Culture shock . . . when in China, do as the Chinese do
THE importance of adapting to local cultures when operating abroad has been illustrated by the head of domestic heating company Glen Dimplex.
CEO Sean O'Driscoll has told exporters that adapting to local cultures is more important than trying to impose an existing business model on a country.
His comments highlight the importance for companies operating abroad to link up with local firms who have knowledge there.
Mr O'Driscoll was speaking as it emerged that the country has a growing amount of sales in emerging countries. "We don't get involved in the culture of China because we don't understand it and will never understand it," he told a meeting last week. "That is the responsibility of our partner companies in China."
The company sources €250m worth of product from Chinese companies, most of which are captive manufacturers where Dimplex is 95pc of their business.
In the past, Irish companies have been forced to take on Chinese companies as partners before they were allowed to operate there.
Glen Dimplex has established a factory in Shenyang, the capital of the Liaoning province, which employs 500 people making storage heaters for the local market.
There has been a big increase in exports from Ireland to China, with over 60 firms now operating there.
However, while there is less regulation regarding using local partners, Mr O'Driscoll's comments illustrate the need for good local contacts.