Archive for May, 2009

h1

China’s Sticky Floor

May 13, 2009

A friend of mine (thanks Matt) sent over this article about the concept of a sticky floor in china’s work places.

If you are confused about the concept of a sticky floor, it has nothing to do with spittle and cigarette butts, rather it is a similar concept to a glass ceiling but for workers much lower down the food chain.

The authors claim that sexual discrimination is rife amongst China’s factories and women are unable to rise from the factory floor. Worker’s rights being a concept left for wealthy western employees.

I’m not sure that this is true though. In my experience of China, particularly of working with senior party officials, I have met many extremely powerful women. I have dealt with many companies with female CEOs and even negotiated against a fearsome female opponent who was the head of a state owned steel mill.

I am sure that the authors are not incorrect, it is just that one needs to take a step back.

I would like to see more of the study to really understand wage levels for men and women doing the same job. Perhaps they differ greatly.

However, when you look at the numbers of men and women employed in foreign invested companies at managerial level I believe that you would find a far greater number of women employed. It is a simple fact that foreign companies tend to favour women over men.

As with all surveys if you look hard enough you will always find the answer you were expecting but I do think that if we look at the economy as a whole then China is doing pretty well on sexual equality.

There is no doubt that China still has a long way to go on sexual equality but the same might be said for most western countries as well.

Advertisements
h1

Brilliant Link

May 4, 2009

This is brilliant, just superb.

A telegraph link to copycat cars at the Shanghai Autoshow.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/picturegalleries/5208546/Chinas-copycars-familiar-looking-vehicles-at-Shanghai-Auto-2009.html

Normally I have a witty comment or try to share my insight. This time I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

h1

A word about a Crisis

May 1, 2009

I just attended an excellent networking meeting. Nice place, nice people.

The speaker spoke with authority on China although still managed to bring out a couple of the most basic errors about China and the Chinese language around.

This is a shame because I suspect he really knew his stuff but it turns people off when somebody gets something like this wrong.

The word for ‘crisis’ in Chinese is weiji 危机 and it is commonly said that the word is made up of two characters meaning ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’ as such a crisis is dangerous but there is still opportunity.

So far, this makes sense. However, the character ji really doesn’t mean ‘opportunity’ it means ‘an opportunity for something to occur’ as such the best literal translation would be that weiji means ‘a moment where there is the opportunity for danger to occur’ or more simple ‘an occurrence of danger’

The second common mistake is to refer to China as the Middle Kingdom, the literal translation of the actual name for China used by the Chinese 中国 zhongguo. People often use this to say that the Chinese saw (see) themselves as being at the centre of the world.

This is not actually true, they considered their land as a sacred place that existed ‘between heaven and earth’ not the centre of this earth that barbarians reside in.

I would point out that this seems rather conceited but I am after all a POM so I am not going to lecture anyone on seeing their country as hollowed, special or anything else for that matter.

As for the Chinese seeing opportunity in a crisis, I would say that it is true, they are a smart people and smart business people from all races see crisis as an opportunity. Just don’t try to mangle the language that I love to prove the point!