The question for international negotiators is shifting from "How much do you want China?" to "How much does China want you?" Organizations that don’t have a good answer may find themselves in a very weak bargaining position. The China-MNC romance is starting to look like a desperate tale of unrequited devotion. (Just in case you’re wondering, the MNCs are that desperate guy insisting how great it’s going to be.)
Google is just the latest high-profile suitor to have its hopes dashed – but at least it didn’t compromise its ethics or vision so badly that it can’t live to fight another day. Google made its share of blunders, but there is still a lot that the rest of us can learn from its pain. Here are five take-aways:
5) Walk away slowly and leave the door open to come back later.
Remember – the censorship issue was probably a face-saving cover for hacking and security issues. China is doing much the same – treating Google’s exit as a purely business decision. Don’t be too surprised if Google maintains some kind of presence in China and eventually returns with an online product. That’s still possible because the Google people haven’t burned any bridges – so far.
Andrew Hupert is an adjunct professor at New York University in Shanghai and publisher of ChinaSolved and ChineseNegotiation.com.
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