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1999-04-10: Workshop "Interkulturelles Management" (Englisch)
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1999-04-10: Workshop "Interkulturelles Management" (Englisch)

Twenty-eight young Chinese entrepreneurs from five provinces met in Guiyang (Guizhou Province) with two young entrepreneurs and managers from Germany to learn in one week about each other's culture, business styles, negotiation practices, and methods of solving conflicts. Bastian Broer and Yang Tao, two expert moderators of the German Institute for International Management (IFIM), guided through four workshop sessions and three subgroup discussions. A visit to two local enterprises, the provincial Foreign Trade Commission, and two scenic sites in the area were also part of the program from April 5 to 10, 1999.

Dr. Sigrid Blehle, owner of a medium-sized wholesale business near Frankfurt, expressed her surprise about the entrepreneurial energy and fascinating charisma of the Chinese private businessmen. "Their vigor compares to the founders of the Economic Miracle in Germany after World War II. Some of these Chinese entrepreneurs started off with a few hundred dollars just a few years ago, and now own business groups with tens of millions in sales volume. I am seriously interested in doing business with them." Blehle, who is also Executive Vice President of the Junior Chamber Germany (WJD), plans to report to the 10,000 members of WJD about her experience in Guiyang. She also wants to invite the young Chinese entrepreneurs to join in the activities of Junior Chamber International (JCI) and to attend the upcoming World Conference of JCI.

Donat Sammer, CEO of two clinics in Bavaria and member of the Executive Board of Junior Chamber Bavaria, even started specific talks with one Chinese entrepreneur about importing traditional Chinese medicine to Germany. He wants to encourage Bavarian Junior Chamber members to increase their links with China. He also plans to organize meetings of German Jaycees with a delegation of young Chinese entrepreneurs who will visit Germany through the DIHT-ACFIC Partnership Project in September.

Zhang Yue, Chairman of the Board of a GMP-standard pharmaceutical and property management group in Guizhou, said that after the workshop, it would be much easier for him to do business with Germany. For his pharmaceuticals production, he had imported a modern production line from Germany for several million dollars but had difficulties during the negotiations. He now understands German business practices much better and plans to focus on Germany in his further international trading strategy.

Wang Jinhua, Chairman of the Board of Guizhou Dawn Group and vice president of Guizhou Association of Young Entrepreneurs, expressed his gratitude to the organizers and said he had learned more than he had expected. He and a number of other Chinese participants are currently considering establishing a branch company in Germany. They were pleased to receive practical information about the process and to know whom to contact for further assistance.

Most of the Chinese entrepreneurs were delighted not only to learn about the intercultural aspects of doing business with Germany but also to encounter modern Western workshop methods for the first time. The two expert moderators had implemented a variety of workshop activities such as role-plays and production simulations in competing groups. "In the simulation, we not only learned a lot about teamwork, we also had fun producing high-quality note pads from scratch", said Zhang Zhijun, General Manager of the Shenqi Co., Ltd., who also owns the workshop venue, Guiyang Holiday Inn. Several Chinese participants now plan to use these workshop methods in their own in-house training and for external presentations.

Helmut Schoenleber, DIHT Project Director in China, expressed satisfaction about the workshop. "This was the first German-Chinese business interaction workshop organized by our partnership project. In my view, it was a great success. If both Chinese and German young entrepreneurs continue being interested in each other, we will try to organize more workshops of this type in the future."

Chinese and German entrepreneurs at the workshop

The moderators in action: Bastian Broer (left) and Yang Tao

A role game on trade negotiations

Introduction and exchange of namecards

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