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Tapping the Potential of China-U.S. investment (7)

(Beijing Review)

09:08, August 31, 2012

Wei Jiafu, Chairman of COSCO and a veteran Chinese investor in the United States, suggested Chinese investors get to know American culture, obey its laws, invest in its real economy and learn how to negotiate with labor unions.

Carlos M. Gutierrez, Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group for Citigroup, encouraged both sides to continue sharing best practices and thinking more about people, culture and management aspects.

The supply of trained bilingual executives is going to be one of the major challenges both countries face, said Gutierrez.

Companies that fail in cross-border investment often do so because they misunderstand local culture, he said. Americans like to use the courts of justice and neighbors can still be friends after suing each other, but many companies in China find litigation to be an insult. Cultural aspects can make a massive difference in succeeding in these markets.

Most important, he said, is the art and science of management. "Once you own a company, the big difference will be how you manage it," said Gutierrez. "You can't manage a business in China the way you manage it in the United States."

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