On Wednesday, at the inaugural AmCham Chinese Government Affairs Committee conference, distinguished speakers from a wide range of sectors identified trends defining China’s government relations industry, and provided practical advice on engaging with government leaders.
Morning panelists repeatedly conveyed the need to fully integrate GA with business operations by involving GA departments in the highest levels of company strategic direction setting and training employees throughout the company to understand the role individuals play in overall GA efforts. Beyond these activities, one “Chinese characteristic” of law making – “strategic ambiguity” – means that the government leaves room for interpretation of the law so companies must continue government outreach as new laws are interpreted and implemented.
Ken Lousberg, President of Terex China, suggested that GA professionals shouldn't shield company CEOs from challenges presented by the Chinese market. Allowing CEOs to experience some of these challenges firsthand during visits to China offices can serve as an invaluable education that allows them to make more informed decisions about company operations in China.
Speakers (including those pictured above: Jiyuan Sun, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group; Nanbin Zhuang, Vice President, Government Program of IBM Greater China; Jane Zhang, President of DaoHe ZhiYuan Consulting) also emphasized the importance of advocacy platforms like AmCham China that organize provincial trips, organize meetings with key leaders, and leverage the voices of multiple companies to make key messages heard. Finding points of agreement across an industry and utilizing these kinds of advocacy platforms can make a message more widely heard.