A simple story of French-Chinese business partnership

My Chinese mother used to say: “You must never try to make all the money and take all the advantages when closing the final deal, and specifically if your business partner just lives around the corner or takes the same bus every morning. Or worse, if you buy your fried noodles at his shop every day!

I have been growing up, studying and got many diversified experiences and still feel close to this simple warning and statement.

Short-term and unequal profit share are not linked with long-term good reputation.

My family business is 40-years-old now and, as many Chinese businesses, we need to grow in order to remain competitive.
Recently, I have chosen a business partner which brings extra capital to our business. She is a French lady, skilled, polite enough (for a French person) and friendly.
After having had a few meetings with her, I bluntly asked her: "Tell me briefly how do you think we would have lasted so long without taking into consideration our business, professional and even our life partners?" She answered, I think, genuinely: "There is no way you could have succeeded being strictly focused on your own profits and interests. Trading is both ways and is not about ignoring your inner and outside world, simply said: your partners. Benefits are for you, the family, then for your counterparts." I found this answer interesting enough to give her an opportunity.

My company is one of my prides in life, it is steadily evolving and coping with China’s incredibly fast-growing economy and our compulsory need to cope with international trade standards.

My brilliant mother then would add to my ”deep” thoughts: "Let the other fellow have a part of your cake and don’t take him for a milk cow, because, if you have a reputation for always making all the money for yourself, one day you will have trouble in expanding your own assets and you could be held responsible for creating major disasters (cf subprime crisis in 2008).

I have an analogy in my mind to explain how I feel about business: it takes both an engineer and an economist to build a strong and flexible bridge in a huge country. If well designed, the bridge will last, will bend, can be fixed, will remain, will be extended, modified and last but not least: it will be useful to me and to many others during decades, costs will be controlled and dispatched relevantly if people have a sense of business integrity.
On the other hand, business like a sand empire is fatuous, full of excessiveness and unequal profit share. Few are benefitting only while more suffer and don’t profit at all.

This analogy is not about criticizing specific markets which certainly have a necessity to exist, but also to point out the exploitation that could be happening. Using the last resources in fossil energies and conducting a culture and business culture of extravaganza (in terms of development, consumption and spending). I want to contribute to a long-lasting economy, modern and fast, built to last, coherent, integrative with a type of negotiation that would tend to build an economy which is including instead of excluding.

So what negotiation style should be used in order to respect this economic behaviour and long-lasting trend?
What should be the focus of the negotiation that is devised to close and conclude this type of deals?
Long-term reciprocal interests should be kept in mind, always.

In another article, I will write about how we can develop and maintain beneficial agreements between both parties with a relatively equal profit share. This could contribute to the building of a modern integrative long-lasting economy and not adding to poverty and mediocrity but creating sustainable and long-lasting wealth and prosperity.

Veronika Beaussant
I.N.A (Integrative Negotiation Approach)

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