“Losers cheat some people and get caught. Winners cheat the whole world all the time.” Tom Doctoroff quotes Tang Jun, a former corporate celebrity in China who recently fall from his pedestal. Has the Warren Buffet of China become its Bernie Madoff?
Is Tang Jun without moral scruples? To westerners, the answer is, of course, yes. He built his reputation on, at best, half truths and, at worse, outright deceit. Further, former colleagues at Microsoft and Shanda describe Mr. Tang as a pseudo-leader, perpetually detached, more interested in managing his image amongst foreign bosses and investors than generating lasting shareholder value.
Interestingly, however, the post-scandal reaction of many ordinary Chinese was far more ambiguous, sometimes sympathetic. Although this case unleashed a tidal wave ofschadenfreude, the masses were more titillated than up in arms. According to one 35-year-old professional, “He was only doing what anyone in his position would do.” And another: “Tang Jun got caught. He pushed it too far. But, today, it’s so competitive. We have no choice but to play the damn game. Face is everything.”