At 8.40 a.m., after eleven hours in the train, we arrived at Guangzhou’s railway station. At 9.00 a.m. we continued our journey with a visit at the International Financial Centre of Guangzhou. The GZIFC is one of the ten tallest skyscrapers in the world: standing 432 meters tall and providing a total gross floor of over 450’000 square meters. It is planned that the main Tower (103 storeys and 4 basement levels) between the 4th to the 66th floor is used for offices whereas the 67th to the 100th are reserved for the Four Seasons Hotel.
GZIFC aims to serve and continually implement best practices to meet the needs and wishes of the world’s leading companies, especially those in the financial industry, taking commercial cooperation to new heights in South China. After the beautiful sightseeing from the GZIFC’s 22th floor and an interesting explanation of the International Financial Centre we went to the Jinjiang Inn Hotel where we had the time to eat something for lunch and take a refreshing shower.
At 1.00 p.m. we went to the Swiss General Consulate where Mr. Chabotz, Mr. Calonder and Mr. Boesinger spoke about the continuous growth of the Chinese economy and their business experiences in China. The speeches gave us considerable insights in how the Chinese do business and what needs to be taken into consideration when working together with them.
Mr. Chabotz introduced us the current economy in China and showed us some figures about the Chinese GDP growth and in comparison with the Swiss GDP growth. He underlined the big potential of the three driving areas located on the coast (Yellow River, Yangtze River and Pearl River) and concluded his speech with the main challenges of China: the administration burden, the lack of transparency, the customs, the corruption, the International Propriety Rights and finally the intercultural differences.
In the second presentation Mr. Calonder spoke abouth the cultural differences between the European and the Chinese world of doing business. Following are some aspects he mentioned:
1. For the Chinese the company is like a family; for the European the company is important as an employment base.
2. Confidence: China is very eager and has big potential.
3. Respect: Chinese people are very sensitive towards direct critics (you must not lose the face in front of other).
4. Expectations: employees expect to be trained, supported, developed and promoted. The boss is expected to help them to grow.
5. Responsibility: Chinese people prefer to avoid making decisions by themselves or taking direct responsibilities.
6. Growth: employees need to be supported.
7. Loyalty: the boss is expected to compliment, support the employees and take good care of their relationship.
8. Problem: Chinese people tend to procrastinate and solve their problems at the very last moment with a clear focus on short-term emphasize.
During the last presentation Mr. Boesingner spoke of his experience as a west-entrepreneur in China. He described which the key factors are to open and manage a successful company in China considering the differences of the culture, the legislation, the relationship with partners and the facilities to receive support of banks.
At the end of the Swiss Consulate’s visit we went together with the bus to Hotel and we had dinner individually.