The rhythm of business here is based around a relatively reliable cycle. First, a trusted third party known to both other parties makes the introduction. Then, social time together, normally a meal, with not much business talk but a lot of toasting and smiling and a few stories. The next day, the more formal mutual presentations of qualifications and discussion of deals begins including a two or three step elevation from the first folks to their next level of management and finally to a top level. If you don’t get to the top level, its the same as “we like you but we can’t make a deal yet”. If you do get properly elevated, the next step is the actual contract process. For the first part of this mission, we needed to get to this agreement before we go for the Big Event with our potential client because having this very large company as an ally will position us well for closing with the client. As we did get top management approval, we spent about 10 hours making the English and Chinese mean roughly the same thing in the agreement. It took 6 principals, me, our IDEAS China partner and two interpreters to make it work but we got there. It won’t be news to anyone who has been here but what we think of as “translation” doesn’t really work in China. It requires a lot of attention to assure that meanings are similar even though the actual “verbatim” words may be quite different. Today we’ll see if the strategy works. We’re on our way to Fengtai in Southwest Beijing to begin the closing dicsussion with the target client. We’ve been working on this deal for a year so it was I think auspicious that the name of our conference room was Fairyland!
Next Blog-A day at The Forbidden City.