By Mike Genung

In the past year:
A good friend of mine who was also a customer died.
The president of a factory in China that we’ve sourced from before was killed in an auto accident.
A man my family and I knew and used to sit next to in church passed away. He was in his 50’s.
Another friend of mine, also in his 50’s, died from cancer.

By now, you’re probably reading this and thinking “what the heck does this have to do with importing from China?”

Whenever someone I know dies, especially if it was a good friend, I’m reminded again of how incredibly valuable people are and how short this life is. About a year ago I attended a conference on doing business in China. The speaker summed it up well when she said that “doing business in China is all about relationships.”

It’s easy to get caught up running through our checklist of tasks and forget that our bigger priority is simply to help others. When the phone rings and interrupts what we’re doing, there’s a person on the other end, someone who may be having a bad day. Perhaps there are strained relationships at home. Maybe today their load is heavy, and there’s something I can do to help a little. Maybe all it takes is listening.

We’re supposed to be professional and leave most of the personal stuff out of business conversations. The shallow things are okay; “I went on vacation last week; had a great time with the wife and kids.” Most of the time, I stick to the professional line and don’t ask questions about people’s personal lives, neither do I offer my own story. People are calling me for help on how to purchase from China; to go outside of this box on my own would be inappropriate to the purpose of why they’re contacting me.

Yet there are times, when someone calls, and somehow a need is brought to the surface and they just need to talk, or I find that I have common interests with the other person, and it adds an extra dimension to the relationship that gives it new life. 

In other words, there are times when Life interrupts business, and we’re reminded that we’re all people again who have short lives and real needs. We need those moments because it helps us to keep our priorities straight. People who lead balanced lives and carve out time for their loved ones have more enthusiasm and creativity for their work than those who are constantly obsessing about it and the never-ending list of tasks that need to be done.

I have found that those times when Life interrupts business to be a blessing, one that I need to keep my head screwed on right. Maybe you’ve discovered this too. 

“Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am.
Psalms 39:4

Personal Vs. Professional Life in Chinese Business Culture
By Zhizhou Zhu

A few months ago I had an interview with a Chinese company, the interviewer asked me questions like: “So are you seeing someone now?” “When do you plan to get married?” so he can make sure that I will be able to make a significant time commitment without family burden. This story shocked my American friends. (“What? That’s illegal!”)

In the Chinese business culture, personal life is not necessarily separated from work. Networking outside work, which includes binge drinking, giving gifts and so on, is one of the most important things you need to do to get ahead in your work. Of course, you may argue that for people who want to make a fortune in New York or become a senator in Washington DC, it is probably equally as important as well…
Read the rest of this article here

New Facebook Page
We now have a Facebook page for Global Trade Specialists up. At the Facebook page we’ll be making weekly posts with updates, news, points of interest, videos, and more. We already have one video up along with a cool picture of Queen Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong.
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The Exchange Rate
The exchange rate remains the same as it was last month:
Yuan to the dollar, as of today: 6.12 to 1
Rate when the Yuan was depegged from the dollar on June 19, 2010:  6.82 to 1
Change: .70 (10.2%)

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Previous Newsletters:
August: Video: Who We Are
July: What You Need to Know about the ISF Penalty
June: Tiananmen Square and Freedom
May: Our Most Critical Asset
April: Contrasts Between East and West
March: The Titanic; Made in China
February 2013: They’re Back… Sort Of
January 2013: Business News and Trends for 2013

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