10 February 2013 ~ 3 Comments

Conversations 2013 #5: The Chinese are Disagreeable, In General

The following conversation took place between myself and a student at a cafe in Yokohama.

Student: I still haven’t heard back for that (big) Chinese company I interviewed with two weeks ago…I don’t think I passed the interview.

Me: Sorry to hear that.

Student: It’s OK. I spoke with my brother in law. He lives in China, in Shanghai, and he emailed me about the company.

Me: He works for the company??

Student: No, he works for a (big) Japanese company’s office in China.

Me: Is he Chinese?

Student: Who? My brother-in-law?? No, he’s Japanese.

Me: I see…so what did he say about the company you interviewed with?

Student: He said…well…he said that he disagreed with the company.

Me: Disagreed with what? The Company’s policies?

Student: No…just in general.

Me: In general?

Student: Well, he is living in China and though he works for a Japanese company he deals with different Chinese companies.

Me: Ah, I see…so he has had dealings with the company you interviewed with.

Student: Well, no…with other Chinese companies.


Me: Huh? So what exactly does he disagree with, then?

Student: Huh?

Me: Well…does he find Chinese companies disagreeable, or maybe Chinese business people disagreeable?


Me: Maybe he means he simply disapproves of your working for a Chinese company… In general

Student: Disapproves?

(I show him the meaning in the dictionary)

Student: hmmm… Well he says, in general, that chinese companies are growing very fast and are doing well now but…ummm…they have shady practices and poor management skills and so in the long run they will not succeed…in general.

Me: And did you find that information useful?

Student: Eeee?

Me: Well, you ask the man for some advice about a company and he gives you his feelings on the entire Chinese business landscape and culture without any specifics on the company you inquired about. So I wanted to know if you found any of his feedback useful at all…or as truly useless as it sounds to me.

Student: But…well, he lives in China and…

Me: …and I live in Japan. I left my family and friends in the US to come and work for a a very big Japanese company, a franchise English school. I did so dutifully for three years, and then suddenly the company folded due to…wait for it…shady practices and poor management.

Student: Nova, right?

Me: That’s right! Now, just yesterday…a guy, reader of my blog, new in town from England…over a bowl of oishii ramen he asked me about finding work here teaching English. If I were your brother-in-law, I might say something vague and in general like, “you can’t trust Japanese companies any further than you can throw them. Here today gone tomorrow…” and then share my actual experience, which would make me more qualified to paint all Japanese companies with that same ill-informed and biased brush than your brother-in-law was warning you off of Chinese companies. You follow me?

Student: You are right…

Me: I mean, if you want to start disqualifying big companies worldwide for shady dealings…in other words, greed…and questionable management, you are really limiting the playing field…I mean, America is in the economic shape it’s in now for just those reasons…and, truth be told, so is Japan…so I think it’s safe to say the Chinese have not cornered the market on those corporate attributes.

Student: Sou da ne…

Me: And I think it’s also safe to say your brother-in-law just finds the Chinese disagreeable…in general


PS: If you haven’t read Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist yet, and don’t know who the ice cream guy is, what are you waiting for? A personal invitation? Check it out! It’s available in paperback and E-book version here.

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3 Responses to “Conversations 2013 #5: The Chinese are Disagreeable, In General

  1. muratafan 16 February 2013 at 10:57 pm Permalink

    Your student is correct. Chinese business practices are notoriously short term….over 70% of Chinese firms follow the ‘low cost leadership’ model which is inherently unsustainable since somewhere, somehow there is cheaper labor. The 70% figure comes from an academic study and in the short history of the Shanghai stock exchange there has been rampant fraud in terms of defrauding investors. While you’re student did not supply any sources outside of a brother’s opinion, there are a multitude of sources that we give his claim more legitimate creedence.

  2. Bud Martin 31 October 2013 at 11:06 pm Permalink

    Yo Loco,

    Everything looks different than before, did you change the format?

    I watched a great Japanese Drama on that same subject (Chinese companies and their business practices) just a while back called “Made in Japan”: http://www.gooddrama.net/japanese-drama/made-in-japan

    In the end they recommending going and still dealing with China, even though there are problems with their companies, which sort of seemed like a cop-out after seeing the rest of the series!

    I personally don’t want to see China prosper and would like the US and Japan to have closer ties because I think very soon China will be encroaching on Japan’s undersea resources and the stronger ties with the US will help us work together to defend the whole region against Chinese conquest and takeover of energy resources. North Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan all stand to lose resources to China as they are claiming territories 700-1000 miles away from the mainland.

    • Locohama 31 October 2013 at 11:47 pm Permalink

      Hey Bud! Thanks for giving my blog another shot. much obliged (-;
      Well, everyone is entitled to their opinions on the matter. And lord knows the Chinese have done their share of dirt in the world. But I think living here and constantly being inundated with blatantly, shamelessly prejudice attitudes against Chinese people and companies, in general (haha) I guess I’ve developed a kind of bond with them, kind of like blacks and Latinos back in the US. In japan, we’re all gaijin, as you mentioned over at Ken’s spot, and so I tend to take personally any unsubstantiated negative generalizations about any group that shares my fate, to an extent, in these part.
      But back in ny! we were always leery of Chinese products. Everything was pirated or bootleg, or shoddy.
      Guess I’ve changed living here, ne. (-; thanks for the shout.

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