Mattia Marino, CEO of Ambrosetti (Beijing) Consulting talks about how knowledge of Chinese culture—and mastery of the language—are necessary requisites for helping companies launch and position their products on the local market.
“An ex-pat in China for the first time, after three months, thinks he understands the Chinese; after a year he is ready to write a book about the country; but as the fifth year nears, finally he realizes he doesn’t know a thing, because this country is completely different,” says Mattia Marino, CEO of Ambrosetti (Beijing) Consulting.
“Mastery of the language is a necessary tool for being able to form an independent view that is not filtered through Chinese colleagues or interpreters. This is the only way to generate value for clients,” says Marino, who stresses that, nonetheless, language is just one tool.
“Negotiating a contract with a State Owned Enterprise or Chinese administration and having it be honored is like dancing a tango with a partner always on the verge of slipping away. The signing of the contract is just the point-of-departure, not the arrival. It is the start of an on-going negotiation process that requires a certain ability to decipher the new context, foresee the other party’s moves and identify the counter-measures without straying too far afield from the original contract.”
Mattia Marino is one of the over 500 Bocconi alumni in China, where on March 11th in Shanghai the fourth Bocconi Alumni Global Conference will be held.
CEO, Ambrosetti (Beijing) Consulting Ltd