EIA 016 Business West – Relations East



Jonathan Brown from Edinburgh, Scotland and Liang Sun from Shanghai, China they are both business consultants and have created a positive business relationship.

Jonathan is a senior executive and an industrialist who has worked in seven countries, started five companies two for himself and three for employers. His passion for China started back in 1983 and it is now his base.

Liang is a start-up management consultant who has been educated in Belgium, India and the USA and since returning to his native Shanghai has built his own management consultancy that specialises in client and partnership development, market intelligence, due diligence and human resources.

Together the two have formed a team that can bridge the gap to enable start-ups and established companies gain a foothold in China.

Jonathan and Liang explain the role of transactions play in China and the difference between the western and Chinese experiences and understanding when building business relationship and trust in China?

Jonathan and Liang reveal the contrasting views they have when creating business relationships and how both their experiences of living and working in several countries has equipped them to deal with doing business and understanding their short comings with regards to patience in creating business relationships.

Jonathan explains that companies should understand the difference and importance of the role that government plays in China and the importance of paying attention to the government five-year plan influence on specific business sectors, creating the grow and development experienced over the recent years and remembering not to let personal frustrations and comparison with other systems affect business decisions.

The two consultants reflect on the concept of “face” in China and what can cause business relationships breakdown give details on their own personal behavior and what they believe should and should not change.

The example of their own partnership reveals the benefits of having complimentary outlooks and skills and how cultural differences may matter to one side and not to the other and the adaptions that each might or might not make in order to maintain a positive business partnership.

Both use their experience to explain how businesses in China can overcome the worldwide challenges of finding and retaining qualified employees and the part the interview process plays in industries and markets where some companies can have attrition rates of 25 – 30% and the choice entrepreneurs have to make with this important issue.

Finally Jonathan and Liang end with their own piece of general advice for entrepreneurs that will equip them to face up to the challenges of doing business in China. Jonathan suggests “Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono”

Show links

Sun Liang on Linkedin

Jonathan Brown on Linkedin



Show Notes:

Title: Building Successful Partnerships and Managing Talent in China

– [00:00 – 00:28] Host introduces the guests, Liang and Jonathan, entrepreneurs with experience in China.
– [00:28 – 01:12] The episode focuses on building partnerships and managing talent in the rapidly changing Chinese market.

Segment 1: Building Partnerships
– [01:12 – 04:12] Liang discusses the importance of seeking counsel and finding partners with a balanced view.
– [04:12 – 06:32] Jonathan emphasizes the complementary skill sets in partnerships and the value of different perspectives.
– [06:32 – 08:54] They highlight the need for effective communication and understanding cultural differences in partnerships.

Segment 2: Managing Age Differences
– [08:54 – 13:20] Liang shares her experience of initially feeling nervous when dealing with senior individuals due to cultural values.
– [13:20 – 15:34] Jonathan discusses how living abroad helped him overcome age-related issues and treat everyone equally.
– [15:34 – 18:42] They emphasize the importance of respect and adapting communication styles when working with different age groups.

Segment 3: Addressing Skill Shortages
– [18:42 – 24:11] Liang suggests working with professionals, such as headhunters, to attract and identify the right talents.
– [24:11 – 27:37] Jonathan emphasizes the significance of spending time in the recruitment process and conducting thorough interviews.
– [27:37 – 32:49] They discuss the importance of adequate induction and providing ongoing training to retain skilled employees.

Segment 4: Retention Challenges and Soft Skills
– [32:49 – 37:00] Jonathan reflects on high attrition rates and attributes them to management issues and lack of communication.
– [37:00 – 39:27] Liang suggests entrepreneurs focus on the art of communication, team building, and creating a positive company culture.
– [39:27 – 41:12] They discuss the need for entrepreneurs to wear multiple hats and develop their soft skills to effectively manage their businesses.

– [41:12 – 41:41] Liang and Jonathan provide their contact information for further engagement.
– [41:41 – 42:28] Host thanks the guests for sharing their insights and concludes the episode.
– [42:28 – 42:43] Encourages listeners to subscribe and visit the website for more information on turning inspiration into action in Asia’s business landscape.




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