery below.

What Urban Chinese think of Foreigners?

WTO agreement released China's potential and filled its streets with cars. Transition from planned economy to market economy begun. End of 2008 still 1/3 of Chinese economy is state-owned (SOEs), rest is evenly divided by Chinese private companies and foreign investments.

For foreigners, learning the Chinese way takes time, and often, burnt fingers. To succeed in mainland Chinese markets there are no short-cuts. Business deals require the best Guanxi for the win while foreign influence, money and marketing, drives mainland Chinese lifestyle towards career and consumption.

I had a workshop with a group of business Beijingers. They had lived and studied abroad, moved back and were now in leading business positions here in Beijing. This is the Chinese view of Americans, Overseas Chinese, H.K. and Taiwan, Germans, French, British, Japanese, Russians, Indians, Africans, and Finns, very unscientific, of course, but based on their experiences, a useful indication.

What Chinese think of Americans?
Americans have major influence on business operation model in mainland China. Traditional and Internet business models are from U.S.

Chinese view is that European way is too much based on social welfare convenience, in U.S. business is more competitive, aggressive and brutal and that is fit for China. Aggressive U.S. way of doing business is match for China.

Chinese see Americans talkative, expressive and polite, but not truth from their heart. In business, Americans understand the scale and that is top important for Chinese. Innovation in American products is recognized.

Chinese don’t trust Americans in a collective way because Americans are believed to want to influence China politically. Americans are believed to have a hidden agenda for benefit of themselves. Never trust Americans attitude still exists while their wealth and solid finance is admired.

What Chinese think of Overseas Chinese, TW, H.K.?
ABC, American Born Chinese may have advantage in China. If an ABC is grown and educated in U.S. and has also a good education by the family, he/she can know Chinese better compared to pure Westerners.

Expatriate Chinese who moved abroad during their young years may have similar advantage as ABCs.

Mainland Chinese who go abroad to study, get degree and then come back to mainland, are not much valued. Situation changes if they have got Western work experience. Today's mainland Chinese business managers and Chinese HR can recognize those, who went abroad to study but have not gained much understanding of the West.

H.K. and Taiwan are seen as lawful Chinese societies. H.K. has been influenced and managed by the West and its business environment is "cleaner". HK'ers have created wealth longer time compared to Taiwanese. Taiwanese mentality is closer to mainland Chinese mentality. Their behavior is more 'quick-rich' and their way of business similarly 'crooked' as in mainland.

What Chinese think of Germans?
Germans are considered somehow arrogant but Chinese think they are born like that. When Germans work, they are responsible. Their arrogance is sometimes accepted if it is backed by quality of work. Chinese respect Germans a lot because of their serious working attitude and good quality products.

Germans have taken their newest technology to China. Germans are considered rather honest in business, but stubborn and stiff, not flexible. Chinese know their WW2 behavior but it is not associated to present Germany.

Germans are considered more homogenous people. They are known for their impressive industrial products, quality and beer culture.

What Chinese think of French?
French are very romantic! French culture has its strength and that gives the French ability to understand Chinese culture. French can adapt to Chinese business environment in good and bad, and are believed to easily catch-up its negative features (corruption). Most Chinese are not aware about French flexibility and tricks.

Chinese know that French are not very exact, like f.ex. Germans. But their consumer products with design, fashion and style are valued by common city Chinese.

Educated Chinese value French arts and revolutionary mindset, very positive. Educated Chinese also know that French language is very precise and beautiful, used in UN as one of the official languages.

French and Chinese have common approach against content from USA. In China French finally must decide: English or Mandarin, otherwise stay hungry even in Beijing McDonalds:)

What Chinese think of British?
U.K. is known as old superpower. Every Chinese know about Opium War in 1840s. Now U.K. is known as advanced financial center. Chinese imagination about British is based on limited information about their movies, monarchs, and old traditions.

Their chemistry is un-matching to work with mainlanders, and accent is not especially liked. But yet U.K. attracts Chinese students because of language. Chinese realize that U.K. has also poor quality schools cheating Chinese students, and that there may be Chinese organizers involved.

British are conservative and old fashioned but Chinese believe British are gentlemen. After Chinese have contacts with British working people, the image of their gentlemanliness disappears. British need "icebreakers" to enable China business.

Hong Kong Brits are seldom seen in mainland, they enjoy their life in convenient, lawful and Westernized Hong Kong.

What Chinese think of Japanese?
Japanese are artificial in behavior. They don’t trust Chinese. Japanese keep control in business, there is no future for Chinese in Japanese companies.

Japanese look down on Chinese. Earlier they saw China as market for second quality products, only recently changing to similar quality as to western countries. Japan’s business with China is large because of their investments and foreign aid support, softloans.

Japanese are not confident when in front of westeners. Japanese are not seen as innovative or creative. They lack individualism, instead have collectivism. But Chinese see Japanese as a group in a strong way, and that is very positive characteristic in them.

Chinese recognize that Japanese can do refined products and results. Japanese are workaholics, with all respect! Japanese have advantage in learning Chinese language because of similar writing. Chinese feel unforgivenable towards Japanese unhuman behavior during their occupation of China.

What Chinese think of Russians?
Soviet Union used to be China's "revolutionary big brother”, communist pioneer with similar system. Chinese can understand Russia’s difficult situation but feel themselves lucky to have done reform earlier and are now a few steps further economically.

There are many old generation Chinese, who have learned Russian language. New generation of Chinese don’t care about Russians, they see them economically behind but believe that their behavior and manner is better than Chinese.

Elder Chinese people still have feelings about Russian culture in 1950s. They say: "because of overall quality of its people, Russia can develop faster and bypass China if it manages to develop right direction" (China has so many uneducated farmers).

Russia is not very competitive with consumer products but have knowledge on military, space and nuclear.

Russians are considered artistic. Many Russians work in China’s service business: physical outlook. Beijing has Russian blocks but its reputation is “no-dignity”. China and Russia have roots in barter trade where payments were made in consumer goods.

What Chinese think of Indians?
Because of general situation in India, huge amount of Indian poverty makes Chinese feel that India is behind in many ways. Chinese don't think Indians have any basis to be proud in front of Chinese.

Because of religions, India is not seen as "integrated" as China. That is why Indians are sometimes looked down and not taken seriously.

Chinese recognize that Indians have convenience in co-operating with Western countries because of their English language capabilities. India is also ahead of China in software development but materialistically India is backward.

More and more mainland Chinese go India to do business. Indians might be cunning and not-trustworthy in business. Many see India similarly or even more corrupted than China. Indians try to play proud in front of Chinese doing business in India, but Chinese know that if they play big, Indians get tamed.

Chinese don’t feel any kind of hatred towards Indians. Indians are seen as natural born competitors for China in manufacturing cost level.

What Chinese think of Africans?
Overall Africans are felt to be backward and uncivilized. There is a little racism inside common, non-educated Chinese against the black people.

Those Chinese who have been in touch with better educated black people from U.S. and other developed countries, accept them better.

Recently Chinese SOEs and even private companies have seen business opportunities in Africa, perspective may change.

What Chinese think of Finns?
Chinese see Finland as a small country. They might laugh at Finland because it has not scale itself, only 5 million Finns. They believe there is no scale in its products or thinking. Finnish products (in general) are not believed to be proven for use in China’s scale. But Chinese respect the fact that Finland has been able to create advanced technologies, products and companies f.ex. Nokia and Teleste.

Finland is known for its beautiful nature. Chinese also know that it is least corrupted and a very competitive country in global level.

Finns usually are not easy to communicate with, as they are not as expressive and funny as f.ex. Americans. Atmosphere with Finns is not really alive but more serious. Finns often combine humble outlook and stubborn, inflexible mind.

When working together with Finns, Chinese believe Finns are standing behind their words. For Chinese, 'trust' is a really big issue, and Finns are considered somewhat credible business partners.

When solving problems or handling the issues, Finns don’t know and don't understand how to get “around” them in China. Actually, most nationalities have that same problem (French not so much). Unfortunately that prevents Finnish companies to take the scale in China.

Finnish Sauna is known. Even small cities in China have sauna.

Such were Chinese views... if you need to calm down, try this
New World Symphony by Antonín Dvořák/YouTube

-- BeijingMan


Beijing Financial Street - JinRong Jie

They say that foreign investments to China are now over $400 million per day. Everyone wants to join, dangers are known but not understood. Guidance is needed.

BEIJINGERS say that China's Wall Street is The Financial Street here in Beijing. I went for a closer look. It's located at crossing of Ring-2 and the main avenue ChangAn, 10 minutes drive towards west from TianAnMen Square.

Financial Street area is not small, my photo scouting there took four hours.

Chinese name for the Financial Street is JinRongJie, literally Gold Melting Street. There are headquarters and branch offices of major Chinese banks and power companies (major oil and telecom HQs are in Ring-2 east).

A few times guards with hats or helmets interrupted me: No photos! I explained my pictures will not include people, only buildings, for Internet. Guards replied hao le, ok. All was more friendly than serious.

When looking these pictures remember that they are not from the West. At JinRong Jie I felt level of modernity was impressive. But since there was not much linkage to Chinese culture, everything somehow conflicted with surrounding Beijing reality. These buildings were competing to show power in their own funky way.

For these pictures I used Canon 20D with EF-S 10-22mm. Click to enlarge.

Above-1: Beijing Financial Street area on the left of Ring-2

Above-2: The People's Bank of China, PBoC, China's central bank

Above-3: The People's Bank of China, PBoC

Above-4: China Construction Bank, CCB

Above-5: China Construction Bank, CCB

Above-6: China Construction Bank, CCB

Above-7: CITIC Industrial Bank, CITIC

Above-8: CITIC Industrial Bank in the middle

Above-9: China Telecom

Above-10: Bank of Communications BOCOM

Above-11: Bank of Communications BOCOM

Above-12: Bank of Communications BOCOM and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, SPDB

Above-13: Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, SPDB

Above-14: Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, SPDB

Above-15: Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, SPDB

Above-16: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC

Above-17: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC

Above-18: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC

Above-19: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC, Funei Sub-Branch, ICBC

Above-20: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC, Funei Sub-Branch, ICBC

Above-21: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC, Funei Sub-Branch, ICBC

Above-22: Agricultural Bank of China beside Parkson

Above-23: Beijing China Merchants International Financial Center

Above-24: Beijing China Merchants International Financial Center

Above-25: Beijing China Merchants International Financial Center

Above-26: Shenzhen Development Bank is part of this building

Above-27: Shenzhen Development Bank is part of this building

Above-28: Bank of China, BoC

Above-29: China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd, CMBC

Above-30: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-31: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-32: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-33: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-34: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-35: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-36: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-37: Beijing Financial Street.

Above-38: Beijing Financial Street. Parkson department store. About 15-20 years old. Recently new and not-small JinRongJie Shopping was opened nearby.

Above-39: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping.

Above-40: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping also known as Seasons Place. I had ok lunch, then ok double espresso at cafe on a bridge, some shops, took over 3 hours. There was not many customers but a lot of service personnel. It may take a year until customers learn about this place and until the shop mix and price levels are matched to the market.

Above-41: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping.

Above-42: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping.

Above-43: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping.

Above-44: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping.

Above-45: Beijing Financial Street. JinRongJie Shopping.

© BeijingMan 2016

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