Latin American students who attended a 5-day seminar on ‘Doing Business with a Changing China’ praised the program in providing insights into the world’s second largest economy and how it may help their own countries as well.
Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and INCAE, the leading business school of Latin America, have been working on different projects over a number of years. Set up in 1964, INCAE has an alumni network of more than 13,000 political leaders and business executives.
Nelly Cuadros Candia, an INCAE student and a member of parliament of Peru, said one of the things she saw is “the great legacy of Chinese culture (which) is based on a collective society, on a planned economy and on rewarding achievement.”
“These have undoubtedly been they key elements to its global leadership, which many other countries have unsuccessfully tried to imitate,” Candia, who is also the chair of the Peru-China Diplomatic League, said.
Another student noted: “China is different from our country. Our country needs to have private and public (sectors) work more closely.”
The program was split between Beijing and Shanghai.
It opened on Sunday, August 20, with presentations by Li Zhou, Assistant Dean of CKGSB, on the ‘Globalization and Innovation of Chinese Companies.’
On August 21, the day of the solar eclipse in the United States, professor Haitao Li of CKGSB discussed ‘New Developments in China’s Financial Markets’.
The Beijing leg of the program was wrapped up by professor Yang Li of CKGSB doing a presentation on the ‘Internet and China’
After a day break for the train ride to the country’s financial center of Shanghai, the participants were given a presentation on ‘Business Modules for Successful Ventures between East and West’ by professor Bingsheng Teng, the associate dean of CKGSB.
The last presentation on the final day of the program on Friday, August 25, was on ‘China’s Risk and Opportunity of Investing in China’ by CKGSB professor Hui Ouyang.
The Latin American students also went on company visits to leading Chinese firms such as ICBC bank, one of the biggest in the world, and China Eastern Airlines, one of the top four airlines serving the country.
One student who participated in the program said one of the big changes “that we are seeing is that China is not just a cheap manufacturing economy, with a shift towards the service sector. The engine of the economy has been shifted by foreign investment. The model is shifting to an economy based on consumption.”
“My takeaway is that we need to plan short and mid-term and not so much long term,” another student observed. “There is so much change and it is highly dynamic. The takeaway is that the economy is being implemented thru five year terms. China is no longer a factory of the world, but it now has true proprietary technology.”
The other major takeaway that participants got from the program is the prime role of the government.
“It is important to keep in mind the role of the government in many countries,” one said.
Another pointed out: “These companies are not only thinking about profitability they have another goal (which is) seeking the wellness of the population. When these companies start competing in our countries because we focus only on profitability, we will suffer.”
The participants also absorbed the methods on an economic framework for investing in China, especially in terms of the state protecting its own citizens. “There is tremendous desire to leave a legacy by the government and the company,” the student said.
The lessons they can learn from China is also instructive.
“It is the world’s second largest economy. We can go out overseas and leverage the Chinese market. The social and economic structure has changed,” one student said, adding the “impact in China is that 300 million people moved from the farms to the city in the last 20 years.”
“We must understand the Chinese consumer. How can this notion and idea evolve – Wechat versus WhatsApp. Wechat has so many other products. China has developed a superior product like the fishbone design on the Chinese planes.”
Another participant raised the question on what to sell to that market.
“What are we going to develop that is something that the Chinese market will want?”
From internet payments through a good pension fund system, another participant in the program said the government in Beijing has “been able to define clearly the areas they would like to have to invest” in, the student added.
“Copying ideas and then develop their own technology. We have to use our own managerial culture and style. Why copy America?”
“I discovered the Chinese people are highly flexible. I thought it was completely the opposite,” the student concluded.
Candia pointed out that “hard work and a solid knowledge-base…have been key drivers, not to mention President Xi Jinping’s renewed global focus through the One Belt One Road project.”
She believes that the new Chinese venture “will be a resounding success, and which we are all invited to be a part of. CKGSB understands this and has skilfully combined this expertise with a precise analysis of this fusion between a communist country and a free market economy.”