Why big American businesses fail in China

Failure or the possibility of, will result without a clear understanding and acceptance of guanxi. It’s not just a way of doing business, it’s China’s culture. “Spend any time in China, and you quickly learn the power of “guanxi,” or social connections. Guanxi drives business deals and government contracts. It’s the invisible glue that ties people together. It’s the sense of connection and mutual obligation that Chinese society prizes in personal relationships.” by Shawn Mahoney in China Daily Mail


China Daily Mail

If Tolstoy had written a history of foreign corporations in China, it might have started something like this: “Companies that succeed in China do so for similar reasons; every company that fails, fails in its own way.”

Since China opened up to foreign investment in the late 1970s, some of America’s most powerful corporations have gone confidently into the People’s Republic, only to stagger out a few years later, battered, confused, and defeated.

It’s not because the businesses were incompetent. Many of the biggest failures belong to the Fortune 500: MatteleBayGoogleHome Depot. All of these have thrived in markets around the world, but not in China.


Some suffered from a lack of flexibility, or a failure to localise. Others fell because of bad timing, or a superior local competitor. While the causes are as varied as the industries themselves, a pattern…

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A New Day, Brooklin, Maine


A New Day, Brooklin, Maine

I love this snapshot. I had this photo included in a collage for a new blog post. After reviewing the collage I felt this church photo was a stand alone. There’s a certain calmness to the image. Perhaps the correct word is tranquility. Or, perhaps I’m just a romantic at heart!


The Handwritten Note – June 1884

There’s something to be said about a handwritten note. The sentiment behind the note littered with emotion and character makes a handwritten note so much more appealing, inviting, and attractive. Sure, the note takes longer to reach your recipient; but, what a smile it brings! It does take longer and more effort has to be made. After all we are forced to use the old fashion pen and paper, stuff it in an envelope, buy a postage stamp and send it via snail mail.

In this microwave era we don’t make time to actually pen a note. We want everything quick, easy, and convenient. Everything is and has to be faster. The quicker the better. It’s an obsession! The more technologically advanced we become the further away we get from creativity and imagination.

When was the last time you sent a card in the mail? No, not that awesome app that you send the picture to and it creates a card for you then sends it out to your loved ones. I mean when was the last time you actually sat and wrote out a note or card and mailed it out via snail mail? When was the last time you didn’t rely on spell check and grammar check to ensure your notes were properly composed?

I spent the first part of July traveling throughout Maine, USA,  and visiting different antique shops. I wanted something vintage to add to my collection of, “Old” things (no punt intended towards my husband ha ha) I happen to open a journal of sorts and saw the following note. It’s a simple note; but, the sentiment is beautiful.

An Autograph

A note from John E. Milton from Danforth, Maine.
June 1884



A side note: One of the most romantic things to receive besides a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, or flowers is to have a love letter accompany such a sweet gift. Or a , “remember when”, card. Well, when it’s for your loved one of course. As a mother and wife, I love to receive cards and letters of all types. When the note is from my children it’s especially touching when its handwritten.


I See The Light – By Mari Madrigal

The following photo’s were taken by my daughter Mari. Mari is 13 and loves photography and anything relating to the environment. Her photo’s were taken with a Windows 920 phone. I asked her to pick 3 of her favorite shots so I could share with you. 

The photo’s were taken at the Roann Covered Bridge, Roann, IN. A small little town located in the midwest and nestled between two small but larger towns.

Hope you enjoy!

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#1 – Strange Questions From Innocent Minds and Mouths

Do you see black people where you are from? Have you ever touched a black person? Wow! I couldn’t believe such questions were being asked and that they were coming from an 11 year old. I took the time to answer his questions and explain there is no difference. The following is a brief transcript of our conversation. 

Boy – Do you see black people where you are from?

Me – Yes, of course. America is very diverse with all cultures and people from all over the world. (I had to explain what diverse was). 

Boy – Have you ever touched a black person?

Me – (With a smile). Of course, I have friends and family members that are black. My nieces and nephews are part Mexican and part Black. They are biracial. 

Boy – With wide eyes and somewhat of a frown he said, “You Do”?

Me – Yes. They are beautiful children just like you. 

Boy – No, not like me. I am light yellow and you are white. They are black. 

Me – Actually, you are darker than they are. My skin is light but I am actually Mexican (had to explain that). See we are all the same just lighter and darker than one another. I further explained that my older daughter purposely goes to a tanning bed (had to explain this one to) and likes to sit outdoors to sunbathe. She likes to be really beautiful and dark. 

Boy – He frowns and shakes his head. My mom likes to be white because it is beautiful. 

Me – I smile and respond, yes that’s beautiful too. I purposely changed the direction of the conversation back to the lesson at hand. 

Racial discrimination, oppression, persecution and abuse of all cultures is still very much alive all over the world. Our world continues to evolve into a greatness; however, discrimination is one topic and fact of life that we can’t seem to get beyond. A difference can be made one person at a time.



A Student’s Gadget

I had a student excitedly show me something new today. Laoshi, Laoshi (teacher teacher) look my watch is also a phone. I must have stared at him for a full 10 seconds before I responded. John (not his real name) that’s nice, I’ve never seen a watch that is also a phone. With a smile I asked if the phone part was on. He assured me it was not on today. Hmm… I wondered if it’s been on in the past.

What an interesting gadget! Have you seen a watch like this and what are your thoughts on it?

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A Quick Stop in Gloucester, Massachusetts

We traveled as far north as Brooklin, Maine and as far south as Greenwood, Indiana. We chuckle at the miles we put on our Jeep. What happens when you keep us from driving? Well, we make up for it in one swoop. Ha! While living in China we can’t drive or are not allowed to drive. I happen to think it’s just my husband being over protective and telling me we can’t drive vs. he doesn’t want me to drive. But, that’s an argument for a later post.

This map doesn't tell of all. It does however give you an idea of where we were.

This map doesn’t tell of all. It does however give you an idea of where we were.

One of my favorite stops was in Gloucester, Massachusetts (pronounced Glahster) A very lively and picturesque town with some of the best fried haddock we’ve ever had. I was so excited because this is the town where the movie, “The Perfect Storm with George Clooney was filmed back in 1999. We walked up and down the road looking for the bar, “The Crows Nest” and couldn’t find it. I guess the fame of the movie and filming location excitement has worn off. Jeez it was only filmed in 1999, guess I was a bit late for the excitement. After walking so much we decided to stop and eat. We wanted something local so the restaurant of choice was Captain Carlos. Fantastic food and location to say the least! TShirt

We were seated in a perfect spot right by the water overlooking the harbor. Of course we had to do the tourist thing and purchase some T-Shirts from the joint. A memorable evening.

Photo by dbking

Photo by dbking


This sculpture is located at the top of Duncan Hill overlooking Gloucester Harbor. The sculpture is called Fitz Hugh Lane Sculpture by Alfred N. Duca.

This sculpture is located at the top of Duncan Hill overlooking Gloucester Harbor. The sculpture is called Fitz Hugh Lane Sculpture by Alfred N. Duca.