The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with the 31st Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn Graham. Since leaving office Shawn has dedicated his career to a focus on China working with a number of businesses in China both as a partner and as a consultant to China-focused enterprises. We look back at his time as Premier leading trade missions to China, welcoming trade missions from China, and reflects on how amazed he is every time he sets foot in China how fast their economy is growing, and the challenges Chinese manufacturers face as their quality of goods begin to match and in cases exceed the quality of their international competitors.

Show Notes

Today on The Negotiation, Shawn Graham discusses his transition from a politician in Canada to a business consultant in China. As the 31st Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn participated in a highly successful trade mission to China which brought an influx of new business for the Atlantic province.
Speaking of the various Canadian business leaders that Shawn accompanied on his trade mission, the former premier refers to the experience as a “baptism by fire”. At the time, China was quickly evolving and rapidly expanding its access around the world. There was huge potential for growth in this emerging market.
Shawn admits that he fell short of how far he could have taken the mission since his first trip to China also happened to take place during his last year as premier. “You need to be in China on a regular basis to cement those [business] relationships.” Beyond simply shaking hands or signing a contract, it is imperative to build an intimate, human relationship with a potential Chinese partner before any business can be done.
What amazes Shawn about the Chinese economy is that it seems to have grown dramatically every time he makes a visit (nowadays he visits up to eight times in one year). There are 30 million Chinese citizens that move into the middle class each year. This means that disposable wealth is on the rise, which means that the Chinese have grown very particular about who they do business with in order to maintain a good income. Shawn has seen many businesses fail because they march in to “do the deal” before establishing a friendship.
For anybody looking to do business in China, it helps to know a few important things. One of them is understanding the challenges peculiar to Chinese companies. As an example, Shawn brings up the ongoing talks to possibly bring Huawei and its 5G technology to North America. Another consideration is the climate. China has had a pollution issue for a long time and cannot accept being penalized for it when North America has been exploiting its environment for profit for over a century themselves to varying degrees. At the same time, one could say that China’s one-child policy was the country’s biggest sacrifice for their environment.
The bottom line, says Shawn, is that “the Chinese are not coming. They’ve already arrived. It’s best to learn to do business with them rather than against them.”

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.