There’s no doubt, as the articles in this edition of the Ivey Business Journal will attest, that the opportunities for Canadian companies doing business in China are enormous – and equally daunting. Despite the huge size of the Chinese market and China’s growing economic influence, a company cannot expect strategies that work at home to be effective in China. China’s business infrastructure is vastly different, its markets are fragmented and distinct, and western-based business rules, customs and expectations simply don’t apply.

Whether Canadian companies are looking to Chinafor new export opportunities or to outsource labourintensive manufacturing processes, they need to understand Chinese markets and how business is conducted there. And they need time. As the research of Ivey’s Paul Beamish and Lehigh University’s R. J. Jiang shows, “speed to market” is not the answer. To expand successfully in China, companies must remember that acquiring the right learning takes time.

That’s certainly been Ivey’s experience in developing our new China Business MBA Stream. Ivey has been actively working with academics and business leaders in China for decades and the results, if not immediate, are nevertheless impressive. Our long-term relationship with Tsinghua University in Beijing, for example, led to the reprint of over 18 textbooks and the creation of over 16 MBA casebooks in 1998 alone. That list has since expanded to 35 casebooks, dealing with such topics as business ethics, e-commerce, corporate finance and strategic management. Ivey now leads the world in the production of Chinese business cases, with a current inventory of 338 decision-oriented case studies, more than a third of which (124) are China-based.

In addition, Ivey’s faculty and PhD students have conducted over 15 Case Writing and/or Case Teaching workshops in China. The China Teaching Project, a volunteer student-run program, has also been operational since the mid-nineties. Each year, ten Ivey participants use the case study method to teach basic business theory to undergraduate students in the School of Economics and Management at the Tsinghua University and at the School of Management at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade.

This ongoing collaboration has cultivated a valuable network of connections between Ivey and the business and academic community in China. Today, a quarter of the participants in our PhD program are from the People’s Republic of China. There are also more than 1,450 Ivey and Western Alumni from the People’s Republic of China supporting our efforts in that part of the world.

It took time to develop the in-depth knowledge, to gain the on-the-ground experience and to nurture the all-important relationships that are now the hallmarks of our new China MBA Stream. So we feel confident it will help give managers the tools and cultural training to succeed in the Chinese marketplace and to incorporate China effectively into global business strategies. Now, we can’t wait to welcome our first students to Ivey’s new China MBA stream next September.

Carol Stephenson
Richard Ivey School of Business