Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Urban Chinese Think of Themselves


Above: Jinan is 7M inhabitants capital of 90M ShanDong Province. Philosopher Confucius (respect, hierarchy) was from ShanDong. Cook who invented GongBaoJi chicken dish, also from ShanDong. Enough reasons, I took Beijing bullet train to scout Jinan.


What Urban Chinese think of Themselves?
WESTERN VIEW OF CHINESE IS MORE COMPLEX

Mainland Chinese enjoy about Confucian teachings. They always find something meaningful for every situation. What you say about this!
    Among the three fellows walking together, one must be my teacher. San Ren Xing, Bi You Wo Shi.
Very humble. Recently I had a workshop with Chinese business Beijingers. All born in Beijing, lived abroad, moved back and earning now well by working with foreigners here in Beijing.

My question to the group was:
What urban Chinese think of Themselves?

What followed was a long and hot discussion about views and priorities. Chinese view of themselves is rosy and not humble. It seems that when Chinese income increases, traditional humbleness disappears.

Results of the group discussion here compressed into 8 points.

1. CHINESE HAVE BIG COUNTRY'S PROUDNESS
China has scale, size and big numbers which give Chinese unique competence.

2. CHINESE ARE SMART AND FLEXIBLE
Chinese are alert because of bathing all the time in subtle situations. This reflects Chinese indirect way of communication which is considered smartness and art. Chinese are very competitive people.

3. CHINESE ARE NATURAL BORN OPPORTUNITY SEEKERS
This is in life, work and business, in China and abroad (why Chinese seek opportunities more than others was left unanswered).

4. CHINESE ARE PROUD OF THEIR TRADITIONAL CULTURE
Chinese culture is like a treasure box, something others don't have. But how to take best use of it? At the same time Chinese are humiliated about their contemporary history, which has created sensitivity on some (not defined) issues.

5. CHINESE ARE HARDWORKING AND WILLING TO LEARN
Chinese are familiar with strong effort and try. System limits people's performance and talents to show up in business.

6. CHINESE BELIEVE IN POWER OF GUANXI
Guanxi, relations, is much more than connections or networking. It can be utilized in life and business, in China but also globally. The level of Guanxi may vary but it works. While Guanxi is a long-term social investment, Chinese are also very short-term benefit driven.

7. CHINESE LIFE IS CONTENT
Chinese believe that life in west is simple compared to Chinese, f.ex. food culture and business culture. Because Chinese own life is stressful and not straightforward, it is sparring and coaching. Chinese learn how to figure out.

8. CHINA WILL BECOME INFLUENTIAL
China's influence will be based on market economy and growth. Important part of influence is to be able to set the rules to others. China's future is bright and mainlanders are already now proud about it.


Epilog
That is Chinese view of themselves, straight and clear. But this is not what foreigners think of Chinese, that can be very different. Above eight points remind me about more recent Chinese writer, Lu Xun (1881-1936), who wrote:
    Chinese never look at foreigners as equal, either they are looked up as saints, or looked down as brutes.
In 2009 Lu Xun's conclusion is still very valid. Chinese people have always felt proud of their traditional culture which encourages to be humble. In China humbleness is considered as a virtue and hierarchy is accepted. But success can easily turn into arrogance.

TRANSITION towards market economy is changing Chinese thinking.

Many Chinese have now courage to show their new self-confidence which painfully mixes with traditional Chinese culture, like Coke mixes with Chinese Moutai. Result is not humble.



CHINA's GLOBALIZATION - PHASE 1. MENTALITY
China has changed too rapidly. Most Chinese city dwellers still have "provincial" mentality. When that mentality and Chinese way of business gets mixed with western business processes, brought to China by MNCs and SMEs, result is complex, never before, and full of surprises.

CHINA's GLOBALIZATION - PHASE 2. GUANXI
China's domestic market winners will build bridge-ends, presence and sales channels to Europe and U.S.

Success of manufacturing in China is based on unique situation of opening, transition and cheap labor. Experience about manufacturing may not be enough for making strategies to enter into laws-rules-and-values based western business environments.

Will Guanxi become the cornerstone for Chinese business development abroad? Will Guanxi become sales enabler abroad? Will Guanxi be able to help access into western customer base and to break old business loyalties? Can innovation happen with Guanxi? To be seen.


BeijingMan aka Kippo

List of BeijingMan Postings

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All photos in this post are from my train trip from Beijing to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province. I used Canon 20D with EF-S 10-22mm.

Above-1: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China. Return ticket by CRH train Beijing-Jinan is 153RMB, about 15EUR/20USD. Four hours per direction. Over 350 CRH trains in use, f.ex. Beijing-ShenYang, Beijing TianJin, GuangZhou-ShenZheng. Soon Beijing-Shanghai.

Above-2: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Early morning in Beijing. On the way to Beijing old Railway Station, 10 minutes drive from home.

Above-3: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Beijing old Railway Station, early morning.

Above-4: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Into Beijing old Railway Station. Stream, no long queues.

Above-5: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Beijing old Railway Station. Waiting hall No.1

Above-6: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Small shop inside Beijing old Railway Station.

Above-7: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
CRH train ready to speed to Jinan.

Above-8: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
CRH bullet train ready to speed to Jinan.

Above-9: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Inside CRH train, my seat was here. Better than I expected. Airplane type of service.

Above-10: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Four hours later I arrived to Jinan.

Above-11: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Jinan Railway Station.

Above-12: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
In front of Jinan Railway Station.

Above-13: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Taxis at Jinan Railway Station. It was a hot day, a few rain drops.

Above-14: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China. This tower is Hotel Sofitel Silver Plaza, five stars. I went to 49th floor, round top has a rotating restaurant, for lunch. Next four pictures are from there.

Above-15: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
View from Hotel Sofitel Silver Plaza, 49F rotating restaurant. Buffet lunch 8EUR/10USD.

Above-16: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
View from Sofitel Silver Plaza 49F rotating restaurant.

Above-17: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
View from Sofitel Silver Plaza 49F rotating restaurant. Quan Cheng Square.

Above-18: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
View from Sofitel Silver Plaza 49F rotating restaurant.

Above-19: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China. Boxer Evander Holyfield visited here before me. Found this picture on 49F lunch restaurant wall.
- Did you also have GongBaoJi in Jinan?

Above-20: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
That's BeijingMan at Silver Plaza.

Above-21: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Next: Jinan sightseeing by taxi.

Above-22: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Sightseeing: Views.

Above-23: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Sightseeing. Gate of famous Jinan Iron and Steel Company which has over 70.000 workers, own housing area, hospital, stadium and library, own TV-channels. Chinese state-owned factories have gates of this style.

Above-24: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Sightseeing: Company's library.

Above-25: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Sightseeing: Statue greets visitors and residents. Speed added.

Above-26: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Sightseeing: Street view.

Above-27: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Shopping tunnel under Luoyuan Avenue near Hotel Sofitel Silver Plaza.

Above-28: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Hotel Sofitel Silver Plaza tower where I had lunch buffet at 49F.

Above-29: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Map of Jinan main square - Quan Cheng Square. Click to enlarge.

Above-30: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-31: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-32: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-33: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-34: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-35: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-36: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan. Vertical chopsticks?

Above-37: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-38: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan. Science - gravityless!

Above-39: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan. The magic ball reflects like steel. I stretched and saw my reflection spreading over the magic ball.

Above-40: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-41: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-42: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan. Hot and humid day.

Above-43: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-44: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-45: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.

Above-46: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
China Mobile meets wireless professionals at Quan Cheng Square.

Above-47: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Beside the Quan Cheng Square. And it was a lazy, hot day.

Above-48: Trip to Jinan, capital of ShanDong Province in China.
Quan Cheng Square in Jinan.


Jinan, Capital of ShanDong Province, China
+ Easy, quick, on schedule access by train from Beijing
+ Good ride and fiendly service in CRH train
+ Jinan is not a small city, private sightseeing ok
+ New Jinan Qilu Software Park was big and round
+ Yellow River flows through Jinan
+ Quan Cheng Square might be visible from moon
- Overall Jinan is a standard Chinese big city
- Lunch buffet at Silver Plaza 49F restaurant needs improvement
***** OK TARGET FOR DAY TRIP *****


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© BeijingMan aka Kippo 2013

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