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Challenge Your Biases

Understand East-West power dynamics, a course by David Kang.

Entrepreneurship
David Kang

David Kang

USC Professor of International Relations

Challenge Your Biases
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

When western companies fail in East Asia, it’s almost always for the same reason: impatience. According to David Kang, to avoid this fate, businesses need to play the long game, patiently gathering local knowledge to navigate the complexities of East Asian markets. A Eurocentric focus puts us at a disadvantage in making policy towards Asia.


What You'll Learn

  • How to communicate cross-culturally
  • How to expand your business to East Asia
  • Why accurate knowledge of history is crucial to global business
  • How recent U.S. foreign policy towards China affects China's economic rise and stability


Course Outline 

​EP 1: Avoid Failure in East Asia: Are You Assuming Business is the Same Around the World?
East Asia is not the place to try for a quick buck. Be prepared for complex politics and slow deal-making. Prepare in advance for the formal rules of business (policies, regulations, red tape), and the informal rules of business (culture, etiquette, danger zones). 


EP 2: Challenge Your Worldview: Are You Using the Lessons of European History to Predict Asia's Future?
Technical knowledge or general knowledge of international relations is not enough for your business to thrive in Asia. Area studies expertise is critical. Do you need to recruit talent to fill a knowledge gap?

EP 3: Explore East-West Power Dynamics: How Will the Rise of China Impact Global Trade?
At the time of this writing, the United States seems to be pushing itself to the brink of a trade war with China. The timing couldn’t be worse. China’s economic growth over the past twenty years has led to greater stability throughout the region, new economic ties, and less dependence on trade with the West. 

Episodes

3 Episodes

1. Avoid Failure in East Asia: Are You Assuming Business is the Same Around the World?

8min

When western companies fail in East Asia, it’s almost always for the same reason: impatience. There’s a mistaken assumption that the pace and the politics of business are the same everywhere in the world. Western companies that barge in looking to make a quick profit from cheap labor often end up lost in bureaucratic entanglements or being taken advantage of. To avoid this fate, businesses need to play the long game, patiently gathering local knowledge to navigate the complexities of East Asia...

2. Challenge Your Worldview: Are You Using the Lessons of European History to Predict Asia's Future?

7min

The trouble with cultural assumptions is that they’re global—encompassing and influencing our thinking on a vast range of phenomena—and that they feel to us like “common sense”: in other words, we don’t know they’re assumptions. As the West looks toward Asia as a rising force—a partner and competitor in industry and global politics, unchecked assumptions can spell disaster. But where to begin? As the foundation of most of our assumptions about the East and the predictions we base on them is our understanding of Western history, that’s as good a place to start as any.Understanding the Roots of EurocentrismMost international relations study programs continue to favor European case studies.Broaden your perspective. Europe isn’t an accurate measure of the world’s diverse populations. Look for Asian examples to inform your point of view on Asian trends.Deepening Your Knowledge of the EastIt’s ok to have a theoretical worldview, but it must be validated with local knowledge.Te...

3. Explore East-West Power Dynamics: How Will the Rise of China Impact Global Trade?

6min

At the time of this writing, the United States seems to be pushing itself to the brink of a trade war with China. The timing couldn’t be worse. China’s economic growth over the past twenty years has led to greater stability throughout the region, new economic ties, and less dependence on trade with the West. Should punishing U.S. tariffs lead to less U.S./China trade, regional trade will almost certainly increase, leaving the U.S. out of a thriving market. Keep in mind that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was an existing, regional organization before the U.S. ever joined the negotiations.A Changing World OrderBoth the U.S. and China have so much to lose from a trade war that they are incentivized to avoid serious escalation.A full U.S. withdrawal could have the effect of ceding more of the region to Chinese economic dominance. In this scenario, Asian countries would find ways to trade more with each other.The general trend of the U.S. becoming less central to economic and political ...

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