The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we continue our conversation with Rui Ma, China Tech Analyst and creator of Tech Buzz China. In the second half of our back to back episodes with Rui, we dive into the tech trends taking place in China that may sprout throughout the rest of the world; why offline retail continues to hold strong in the West while e-commerce dominates in the East; how cultural views on entrepreneurship have embraced the professional path in a very short amount of time; we also explain something referred to as “lookism” and how it has become rampant in China; we discuss her thoughts on ‘sinophobia’ as well as the new policies in the education industry in China, wrapping it all up with some discussion on the future of cross-border between the China and the West. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Topics Discussed and Key Points:
●      Trends taking place in China that may soon quickly spread to the rest of the world
●      Why offline retail continues to prevail in the West
●      How views toward entrepreneurship and working in the tech industry have evolved over the past decade in China
●      Emerging Chinese tech companies to keep an eye on
●      Why lookism has become “rampant in China”
●      Why Rui revisited Agora and her thoughts on sinophobia and the education crackdown in China
●      The future of cross-border investments
Episode Summary:
Today on The Negotiation, we continue our conversation with angel investor and fund consultant Rui Ma, whose work involves identifying superior technology investment opportunities in both the US and China.
Rui is best known as the creator of Tech Buzz China, a paid community for investors and operators interested in China tech. Rui also co-hosts the biweekly Tech Buzz China podcast.
Live streaming in the eCommerce space is poised to explode in popularity in a few countries outside of China, including India and much of Southeast Asia. After all, according to Rui, “There is nothing culturally Chinese about live commerce.”
However, eCommerce penetration is still lower in the U.S. compared to China due to greater development of, and continued preference for, offline retail. Further, major eCommerce companies in China have gone all-in with regard to KOLs, whereas American companies, by large, have not.
Over the past ten years, entrepreneurship and the tech space have seen drastic changes on a cultural, economic, and political level. Rui shares how the government “made it socially okay” to become an entrepreneur, whereas as late as 2014 the choice for a young person to go into business for oneself was seen as irresponsible by many parents.
She then speaks on the phenomenon of lookism that she believes has become “rampant in China”. She says that “People believe that their economic opportunity or worth is tied to their physical appearance.” That is, lookism is the belief that how good-looking a person is has a direct impact on their job prospects.
Finally, Rui addresses the “lack of China perspective” among many Americans, particularly in the business world. She says that it is “very irrational to completely abstain from the Chinese market because it is already so influential, and it’s going to be even more.”
Key Quotes:
“You probably want to look at all the big consumer brands and consider that there could be the possibility that the number one player, in ten years, is no longer hailing from the United States.”
“Overall, there is a human bias for [good looks] as being a proxy for confidence; but, I think that it is even deeper in China versus in America.”
“For a lot of people who are not taking a lot of time to understand China, they, unfortunately, take a shortcut and make all of these assumptions that are not true, which I think is a pity because China, whether you like it or not, is a very large economy and Chinese entrepreneurs are very savvy and are now very-well funded, as well. So, regardless of whether or not you want to have anything to do with China, I’m pretty sure you’re going to have to deal with China in one way or another, and it’s better to understand your competition or your potential partners than to resort to some really simplistic assumptions that are often not true.”

What is The Negotiation?

Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.

The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.