Oil & Gas Business: China - A Cultural World Apart
During the recent festive season, the bulk of which I spent in Australia, I stopped in China for a few days. I’ve never been to China, and I was looking forward to visiting a country that has greatly influenced the world’s oil and gas landscape over recent years.
It’s no secret that China has displayed astronomical growth rates due to an industrial revolution of sorts and China now has a higher demand for oil than any other country. Unlike most Western countries, which do not generally intervene in oil companies’ purchasing decisions, the Chinese authorities have placed increasing emphasis on investing in equity stakes to gain control of overseas assets.
In an attempt to satisfy this growing thirst for the black gold, we have witnessed China strengthen relations with many oil producing nations throughout the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. Going by recent rates, there are few pies in which their state-owned giant CNPC do not have their fingers!
Their unique approach, although aggressive, seems to be paying dividends in a country that now has flat or even slightly negative growth in domestic production. Despite their success, I have met a lot of people in this part of the world who are of the opinion that the Chinese, when it comes to business, like to carry out theirs ‘under the radar.’
So what is China actually like and what are the people like? The answer is very different to anything I have experienced before and different to how those people describe them.
I landed in Ghangzhou, the third largest city and (by many accounts) the pumping industrial heart of China. It’s not like Beijing or Shanghai because you won’t find many tourists there. Everybody is Chinese.
The truth is that the people who reside in this hugely aggressive world power are some of the nicest people I have ever met; wonderfully receptive, extremely polite and also very helpful (despite a huge language barrier).
Even this industrial epicenter is steeped in history, with temples in plain view as you walk along cobbled streets. If you ever get the chance make sure you pay the place a visit, regardless of how you may view their foreign policy.
By Chris Corander
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