Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

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reason for this, it emerged that they were concerned that if
their health deteriorated, they would not be able to care for
their families. Not just their immediate family, but also their
parents and extended family.
Interestingly enough, in Young & Rubicam’s Brand Asset
Valuator study published in 2005, Chinese youths were more
aspirational than their Japanese or American counterparts,
but they continued to hold the traditional value of filial piety
just as strongly as their ancestors had. This is the generation
that will drive China into poll position in the 21st century.
In China, there is one sure way to get ahead and that is
through education. The government has done an excellent
job identifying the best and the brightest, no matter
what remote part of China they
were born and raised in. The
system identifies and separates
them out of the masses, putting
them into the top universities in
the country.
Excellent performance in
university assures a shot at
a top job. It also provides an
opportunity for future education,
increasingly overseas.

The Power of Guanxi

The second way to get ahead is to know someone who can
help provide a better opportunity. Throughout the advent of
Communism the best way to create an opportunity for yourself
was to know someone in a position of power willing to help
you. This is called guanxi and is a very important concept.
There is a well-known Chinese expression that says ‘the
nail that stands out gets hammered down’. We can add unless
that nail is made of the Chinese equivalent of kryptonite—
personal power.
Power comes from the implied authority of position.
Most senior ranking government officials have a great deal
of power. Their positions do not net them high salaries,
but they do net them privilege. With the position comes

A strategy shared by two female
MBA students who are married
is to become pregnant when
they are departing for their MBA
so that their child can be born
overseas. This assures their
child an overseas passport and
guarantees more opportunity
for their future, which directly
translates to more opportunity
for the entire family to be
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