Blog: Chinese culture clash
Dave Leggett | 1 June 2007
Myself and Graeme Roberts have just been chatting about something in the Chinese media concerning this week's MG-TF 'start-up ceremony'. Meaningful activity is actually months away and there are plenty of unanswered questions. That's not to say we don't wish them all the best. If the operation finds a niche and employs some people at Longbridge in the process, great. But the British media tends to ask questions where there are questions to be asked.
And there seems to be a culture clash when Chinese execs are faced with Western media asking questions that are a little awkward. I noticed the same thing last year at the Nanjing press conference in London. At one point an exasperated Chinese exec, exhausted from evading questions through an interpreter, told the agitated media crowd something like, 'write nice things about the car, or better still buy it yourselves, and it will be a success'. It's almost as if they can't understand why we're not falling at their feet with gratitude. Tough questions instead of standing ovations.
It would, I expect, be a rather different press conference experience in China. Here's how the Chinese official state media reported this week's Longbridge ceremony. Talk about positive spin.
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