Building Relationships as an Expat in China: An observation on how to successfully build and manage business relations in China
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Supply Chain Management
Since opening itself to free trade in 1979, China’s economy has doubled in size on average every 8 years. With sustained growth across forty years, China now controls the second-largest economy, just behind the United States by an ever-thinning margin. Seeing opportunity, American businesses moved operations into China immediately. As China’s economy grew, America’s reliance on supply chains across China grew. 2020 U.S. trade value in goods with China surpassed 500 billion USD, with the majority trade value coming from imports to the United States. However, starting in 2018, trade war disputes, geopolitical disruption, and the largest pandemic of the last century have tested nearly every aspect of Chinese-American relations.
A 2020 Gartner, Inc. survey found that as of February 2020, 86 out of 260 global business leaders started or made plans to start moving portions of their supply chains out of China. This Gartner survey is an example of how many businesses first reacted to the increased disruption and uncertainty. As the disruptions of 2020 carried on, both supply chain experts and American business representatives in China became the center of attention for business decisions and support. However, unlike the results of the early 2020 Gartner report, these experts argue that fault for disruption should be placed on the poor management and development of these Chinese-American supply chains. Removing business from China would not only generate massive expenses for these businesses but squander opportunities for growth and success that had not yet been achieved. Still, a few questions remain. Where do these experts believe American businesses failed in establishing resilient supply chains? What should businesses focus on to mend or build new business in China?
This report focuses on the advice of American expats who have navigated life and work in China, American businessmen who have successfully established strong ties with Chinese partners on behalf of an American firm, and the Chinese businessmen who have collaborated with Americans to manage and support our businesses abroad. Their insights come from long and intensive efforts to establish resilient and sustainable relationships with Chinese counterparts. Though business expertise substantially helps in keeping up with China’s fast-paced business environment, their ability to learn and adopt Chinese culture, and values into business practices and goals became the key differentiator for success over colleagues and competitors.
Free trade, China, economy
Saunders, L. (2021). Building Relationships as an Expat in China: An observation on how to successfully build and manage business relations in China. Supply Chain Management Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/scmtuht/14
Business Administration, Management, and Operations Commons, International Business Commons, International Relations Commons, Operations and Supply Chain Management Commons