Tag: China



Last month, Russia and China declared that their friendship had “no limits.” But since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, that friendship has been strained. As the war has gone on, China has sought to distance itself from Russia to avoid the same financial sanctions and economic isolation that has rocked Russia in recent weeks.

Most recently, China’s top envoy to Washington went as far as to pledge his country “will do everything” to de-escalate the war in Ukraine, but refused to condemn Russia’s attack. 

Following President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping March 18, international business experts John Horn and Patrick Moreton at Olin Business School offered their perspectives on the developing situation, the challenges facing China and what impact its actions could have on the Chinese and global economies.

China is watching closely

All along, China’s stance in the conflict has been more anti-American than pro-Russian, said Moreton, professor of practice in strategy and management and academic director of the Olin’s MBA Global Immersion program.

Moreton

“China’s official narrative on Ukraine reflects their dissatisfaction with the position the U.S. has taken on issues that they consider core interests, including Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong—to name just three—and a general chafing at what they consider the American outsized role in the global political and economic system,” Moreton said.  

“I would expect that these are some of the issues that will come up when the U.S. and China sit down to discuss Russia and Ukraine.”

Horn, professor of practice in economics, agrees.

“My sense is that China is looking at this not as a communism versus the rest of the world construct, but rather as China versus the rest of world construct—what’s best for China,” Horn said.  

Like many countries, China likely thought Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was going to be a very short-term effort. If this had transpired, and Russia did not face strong pushback from other countries, Horn said China could have interpreted that as an opportune time to militarily take control of Taiwan.  

But much to Russia’s chagrin, the situation has not played out as expected, putting China in a tricky position.

What’s at stake for China?

Horn

“From China’s perspective, Russia’s attack on Ukraine, if successful, could have provided an increased opportunity for China to partner with western Europe as a trade alternative to the United States, if the latter had been seen as unable to use its leadership position to prevent the Russian aggression,” Horn said.

Moreton added, “There is also the possibility that China sees considerable opportunity in the current crisis and may very well be asking the U.S. and the European Union for concessions on issues it considers important in exchange for a particular response to Russia’s request for help.”

It’s a delicate balance for China, though. The Chinese government and businesses are acutely aware of how Russia’s actions have decimated its international business and trade and want to avoid the same fate. While China is Russia’s No. 1 trading partner, China relies more heavily on trade with the European Union and the U.S.

Beyond financial and economic implications, there are also serious reputational issues at stake both outside of and inside of China, Moreton said.

“The fact that the Chinese people aren’t being allowed to see what is happening in Ukraine seems to me to be a clear indication that the Chinese leadership sees a legitimacy problem at home if it supports Putin and it becomes widely known just how wrong his invasion and conduct of the war has been,” Moreton said.  “The Chinese people are not indifferent to the suffering of others, and they, like most Americans, expect their government to conduct itself in a moral manner.”

From a global perspective, Horn said, “The Chinese government appears to be playing this situation in a way that at the end, China is stronger than where they were a month ago relative to the United States, relative to Western Europe.

“And while a successful Russian invasion could have drawn into question the U.S. role as a global leader, the fact that the majority of countries have followed the U.S.’ lead with economic and trade sanctions, and that there hasn’t been a backlash toward the U.S. more broadly, makes that potential goal harder to achieve,” he added.

What is the best approach to working with China?

Moreton said it’s important for Americans to recognize that each country has many different types of interests, some of which are familiar and others that are quite different based on culture, stage of development, regional and global security, etc. 

“In that regard, I think it’s important for Americans to recognize that what we think is right or wrong may not appear so to China and vice-versa,” Moreton said. “This doesn’t mean we acquiesce to these interests. Rather, it simply means that countries trying to work with China have to try to understand their interests and offer a set of carrots and sticks that resonate productively with China’s interests and are consistent with the country’s values.”

But imposing economic sanctions on China is likely not on the table, in part because it would be too politically risky for the Biden administration Moreton said.

“The fractured nature of the American body politic makes harsh sanctions on China like what we have imposed on Russia very hard to pull off politically,” he said. “There are plenty of political and media opportunists who will jump on an opportunity to beat the Biden administration about the head for the inevitable disruptions that this move will have. To pull it off right now would require a level of political leadership beyond what I’m seeing in our political system.

“That’s not to say that more selective sanctions like we currently have aren’t possible, though.”

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Image: Shutterstock)




In March, Chinese students gathered in Beijing and Shanghai for two weeklong residency programs. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the residencies were the first time many of the students met in person.

Members of the Weston Career Center team in both the US and China designed the programs, and undergraduate, MBA and specialized masters students attended.

Each day’s activities centered on one of Olin’s pillars of excellence: values-based, data-driven decision making; global experiences; entrepreneurial spirit; and experiential learning. The week culminated with an experiential learning project to solve a real-world business problem for the athletic footwear company New Balance.

Throughout the week, students interacted with classmates, engaged with alumni, listened to industry leaders and met with their career coaches.

The human connection

The opportunity to meet her peers face to face stood out to Ruxin (Andrea) Zeng, MSBA ’22. She’d met her cohort through Zoom, but the residency gave her opportunities to interact with her peers in a casual environment.

Learning from industry leaders

Wenxin (Hugo) Xue, MSCA ’22, enjoyed the opportunity to listen to industry leaders. As a business analytics student, he was excited to learn more about the future of big data and how it could affect his career.

Endless opportunities in business

Similarly, Yang Shen, MSBA ’22, found it helpful to learn more about different opportunities in business, whether he networked with employers or listened to various distinguished alumni.

The WCC team planned excursions for students to enjoy during breaks from their coursework. The Beijing students took a day trip to the Great Wall of China, while the Shanghai students took a night cruise down the Huangpu River.




As President Trump plans to slap steep tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports, a uniquely American tradition could come under fire: Fourth of July fireworks.

John Horn

John Horn, a WashU Olin international trade expert, predicts fireworks will light the skies next month because cities and towns placed their orders months ago. But the next Fourth?

“The skies could be empty,” Horn said. That is, if the proposed tariffs are imposed and continue into 2020. China’s likely strategy will be to use fireworks as a “political toy” heading into the election season, Horn says.

How? By completely banning sales of fireworks to the United States, he says.

Horn is a professor of practice in economics who helps companies develop competitive strategies and who leads war game workshops.

The United States hasn’t yet imposed tariffs on fireworks, but fireworks are on a long list of products facing a 25 percent penalty if China doesn’t make a broader trade agreement with the White House soon.

An uproar before the election

To retaliate over US-imposed tariffs, Chinese President Xi Jinping could ban shipments of fireworks to the United States next year to create an uproar before the presidential election, Horn says.

“I wouldn’t be surprised. ‘Oh, you know what? We’re having a shortage of the necessary chemicals, and we need it for other purposes, and we just can’t export it to the United States this year,’” Horn said. “It’s sort of like [Xi] has threatened with rare-earth metals.” 

Manufacturers use those metals as components in smartphones, cameras, flat-screen TVs and a lot of other things, including defense technologies. China dominates the world as the metals’ supplier.

China is the dominant maker of fireworks, too. Last year, the United States imported 277 million pounds of fireworks from China, representing 99 percent of backyard fireworks and 75 percent of professional display fireworks, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Julie Heckman, APA executive director, plans to testify today before US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and to request an exclusion for fireworks from the tariffs.

Trying to ‘make people feel threatened’

If the United States excludes fireworks from tariffs, China might mess with the fireworks supply anyway to mess with the US, Horn says.

“I think what China’s trying to do is to make people feel threatened,” he said.

The number of US products on which China could slap tariffs is relatively low compared with the harm US tariffs on Chinese goods can do to China, Horn says. So Chinese officials are targeting what could upset tech companies, farmers and all Americans.

“If you can’t have your iPhone and you can’t sell your crops, that’s going to be significant.”

And if you can’t have your Fourth of July fireworks …

“I can see fireworks being a really big one,” Horn said. “It’s Americana.”




The Executive MBA International Residency is often the student favorite of the program’s four required residencies. In between once-in-a-lifetime visits to historic sites in Shanghai and Beijing, EMBA students meet with program alumni and business leaders, exploring China’s unique economy, markets, and global leadership.

EMBA 49 recently returned from the International Management Residency—and if these photos from EMBA Student Services Manager Cory Barron is any indication, it was an exciting experience.

Monday: Facing strategic challenges

After a day of sightseeing at The Great Wall and Forbidden City, students buckled down for business on Monday. They kicked off the residency with site visits to Nestlé’s R&D Center and Xiaozhu.com, the Chinese Airbnb.

After a tour of Nestlé’s R&D Center, Stanford Lin, Vice President & Head of Strategy and Business Development for Nestlé-China, presented EMBA 49 with a strategy challenge. Teams were asked to develop a product to address complex strategic challenges while navigating global, regional, and industry considerations—within a 30-minute time frame.

Terrell Jones presents his thoughts on the team’s marketing strategy, while team members Mehul Gandhi and Matt Reasor listen. 

Melinda Chu explains her team’s product concept under the scrutiny of Nestlé’s Stanford Lin, VP & Head of Strategy & Business Development, and Roberto Reniero, Head of R&D, Nestlé China.

 

Next on the agenda was Xiaozhu.com. Founded in 2012, the Chinese version of Airbnb has expanded to branches in 13 cities all over the country, with house sources covering more than 130 domestic cities.

Students learned about the difficulties Xiaozhu initially faced in establishing a sharing culture in China. However, Xiaozhu.com CEO Kelvin Chen says the company is now adding 1,500 new listings per day.

Xiaozhu translates to Piglet. Piglet is a sign of a happy home.

Panlan Shi shows EMBA 49 the floor of coders building Xiaozhu. 

 

Tuesday: Taking in Shanghai

EMBA 49 took Tuesday to travel (via high-speed train) from Beijing to Shanghai for the rest of the week’s activities. After arriving in Shanghai, the group took in Shanghai’s skyline on a dinner cruise of the Huangpu River.

Jared Ogden passes the time crocheting while speeding south on the train. He says he learned the skill while trapped by a storm in Alaska, where he had plenty of time to learn a new skill. 

A closer look at Jared’s quality craftsmanship.

 

EMBA 49 cruising on the Huangpu River, which separates the new, glitzy Shanghai Financial District from the older, European architecture of the Bund area.

 

Wednesday: Exploring consumer preferences & entrepreneurship

With a few site visits under their belt, EMBA 49 was ready to delve deeper into China’s economy. Speakers from Weber Shandwick, McKinsey & Co., Sigmatex, and AmCham covered a myriad of topics, from China’s entrepreneurial digital revolution to Chinese consumers and the regional economy.

Later, students put their negotiations skills to the test with a visit to the Shanghai Fabric Market.

Darren Burns, President of Weber Shandwick–China, describes how his company’s PR and advertising campaigns are reaching the middle-class Chinese consumer online. Using live streaming is a critical part of their strategy for their Western clients trying to join the conversation in China.

Mehul Gandhi looks pleased when his negotiations calculate to an agreeable price at the Shanghai Fabric Market.

John Ortegon negotiates a better price on a new scarf while at the fabric market.

 

Thursday: Site visit to ZTE Corp. & business panel

EMBA 49 kicked off Thursday with a site visit to ZTE Corp.’s R&D Center. ZTE is the global leader in telecommunications and information technology, achieving an annual revenue of more than $15.3 billion in 2016.

Since 2010, ZTE has been ranked among the world’s Top 3 for patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, so it seemed a natural starting point for Executive MBAs to learn more about corporate innovation.

EMBA received a warm welcome from the staff at the ZTE R&D Center.

EMBA 49 looking sharp in their ZTE lab coats.

The cohort was then treated to a panel discussion featuring leaders from Novus Intl., Dun and Bradstreet, and Qingdao ADR Axles China Manufacturing Co.—two of whom are alumni (Chiara Radrizzani and Jesse Huang, both EMBA Shanghai Class 14 graduates).

At Thursday afternoon’s executive round table, Flemming Mahs, Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Novus Intl.; Huang Jiexi, Privacy and Compliance Director for Asia, Dun and Bradstreet; and Chiara Radrizzani, Asia Pacific CEO, ADR Group, share with EMBA 49 the cultural intricacies of doing business in China. 

 

Friday and Saturday: Field Studies & Fudan University

EMBA teams spent Friday working on their marketing research projects, breaking out into groups for health care and consumer field study.

The students also got a taste of life as an Executive MBA-Shanghai student, sitting in on a class with Finance Prof. Todd Milbourn and exploring the campus at Fudan University, Olin’s global partner in the Executive MBA-Shanghai degree program.

Friday’s sunrise in Shanghai.


Learn more about the curriculum and residency opportunities in Olin’s Executive MBA program.

Guest blogger: Cory Barron, Student Services Manager, EMBA team




Olin Business School’s Executive MBA program in partnership with Fudan University in China is number seven in the 2017 Financial Times’ annual ranking of the world’s top 100 EMBA programs.This survey marks the sixth consecutive year that the Olin-Fudan EMBA has been ranked in the FT’s top ten global programs.

Alumni of the Olin-Fudan program reported gains in the important areas of salary increase, career progress, and work experience. Olin-Fudan EMBA graduates are among the top earners of the schools in the ranking with an average salary of $360,250, the third highest globally.

“Olin’s partnership with Fudan University pioneered the executive MBA in China in 2002 and has consistently been a leader,” said Mark Taylor, dean of Olin Business School. “The large number of top American and European business schools that have followed us to Asia in recent years are a testament to our successful program and our outstanding alumni who have propelled their global careers to new heights after earning the Olin-Fudan EMBA degree.”

The Financial Times ranking is based on two surveys: one of business schools and one of their alumni who graduated in 2014. Criteria in 16 categories are weighted for the overall ranking. For more on the FT ranking methodology and details of this year’s survey, link to the Oct. 16 edition of the FT.