The world’s most populous country (with 1.2 billion people), and now it’s second largest economy, has arrived on the world’s stage with a bang since China switched to a liberal market economy from a closed-off Communist state. You’ll struggle to find something in your home not manufactured in China, and Chinese culture and landmarks are instantly recognisable to all of us – from the Great Wall and Forbidden Palace, to the dancing dragons that take to the streets of our cities each Lunar New Year.
China has become one of the most desirable places on earth to invest, but also one of the most difficult to crack. At face value, the world’s largest mobilised workforce, a highly educated emerging middle class and ultra-competitive wages have made companies like Apple dive into China with both feet. However, look a little deeper and tight state control and extensive bureaucracy make investing in China a true challenge.
Hiring in China is straightforward and Chinese workers have gained much more in the way of rights and fair treatment over the last 50 years or so, but there are lots of hurdles for foreign organisations. The economy and its regulations are geared firmly towards Chinese gains, and any organisation that operates within China’s borders must play to the rules, no matter what they say. Get this right, however, and China becomes a huge opportunity for any international business.