SNAPSHOT: Avery, Bonner, Robbie, and Nancy Briggs stand before the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
China is far away, but the Internet is everywhere. Briggs has kept his friends and contacts up-to-date on his experiences through his web site, BootstoBeijing.com. He took time between sight-seeing, deal-making, and learning Chinese for “Italian food” to answer some of our questions via e-mail.
What do you miss most about Dallas? My friends, blue skies, and milk.
What’s been the biggest adjustment for you and your family? Everything takes longer here. For instance we have to go to the bank to buy our gas to heat the house. The gas company rations the amount, so it only covers a short period of time. In our American world the efficiency of this system would not be tolerated, but here it is a way of life.
What have you observed as being the main difference between doing business there and doing business in the states? I have barely begun doing business here in China, [but] consummating a transaction here is much slower and more tedious than we are accustomed to. I might be told that I will get a response to an important business question within a few days. Weeks may go by. Then aspects of “the deal” you thought you had settled are open to negotiations again. I think for foreigners here, it takes a good deal of patience.