Module 3 of GROW trainee program took place in Shanghai on February 24-28th. This time, the 22 Stora Enso global trainees spent a week learning about doing business in China from IMD business school. The week was very intensive including lectures from university professors about Chinese economy, visits to companies, a non-for-profit organization, a university of traditional chinese medicine, a local government and, of course, Stora Enso Shanghai office.
One of the aspects of Chinese culture we learnt about during the week was that building personal relationships is a very important for doing business in this country. This includes ceremonies of welcoming guests that might seem very formal and pompous for a westerner and gift giving. Every company was welcoming us as if we were important business partners for them and make them a great honour with our visit. But in truth, they were making a favor to us by allowing us to learn how their companies do business in China.
Inspite of such welcoming attitude towards guests, Chinese companese can be very tough in business. As we learnt, one of fundamental principals of Chinese culture can be illustrated as a square inside a circle, which means you should be smooth with outsiders but have firm principles inside. Business leaders in China attach a tremendous amount of attention to innovations and even local governments in China vigorously compete with each other. And we as a company need to act very fast to stay competitive on this market of great opportunities.
One of the highlights of the week was a class of Tai Chi, which as we discovered required a lot of strength inspite of the slow and seemingly easy movements.
As one of our professsors pointed out after the class, he was very impressed with our Tai Chi outfitts (but unfortunately not yet with our movements).