Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How not to do business in China (or anywhere else)

The China Law Blog has a great story about the amazingly dumb things some people will do when doing business in China - in this case (among other follies) signing a joint venture contract drafted by the other side's lawyer without having it reviewed by your own counsel because the other side assured them "it was not necessary".

It reminds me of my impression when reading Tim Clissold's excellent book, Mr. China, about how he and his partner lost half a billion dollars in China. I can't guarantee that the word "lawyer" does not appear a single time in the book, but it's certainly true that a number of their mistakes - for example, not checking to see whether their joint venture partner really had title to the land it said it was contributing - could easily have been avoided had they thought to consult with any one of the many law firms familiar with the China business scene. It's not as though they didn't have enough money. To his credit - and this is one reason why I like the book - Clissold is a generous-spirited fellow who does not simply blame the crafty Chinese for his business failures, and recognizes that he and his partner made mistakes.

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