It is great to be back in China again. Emily D’Ath at Beasley Intercultural is based in Shanghai and recently met with Geraldine Doogue and her team from ABC radio when they were here recording a special series on China. On the plane over, listening to the podcast was a good warm up to being back in China again – it focuses on the evolving nature of Shanghai and Chinese engagement with Australia. It is a good summary of some of the complexities of doing business in China, and of the particular nuances and challenges Australians need to be aware of. Seamus Cornelius, a Senior Partner at Allen Arthur Robinson who has worked in Shanghai since 1994 makes the point that understanding how ‘the system is different’ is a key element of success in China, and that if you can develop this understanding you hopefully won’t make it to the courts. You need to know how to develop and negotiate the ‘guanxi’ and relationships with government and key local stakeholders to minimize risk to operations.

Another interesting interview is with Dr Dan Sun, Vice-President of Honeywell Asia-Pacific. Dr Sun is an agricultural scientist by training, who was born in China, sent away for re-education during the Cultural Revolution, educated at Griffith University in Australia, and then become Australia’s Trade Commissioner in both Guangzhou and Shanghai before joining Honeywell in 2006.

Other elements of the program examine: art, individual expression and the challenges of propaganda and government censorship; patriotism, self-criticism; (mis) perceptions of China from Australia and the nature of the Australia/China relationship.

Worth a listen!