You’ve Got (China) Issues

If you don’t have a China plan, then you’re not thinking strategically enough. With its One Belt One Road Initiative, 5 Year Plan, and burgeoning middle-class, China is rocketing past the US on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy, and this is only the beginning. Putting money where its mouth is, China invests money equivalent to 9% of its GDP on infrastructure, including technological advances in AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicles—three times what the U.S. spends in related areas. Consequently, it has become more important than ever for large organizations with ambitious growth goals to operate in China. The time for thinking was about 10 years ago. Now is the time to act.

To succeed in China, however, organizations need to navigate the complex waters of Chinese public and government affairs. There are many that have failed to succeed in China due to government relations issues—just look at Google. On top of that, there are cultural differences to overcome. Here are a few concepts to remember when approaching China:

  1. Build relationships with key officials

    One of the biggest challenges when operating in China is understanding how the government will enforce or implement its long-term plans and near-term regulations. Laws and regulations in China tend to be vague, so the most successful companies rely heavily on supplementary announcements, notices, and interpretations as well as connections with government officials to get a better understanding of how to prepare for regulatory changes. This requires the need to engage deeply with government officials rather than taking a hands-off approach.

  1. Partner with local talent

    In this regard, it’s important to operate a China-based government affairs team comprised of native Chinese citizens, ideally ones formerly in government. These people can build the relationships necessary to interpret new laws and regulations and how they will be implemented, which provides critical guidance around how a business should modify its operations to stay in compliance.

  1. Stay aligned across teams

    Stringing together groups in different countries can be challenging, but misalignment causes issues. Thus, it’s important to have the teams in China connected with their peer groups abroad. This can be accomplished through platforms such as FiscalNote that allow users to log activity, store documents, and more. Operating in lock-step ensures better business outcomes.

FiscalNote’s issues management platform helps facilitate many of these tactical steps by providing a technology platform to efficiently direct efforts abroad while reconciling them with strategic initiatives at headquarters. FiscalNote helps large corporations manage global corporate and public affairs due to the ability to have all global legislative and regulatory data on one platform with user-friendly mobile applications and workflows to facilitate information management and execution.