I’ve been visiting China for many years, and it’s amazing to watch how the “China question” keeps changing for Western multinational companies (MNCs). Here’s a 20-year perspective:
- Twenty years ago, the question was “Is China important?” I would argue that most MNCs took about 10 years to answer “yes.” By 2008 or so, everyone realized that winning in China was critical.
- Ten years ago, the question shifted to “Is China different?” It took another decade, but eventually most MNCs answered “yes.” Rather than treating China as any other market, companies began to shift strategies and allow their Chinese operations to do whatever it took to win. While I still don’t believe most MNCs have created real tailwinds to help their business, I’ve seen tremendous efforts to at least reduce the headwinds of “corporate support”!
- Today, the question has shifted to […]