A little lie in China tells you a lot. Well, it likely tells you a lot anywhere, but let me continue.
Dan Harris of China Law Blog says, “Any little fraud (e.g. pretending they are a manufacturer when actually they are a trading company) IS a fraud. If they lie about this, they will lie about other things too.”
Let me summarize what I see that we agree about.
China is a great country with many great people. It is possible to do very successful business here. One needs to be aware that lots of Chinese people or businesses will scam or lie if given the chance. There are also people who will never lie or scam in any way and will be great to work with. When you come across liars or scammers, walk away, do not hire, and even fire. Get away from them. Do not expect to change them. Never think that is the worst they will do. It is a sign, and you must not see it as a small thing.
A Little Lie in China is an Important Sign
I am not saying everyone who tells a small lie will steal your company. I am saying that these people are definitely going to do similar things going forward and will be politicians. Further, they are a much higher risk to do something worse.
Further, we see that Western lying and Chinese lying are different and therefore harder for us to catch or understand in its severity and likelihood.
Let me go back to the small lie Dan mentioned at the top. Why would a Chinese business do that? It could help them get a contract instead of being seen as the middle man. Why would a Chinese person say they were recruited by a head hunter while happily working when actually they got fired? Both lies are understandable. We can see the motive.
We do not need to disdain people who do this, but we should not work with people who do this. They should certainly not be our managers.