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Why American internet companies fail in China: a cultural perspective

Business September 5th, 2016, DONG Jielin / Associate Professor and Member of the Academic Committee, Research Center for Technological Innovation, Tsinghua University

Different hierarchies of needs explain why, in the internet industry and other high-tech industries in China, there are both the Chinese way and the Silicon Valley way of doing business, and why some big American companies have been struggling to make headway here. High-tech sounds high-up, but for online service providers, it all boils down to understanding other people’s ways of thinking and doing things. They have to understand local governments, their employees, business partners, users and clients. Looking back, the U.S. internet giants that failed were simply out of tune with the Chinese market. They didn’t clearly see the importance of understanding Chinese culture; they talked to the wrong people in the wrong ways about the wrong things.

Value creation and global chains: new business models

Business June 29th, 2016, Corinne Vadcar / Senior Trade Analyst, Institut Friedland

The slowdown in international trade and the digital revolution converge to shake up global value chains, a paradigm for international trade since approximately 25 years. A value chain, it should be recalled, encompasses all of the activities that form a product or service, from its conception to its use by the end consumer. The globalization of value chains that began in the early 1990s opened a cycle that now seems to bend. On these different links, the way value is created changes greatly. Western companies draw lessons by changing their business model. But emerging countries have also entered the game. Ultimately, maybe only a few winners with a global corporate status will be left.

Is there a future for the British steel industry?

Industries May 11th, 2016, Elie Cohen / Economist, Senior Researcher, Sciences Po

The sinking of the British steel industry has resulted in confusing, and sometimes contradictory debates. The politicization of these challenges tends to obscure questions having primarily to do with industrial strategies. Strategies of the concerned companies of course, but also those of States and Europe.

The great convergence: China’s future lies in its west

Business December 12th, 2015, Julien Legrand / Yenching Scholar & Mines ParisTech Engineer

Since Reform and Opening Up began in 1978, China has witnessed exponential double-digit GDP growth. While the coastal regions provided most of China's GDP growth, central and western China were quickly outpaced, as they lacked both the openness and the infrastructure needed to adopt this model. Coastal-inland inequalities are now closing the gap.

A pocket-sized multinational

Industries November 10th, 2015, Georges Jobard / Chairman, F2i, Innovation and Strategy Consultant

Clextral is an engineering company located in Firminy near Saint-Etienne, France. It employs 275 people including 80 engineers, sells its machines in 88 countries and has subsidiaries and offices on every continent. What's the secret?

Articles analyzing why there's no Chinese innovation are all over the place. Meanwhile, the situation is changing at a rapid pace. How do Chinese entrepreneurs move from imitators to innovators? To better understand these issues, our Chinese edition invited a number of pioneers and observers at the front-line of domestic and international innovations.

Competitiveness in the industry: let’s talk about services

Industries April 7th, 2015, Vincent Champain / COO France, General Electric, Co-chairman, Observatoire du long terme

Today, manufacturers operate in a harsh competitive environment. How can they maintain and develop their competitive edges? What kind of industrial policy can help them when facing this challenge?

2025: how would a Digital Earth deal with Ebola?

Science and Technology February 2nd, 2015, Dan Abelow / Inventor, technology consultant and author

It's 2025, a Digital Earth where continuous connections are everywhere, yet it's a planet where infectious disease outbreaks can erupt anywhere and spread worldwide in days. To provide a strategic health care firewall against medical crises and bio-terror, the Centers for Disease Control have matured digitally into a global, real-time e-CDC. New medical threats are identified, responded to and contained 24 x 365. As a real-time partner of health services around the world, the e-CDC's digital presence is everywhere. In this continuously connected future, it uses the best specialists to deliver the best medical protection everywhere, instantly, all the time.

This is the other side of globalization: more and more cases of misunderstanding. However, it is not impossible to avoid them. All you need are a few keys that allow you to step into the other person's shoes. Here are ten such keys, covering some especially sensitive points met in the business world.

The new shanzhai: democratizing innovation in China

Industries December 24th, 2014, David Li / Co-founder of Xinchejian (hackerspace) and Hacked Matter (think tank)

Compared to the evolution of the Maker Movement in Western countries, China has already formed a much larger bottom-up ecosystem, manifesting the ultimate goal of the Maker Movement - democratizing innovation. We call it the New Shanzhai, after the Chinese word for copycat. The question is, what will happen when these two worlds meet together?

Growth or stagnation? A world tour

Business November 14th, 2014, Eric Chaney / Chief Economist AXA Group & Head of Research AXA IM

Is the global crisis behind us? The divergent development of major emerging countries, Europe and the United States reminds us that despite a strong tendency for unification during the past two decades, despite our growing interdependence, the world economy is still highly fragmented. Under the circumstance, it doesn't make sense to draw a general picture without taking a closer look at these differences: between emerging and advanced countries, between the United States and Europe, and even within Europe itself.

Offshoring or reshoring? A dilemma for service activities

Industries October 30th, 2014, E.M. Mouhoud / Professeur of Economics, Paris Dauphine University

Delocalization and automation are now impacting the service sector, with noteworthy consequences on employment in developed countries. Even in the case of highly intellectual activities, a number of inherent tasks can be codified and pre-programmed; some of the processes involved can be automated just like similar industrial applications. The tasks can be automated or executed remotely. Notwithstanding, not all services can be delocalised. It is in the interest of any territorial entity (conurbation, region, city…) seeking to define its strategy for future development or reconversion, to identify and indeed reinforce those services that offer clear competitive edges.

Robotics Series – 6 – Terminators of the world factory?

Business October 23rd, 2014, Fangru YANG / Executive Editor of Modern Weekly Business Page, Taiwan high-tech industry observer

You may not know Hon Hai, but it is to produce 70% of all iPhones 6. It also operates the largest factories on Earth. Terry Gou, founder and chairman, based his success on cheap labor costs as well as audacious merging strategies. Will the rise of automated factories mean the end of this success story, and more broadly the end of China as the world factory? As a matter of fact, Mr. Gou is fond of robots, and he won't be the last to launch an automated factory. But he may need Chinese arms for a while. Here is why.

The African digital boom has already begun. McKinsey estimates that the contribution of the Internet to the annual GDP of Africa could rise from $18 billion in 2014 to $300 billion in 2025. Yet, all the countries are not addressing the digital wave with the same attitude.

What’s fueling the African Growth?

Society March 20th, 2013, Lionel Zinsou / CEO, PAI Partners

A few decades ago, when Africa was crumbling under the burden of debt, economic forecasts were very pessimistic. But the vigorous growth of African economies has proven them wrong. Where does the African growth come from? What are its specificities? What does Africa need to be able to race with other great emerging countries?

Chinese capitalism and its future

Society March 1st, 2013, Michel Aglietta / Professor of Economics, Paris Ouest University, Scientific Adviser, Groupama Asset Management

Between planned economy and privatization, Chinese capitalism is trailblazing its original path. What will the next twenty years be like? To form an idea, we must go over the course of reforms that have been carried out so far, while taking the full measure of a major phenomenon, which should encompass 300 million more people within a few years: urbanization.

Reshoring, really?

Business December 20th, 2012, ParisTech Review / Editors

Is the globalization wave starting to wane? Various recent indicators suggest that Western companies have started reshoring manufacturing jobs, those qualified and well-paid jobs that provided a social platform for the development of industrialized countries. But experts disagree on both the magnitude and the meaning of this phenomenon. Only on one fact do they agree: the United States will be the largest lab of the reshoring process.

Is there such thing as a Beijing consensus?

Society December 12th, 2012, Yves Tiberghien / Associate professor of Political Science and Director of The Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia

During its 18th Congress held in last November, the Chinese Communist Party has been discussing the country's economic future. At a time when many questions arise about its upcoming challenges, one must take a look back at the current model. Will the spectacular success of the Chinese economy bring forth a Beijing consensus as a successor to the Washington consensus?

Has international trade reached a deadlock?

Business September 5th, 2012, Pascal Lamy / Director-General of the World Trade Organisation

Has international trade come to a standstill with the crisis that started in 2008? Things are not that simple, says the Director-General of the WTO. While protectionist pressures may appear here and there, the real question revolves around the growing complexity of trade and the structural limits inherent to the technique of negotiation rounds undertaken by member states.

Developing the Chinese market is a top priority for many multinational companies. Across industry sectors, however, they face a common obstacle: attracting, developing and retaining the local Chinese talent needed to accomplish this goal. Lack of supply is not the only issue.

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