Chinese influence on the U.S. and global economies Part 4 of 4

In this fourth and last of my four part series on the Chinese influence on the U.S. and global economies, we focus on the benefits of working with international expertise for your business if you have plans to enter the Chinese business market.  My own extensive Asian market business experience prompted me to write this series for you to help you understand more about how you can open your business to benefit from the Chinese markets.  (for access to the first three articles in this series, go to

Cultural mistakes can cost you big time

In 1973, Procter & Gamble was trying to expand their Camay soap line in Japan. Their ads showed a Japanese man meeting a Japanese woman for the first time, and complimenting her on her porcelain-doll like complexion (achieved with the company’s soap, naturally).

Over the next 13 years, the company lost $25 million in the market. The Japanese weren’t to be soft soaped.

The best of intentions…

P&G is a big company, and it had been warned by an advertising consultant that the ad (which had run successfully in many other countries) wouldn’t work. But P & G execs ignored him.

The problem was that while Western cultures saw the ‘porcelain doll’ compliment as flattering, in Japan it was seen as disrespectful. The ads were saying ‘use Camay and attract rude comments’. (Check out more examples like this of marketing translation mistakes –

It was a very particular, cultural difference due to a lack of understanding between Western norms and those in a very different society such as those around the Pacific Rim. Often the differences are more down to earth: legal, logistical, linguistic, even meteorological, and they can be a minefield.

International experts can save you time, money and embarrassment

If you are doing or thinking of doing business with China, for example, consider hiring international experts who will bring with them the kind of experience and knowledge which will help you learn from other people’s mistakes.  Experienced international consultants will help you to:

  • spot potential disasters in time for you to take avoiding action.
  • educate you and your employees in specific cultural differences and viewpoints.
  • understand the economy and marketing strategies of China.
  • identify the critical components of your international business plan and their impact in a culturally different marketplace.
  • sort through the legal and government rules and regs.
  • avoid costly mistakes.


Establishing your company in the Chinese market is a long term project, and needs substantial time, money and resources.  The rewards are potentially huge, but so are the risks, so skimping on a small part of that project can cut both ways: not only could you miss out on profitable business, the whole exercise could open you up to costs you hadn’t dreamed of.

Measure that against the ability to have someone on your team who has already spent considerable time in the country, knows the people, knows the law, knows the market and it’s clear the advantages it will bring.

Auditors and business consultants with international expertise, especially in Asian countries like speedily emerging China, can make a huge difference in whether your international business efforts soar or sink.


Share Your Comments and Feedback