When Yes Means No! (or Yes or Maybe): How to Negotiate a Deal in China

Laurence J. Brahm, Author Tuttle Publishing $20 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8048-3387-5
Political economist, lawyer and Beijing resident Brahm reveals, for would-be foreign investors, the complicated negotiating processes of Chinese businessmen. This is designed to be a practical guide, with a series of vignettes illustrative of ancient military maxims (from Sun Tzu's Art of War and the Thirty-six Strategies) that, he says, have remained part and parcel of the Chinese negotiating mentality. He shares cautionary tales of those who have blithely attempted to propose and execute new joint ventures in the East without properly conforming to, or at least understanding, foreign standards. According to Brahm, the Westerner is at great risk if he fails to take into account the cultural background of his hosts; bluntly stated, Chinese negotiators are very crafty. Chinese goodwill, Brahm says, can come under the guise of""banqueting""--i.e. wining and dining guests into a state of inebriated exhaustion (festivities include Maotai, a potent rice wine kept in stone bottles""because it eats through glass""), while, unbeknownst to the guests, the next day's Chinese deal-makers are at home resting and preserving their wits. Chinese businessmen are also aware, Brahm says, that their Western counterparts are often impatient to close a deal, and they use this urgency to their business advantage.""By simply biding time,"" he writes,""the Chinese will often force the foreign side into a position where it is bargaining against itself."" Of course Americans have their trickeries, too, but that's a subject for another book. In spite of the daunting tales, interesting and savvy advice is dispatched.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-8048-3667-8
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