Americans doing Business in China – Part 10/16

March 1, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: The Wall Street Journal reported, “Beijing Brews Up Its Own Craft Beers… With the recent opening of Slow Boat Brewery in Beijing, the city’s number of American-style microbreweries officially doubled — to two. Mr. Jurinka and Slow Boat co-founder Daniel Hebert are looking to open a tap room and sell their beer directly to local bars and restaurants… The other brewpub in town is Great Leap Brewing, set in a classic hutong in Beijing’s Gulou neighborhood… Great Leap’s owner, Carl Setzer, has been living in China and Taiwan for eight years… U.S. microbrew beer exports to China hit a record in 2010, with sales reaching $546,000, five times the level just five years ago…”

_____________________

Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

As I write about my personal experiences in China, I again want to note that they are strictly that—my “personal” experiences. I am certain there are people, who have visited China who could contradict everything that I have, or will write. The products I imported perhaps did not lend themselves to the typical “Sweat Shop” stereotype in terms of the factories that produced them.

However, I never saw or visited any factory that, in my mind, would fit that definition.

If the factories were not what I would call “modern”—they were certainly clean. The employees (factory workers) wore uniforms at most places I visited. They seemed proficient in their work and the products produced, and for the most part, were without quality problems—certainly no different from products produced in other countries.

Most of the factories tended to be in Industrial Parks that were quite large. Usually, the factories were a “small city” into themselves. There was housing provided for the employees on the factory grounds along with areas for recreation. I don’t suppose there was another way of doing it, but I saw a lot of laundry hanging from outside the housing units plus commercial apartments buildings I saw throughout China.

Most factories had certifications that were either the same or similar to those held by US factories. I saw elaborate R&D sections in most of the factories I visited. The office space was usually as modern and pleasant as any I had visited in the US.

A ritual that I truly enjoyed was at every meeting when hot tea was served. Sometimes the owner or general manager had tea to make in their office and other times it was brought in. However, I can’t recall a meeting where tea was not offered.

Being a non-smoker, another ritual I did not enjoy was in almost every meeting I attending most of the parties present smoked. I heard a figure once that 85% of Chinese men smoked. I can attest that this is probably a good estimate. Once inside the office or meeting room, the smoke became quite thick and uncomfortable for me; however, I was their guest and felt I could put up with the discomfort in the course of conducting my business affairs.

I have fond memories of my factory visits and discussions. I think the fact that I came to China, and met with the factory personnel aided my business immensely versus doing business in name only.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued March 2, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 11 (a guest post) or return to Part 9

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China

Note:  This guest post first appeared on March 5, 2010


Americans doing Business in China – Part 5/16

February 25, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Baizhu Chen, writing for Forbes, says,In 2009, iPhones contributed about $2 billion, equivalent to 0.8% of the Sino-U.S. bilateral trade deficit. One iPhone 3GS was sold for about $600. These phones were exclusively manufactured by Foxconn, a factory in a Southern Chinese city called Shenzhen. To produce them, Foxconn had to import $10.75 worth of parts from American companies. The rest of its $172.46 components came from Korea, Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. Out of a $600 iPhone, how much does China get? A puny $6.50, or 1% of the value.”

_____________________

Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

When I first traveled to China, I was warned about the food from many well-meaning people—some who had traveled to China and some who had not. I was told that I would starve if I did not take food in my suitcase, so I did. I took trail mix and hard candy nearly overloading my suitcase. It was just one of the stereotypes of China that I had heard and believed before I experienced true Chinese food for myself. For that first trip, I ended up throwing away most of the food that I had brought because I did not want to lug it back to the U.S.

I will admit that the food is different from what I normally eat—to be honest, it is definitely healthier. I found there to be a lot of vegetables, fish, and chicken—I never ate Dog or Cat at least to my knowledge. I ate at restaurants and I ate in factories. I ate what was put in front of me, and I stayed in places where my associates stayed. I had customers who went to China on their own for other products. They would not stay in anything but “Western Style” hotels and would not eat anything but “Western Style” food, and there are places in the larger cities, which have both. Some of them would even go as far as to not eat during the day with their hosts—rather waiting until they returned to their hotels for their “Western Style” food. I always felt that was rather rude to say the least and a bit disrespectful.

As for the food itself, I found it to be, for the most part, rather tasty. I took my hosts advice and did not drink the tap water. I drank bottled water, their very excellent hot tea, and a lot of their extremely appealing Chinese beer. The food was normally brought out as it was prepared and put on a Lazy Susan. Everyone turned it until the food they wanted was in front of them and then put it on their plates or ate it over, or on, a bowl of steamed white rice. We ate a lot in restaurants in private rooms, which I truly enjoyed. There was no outside noise, and the atmosphere was more personal. When I ate in factories, it was what the employees ate and in their dining area—each experience was unique and enjoyable. I learned to use Chopsticks at least enough to get food from the plate to my mouth. Although people keep bringing me utensils, I stuck with the Chopsticks while in the country. I “never” got sick from anything that I ate or drank in China, which is more than I can say for my normal diet.

The food is just one of the misconceptions of China and its people. I believed what I was told until I experienced it myself—not unlike other things in my life that I have been told by others only to be dispelled once I experienced it personally.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued February 26, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 6 (a guest post) or return to Part 4

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China

Note: This guest post first appeared on February 19, 2010


Is China a Republic? – Part 4/4

January 25, 2012

In China, the power of legislation is not held by a single power organ or one particular person.

China’s legislative power is carried out by two or more power organs, which means the country has multi-legislative powers, including at national level, that for administrative laws and local laws, each subject to different organ authority.

However, unlike the United States, the structure of China’s government is not one of checks and balances, where the legislation, administration and court stand independently to restrain one another, but more like the democratic parliamentary system [seventy-seven countries such as the UK, Spain, Canada, Germany, Thailand, Japan, etc.] which also offers few effective checks and balances so China is not alone in this regard.

The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee make state laws; the State Council and its relevant departments draw specific regulations respectively; and relevant authentic organs of ordinary localities and governments formulate local regulations.

China’s current legislation structure is deeply rooted in the specific conditions of the nation. First, China is a country where the people are their own masters, so laws should reflect their will [should does not mean the will of the majority automatically leads to new laws—that is what happens in a true democracy but not in a republic].

Then on December 31, 2011, in another post, I had this comment from Alessandro about China’s political system.  He is an Italian married to a Chinese citizen, and they live in China.


Online Democracy in China

Are Chinese citizen entitled to vote?

“Yes,” Alessandro said, “my wife and her family just did it less than a couple of months ago.

“Was that how the communist party’s secretary Hu Jintao got his position?

“Yes,” Alessandro said, “Hu Jintao was voted in by the people entitled to do that, the National People’s Congress (全国人民代表大会), which in turn has been elected by the people’s congresses of the lower level, and so on down to the lowest levels.

“At a grassroots level in villages, village chiefs are directly elected by the residents. That is how the people’s congresses system works…

“People directly elect the people’s congresses at the local level, which in turn elects the congresses of the superior level, to arrive at the top level (after scrutiny and evaluation of their preparation by their peers).”

Before you judge China, and answer the question, “Is China a Republic?” here are a few definitions of dictatorship.

According to Webster’s Online Dictionary.org, a dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. In contemporary usage, dictatorship refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by leadership unrestricted by law, constitutions, or other social and political factors within the state.

In fact, a dictator is a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control by force. Source: Oxford Dictionaries.com

People’s democratic dictatorship [sounds like an oxymoron] is a phrase incorporated into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China by Mao Zedong. The phrase is notable for being one of the few cases in which the term dictatorship is used in a non-pejorative manner, which means not in a negative, disparaging or belittling manner.

By saying “People’s Democratic Dictatorship”, the CCP meant that the people rule. However, that would be incorrect since even in all three types of democracies, the people do not rule. The people elect those that rule—well, at least some or most are elected.


PBS Documentary: China from the Inside (Power and the People)

Over at William Meyers.org, you may learn more about how the United States was born as a republic and over the course of one hundred and fifty years, step-by-step, became what Meyers calls a “true representative democracy”.

Meyers says, “Democracy means rule of the people. The two most common forms of democracy are direct democracy and representative democracy. Representative democracies are, therefore, a kind of republic. Self-appointed governments such as monarchies, dictatorships, oligarchies, theocracies and juntas are not republics. However, this still allows for a wide spectrum.

“The classic is the Roman Republic, in which only a tiny percentage of citizens, members of the nobility, were allowed to vote for the Senators, who made the laws and also acted as Rome’s supreme court.

“Most people would say that Rome was a Republic, but not a democracy, since it was very close to being an oligarchy, rule by the few. Although the Roman Republic was not a dictatorship (until Augustus Caesar grabbed power), it did not allow for rule of the people.

“In both theory and practice the Soviet Union, that late evil empire, was a republic (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) because the lawmakers were elected, if only by the Communist Party members…”

“But,” Meyers says, “the main Amendment that tipped the scales from the national government of the United States being a mere republic to being a true representative democracy was the often-overlooked Seventeenth Amendment, which took effect in 1913.

“Since 1913, the U.S. Senate has been elected directly by the voters, rather than being appointed by the state legislatures. That makes the national government democratic in form, as well as being a republic.”

Now, if you have read this far, you may answer the question — is China a Republic?

Return to Is China a Republic – Part 3 or start with Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China


America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 5/5

December 13, 2011

The educational system and labor market in China are based on merit, while in the United States, the emphasis is on self-esteem and feeling good about oneself.  In America, merit is not important and the happiness of the individual is.

In China, those that work harder and do a better job, regardless of self-esteem or happiness, tend to prosper. in fact, Asian-Americans have the lowest self esteem in the United States.

Gallup studied China’s work ethics. Not surprisingly, the credo “work hard and get rich” is by far the most popular choice, selected by 53% of respondents. About one in four Chinese (26%) opt for “don’t think about money or fame, just lead a life that suits your own tastes,” while less than a tenth of Chinese identify with all the other responses. Perhaps most telling: Only 2% of Chinese choose the collectivist exhortation to “never think of yourself, give everything in service to society.”

In short, it would appear that the country’s commitment to material self-betterment through hard work is firmly rooted and unchallenged.

However, in the United States, a Yahoo.com, ABC News Piece said, “Between 1979 – 2007, the income of the top 1% of Americans increased by 275%. For the other 99% of the population, income only increased 29%.”

The problem is that when prices of everyday items such as food goes up due to inflation, many people cannot afford to buy them. In addition, equity in homes, where most of middle class wealth is, lost value.


Chinese Education: Social Life and Work Ethic

  Studies also show that countries that have a large income gap such as the US, also have high numbers of unemployed, incarceration, teen pregnancy, poor health and lower life expectancy. It may not surprise you that Chinese-Americans [including all Asian-Americans] have the lowest teen pregnancy rate too.

In fact, prison inmates by race breaks down to about: African-American 39.4%, White 33%, Latino-Hispanic 20.6%,  and Asian-American 1.7%.

That’s right. For Asians it was one “point” seven percent [1.7%] and Asian-Americans graduate from high school and college in the highest ratios.

In addition, the King’s College of London’s World Prison Population List reports, “The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world,” while China doesn’t even make the top sixteen list.

The US has about 2.3 million people behind bars at 756 per 100,000 people, and China has 1.56 million at 119 per 100,000.

Since the lack of an education often lands Americans in prison, low paying jobs or unemployed, one would think that working hard to earn an education would be popular in the US, but it isn’t. Instead, in the US, it is the old blame game. “It’s the teacher’s fault I earned a failing grade or the class was boring.”

It does not matter if the child does not do homework, study for tests or hates to read [because it gets in the way of video games, Facebook or TV], it’s still the teacher’s fault. However, in China, it is seldom the teacher’s fault and parents often take all or most of the blame for a child’s failure in school.

The Wall Street Journal in From College Major to Career says, “Choosing the right college major can make a big difference in students’ career prospects, in terms of employment and pay… Some popular majors, such as nursing and finance, do particularly well, with unemployment under 5% and high salaries during the course of their careers.”

In addition, the attitude of America’s Baby Boomers is not much better than the children they raised that are now having trouble finding jobs because they did not take earning an education seriously as most Asian-Americans do.

The next question should be, “How long will the United States hold onto global super-power status with attitudes such as these?”

Return to America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 4 or start with Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China


America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 4/5

December 12, 2011

“What are these jobs that Americans will not do?” Slate.com asked. “Do they exist or are they a figment of the business community’s imagination? It turns out that their claims are largely true—there are plenty of jobs Americans avoid.


Manufacturers Looking for Skilled Workers

Let’s take a tour of them.

“Americans shun pretty much any unskilled labor that requires them to get their hands dirty: landscaping, entry-level construction, picking fruits and vegetables (Reuters reports that “up to 70 percent of U.S. farm workers are estimated to be undocumented, totaling about 500,000 people”), cleaning hotel rooms, busing tables, and prep cooking in urban restaurants,” and “American workers appear to be less interested in some kinds of factory jobs.”

In addition, “Americans, it seems, are also less willing to take stressful jobs that require lots of training and long hours, and that require them to work in unpleasant environments…”

For example, “The American Hospital Association says there are 118,000 nursing vacancies in the United States.”

In fact, the Washington Business Journal reported October 2011, “U.S. manufacturing companies have as many as 600,000 jobs that they cannot find workers with the proper skills to fill, according to a survey by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute.”


What the American Self-Esteem Boosting Parenting Movement did to the US – Did your child have fun today by skipping homework and avoid reading a book?

The survey found 5 percent of current manufacturing jobs are unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates, 67 percent of manufacturers have a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers, and 56 percent expect the shortage to increase in the next three to five years.

What about China? Do the Chinese have a similar attitude?

Continued on December 13, 2011 in America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 5 or return to Part 3

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China