Americans doing Business in China – Part 14/16

March 5, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: China Daily.com says, “The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, says its inventory of stock produced in China is expected to hit US$18 billion this year…”

However, trade is global. Wal-Mart has stores in 26 countries outside the continental US—including China.

Walmart entered the Chinese market and opened its first Supercenter and Sam’s Club in Shenzhen in 1996. Currently, Walmart operates a number of store formats in China including Supercenters, Sam’s Clubs, and Neighborhood Markets. As of August 5, 2010, Walmart had 189 units in 101 cities, and created over 50,000 job opportunities across China.  Source: Wal-Mart China.com

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

The world is a global market – those businesses that don’t believe this, or embrace it, will go by the wayside.

In 2002, I was an independent manufacturer’s rep and one of my customers said that I should look at branching out – representing products “outside” of the U.S.

I thought this was good advice, so I first started looking in Europe. For many reasons – after trying many companies and products – I decided that Europe was not for me.

I then looked and visited Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.

I settled on China because I felt that was a country that could best provide me with the products I needed to succeed.

Once I settled on a product category, I then knew that I needed one key person inside China to make it all come together and become successful.

It took me a year to find that person and his name is David. Without David, I would not be where I am today and I am forever indebted to this young man.

David and I had some very productive years together.

Then like most things that are successful – there was a down turn. This was due to the world economy and actions taken by both the Chinese and U.S. Governments.

Through no fault of our own our business died. However, David has stuck with me and I with him. We are now working on new projects that we both hope – and feel – will get us back some of the volume we have had in the past.

I never had a son and David became that son to me. He and his family have also adopted me as part of their own.

It saddens me when I read statements about China and its people that just are not true. I can only testify to my own experiences and connections inside China but I would not trade the relationships I have made for anything.

David and his family are a key part of my life and forever will be – regardless of what the governments of our respective countries might say and do.

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

Continued March 6, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 15 or return to Part 13

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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.

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Note: This guest post first appeared on September 30, 2010


Americans doing Business in China – Part 13/16

March 4, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Miller-McCune says, “Since the 1990’s dot-com boom, “tens of thousands of Ph.D.s, primarily from China, have arrived to staff American university laboratories, and the information industry has padded its ranks with temporary workers who come largely from India.”

However, The New York Times reports,, “No Chinese-born scientist has ever been awarded a Nobel Prize for research conducted in mainland China, although several have received one for work done in the West…” In addition, “Recently, though, China has begun to exert a reverse pull. In the past three years, renowned (Chinese) scientists…have begun to trickle back. And they are returning with a mission: to shake up China’s scientific culture of cronyism and mediocrity, often cited as its biggest impediment to scientific achievement… They are lured by their patriotism, their desire to serve as catalysts for change and their belief that the Chinese government will back them.”

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

For various reasons, my business in China declined a little over two years ago, and I have not had occasion to visit there during that time period. A lot has happened—both within the U.S. and China—since my business went south.

I do miss China – its people – its culture – its smell. This might seem like an irrational statement since China is suppose to be one of the most polluted countries in the world, but it is not the smell of pollution that sticks in my memory.

Our China office was located in Guangdong Province, which is in the southern part of China near Hong Kong. Traveling around that province, I always remember the fresh scents of flowers, rain, trees, grass, and meals being prepared for daily consumption.

I tended to visit factories that were in outlying areas—their conference rooms, factories, reception rooms, and gardens all had a smell that I grew to welcome during each of my visits. As I made trips and visits to other parts of China, I felt they each had their own unique smells and aromas that I have not found any other place in the world that I have traveled.

I have written other posts regarding my feelings about the Chinese people—those have not changed. I am not certain that I will ever have occasion to visit China again but the smells and memories of that country and its people will remain with me forever.

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

Continued March 5, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 14 (a guest post) or return to Part 12

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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.

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Note:  This guest post first appeared on April 27, 2010


Americans doing Business in China – Part 12/16

March 3, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: China Tour Online.com says of Pizza Hut in Shanghai, “Good dining environment and palatable pizza with tasty side dishes. It is always crowded during dining time, you need to wait in line. The recommended food include pizza, roast chicken wing, clam soup and cakes.”

WeninChina.com says, “Pizza Hut entered (China) in 1990 and has steadily grown to 520 restaurants in 2011.”

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

(Note: The photos included with this guest post are from my collection. Click on Originally Published to see more from Bob Grant.)

One of the aspects of my trips to China, that I truly enjoyed, was seeing all of the flowers, greenery, and gardens along the way. I wanted to specifically mention this fact, and state, the photos you might have seen of typical Chinese landscapes are true.

In fact, there were many more beautiful sights – of plants and flowers – than I had anticipated. I saw them in cities – in the country – in hotels – in restaurants – in offices – and other places too numerous to mention. Our office was in southern China – with a tropical climate – so there were flowers and greenery there any time of the year I visited.

As you go farther north, in China, there are the four seasons; however, even when it was too cold for outdoor plants there were many indoor ones wherever I went.

I do not enjoy planting or maintaining plants but I certainly like looking at them. The growing scenery I saw in China always gave me a feeling of tranquility.

I had once thought about buying a condo in Shenzhen so I could stay longer when I visited. One of the condos had a small patio (this was a multistoried condo building) and each patio came with a beautifully planted garden with flowers, plants, and trees. It was a place where I would have enjoyed going every evening and just sitting. It was covered so I could have enjoyed it in most types of weather.

Because I never stayed in the Western type hotels – rather staying where my Chinese associates stayed – I was treated to a unique insight on how some of the Chinese population lived.

Some of the hotels – where I stayed – were literally right next to apartment buildings. I could actually look out my window into those apartments.

I can’t say that I saw anything “personal” in nature but I did get to see how some Chinese decorated their apartments and balconies. I could also see the gardens many planted on the rooftops of their apartment buildings. Staying in those places certainly gave me even more appreciation of the Chinese people in that I saw a side of their lives that most “Westerners” would never see unless they stayed in places where I stayed.

I will always have fond memories of the many beautiful things I saw growing in China – it is a picture that will remain with me forever.

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

Continued March 4, 2012 in Americans working in China – Part 13 (a guest post) or return to Part 11

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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.

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Note:  This guest post first appeared on March 17, 2010


Americans doing Business in China – Part 11/16

March 2, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Sexy Beijing says they are an “Internet TV station run by an in-house production team. We also work with a handful of contributors in the editing room and on productions. Our shows have also aired on NBC in Los Angeles, Hunan TV, China Educational TV, and many other stations around China as well as conferences around the world… From the BBC to CNN.com to Hunan Satellite TV, Sexy Beijing has been glowingly covered on television, radio and in print, in both the English-language and Chinese media.”

New Yorker.com says, “Sexy Beijing’s creator is Anna Sophie Loewenberg (Note: she graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature and went on to earn a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Sophie arrived in China in 1996). She is the star and producer of ‘Sexy Beijing,’ an online series of sly, knowing videos about a hapless, curious foreigner which has proved popular among expats, language students, and mainland Chinese.”

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The following guest post was originally published by Bob Grant, publisher/editor, at  Speak Without Interruption.

(Note: There are more photos at the original site. The Nanjing Road photo here does not appear at Speak Without Interruption.)

Wherever people normally congregate in groups—shopping areas, elevators, subways, airports, city streets, and the like—there are a lot more people in China congregating in those same places. Again, I can only use my own experiences – in these types of crowds in China – but I was amazed how tolerant people were of each other.

In some cases I was squeezed to the people next to me so closely that I could almost feel their hearts beating. In these situations – personal space was at zero.

I was crammed into a subway once and could literally stand – without holding on to anything – because we were packed so close together (not that I really had anything to hold on to anyway). The exit from this subway was orderly and people were polite to each other – and me. At our stop, we had to ask people to move, which was difficult for them, but we got off with no problems or delays.

Normal crowd for Nanjing Road in Shanghai

I am not certain the Chinese people have a choice living – and working – among that many other people. However, I saw it as another attribute of China and its people.

As a “Westerner” I could have easily been accosted by anyone in these large crowds as most of the time I was the only non-Chinese among them. But this never happened. No one stared at me or otherwise acknowledged me as anything other than one of them.

Perhaps I am reading too much into these situations, but I will go with my feelings here and believe this is a nation of extremely tolerant individuals.

Places I went did not always have these types of crowds, but in the locations where large crowds congregated, I was always impressed by the politeness of my fellow “Crowdies”. I can’t say the same for other crowds, in which I have found myself, in the US and other parts of the world. I think China is unique in this area and its people have Tolerance to Infinity.

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

Continued March 3, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 12 (a guest post) or return to Part 10

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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.

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Note:  This guest post first appeared on March 13, 2010


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…”

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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

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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


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