Why China plays hardball

Only 23 per cent of Australian family businesses believe they outperform their competitors in overseas markets. It’s time to learn how to deal with our biggest trading partner.

Recently, A Gippsland-based business was planning to embrace the export dream. To enter the Chinese market, it had started negotiating with a Chinese company to create a joint venture. There were 12 negotiating sessions over 2 years but the Australians found it just about impossible to pin their would-be partners down.

The Australians would spell out exactly what they wanted in clear and precise terms. But their counterparts would skirt around issues like pricing – they would talk about quality, labour costs and material costs, anything but.

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