Tal Gal-On

It seems like we are hearing a lot more about China these days. Whether it’s economics, demographic, geopolitics, or anything else – China has re-emerged as a world superpower nobody should be able to ignore. If we were not working with China, we would be meeting Chinese competitors across the board. The term “factory of the world” still conjures up images of huge factories that produce everything from shoes to cellphones. China, on the other hand, is advancing at an unprecedented speed, boasting the world’s largest and most sophisticated infrastructure, a manufacturing capability which can produce almost any kind of technology you can imagine, and leaders in space exploration, renewable resources, and electric cars as well as in artificial intelligence and other fields. Chinese companies such as Huawei, Haier, Xiaomi, Alibaba, Tencent, Didi and Midea, only relatively unknown to the west a few years ago, are now booming at home and abroad, creating significant disruption and catalyzing the growth of the respective industries they operate in – whether through creative business models, a level of corporate unity and agility that is almost unmatched, or by adopting an almost ruthless approach to change. 

Many people in the West think of China as a “command economy”- a Confucian culture in which a single leader makes all the decisions. Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and some private companies fall into this category. 
China’s private sector, on the other hand, has consistently shown innovation in company management, and has produced some of the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs.

Amidst the world’s most vague and ever-changing regulations, as well as a market marked by fierce competition, these entrepreneurs must remain agile and nimble and be prepared to expand, venture into a brand-new market space, and reevaluate their business models in very short periods of time.

As part of the managers-oriented session “Between Chaos and Harmony”, we will explore contemporary management styles of China’s most successful companies and entrepreneurs, distilling the wisdom of three main Chinese philosophical pillars — Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. We will examine how one of the largest Chinese food chains adapted to the online ordering trend utilizing existing management talent, how the previously anonymous Haier — now renowned for quality products — dealt with quality problems as they arose, and examine the rotating CEO strategy of Huawei, the biggest telecom equipment manufacturer in the world. China and Chinese private companies are facing some immense challenges. We will learn from the top-notch Chinese entrepreneurs who have used determination, practicality, and agility to overcome some of those difficulties. 

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