By Chang Wang and Joe Pearman, contributors
Editor’s note: Most business articles written these days that focus on China concentrate on doing business in China; they discuss the country’s regulatory scheme, operational protocols, or business etiquette. This conversation instead focuses on doing business with China and the Chinese people, describing some of the ins and outs of interacting with Chinese individuals or firms in the contexts of cross-border communications and negotiations. Through this conversation, the authors hope to help the business community become aware of the miscommunication that stems from the “parallel universes” the American and the Chinese inhabit, to expose the hidden rationales underscoring the official narratives of Chinese history, and to reveal cultural and linguistic misunderstandings that frequently occur during the process of finding “common ground.”
For the purpose of this conversation, “China” and “Chinese” are narrowly used: “China” refers to mainland China, not including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan; and “Chinese” refers to the Han ethnic people who live in mainland China.
Chang Wang, a native of China, is the chief research and academic officer at Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Joe Pearman, a native Minnesotan, is an undergraduate student majoring in business at the University of Minnesota.
In case you haven’t heard, The Chinese Heritage Foundation has commissioned San Francisco Opera for a production of “Dream of the Red Chamber,” featuring music by world-renowned Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng and an English-language libretto by the composer and Tony Award-winning Chinese-American playwright David Henry Hwang (China Insight, February 2014). The commissioned opera is planned for a fall 2016 premiere.