The Good, Bad and Ugly of Chinese Corporate Presentations

Would Walt Disney be rolling over in his grave at the sight of Disneyland Shanghai? When Walt created the first Disneyland theme park in California he would kneel down at various spots to understand what it would look like from a child’s perspective…he wanted to make sure that even the kids had a great view.  Disneyland Shanghai has taken that to the next level by making everything substantially larger than any other of their theme parks. The Shanghai Disney castle is now the largest actual castle in the world. Scale and bigness is everything in China.

Unlike the ever growing popularity of western style TED talks which emphasize gripping storyline and vivid visual presentations Chinese presentations tend to emphasize sterile facts and numbers. The bigger those facts and numbers that describe the company the better.  A typical presentation sequence would look like:

  1. 40 engineers with 5 PHDS and 10 Master degrees
  2. R&D floor space of 3000 m2 and factory capacity of X widgets per hour
  3. 100 product lines with X and Y performance specifications
  4. In business for 10 years

If you were to walk into the office or factory of most traditional businesses in China you could find a very very large room full of 100’s of their products lined up on their walls.  Bigness and numbers establish the message that the company has the capability to do anything that the customer requires whether it might be relevant to their business or not.

As consumers and business customers (both in China and America) get more sophisticated and have less patience to set these requirements, Chinese businesses that are winning are going from a “here is what we have” personality to “here are the problems we can solve for you” personality.  Although bigness and scale might never really go away because of its embedded meaning of credibility in Chinese culture, you can be sure even the Chinese consumer likes to save time and are looking for new products that help to solve their everyday problems.

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