Winning with China Inc
ME PoV Spring 2015 issue
With a growing number of Chinese multinationals setting up shop across the Middle East, are we ready to deal with a business partner whose culture is so different to our own?
China’s insatiable demand for oil is said to be the driving factor that kept crude oil prices in triple-digit U.S. dollar figures for years, which in turn has added an estimated US$1 trillion to the GDP of the GCC countries over a 10-year period (2003-2013)1. This surge in wealth has led to growth opportunities across a broad range of sectors such as real estate, transportation, telecommunication and financial services, for both Chinese companies and their Middle Eastern counterparts.
The aftermath of the global financial crisis, uncertainties in some parts of the region, and in particular, the recent unexpected sharp dip in oil price have added a new dimension to the increasingly interconnected bilateral relationship between two of the most important emerging markets.
Governments across the Middle East now have a stronger incentive than ever before, to leverage new sources of investments in achieving social development and economic diversification of their respective countries. Whereas China, armed with US$3.3 trillion in reserves and sluggish growth at home, is eager to turn its reserves into productive assets overseas.
Of course, business is business at end of the day; hence the same commercial common sense applies regardless of where the clients come from. However, when it comes to dealing with this culturally and linguistically distinct group of clients, most of whom are relatively new in working within pre-defined international business protocols, it would certainly help to understand the whys and hows of their decision-making in order to form mutually beneficial relationships that are built for success and built to last.