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The Link(Old)

The LINK, 2009 April

China Entrepreneur: Voices of Experience From
40 International Business Pioneers
Prof Juan Antonio Fernandez & Laurie Underwood

Why is China today one of the best places on earth for starting a new business, even for expatriate entrepreneurs? On the other hand, what makes China one of the most confusing, complex and risky environments on earth for most foreign business startups?

Both contrasting questions are answered in the latest book by CEIBS Professor of Management Juan Antonio Fernandez and CEIBS Director of External Communications and Development Laurie Underwood. China Entrepreneur: Voices of Experience From 40 International Business Pioneers (2009, John Wiley & Sons) officially launched with a February 19 presentation at the CEIBS Lujiazui International Financial Research Institute. At the launch, CEIBS Executive President Pedro Nueno addressed a crowd of 60 entrepreneur interviewees and their guests, CEIBS professors and administrators, corporate sponsors, and members of the media. Three of the featured 40 entrepreneurs in the book - Trayton Group founder Simon Lichtenberg, The PAC Group negotiation specialist Gene Slusiewicz, and ChinaVest founder Robert Theleen - presented real life case studies based on the learnings shared with the book authors.

Based on in-depth interviews with 40 expatriate business men and women who have successfully launched businesses in China, the book encapsulates nearly 500 years of work experience in the Middle Kingdom and covers the lessons learned by those who have grappled with such issues as hidden internal corruption, opaque regulations, and confusing Chinese-style negotiation tactics. Sample quotes from profiled entrepreneurs include:

• On business contracts -“[Chinese business people] consider signing a contract as forming a closer personal relationship, rather than conducting a business transaction,” - Marjorie Woo, founder of Leadership Management International, China

• On Chinese-style negotiations -“Most negotiations don’t take place in the meeting rooms but in dining rooms or outside… I started smoking cigars so that I can also go out during the smoking break… I can’t afford to miss those conversations.” - Shah Firoozi, founder of The PAC Group

Each chapter includes anecdotes, case studies, and quotes as well a as a summary of key learning points. The book concludes with an Appendix showcasing interviews with 9 country representatives from China’s key trading partners: Australia, Brazil, EU, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States.