The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we talk with Scott Laprise, Founder and Senior Analyst at Research From Beijing, a boutique sell-side research firm helping investors understand China. We talk about the importance of understanding the language and it’s nuances to really being able to understand how they truly operate, both culturally and in business. We talk about what Communism is, in 2020, and in Scott’s opinion how it is actually an “Emperorship with massive Capitalistic influences.” We talk about the importance of Guanxi and how it can affect brand loyalty and customer retention. We talk about the actual rate of consumerism, tying in a discussion of environmental impact and is our western impression of their impact accurate, precise or neither. We discuss whether China is truly innovative in Scott’s opinion, or whether they are simply masters of adaptation. Scott has a very interesting take on the US / China trade war and the impact it will have and on whom. We talk about why being a financial analyst in China is an incredibly complicated and nuanced art. We talk about the One Belt One Road initiative and why the Western media is misunderstanding China’s intentions of investing in building so much infrastructure in foreign countries. We cover a lot of ground so buckle up and enjoy!

Show Notes

Today on The Negotiation, Scott Laprise discusses his transition from a career in diagnostic medicine to a financial analyst and researcher for emerging markets specifically within China.
Scott considers Chinese languages the most important to study because of the country’s position as a key player in world business. Additionally, it is not enough to converse in English because the Chinese express themselves in a way that is fundamentally different from how Westerners communicate. Scott, therefore, always seeks to understand the Chinese point-of-view on any given topic before negotiating or simply engaging in conversation with them.
Asked whether China can still be considered a “communist” country, Scott brings context by explaining that, at one point, China (specifically Mao Zedong) sought to partner with Russia, adopting elements of their political philosophy as a result. Today, however, Scott actually thinks of China as the most capitalist country today: While there are semblances of a planned economy, the Chinese themselves are very business-oriented and are masterful negotiators.
Scott also touches on the term guanxi as a cultural aspect that is uniquely Chinese. “The more you know people, the more you can ask things of them, and the more they can ask things of you.” He also notes that time also plays a big role, considering the long-term worldview of China. That is, the longer you have known someone in China, the stronger the reciprocal dynamic present in the relationship.
Scott goes on to talk about the ever-growing consumer culture in China. The speed and bottom-line-oriented nature of the economy mean less customer loyalty and a higher amount of unregulated pollution, but all of it speaks to China’s ability to pivot and become a dominant player in the market with relative ease.
On that note, Scott states that China is not actually innovative but adaptive. The Chinese do not care all that much about patents because they do not focus on novelty. He believes that countries that impose patent laws “are the rich countries that have a lot to lose”. China’s point of view, on the other hand, is to simply “catch up”.
Scott shares his point of view on the complicated situation around the US-China “Phase 1” trade deal, as well as what gives him an edge as a financial analyst. His viewpoints on these subjects are obviously influenced by the fact that Scott is a Westerner who lives locally—boots on the ground—in China, with business experience in both cultures.

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.