978-0-394-58292-4 / 9780394582924

Bulls in the China Shop





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About the book:

Bulls in the China Shop is an engagingly anecdotal, lucidly written account of the tragicomic cultural and political misadventures that ha e plagued American commer¬cial ventures over the past two dec¬ades in the People's Republic of China. When diplomatic tensions between the two countries were eased in the 197os, American businesses rushed to China, lured by the world's largest national mar-ket. As they tried to introduce capitalism to China's socialist society they soon discov¬ered that the rules of business, as they understood them, did not apply. Chinese buyers placed huge orders for which they had no money to pay; Chinese marketing bore no relation to capitalist exigencies-playing cards were named "Maxipuke" (pu-ke: poker). designer men's underwear, "Pansy": million-dollar projects already underway were cancelled without warning. The Chinese. in turn, were astonished by the indiscretion of the Americans, who prized "directness" above all in negotia-tions and were at once brash and guileless in exposing weaknesses in their own bar-gaining positions. Like Mark Twain's inno¬cents. Americans were woefully ignorant of Chinese etiquette, and prone to em¬barassing gaffes. And more: the Chi nese found the American insistence on lengthy, detailed contracts fatuous. if not insulting. Bulls in the China Shop is a fascinating look at the uneasy commerce between America and China-between capitalism and socialism-and at the cultural. politi-cal, and historical significance of trade between the two nations.

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