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East Asia

Army of Davids; Army of Blue Ants

March 28, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Internet Cafe in Chongqing, ChinaYour Business Blogger just bought The Big Blogger, Glenn Reynolds’ new book An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.

The Instapundit thesis is not, I think, limited to the US of A.

Technology; people; institutions face the same challenges the world over. Your Business Blogger has become, gasp! a globalist.

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An Army of Davids

When working in China I was reminded of another army — an army of blue ants. Twenty years ago, foreign visitors noted, not unkindly, the ubiquitous blue Mao suits. A hard-working populous; one mind; one suit.

Fashion has changed in China.

Colors, style, trend. Pushed by teenagers and embraced by all.

And the teens are pushing, as they do the world over, in other directions.

Your Business Blogger visited an internet cafe on my last China trip. Etiquette hint: Don’t ask for the non-smoking terminals. A non-smoking section? Heh, as Reynolds would write. The whole country is, well, Marlboro country.

Directions to the cafe were complicated. It was hidden in a dimly lit smokey warehouse accessible thru a back alley — safety was never a concern — workstations as far as the eye could see. 100’s of them. An hour on a keyboard sets a hacker back one yuan. 12.5 cents.

The arena was filled with 20-somethings all gone gaming. Smoking and practicing English.

The kids looked like they were there for days. I was there a few hours myself.

And not a Mao suit in sight.

What’s the matter with kids these days? Beijing is wondering.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that China is attempting to limit the Web’s influence on young people.

Goodness. Attempting to limit access to the web! Big Brother stopping freedom! Big Government controlling all behavior!

Except.

Except Beijing wants to limit kids under 18 to five hours — five hours of on-line gaming each day.

Maybe that’s not such a bad law after all.

Now if China could keep the kids from smoking…

Like our Government does.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

More on Mao suits at the jump.

Dana Blankenhorn has his limits. An excellent review.

Tim Wu, from the Columbia Law School has a white paper at The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering.

For the best in business in China, visit David Daniels at Global Market Development and Internet Adoption in China.

Median Sib has excellent review of Davids.

Don Surber has best of Thursday Posts. Bookmark him.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

See Feld’s Thoughts on A Different View on China.

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The Original Site For Lobbyists

March 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Charmaine Yoest with

Amy Bolthouse Shane

from ELI/China

at The Willard lobby

The English Language Institute/China recently held their 25th Anniversary in Washington, DC, staying at The Willard Hotel.

The hotel has a rich history.

The Willard is a social and political hub. President Lincoln probably stopped by a number of times while president. A few visits can be verified: with Mrs. Lincoln on July 6, 1861, to attend a concert by Meda Blanchard, and his review of troops with General Burnside on April 25, 1864.

In 1861 Willard’s also hosted Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words for The Battle Hymn of the Republic in her hotel room early one morning.

General Tom Thumb and his bride, who visited the Lincolns at the White House, stayed at The Willard in 1863.

In 1864 General Ulysses S. Grant was a hotel guest. In his presidency, he passed thru Willard’s lobby where he coined the term “lobbyists.”

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The Original Willard

Lobbying is the practice of private advocacy with the goal of influencing a governing body, in order to ensure that an individual’s or organization’s point of view is represented in the government. A lobbyist is a person who is paid to influence legislation as well as public opinion. A more tactful description might be said to be someone who is engaged in public affairs.

Wikipedia.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The English Language Institute/China began in 1979 at the start of normalization of relations between the People’s Republic of China and the USA. The PRC’s move to modernization and market reform created demand for English language skills. The first teachers were sent to China in 1982 for the purpose of teaching English, building friendships, offering instruction on the teachings of Jesus Christ to university students and faculty.

23 Mar

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China's New Statue for Brotherhood and World Peace

March 23, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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Ronald and Jack pledge global unity

at a shopping mall in Shanghai.

Many pundits forecast war with China within two decades.

I would forecast lunch.

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The I’m Lovin’ It ad McDonald’s popular ad campaign is well known across America. The boys in Hamburger University near Chicago came up with a brilliant branding tag line winner that is well recognized. And well received around the world.

Yep, nothing beats good ol’ Yankee innovation and marketing. American know-how.

Ni Hoa?

Hello…

The ad was created in Shanghai, China.

We have more in common than we realize: making friends; making (Star)bucks.

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There are more than 700 McDonald’s in China with over 50,000 staff. See more at the jump.

From the China Daily

China’s creative history goes back centuries. The world’s first print ad for Liujia Zhenpu (Liu’s Needle Workshop) in Jinan City, Shandong Province dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

This predates the first European advertisement, a British Bible poster from 1473, by more than 300 years.

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Visit Basil’s Blog for the best blogs.

Don Surber has best of Saturday and is looking for a job at the Washington Post.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

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Faked Out in East Asia

March 21, 2006 | By | No Comments

“It’s all fake,” said the young man who lived in town.

We were looking at acres of a bazaar, that was, well, bazaar bizarre. Rolex, North Face, Mont Blanc, DVDs as far as the eye could see.

None of it was real.

There was a ‘new’ word that swept thru elite American campuses a few years ago: Authentic. Professors liked the word because it had three syllables instead of the single syllable ‘real.’

Inauthentic for the academy was even better — it has four syllables instead of single syllable ‘fake.’

So.

In this (new) age of exploring our feelings, few ask any questions about the emotion of fake goods; stolen brand names.

How does the fake North Face make you feel?

Your Business Blogger owns a real Armani suit, purchased some time ago from a reputable establishment. (Yes, only one.) Every time I slip the coat on, I stand a bit taller.

Tragically, few people have ever recognized or identified the brand name suit on its smug owner. No one knows it’s an Armani.

But I do.

And that is the difference. The suit is real. The emotion is real. Ergo I am real.

The feeling is authentic.

Not everyone is as shallow as Yours Truly. A fake brand, a fake suit would make me feel like… a fake.

And feelings are the only things that count.

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Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger did a little shopping in East Asia. And bought a North Face duffle bag to haul all the loot home. I was assured that it was real. A sign, in English!, said so.

The Carnival of the Capitalists is up at CaseySoftware.

Consumption Seen As Next Big Driver of Growth

March 18, 2006 | By | No Comments

Read the above-the-fold headline story. And to get this growth the government wants to:

…raise personal income by scrapping [some] taxes.

Is this another evil plot hatched by George Bush and Karl Rove?

Cooked up by the the Rascally Republicans wanting to reduce taxes?

Nope.

The headline is not from capitalists in the good ol’ US of A.

The headline is from the communists in East Asia.

The communists.

Goodness.

Jiao Xiao Yang has the byline in China Daily on 16 March. The government’s leadership would not be happy with the mere 12% GDP eye-popping growth.

It is not enough that 50% of the world’s concrete is poured in China. Or that 40% of the world’s steel is consumed in China.

To get even more growth, the communists want to cut taxes.

Something the communists in our own Congress won’t do.

Let us put the Democrats on a slow boat to, well, China.

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Thankyou (foot)notes:

The US economy needs 3% growth to keep even with population growth. China needs only 0.6% growth to keep even and maintain existing standards of living.

Be Rich and Have Sons…

March 17, 2006 | By | One Comment

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The Sons of Thunder…is a common prayer in East Asia. Done with incense by devout and cultural Bhuddahists.

Your Business Blogger was a bit curious about this superstitous nature when visiting an ancient temple.

Until.

Until, I remembered a nifty BMW advertisement a few decades ago:

Every man should plant a tree, raise a son and drive a 12 cylinder car

What may be superstition 4,000 years ago,

Is called marketing today.

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Full Disclosure: Totally unrelated to the BMW advertisement, Your Business Blogger has planted a tree, is raising the sons of thunder, but has never owned a 12 cylinder car. Unless a 1957 Chevy counts.

China's Secret To Beating the USA in Education

March 14, 2006 | By | No Comments

The Chinese school system is producing some very bright children.

The United States system is, well, academically challenged.

Here’s how the Chinese manage education:

1) Schools are ranked by qualitative measure of student performance, and

2) Any student can compete to get into any school, so that

3) Competition makes schools and students better.

Competition. In Communist China.

But not in the USA. Children must attent schools based on geography. Or pay for private schooling — in effect paying twice.

One would have hoped that the last two communist structures in the world could work together.

The communists running the National Education Association — the teacher’s union — should be following the lead of the union’s smarter comrades on the other side of the world.

And let the children attend whatever school they wish; local or not.

Freedom of association. The American Way.

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Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger was once a member of the National Education Association.

22 Feb

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Carnival of Entrepreneurship #4 Is Here

February 22, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

The Carnival has some outstanding writing and analysis. World class. From around the world.

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Leah MacleanFrom the continent/country of Australia, Leah Maclean, at Working Solo, presents Golden Rules Part 2 – My List. Leah’s article highlights ground rules in being grounded. I liked her point: Surround yourself with people you love. I would add the Love issue to taking on an assignment or job. Clinton Secretary Jesse Brown said that he would “only work for people who loved” him. Our friend, Leah, from Down Under is on top with this advice.

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Rick SpenceRick Spence, at Canadian Entrepreneur, presents Thinking before speaking. On how to deliver criticism. Rick has advice on advising — having a direct conversation, however uncomfortable.

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David DanielsDavid Daniels, at Global Market Development, presents Checklist to Internationalize a Product. Another Canadian, David, has distilled the steps to take a product international. David correctly, I believe, suggested using local partners, joint ventures whenever possible. I would add that in some countries, such as China — and here I would defer to David’s expertise — that what the Chinese call a ‘wholly foreign-owned enterprise’ might be the better structure than a JV. For a larger company.

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Denise O’BerryDenise O’Berry, at Just For Small Business, presents It Is Not OK To Steal.Denise’s post is an outstanding short summary in defense of intellectual property — entertaining and useful. Bookmark her advice and links on actions to take when a thief steals your stuff.

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Scott AllenScott Allen, at About.com Entrepreneur’s Guide, presents Wednesday Work Tip #1: Redefining Project Completion. My oldest daughter, The Dreamer, came into my office last night and said, “I spent the whole day on this project and I have nothing to show for it.” Oh no, I thought. Welcome to the real world. Scott Allen has a compelling piece on Getting Things Done. Busy is not a receivable. Scott’s piece reminds us in so many words that going to the bank is what is important. Anything else is a hobby. (Don’t show income for three years and the IRS says so.) Anyway, The Dreamer learned Scott’s lesson early. She’s 12. She’s on her way to some day running her own business. And Scott’s blog is helping now.

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Tom McMahonSee Tom McMahon with The Secret Of My Success, where he hit 1,000,000 visitors. Read how he runs the numbers down the funnel. In business, or in life, we do not manage numbers, we manage behaviors. The right behaviors (done by the numbers) will produce desired outcomes (measured against the numbers).

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The Carnival of Entrepreneurship #5 will be hosted by Martin Neumann.

Jesse Brown was my mentor and business partner.

Don Surber has best Thursday Posts.

Maneuver Marketing has more good analysis at AMGEN’s Tour.

The Carnival of the Capitalists Is Up for 20 February

February 20, 2006 | By | One Comment

This week’s host duties are performed flawlessly by Joseph Weisenthal at The Stalwart. Mr Weisenthal has a well done blog with almost 900 visitors a day.

Impressive.

Carnival Editors, as you know, are not paid. But lend their time, talent and treasure to making the world a better place.

Because of the COTC, Your Business Blogger found, Countries, Individuals, & Production, by Chris Rossini at Market Place Monitor about China.

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People’s Republic of China

Chris reminds us that people do business, not countries, not companies.

I would add that it really doesn’t matter if the product is computer chips or potato chips. Or in which direction the transaction flows. A good deal enriches both parties. Both companies, both countries, both peoples.

Chris writes on China’s steel. I would submit that the PRC very much wants to do business with the USA.

English is now the second official language of China. As I write, there are more people in China learning English than there are English speakers in America.

China did $160 billion in Feb 05 in exports to the USA — we are China’s largest export partner.

Bloggers like Chris Rossini help us to learn more about doing business the world over.

Good work and good business.

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10 Feb

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Capitalism, Culture and Google

February 10, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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GoogleIn Chinese there is no word for “privacy.”

Google’s business practices in China are under question. In having a different product for different counties. I am not so sure Google is departing from a sound business theory. I think Google’s strategy deserves a case study. On doing business in different cultures.

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Yoest, Faisal Alam in

New Delhi, IndiaYour Business Blogger was in India working with North American and Indian managers. Having thrown off our British rulers, we still shared a common English language.

But cultural communication was another matter.

American managers were frustrated that Indian executives and staff were not always truthful.

Or so it seemed.

If a supervisor (of any nationality) would ask an Indian subordinate a closed question such as “Does the report include the budget from Bangalore?” The Indian subordinate reply always would be ‘yes.’ Even if the answer was ‘no.’ Accompanied by a side-to-side movement of the head — which corresponds to the up and down affirmative head nod in America.

Was the Indian employee lying to his superior?

It depends on cultural perspective.

(Yes, yes I know — Alert Readers know well that Your Business Blogger subscribes to Timeless Truth: Truth is not relative.)

But the Indian culture is one of deference and respect for authority. It is not within the languages or culture to say “no” to the boss. Immediate compliance — obedience — is something every boss, in every culture really wants — but American’s seldom openly admit.

The culture is different. Where change to USA standards should not be forced.

Supervisors working with Indian subordinates should only ask open ended questions. A question allowing something other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ “Show me the line item for employee taxi expenses for Bangalore.”

The USA manager should understand also that the Indian manager will seldom say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to a subordinate.

Additional questions are time consuming. But necessary to do business across cultures. And to respect differences in culture and tradition.

I think we should ask more questions. And take the first step.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” says China’s Confucius.

A single step from a single person. Countries don’t do business. People do business.

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President Nixon meets with

China’s Community Party Leader,

Mao Tse-Tung on

February 29, 1972

Nixon went to China. Google went to China.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

In Chinese, in The Common Language (Mandarin) there are no words for “private” or “privacy” as we understand in English.

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Nixon at the 2,000 year old Great Wall of China, 24 February 1972

Mark at Mark My Words has commentary.

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