April 03, 2007

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One for the bosses to note next time they visit their China outpost, from this week's Economist:

...Aircraft to China and India are packed with executives trying to inhale whatever it is that produces rapid growth. The trouble with this approach is that in regions where efficient execution is paramount far too much time is spent ensuring that visitors from head office have a successful trip. And as local managers go overboard to display their success, they weaken their case for more resources.

One example has become a well-understood signalling device for who is visiting China: the rental of a huge billboard on the road between Beijing airport and the cuty to advertise a firm's products. The idea is that a visiting boss will see it on the drive into town and remark on the company's prominence in China. The sign is changed a few days later as the next boss, from another firm, touches down.

My question: is this just some "it sounds like it could happen so we'll turn it into fact" kind of anecdote, or does it happen for real? Any Beijing readers who can attest this either way?

posted by Simon on 04.03.07 at 09:08 AM in the China category.


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Hmm. Far be it from me to argue with the Economist, but it's looked like the same assortment of tatty billboards along the expressway since the day I arrived. Foton trucks, UFIDA software, Airbus, etc. A little more regular refreshment would be a good thing.

posted by: Will on 04.09.07 at 07:58 AM [permalink]

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