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5 Keys to Understanding China

5 Keys to Understanding China
  • Author : Ryu Jaeyun
  • Publisher : Seoul Selection
  • Pub. Date : July 2016
  • Cover : Softcover
  • Dimensions (in inches) : 6 x 8.8 x 0.7
  • Pages : 268
  • ISBN : 9781624120749


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  • Product Description
  • Press Release
  • Economic institutes and organizations around the world predict that China will become the world’s largest economy around 2020. China is no longer a country that we can afford to ignore.

    The time is coming when we will have to learn not only about doing business in China, but also about China’s market, history, culture, and people.

    But unfortunately, China is not very accessible to foreigners. Because of their unique communication style, Chinese people rarely show their true colors.

    Particularly for Westerners, who come from societies that emphasize efficiency and transparency, China, a culture and society that prioritizes human relationships and saving face, can feel like a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

    There are already plenty of books about China written by Americans andE uropeans, someone may point out: Why do we need yet another book, and one written by a Korean at that?

    When the differences between two groups trying to communicate with each other are too great, misunderstandings are likely to arise, with potentially negative consequences.

    In such cases, it’s important to have a mediator who can help the two sides relate to and understand each other.

    I believe Koreans are best equipped to fulfi ll this mediator role—to help build trust between China and the United States, as well as between China and other Western countries.

    – Excerpt from the preface


    Foreword 12

    Preface 14



    -CHAPTER ONE- THE CHINESE PARADOX There’s No China in China


    TWO FACES: DRAGON AND PHOENIX Dragon and phoenix: symbols of Chinese pragmatism 23

    Handy strategies for facing the dragon and phoenix 27

    CONFUCIAN ON THE OUTSIDE, TAOIST ON THE INSIDE A philosophical reading of the Chinese mentality 31 The Way vanishes the moment it is expressed in words 34

    PUBLIC IS PRIVATE, PRIVATE IS PUBLIC Feelings come before reason, and reason comes before law 37 Sharing a drink is a chance to spend time together 39

    SPOKEN AND UNSPOKEN: THE CONTRADICTORY RULES THAT RULE CHINA Nuclear submarine: the power of unspoken rules 45

    Unspoken rules take precedence over spoken rules 46

    CHINESE TACT: WHY BAD NEWS IS NOT SHARED The green hat taboo 51

    Spiteful selfishness or well-intended tact? 53 Working on your cultural literacy 56

    DEALING WITH CHINESE TACT How Chinese tact can result in misleading reports 59

    DOUBLE-CHECK AND REVIEW TO GAIN INSIGHT Get a complete blow-by-blow 64

    FREE TO BELIEVE, BUT NOT TO SHARE THOSE BELIEFS Religion: strictly regulated by the state 69

    The Three-Self Church: a unique Chinese institution 71 China’s two-pronged approach toward religion 74



    -CHAPTER TWO- THE CHINESE “US” Winning the Hearts of the Chinese


    WINNERS PLAY BY THE CHINESE RULES The winners come and go, but the rules remain the same 79

    It takes a long time to get to know the Chinese 81

    CLIMBING MOUNT TAI AND CROSSING THE YELLOW RIVER Guanxi: the difference between “us” and “them” 84

    A society of people you know and people you don’t 87

    FRIENDS: THE ONLY SOCIAL UNIT The Chinese will do anything for a good friend 91

    Friends come before laws and principles 94

    It’s in your interest to help friends save face 96

    UNEQUAL EXCHANGE: THE KEY TO FRIENDSHIP Make sure your friends get their money’s worth 100

    How to become part of “us” 102

    THE FOUR WAYS TO BECOME “US” The princelings: eighty years of loyalty 106

    Complete trust: the best way to win hearts 109

    TIPS FOR MAKING CHINESE FRIENDS The better you know someone, the more you should watch your words 113

    Make a network that is both broad and deep 114



    -CHAPTER THREE- THE CHINESE WALLET Understanding Guanxi Brings China into View


    GUANXI: WHAT EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT AND NO ONE UNDERSTANDS Guanxi: the main guideline for every decision 121

    Three confusing characteristics of guanxi 123

    GUANXI IS A CURRENCY Don’t try to mooch off others’ guanxi 128

    There’s a toll at each turn 129 Gauging guanxi: learning the true power of your connections 131

    GUANXI MULTIPLIES POWER The wisdom of having a motley crew 135

    Don’t get too hung up on rank 137

    GIVE YOUR FRIENDS A REASON TO HELP YOU Guanxi is the door, but rationale is the key 141

    An unwritten rule about guanxi that’s easy to miss 143

    DO YOU ONLY TURN TO THE BUDDHA WHEN YOU’RE IN TROUBLE? Learning to recognize true friendship 148

    THE BLURRY BOUNDARY BETWEEN A GIFT AND A BRIBE Gifts are a form of courtesy 153

    Give gifts when you meet, become friends, and say goodbye 155

    Useful tips about gift giving 158

    WHO’S IN CHARGE OF CHINA? Do the Chinese elite speak English? 162

    A brief history of Chinese people studying overseas 164



    -CHAPTER FOUR- THE CHINESE PERSPECTIVE Effective Strategies for Localizing, Negotiating,and Managing in China


    HOW TO BEFRIEND A HIPPOPOTAMUS In like a lion, out like a lamb 173

    If you’re going to play, play to win 174

    A Confucian gentleman will wait ten years to take revenge 177

    LOCALIZATION: LOST SOMEWHERE BETWEEN CHINA AND THE WORLD The limits of localization 182 Paying attention to Chinese pride 185

    IF YOU ONLY SEE WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE, YOU WON’T SEE CHINA Who are the real China experts? 191 Building a cart behind closed doors 195

    INFORMATION ASYMMETRY CONCEALS CONFLICTING VALUES Foreigners are fooled by their own ignorance and don’t even try to learn 199

    Loyalty means something else to the Chinese 202

    PAY ATTENTION NOT TO WHAT IS SAID BUT WHAT IS LEFT UNSAID Big talk from a local government official 205

    Reading in context 207

    EACH TIME YOU’RE TRICKED IS A LESSON LEARNED Getting fooled is an asset, too 210

    The Chinese prefer a laid-back negotiation style 211

    BUKEQI! WE’RE FRIENDS, SO MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME What bukeqi says about Chinese culture: in the end, friendship is about sincerity 215

    IT TAKES DEDICATION TO REACH THE FINISH LINE Foreigners who don’t study 220

    On a journey of a hundred leagues, ninety leagues is just the halfway point 223

    HARSH ADVICE FOR FOREIGN BUSINESSES An eye for recognizing a good horse 227



    -CHAPTER FIVE- CHINESE TIME The People Who Live in the Past, Present, and Future


    CHINESE PATIENCE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS Chinese time is long 235

    THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE FUTURE Tomorrow will be a better day 240

    DON’T MAKE GLASS CEILINGS Don’t kick away the ladder 244

    WHY THE CHINESE NEVER SAY THEY’RE SORRY It’s easier to make someone resign than apologize 247

    A historical explanation of the Chinese aversion to apologizing 249

    ONE FINAL TIP FOR SUCCEEDING IN CHINA Don’t assume that you know everything 252

    Become a “long-term observer” 255


    Conclusion 261

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