Interestingly, most of the rejection has been of Asian companies; expressly, Taiwanese (Foxconn) and Japanese (most recently the car plants in the south whose workers went on strike while Foxconn staff was suicidal; and the rampant protests in Chinese cities against the Japanese in 2005). Mostly, Western companies, which in general tend to pay their workers more than their Asian FDI counterparts and – again, generally – tend to treat their staff with a bit more respect than Asian investors – have gotten off with little more than job-hopping youngsters who will quit and join another company for a 50 RMB raise in salary.
Still, that’s not to say that Western companies should be complacent about social upheaval in China that could affect their operations. Recall the boycotts of French brands and retailers in 2008, when the French government made gestures that drew the ire of Chinese hardliners: Carrefour and Auchan had a tough time of it while thousands of Chinese protesters all but ransacked the hypermarkets. American businesses must remember the ritual stoning of the American embassy in 1999 (oops, we bombed which embassy?) and then again in 2001 (spy planes like us).
What about your contingency plan? – Bill Dodson
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