Gary Wang, Vice President of Wacker Silicones Greater China:
Becoming a China Advocate!
Changing global, regional and local business environments, means there is a trend to develop localized business strategies for Multinational companies. How do Chinese leaders have more say in the business decisions, and how do MNCs ensure success in the China market? We interviewed Gary Wang, Vice President of Wacker Silicones Greater China, and he shared his insights based on his extensive cross-cultural work experience.
How to better tell the China story at a global level？
When it comes to the issue of Wacker’s investments in China, Gary said, “The German Headquarters is adopting a slightly cautious attitude toward investment in China. Government restrictions, changing laws and regulations, increasing local competition, are factors that can make decision-makers feel uneasy.”
So as a Chinese business leader, how do you better tell China story to facilitate the process of global decision-making?
Make good preparations
Gary suggested, “You need to spend time studying the differences between China and Germany in terms of laws and regulations, and you need to move fast, have foresight, prepare and allocate resources in advance. Because it is too late to act when the policy is completely confirmed in China.”
Make good use of successful practices
“Leading companies within the industry that are larger than us are optimistic about the Chinese market, and have achieved good performance in China. So we use these examples to provide stakeholders at Headquarters reassurance about the China market,” Gary said.
Be proactive in communications
To overcome barriers of cross-cultural communication with an open and inclusive mindset, learn to style switch, this enables you to get support from colleagues at Headquarters. Gary believes that this is the most important point. He also encourages Chinese business leaders to communicate proactively. “You need to take every chance to seek out people who will influence the decision-making, whether in a formal or informal situation and actively tell them about your own position and ideas.”
MNCs should also rethink China
Multinationals are favored by Chinese talent. In order to enhance their leadership skills and explore personal growth opportunities, Chinese business leaders hope to participate directly in strategic planning and key decision-making. But decision-making mechanisms of MNCs and their perception of China can become a bottleneck for development in China. Gary offered his thoughts on how MNCs can improve in this respect.
Repositioning China’s strategic outlook
People working here need to reposition how the country fits into global strategic outlooks and strategies. China should become a contributor to rather than just an implementer of global strategies. China is no longer a low-cost labor country, but higher in the value chain, and MNCs need to change their mindset.
Focusing on human resources strategies and talent
Many things have the potential to go south due to people issues. MNCs that have just entered the Chinese market need to attach great importance to their human resources strategies in China. Meanwhile, MNCs must pay attention to the development of talent and have an awareness and understanding of competition for top talent in China.
Balance between decision-making methods and China’s speed
The top-down global decision-making and sometimes slower processes of MNCs makes it a challenge for these companies to balance Western decision-making processes and the speed at which China often moves ahead. Unless this is acknowledged some MNCs may lose out on market development opportunities due to slow decision-making.
Chinese business leaders must be confident and dare to show their position and actively communicate with decision-makers at Headquarters, strengthening their voices in global decision-making, and becoming a China advocate. Doing this creates favorable conditions for MNCs to better understand China, and to leverage their presence and their people in China to achieve greater success.