countzero's blog

Those that you work with heavily influence your viewpoint in China -- Michael Sylvester

Today I wanted to focus on a matter of perspective rather than the application of any specificglasses.jpg piece of legislation and how it applies to living, working and business here.
 
Sure, this is a bit of a strange place with it's decades of double digit growth, accidentally taking over the world economy with a huge checkbook and the occasional saber rattling with Japan over a few rocks in the sea between here and there.
 
Yet, at base how things work here, meaning not what you can get away with for lack of internal regulatory policing or training on the part of government officials, but what is defensible long-term in the stark light of day, is just not that damn differnt than anywhere else.
 
And if you want to argue about it because you have a story to tell and think China is just a black hole with no rules and is more of a mess than any other similarly powerful country, let's talk about horse meat in Europe for a minute or two...

Talking to the Enemy -- Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?

book cover.jpg 

'Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?' is a quote from Abraham Lincoln near the end of the civil war.  It is also a main concept that Scott Altran uses to weave together his story.

We have been advocating looking at the similarities, rather than any of the differences, in Chinese-US relations for more than a decade and welcome the (un) making of differences in any discipline.

Meaning, one need not support the world view or purported goals of those we can not understand.  But if we give up the chance to understand others and when doing so try to give them a way to understand us, then we all lose.

Tomorrow is just another yesterday that has not happened yet. Michael Sylvester

 rolling-earth.jpgWhile Linkedin™ identifies me as both legal counsel and a crystal ball reader, I do not actually have a candle lit gypsy tent with a large glass orb in the center.  Nor do I speak in riddles. 

Well, some of our clients might disagree about the speaking in riddles part, but that does not detract from the larger message that anyone telling you that they are able to predict the future might be as crazy as hell...

Unless, you meant what I did when I chose to use those words to describe what we do here... For, if we accept the proposition that tomorrow is a yesterday that has not happened yet we can rather accurately predict the future.  How?  By trying to limit the negative impact of the expensive and time consuming decisions we made this morning.  That is how we predict the future.  

 

 

 

Changing the tire on a car without pulling over -- existing entity restructuring in China. Michael Sylvester

tire-change.jpgA large part of our business in the last ten years, as China continues to mature internally, has focused on what we call existing entity restructuring and often feels a lot like changing the tire on a car without pulling the car over to the side of the road.

You are here, you have been doing business for some years and either the law has matured, allowing greater market access, or things you may have been able to get away with in the past are no longer possible -- or any of a thousand scenarios where what happened in the past is no longer sound business strategy for some reason now.  Then what?

Well, we find a long straight road, tip the car up on two wheels without tipping it over, change the flat tire and then help you accelerate away in the right direction again -- that's what.  While that is not exactly what we do, for us and our clients both, we know it often feels a lot like that.

Those that you work with heavily influence your viewpoint in China -- Michael Sylvester

Today I wanted to focus on a matter of perspective rather than the application of any specific pieceglasses.jpg of legislation and how it applies to living, working and business here.

Sure, this is a bit of a strange place with it's decades of double digit growth, accidentally taking over the world economy with a huge checkbook and the occasional saber rattling with Japan over a few rocks in the sea between here and there.

Yet, at base how things work here, meaning not what you can get away with for lack of internal regulatory policing or training on the part of government officials, but what is defensible long-term in the stark light of day, is just not that damn differnt than anywhere else.

And if you want to argue about it because you have a story to tell and think China is just a black hole with no rules and is more of a mess than any other similarly powerful country, let's talk about horse meat for a minute or two...

Chinese 5-year visa set for approval Michael Sylvester

 China_visa.jpgMULTIPLE-ENTRY visas valid for up to five years will soon be on offer in a bid to attract more top talent.

China’s Exit and Entry Administration Law, which comes into effect in July, will also introduce a six-month visa for short-term hires.  Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, said Tuesday that foreigners must already be employed to apply for the visa.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping authorities implement the visas.

Chinese Legislative Tranparency: Expats observe lawmaking body’s annual meeting Michael Sylvester

 SZ.jpgForeign observers attend the opening of the annual session of Shenzhen’s legislature yesterday. Twenty-nine expats invited to attend the meeting as observers included consul officials from a variety of countries, teachers and executives with foreign-funded companies.

Rule of law is a key term in the No. 1 proposal of this year’s city political advisory meeting, which opened yesterday, and is expected to be one of the highlights of discussion among Shenzhen’s political advisers this week.

China: Radically different, yet the same... Michael Sylvester

crosswalk.jpgAs 2013 opens here in Southern China a few surprises have come to our attention that seemed noteworty.

After a few weeks in Europe, where traffic laws have been followed since the invention of motor vehicles, I was a little concerned about transitioning back into China, where pedestrians often feel like they are in a Frogger video game.  Yet, the other day I walked up to a street corner here in Shenzhen and the taxis and private vehicles all stopped waiting for me to cross.

Not sure what to do, I tried to wave the cars through and they insisted that I cross first. Apparently, the use of video cameras at all intersections combined with the new laws -- and stiff penalties -- have quickly changed people's behavior here. 

So, we when are dealing with China for business or travel or whatever, even after ten years of being here, we are still constantly surprised at not only the changes -- but also the pace of change.

My First Chinese/Westerner Wedding Michelle Zurcher

 arriving on a boat.jpgIt started out as a normal day off (although I had never had a day off in China, so what a “normal” day off means, I don’t know.)  Just to get to the wedding was a foreign endurance race.  First I took a 15-minute bus ride to the metro, then a 35-minute metro ride ending at a mall that is built on the metro that has a hotel built on top of the mall.  After seeking the right exit out of the multiple exits offered, I found a security guard.

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