Sunday, August 31, 2014
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Skip Rosskam: The flavor of negotiations in China

David Michael & Co. has been doing business in China nearly 20 years, setting up a miniature version of its Northeast Philadelphia flavor manufacturing plant, complete with labs, a sales force and manufacturing capacity.

Skip Rosskam: The flavor of negotiations in China

CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

David Michael & Co. has been doing business in China nearly 20 years, setting up a miniature version of its Northeast Philadelphia flavor plant, complete with labs, a sales force and manufacturing capacity.

I asked Skip Rosskam, president and chief operating office, about his Chinese experiences during my Leadership Agenda interview.

Question: How has it been doing business in China? Do you have any advice?

Answer: "My God, I could write a book on that! A couple of things: One is to understand that business is done differently, meaning that it takes longer to develop trust and relationships and there’s a higher value on those kinds of relationships. You just don’t go in and wow someone with a presentation and a product concept. Things take time.

"The other thing is that in negotiations, you may think you have an agreement on something, but don’t be surprised [if you come back the next day,] sit down across the table and [find] that you are going to start all over again.  That’s a very interesting aspect of Chinese negotiations."

Q: Hmm, then when do you know you are done?

A: "When the contract is signed and the money transfers."

Interesting note: A popular ice cream flavor, developed by David Michael, is "sweet potato." In Beijing, roasted sweet potatoes are a popular street food, perfect to warm hands and tummies in the cold winter.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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