Oct 26 2011
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Business education building bridges between the GCC and China
China may be the second largest economy in the world and the UAE's second largest trade partner (with reportedly around 3,000 Chinese companies and a community of some 200,000 Chinese residents in the UAE) but there are still significant challenges to developing bilateral trade and relations to their full potential.
According to Professor CAI Maosen, a Chinese professor at the University of Tongji in Shanghai, China, the major challenges to doing business in China range from culture to values and languages. He recommends that the GCC should build cross cultural expertise through bilateral education, and the promotion of China as a tourist destination.
The challenge is being taken up by Manchester Business School's (MBS) MBA students from the Middle East, following the launch of a 'Doing Business in China' MBA module. More than 150 MBS students worldwide have already attended the course in China, which was launched by the school in January 2010.
MBA students at MBS in the Middle East are increasingly interested in the new module, through which they undertake an intensive workshop at the MBS centre in Shanghai, China, in conjunction with MBS' partner university in China (University of Tongji) and led by local Chinese faculty.
Professor CAI Maosen of Tongji University in Shanghai, China, comments: "From a Gulf perspective, the major challenges to doing business with China mainly lie in law, culture, traditional customs, religious beliefs, values and languages. For example, few employees in Chinese companies can speak Arabic, or vice versa. China and the GCC should encourage collaboration between their universities to get more familiar with each other through language training programs as well as trade and cultural exchanges."
On steps the GCC could take to facilitate trade with China, Professor Maosen adds: "Firstly, the Gulf countries should strengthen the cultivation of experts in Sino-Gulf commerce and trade as well as talent specialising in Chinese laws, culture, tradition customs and language, and thereby laying a solid foundation for further business ties between China and Gulf countries. Secondly, the Gulf countries should encourage their students to pursue study in China and at the same time recruit more students from China, which is essential to the bilateral relationship in the long run. Lastly, the Gulf countries should promote China's image and encourage their outbound tourists to visit China as a preferred destination, which will improve the Gulf's understanding of China."
MBS' 'Doing Business in China' MBA module aims to help participants understand how China's growing economic power, together with it's shared international responsibility, is reshaping the geopolitical and business landscape of the world, as well as to provide an introduction to the practicalities of doing business in the country.
South African resident of the UAE, Mr Chris Liebenberg, an MBA student with MBS, attended the Doing Business in China module alongside MBS students from around the world and found the experience to be insightful and rewarding.
"To do business effectively in China, you need to understand the business world framed within the unique cultural context, including concepts such as 'guanxi' - a Chinese term which describes the process of relationship building with business contacts, which is central to working through networks in China," he says. "The course gave us both Western and Chinese perspectives into doing business in China and cultural insights which are so important. We also visited the VW plant in Shanghai for first hand view. It's a highly respectful and courteous society where business decisions cannot be rushed and so patient is a real virtue."
According to Randa Bessiso, Middle East Director, Manchester Business School, many multinational companies enter China's market and some succeed while others fails, in this large and complex market. "The "Doing Business in China" MBA elective teaches a wide range of knowledge, from the current situation of China's economy to cross cultural communications and marketing and branding strategies for China. By the end of the programme, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of China's development, priorities set by the Chinese government, and comparative strengths and weaknesses of China's economy, business practices and culture."
MBS operates an international network of seven executive centres worldwide and is also planning to start the 'Doing business in Brazil' Module.
Manchester Business School is the UK's largest campus-based business and management school. It provides a comprehensive range of undergraduate, postgraduate and custom-made executive programmes, for organisations from both the private and public sectors. Manchester Business School holds triple MBA accreditation - AMBA, EQUIS, AACSB. All successful MBA students are awarded a degree by the University of Manchester and no distinction is made between the different learning formats - all have reached the same high standard expected of a Manchester MBA.
Issued on behalf of MBS Middle East by WPR.
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