Negotiating With the Chinese Government – a 1st Example

Several years back, I had a couple shots at this and learned something

I was seeking permission in North China to do lending services. The National law said only the People’s Bank could do financial, so we needed their help and local permission

Pay offs to officials was out of the question.  Compromising on how the project would be administrated was out of the question.

Play Them Off Against Each Other

My first success also led to failure.  The government division leader in one city was avoiding signing and trying to wear me out. I went to another city and played them off against each other, and he faxed me the signed and chopped permission. Phase 1 success.  Play them off against each other is a good method.

My theory was that this government division could benefit by us making them popular with the people as we made the loans. That was my win for him. It was a total failure. Within a few years the relationship unraveled.  I felt he needed popular support, but he really needed support from his leader and no one else.

Research What Win With Their Boss Looks Like

In another site, I also played governments off against each other to get then to sign, but the mid term needed another path.  I researched what the government hot buttons were for this division, and then marketed our loans as facing that need.  Soon the government was touting us as part of their work for their boss and having neighboring divisions come to see their work.  This worked where popularity had failed.  However, we could not rest. We had to keep researching as their needs would change over time, and we needed them long term.

In each case, you need to know what win looks like for them and what your boundaries are in giving them their win. Research is necessary.  You also need to take initiative to make sure they can win at each stage where they could hurt or help you.

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Posted in: China, Chinese Culture, Government Issues, Negotiating

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