Published: March 3, 2010
I had the opportunity to make a new friend last week – someone who had, it turned out, recently attended my annual predictions talk in Bellingham. He had spent the last 20 years building two communications companies for a Japanese parent corp: one in the U.S. and one in Canada. He kept the latter.
In other words, he struck me as a very smart guy.
Our conversation turned quickly to Asia, and he told me two things I found interesting and a little surprising.
First: The Japanese think long-term, as in 100 years; they see the Chinese as short-term planners, with business more driven by connections/family. Your friend changes businesses, you follow him in as a supplier.
Second: Of all their competitors on the global stage, the Japanese fear the South Koreans most. During the late-night drinking sessions, these are the folks who dominate competition worries.
Now, I have always thought that the Japanese probably had the best understanding of the China model (see “What Is China?” 1.4.2010), so this statement really caught my attention. While the rest of the world is focused on China and the effects of its new model, what are the Japanese thinking?
I asked if it was possible that this perception was changing as China grew, and he said it was possible, but he had not seen any evidence of it.