White is apparently Right in China...or is it?

This morning a somewhat interesting story caught my attention on BBC (did I ever mention that I love BBC and that I dress with my tv on BBC, and then listen to it on the radio on my drive to work?). White guy in a tie. I am sure some of you already know about it but for those of you who don't, it's basically white men for hire in China - paid to wear a suit, go press palms with Chinese businessmen and create the impression that the Chinese firm that contracted them, has international or Western connections. Of course in a global market, international business is a big deal, and a firm's connections and global networks can be vital to its business and its image as a player in the global marketplace. But the question raised in the segment was Is this fraud or PR?

Some may argue and say "Hmmm...fraud. PR. Is there a difference?" You know who you are. But really, do you think this practice of creating a false impression to bolster public image and reputation is ethical? Wouldn't it be better to try to actually position your business via real networking and marketing? I would think that establishing real relationships with companies which are deemed as valuable to their position in China and beyond would be more practical, not to mention, ethical and would in fact bring REAL rewards. I have to wonder how this works, especially if this is a new trend in China. If everyone uses this as a viable marketing strategy, then how can you trust your suppliers, your competitors etc?

As I said, it was a pretty interesting segment.

3 comments:

kramtt said...

This is like resume padding. We get upset when people invent Universities from which they got their Masters or PHd and this is no different. Maybe in the cut-throat business world, this may be an acceptable practice, but as you say, hoe can you trust a company that is willing to go to such lengths to create a false impression, so that they can get your trust.

By the way, I am also a huge fan of all things BBC, in fact I listen to a lot of their Britain specific podcasts, but still enjoy them immensely.

Soyini said...

OMG what madness! Speaks volumes about the level of how deep self-lothing runs in certain cultures.

This is fraud and has nothing to do with PR, and it's a pity they didn't consider investing in their product so that it would be strong enough to speak for itself.

trinidarlin said...

I agree with all of the above! Really dirty business.

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