Powerful, Different, Equal: Overcoming the Misconceptions and Differences between China and the U.S.

18.Mar.2020

By: OnePeice Work


Recently, we’ve gotten used to the challenges that arise from the uncertainty between China and the United States: the turbulent global landscape, volatile technical competition in various industries, and the challenge for prosperous entities to coexist.

In the current wave of globalization, China and the United States are closely linked economically - more so than other countries across the globe. Young China Watchers and OnePiece Connect co-hosted an exclusive interview with Pete Walker, a Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company. As a leader at one of the world's leading management consulting firms, Walker had much to contribute to our discussion about trends and predictions for the relationship between these two major global economies.  

Why Are There Stark Differences Between China and The United States?

Pete Walker has visited China more than 80 times. In those visits, he found that the reality of what he sees in China is far different than what he reads about the country. Fundamental differences separate China from the United States.

The first is the cultural difference between collectivism and individualism. China pursues the spirit of community and emphasizes the importance of collectivity. Thanks to thousands of years of cultural tradition, people are valued between heaven and earth.

However, the United States values the pursuit of individual struggle and independence, believing that the constant chase of individual interests and happiness will ultimately promote the progress of the society as a whole. Thus, in social matters, personal needs and wants are considered first.

With the deepening of globalization, these two countries began to learn from each other through cultural exchanges to advance and develop their own cultures. Particularly in business, China and the United States have disparate values and mindsets.

For example, in negotiations, Chinese people tend to have a comprehensive way of thinking. Concepts are perceived first as a larger whole, working from big to small. The small details of a larger concept aren’t the priority; to solve problems, Chinese people often opt to make overall decisions. Under the framework of general principles, broad matters will first be addressed, followed by the smaller components and details. Americans tend to have an analytical and a linear way of thinking. American businesspeople are used to expressing concrete ideas in clear, direct language and paying attention to specific details in negotiations.

Implications of the Disparity Between China and America

The differences between China and the United States will create obstacles in the development of cross-border markets. However, the differences between the two countries will also create more opportunities for enterprises.

Improved digital technology infrastructure, including growing computing power, the accumulation of big data, and algorithm breakthroughs, will have a positive impact on business cooperation and development between China and the United States. This encompasses great improvement in education, medical care, the service industry, and other aspects of the Chinese and American economies. The wave of immigrants in the United States brought about a balance and optimization of different cultures, constituting the country’s innovative culture. But, the United States and other Western countries can learn a lot from China's experience in the popularization and development of mobile payments, such as Alipay and WeChat.

An increasing number of Chinese companies are going overseas to the United States, and more American companies are starting operations in China. This drives the urge to gain more space for existing core businesses and heightens competition in local markets. However, without the proper management of the differences between China and the United States, it can be difficult to conduct business successfully. The business cultures of China and the United States are neither improving nor digressing. But, progress is being made by the two countries in gaining an understanding of each other and seeking common ground while reserving individual differences.

The most effective solution for growth in the business cultures of China and the United States is greater communication. The more perspective you have on foreign business cultures, the more business opportunities you will create. Truly understanding the value of two different markets and pursuing innovation to create value for customers is the fundamental source of growth in global business.

Where Should I Go For The Growth of Cross-Border Business?

In today’s highly dynamic and ever-changing business environment, we’re experiencing a more complex global landscape with rapid technological change. Additionally, this innovative environment has brought about infinite possibilities and new opportunities for cross-border enterprise development.

OnePiece Connect (OPC) is a cross-border enterprise resource platform with several locations around the world. It’s committed to linking Chinese and American enterprises with quality resources from both countries, providing multi-directional solutions for the globalization of today’s enterprises.

Relying on our strong network of resources, foundation of community members, and years of cross-border service experience in China and the United States, we’re equipped to promote cross-border business. Specifically, we can provide cross-border resources and enterprise services to international enterprises. These tools will help match enterprises with Chinese and American resources, working to expand their international vision. Ultimately, these efforts will speed up business development and enterprise innovation.


OnePiece Connect, a business line of OnePiece Work, provides global expansion services for companies with the goal of unlocking international markets. We offer strategic consultation services for global business expansion, along with access to our extensive overseas platform and international network.

OnePiece Connect hosts a series of events throughout the year designed to foster discussion on cross-border trends. Each event brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and product leaders from various industries to share and discuss their insights. The event program is made to encourage collaboration between talented professionals from around the world, spurring growth and an understanding of the opportunities created by the cross-border industry.

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Business China communication Cross-border Companies Crossborder innovation Multiculturalism OP Connect Strategy Wechat