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Google leaves China? – when is enough, enough?

January 24, 2010

Multinational businesses have to be prepared to adjust to a different set of rules in different markets.

I’ve worked with executives who had to make “interesting decisions” in the process of adjusting their personal value system to the local customs.  Traditionally, profit or prospects dictate these decisions.

Last week one of the world’s successful multinational companies, Google, announced that it would rather “quit China” than continue to censor its search results as the Chinese Central Government demands.

Wow.  What a decision.  Leaving the market so many companies are still trying to conquer.

I’m often asked by clients “how much they would have to change” to do business in foreign cultures; and, “do I have to become Chinese to do business with Chinese”?

Looking at the Google example, the question for all of us is:

How far am I prepared to bend my values to accommodate my business partner or to be successful in a foreign market?

If you want to answer this question with confidence, let’s talk.

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