Business of Zhending Chicken – Part II

I talked about Zhending Chicken and their strange policies days before. After that, there is another similiar discussion on airlines. These discussion reveals the difference in culture and business conduct in China and U.S (representative of western or international world). There are other articles on this topics: Diversity, Consistency, and Efficiency, Diversity, Consistency, and Efficiency – Part II. I am afraid this will be the sixth article along the row on this topic.

Zhending Chicken Continued

On the previous article, I outlined many strange conduct of Zhending Chicken. I don’t think it is 100% wrong, or right.

People Takes People-People Relationship Seriously

I am reading some China ancient books, like confusious, and Laos, Daos. They all focus much more about the relationship between people – how you should be havior to archive the harmony of the relationship (instead of efficiency).

In Kening’s comment, I, for the first time, learnt the term: Judeo-Christian. During my search for this term, I was let to this page:

But what does “Judeo-Christian” mean? We need to know. Along with the belief in liberty — as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity — Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries. That is why American coins feature these two messages: “In God we trust” and “Liberty.”

With the common believe of God (the system we are in), people in U.S. are more willing to follow the rule instead of people. However, in China, at least from what I see, people tend to follow other people’s instruction, stead of laws. Why a policeman at the cross-street can greatly help to enforce the traffic law is an example of “people-people relationship” or “people-system relationship”.

Customer’s Need: Price or Quality?

I totally agree that quality, consistency, and value are very important for business, but businessman need to have much better insight into the Chinese market before using exactly the same belief in China.

For example, Price really rules in China. See the long line in the shopping mall. When people said they are willing to pay more for something if the quality is better, they are not typical customers. Whenever people are willing to pay additional money for better quality, that means it is just a very small portion of spending in their life. What if it is the major one? I still remember the time when I was in university. To go to KFC is very luxurious for the 20 RMB meal. We only plan once or twice in the whole term to go there. In this sitution, Zhending Chicken obviously offers much more than KFC. We always need to distinguish the so-called “middle-class” (i don’t like this term), and the majority of consumers in China.

China is changing

China is changing, and consumer’s behavior is changing (in a very slow fashion).

16 thoughts on “Business of Zhending Chicken – Part II

  1. It is true, chain. The problem for this equation is, in a developed country, most of people would like to pay additional money for better quality, while in developing countries, although there will be many people willing to pay, but the majority of people don’t want to.

  2. I am one of those who are willing to pay a premium for a better-quality product and I believe so are most of my friends, well-educated and relatively high-income class. I don’t think the problem of price-quality depends on the willingness, instead, it is much more a problem of disposable income and the portion of that consumption in your disposable income. And another issue is, what is the so called quality? Should the pychological satisfaction be part of the “Quality”, probably we need to look at this problem from a whole new angle. Yet I do agree that Chinese consumers are far away from mature.

  3. The dumpling house at Yu Yuan,

    Ground level – no service – rmb 8 per 16 pieces

    first level – self-serve – rmb 16 per 16 pieces

    Top level – full service – rmb 25 per 8 pieces

    Liu, have you see which level has the most people queuing for it? This also explains the disposable income received by the general public after paying off other necessties.

  4. Stephen, it is a shame that I’ve never been to the place you were talking about, which BTW sounds like an awesome place to grab a bite, and I no longer live in Shanghai anymore. My point is that most people would be willing to pay a higher price for a better quality commodity if their income is high enough to allow them to do so. Agree it or not, it is just my personal opinion. My father earns 2000RMB a month and he definitely can afford for a silk shirt that costs 200RMB but he is always buying cotton shirts which are much cheaper. Does he like silk shirt more? Is silk shirt better than cotton shirt? I guess so. But constrained by the income level, my father has to make a trade-off.

    Again, I have little understanding about economics and am open to any opinions. I am not trying to argue anything.

  5. Wang JianShou , I have been reading your blog for a long time now, but never commented – despite often intending to. Your helpful information on Shanghai and other places and themes is often appreciated on my many busines strips to that city and the region. Thanks so much!

    I am prompted to do so now, not over your comments on China, but on the definition of “Judaeo-Christian” you have used. I am afraid this is a somewhat biased definition, emerging from web site that is not really representative of most of the West. America is not the only nation based on Judaeo-Christian values and principals. I am afraid that is the view of some Americans (eg. the website you visited), and gives them the idea that their society is better than any other, which is why they are so dangerous on the world stage just now. (I am not anti-America by the way; just upset at the arrogance of power.)

    The nations of Europe all come from a Judaeo-Christian worldview, having based many of their cultural values and laws on the Christian Bible and the Jewish Bible (Christian Old Testament). America derived its laws etc from Europe. We may not have “in God we trust” on our money, but it is the basis of our most established laws, etc; and liberty is central to our constitutions. All of these emerge froma central understanding of the value and dignity of every human person, who are made in the image of God according to Jewish and Christian teaching. Those values are being tested in our culture regularly, as indeed they are in major ways in the United States, justified especially by “the war on terrorism”.

    Don’t be tempted to see China versus US in such black and white terms. The US and Europe may have good ideas at the roots of our culture, but they have been ignored many times in history as we have colonised the worldand left our messy and detructive footprints on many nations, including China through the Opium Wars, the International Treaty ports, etc; and more recently in the Middle East. China is changing; and the rule of law is becomign a reality.

    Lets learn from each other, rather than let the West tell us they are good and everyone else is living in darkness!!

  6. Peter, thanks. I have a little bit sense of what you said on the word. I used it very carefully, since till now, I still don’t understand the meaning of “Judaeo” till now. So it will be dangerous for me to comment on it – the most ridiculous thing is, everyone understand what I am saying, except me. :-D So just take it as part of the research effort – to understand new terms is always exciting for me.

  7. JS,

    Can you tell me how ordinary Shanghaiese tackle queue jumpers, when I was in Shanghai, I always challenge the person who dare to jump the queue and it works, but people usually surprised at my action. I know this activity has been a folkways in Shanghai, so I need to know the usual tactic by the local people against this activity. Any comment?

  8. Jian Shou, You are a lot wiser than you think!! The wise person always wants to understand more deeply, rather than all the time appearing they know. That is especially true when dealing with interaction between cultures. I have the same unwillingness to comment on Confucius. Take care!

  9. stephen, unfortunately, I don’t know how people deal with queue jumpers. Personally, I will touch the person and give a sign using my hand, pointing to the end of the line. To reserve the “face” of the guy is important to avoid conflict. It works most of the time.

    For many people, they just jump into the front of the lines, even, before the queue jumpers – though causing a previous formed line into a mass… :-D

  10. Thanks Peter. There are just too many things that people in both parts of the world don’t understand each other. We need to be patient. Also, I continously get complain on this board about my less of understanding of culture, and there are enough complain in China about people outside don’t under China. It always happens. Internet is a great way to make this conflict happen, become so real, and eventually shape the world into a more similar world (what we call globalization) – I don’t know whether it is good or not. At least, it is good for economy.

  11. JS and Stephen.

    It’s funny you talk about cue jumping. As I have an Asian face, I feel that the locals assume that I am one of them so it is ok to jump the cue. If I had a white face, I think the Chinese locals would think twice before doing it.

    My motto is to be polite until “someone screws with you”. ;-) In other words, I will line up in cues, hold the elevator door open (not shut it right when you want to enter… haha), and also allow people to exit the elevator before entering! Normal western things most people tend to do… even in HK.

    These days, I’m not as polite as JS when I see a cue jumper. I think because I come from a western society, I’m fed up with well educated people being rude to strangers.

    With these obnoxious people that jump the cue or cram 100 people in a small elevator, I will raise my voice and let it be known that it is not right. My Chinese isn’t that good (I learned it after moving to Shanghai) but it is good enough to make them lose face. Sometimes, I would be polite and ask a double negative question like, “don’t you think smoking in a non smoking area with a pregnant woman beside you is bad?”. Other times I would just say, “line up like everyone else!”, or “give me some space and line up, will you??”.

    Something kind of funny happened in Beijing. We were cueing for the taxi for 30 minutes at the airport and 2 guys jumped the cue in front of us. No one said a thing (everyone was Chinese in the line up that day). As a foreigner, I couldn’t handle that so I let it be known that they need to get back behind us. These guys actually had the balls to argue that it was ok for them to jump the cue… haha. My father (is able to speak better Chinese than me) was actually more upset than me! (He left China when he was 18 so he isn’t really Chinese anymore). He actually was able to get the whole crowd going and against the 2 guys. Eventually the security guards came and told the 2 guys backed off and get in line.

    Moral of the story? As JS mentioned, the Chinese tend to follow peer pressure / group think instead of just following the rules.

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