Throughout the various company visits and lecture panels we attended, a common theme that has come up over again is the importance of China and America’s bi-lateral relationship. It has even been called the most consequential relationship between any two countries. I too think that this bi-lateral relationship is vital for both the economy and world success and longevity.
During the summit we broke up into small groups and discussed the importance of building the bi-lateral relationship. However, in order to have a successful and strong relationship between America and China, both countries must be aware of their cultural intelligence as well as “what is typical.” I thought that this related back to my previous post on the Anglo-Saxon model and the relationship-based model. In the activity, as a group, we had to come up with a draft of a letter we would send to our staff members for a project. However, the staff members included two Chinese citizens (one from a big city and the other from a rural area) and two American citizens (one from a big city and the other from a rural area). I thought that this activity was especially hard because the characteristics of most Americans differed from many of the characteristics of most Chinese. These characteristics included: low and high context, egalitarian and hierarchical, consensual and top-down, and linear and flexible time. I think it is crucial to know the characteristics of the people you are doing business with because it can show how they may react throughout your relationship with them.
The next activity we did during the Summit was called “What is typical.” It made us really think of the stereotypes that one another had on each other’s culture. When doing business internationally, I think that it is also important to know the culture of the country you are working with. This is because something that may be a social norm in one country could not be in another. An example of this is that less than 25% of people in the world do not have a bank account. I think having this in mind is very important because it can change how they conduct their business and can also lead to unpredictable problems. One of the Chinese students in my group told me that a few years ago, a man who was driving home from work after being paid got into a car accident and because he did not have a bank account, he kept all of his earnings in his car. As a result of the accident, his car engulfed in flames and all of his hard earned money burned. However, this tragic story happened because it is not as “typical” to have a bank account in China.
After my experiences in China, especially the insight I gained from the U.S. China Summit, I have gained a new appreciation for how fortunate we Americans are as well as a newfound respect for the Chinese. While I do agree that the U.S. China Summit and initiatives created by 100K Strong are good first steps toward creating a stronger bi-lateral relationship, I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done. I am excited to see how the relationship evolves in the future especially because U.S. and China’s relationship is one of the most critical relationships.