Coaching Tips from Chinese Business Leaders

Coaching Tips - Chinese Business Leaders

Coaching from Chinese Business Leaders of Influence

Coaching insights from successful Chinese Business Leaders can provide meaningful insights that can help illuminate your journey. These tips can also help you when dealing with Chinese stakeholders.

10 Chinese Business Leaders of Influence

The people below have been ranked multiple times in various authority lists, as the Most Powerful, and Wealthiest Businesses Leaders of Influence in China.

  • Jack Ma
    • Jack Ma, or Ma Yun, is a Chinese businessman who co-founded the Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. Ma is a strong proponent of an open and market-driven economy.
  • Wang Jianlin
    • Wang Jianlin is a Chinese business magnate who founded of the Dalian Wanda Group, China’s largest real estate development company, as well as the world’s largest movie theater operator.
  • Ma Huateng
    • Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, is a Chinese business internet and technology entrepreneur. He is the founder of Tencent, one of the largest Internet and technology companies, and the biggest investment, gaming, and entertainment conglomerates in the world. Tencent’s popular social messaging app WeChat has more than 1 billion users.
  • Lei Jun
    • Lei Jun is a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur who co-founded Xiaomi Inc, one of the largest mobile phone makers in the world.
  • Zong Qinghou
    • Zong Qinghou is a Chinese businessman, and the founder of the Hangzhou Wahaha Group, the leading beverage company in China.
  • Yang Huiyan
    • Yang Huiyan is a Chinese property developer and the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings, making her one of the richest women in Asia.
  • Liu Chuanzhi
    • Liu Chuanzhi is a Chinese businessman, who founded Lenovo, one of the largest computer makers in the world.
  • Liu Qiangdong
    • Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, is a Chinese Internet entrepreneur. He is the founder of JD.com or Jingdong Mall, one of the leading e-commerce industry leaders in China.
  • Lei Jun
    • Lei Jun is a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur who co-founded Xiaomi Inc, one of the largest mobile phone makers in the world
  • Wang Wenyin
    • Wang Wenyin is a Chinese businessman and founder of Amer International Group, a Chinese company that produces cable and copper products and with interests in mining.

“Success and profitability are outcomes of focusing on customers and employees, not objectives.”

– Jack Ma

Career Advice from Chinese Business Leaders

“Things get much easier if one jumps on the bandwagon of existing trends.” – Lei Jun

“If you ask me what I worry about every morning when I wake up, it’s that I don’t understand future mainstream Internet users’ habits.” – Ma Huateng

“The most important thing is to focus, focus, focus.” – Lei Jun

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” – Jack Ma

“You need to have extraordinary wisdom to be the forerunner.” – Ma Huateng

“Do what you want to do. Do what you like to do.” – Lei Jun

“But every person must have the desire to push oneself to the limit!” – Liu Qiangdong

“If you are a wolf chasing rabbits, focus on one rabbit. Change yourself to catch the rabbit, but don’t change rabbits.” – Jack Ma

“People who get rich early should help the rest get rich.” – Zong Qinghou


“The most important thing is to focus, focus, focus.”

– Lei Jun

Business Advice from Chinese Business Leaders

“Wealth won’t give you satisfaction; creating a good product that is well received by users is what matters most.” – Ma Huateng

“Opportunity lies in the place where the complaints are.” – Jack Ma

“The leader of the market today may not necessarily be the leader tomorrow.” – Ma Huateng

“The future of the world’s film industry is in China because we have 1.3 billion people.” – Wang Jianlin

“I think every Internet user likes personalization.” – Ma Huateng

“Sooner or later, our entire industry will be operated by AI (artificial intelligence) and robots, not humans.” – Liu Qiangdong

Coaching Tips from Chinese Business Leaders

Chongqing, one of the largest cities in China

“Foreign politicians don’t have resources – or limited resources. It’s useless dealing with them.” – Wang Jianlin

“In setting goals and executing a strategy, Wanda is sophisticated. We have good systems and departments. If targets are not reached, a yellow light goes off.” – Wang Jianlin

“The U.S. and European markets have become mature, profit margins are lower, and equipment isn’t so new. Because profits are relatively low, it limits the willingness of companies to invest in newer equipment.” – Zong Qinghou

“On all open platforms, regardless of whether it’s Facebook or the Apple App Store, the largest segment is entertainment and games. It’s the largest revenue segment. And it’s the same for Tencent.” – Ma Huateng

“China is a government-oriented economy. No one can say he can run his business entirely without government connections. Anybody who says that he or she can do things alone… is a hypocrite.” – Wang Jianlin

“Success and profitability are outcomes of focusing on customers and employees, not objectives.” – Jack Ma

“China’s movie industry is growing a lot faster than that of the U.S.” – Wang Jianlin

“My next goal is for Shenzhen to become the model of environmentally-friendly and sustainable development.” – Wang Shi

“I look at an issue by comparing it with history. A person that has suffered famine and a person that hasn’t will have very different feelings towards a bowl of rice.” – Liu Chuanzhi

“In a globalized economy, it’s very difficult for the U.K. to go it alone. Don’t listen to politicians. Politicians say if the U.K. leaves, things will be better. I’m telling you, leaving could make things worse.” – Wang Jianlin

“Remain close to the government and away from politics. It means deal more with the authorities. And less with individuals.” – Wang Jianlin

“No entrepreneur ever publicly admits to bribing, but few dare to openly claim they don’t, either.” – Wang Shi

“In China, you have to have a strong leader for a business to get anything done.” – Zong Qinghou

“In the West, if a city faces financial difficulties, it’ll go bankrupt. But in China, cities will be subsidized by the Ministry of Finance. So some small- and medium-sized cities aren’t worried about going bankrupt. They figure the central government will help them out.” – Wang Shi


“Success and profitability are outcomes of focusing on customers and employees, not objectives.”

– Jack Ma

Leadership Advice from Chinese Business Leaders

“I think Steve Jobs is my idol.” – Ma Huateng

“Among the worlds 500 largest companies, not one has completely relied on its own growth to develop.” – Wang Jianlin

“But copying others can’t make you great. So the key is how to localize a great idea and create domestic innovation.” – Ma Huateng

“We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.” – Liu Chuanzhi

“I believe wealth should be in the hands of those who know how to create more wealth.” – Zong Qinghou

“We don’t need to solve the problem of the rich-poor gap. We need to solve the problem of common prosperity.” – Zong Qinghou

It’s easy not to bribe. But it’s not so easy to keep a business running at the same time. – Wang Shi

“Try to find the right people, not the best people.” – Jack Ma

“Global warming is my personal experience.” – Wang Shi

“The basic principle is I command, and my employees carry it out immediately.” – Wang Jianlin

“The industry is on the rise and its beauty lies in its uncertainty, but we are passionate and interested in exploring the unknown.” – Ma Huateng

“If the nation is rich but people are poor, the country cannot be strong, and society will be unstable.” – Zong Qinghou

“There’s nothing wrong with being No. 1 worldwide.” – Wang Jianlin

Coaching Tips from Chinese Business Leaders

Guangzhou, largest city of the province of Guangdong in southern China.

“The public doesn’t have to be hostile to the rich. ‘Robbing the rich to help the poor’ will only drive the rich away to other countries along with their money. As a matter of fact, their wealth should be respected. All wealth in China belongs to the country.” – Zong Qinghou

“In America, when you bring an idea to market, you usually have several months before competition pops up, allowing you to capture significant market share. In China, you can have hundreds of competitors within the first hours of going live. Ideas are not important in China – execution is.” – Ma Huateng

“You must still stand up and say no when society is facing a backslide or a moment of danger.” – Wang Shi

“A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what the employees can’t.” – Jack Ma


“If the nation is rich but people are poor, the country cannot be strong, and society will be unstable.”

– Zong Qinghou

Interesting Facts and Insights about doing Business with Chinese

  • Population: The Chinese government aims to have 25 cities with 25 million inhabitants by 2025.
  • Size: China is the 3rd largest country by land size in the world. Only Russia and Canada are larger in size.
  • Aging Population: The number of Chinese that will be 60 or above by 2050, will be over 30 percent of the population.
  • Business Cards: Always present a business card with your two hands. If you receive a business card, look at it for 2-3 seconds to show interest. File it carefully in a small card case.
  • Ideal Host: If you invite people to a restaurant, make sure you arrive early to greet everyone.
  • Guanxi: Guanxi is a Chinese concept that is important for doing business in China. Guanxi is about building a network of mutually beneficial relationships that can be used for personal and business purposes. In China, guanxi plays a far more important role than it does in the West.
  • Confucian Society: Confucian teachings are a set of social rules that permeates Chinese culture. The cultural aspects include filial loyalty, courtesy, and diligence. Great value is placed on education, hard work, integrity, modesty, patience, and perseverance.
  • Currency: The Renminbi (RMB) is the official currency of the People’s Republic of China. The yuan is the basic unit of the Renminbi but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally, especially in international contexts where “Chinese yuan” is widely used to refer to the Renminbi.
  • Beijing: Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the world’s third most populous city proper.
  • Shanghai: Shanghai is the second-most populous city proper in the world (after Chongqing), with a population of 26 million. It is a global financial center and transport hub, with the world’s busiest container port.
  • Chongqing: Chongqing is the largest city proper in the world. Located in southwest China, far away from the coast. Chongqing served as the wartime capital during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).
  • Future: If China’s economy continues to grow at a steady pace of 6 + % over the next few years, China will overtake the U.S. economy and become the world’s biggest economy sometime in the 2030s.

“A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what the employees can’t.”

– Jack Ma

Did these Coaching Tips from Chinese Business Leaders inspire you?

China’s size makes it matter. One in five of all the people in the world lives in China. It is currently the world’s second-largest economy. China accounts for over 10 percent of the world economy and about a quarter of global growth in recent years. China is one of the largest trading partners for most countries.

Coaching Tips from Chinese Business Leaders is an essential reading for anyone who has Chinese stakeholders, whether they be managers, staff, customers, suppliers or partners.

Share these Insights to increase Your Influence

Share this page with your network to increase your Influence. Then explore the additional Coaching Information from some of the world’s top experts. Click the links below:


Books About doing Business with Chinese

  • How to Do Business with China: An Inside View on Chinese Culture and Etiquette, by Shengfei Gan, 2014
  • China’s Super Consumers, by Michael Zakkour and Savio Chan, 2014
  • The Chinese Way in Business: The Secrets of Successful Business Dealings in China, by Boyé Lafayette De Mente, 2013
  • The One Hour China Book: Two Peking University Professors Explain, by Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan R. Woetzel, 2013
  • Doing Business With China: Avoiding the Pitfalls, by Jinxuan Zhang and S. Hamilton, 2011
  • Setting Up Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises in China, Editor: Chris Devonshire-Ellis, 2011
  • Doing Business in China: A Guide to the Risks and the Rewards, by Chris Torrens, 2010
  • China Uncovered: What you need to know to do business in China (Financial Times Series), by Jonathan Story, 2010
  • 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China, by Rosemary Coates, 2009
  • Where East Eats West: The Street-Smarts Guide to Business in China, by Sam Goodman, 2009
  • KFC in China: Secret Recipe for Success, by Warren Liu, 2008
  • Managing the Dragon: Building a Billion-Dollar Business in China, by Jack Perkowski, 2008
  • Chinese Business Etiquette: The Practical Pocket Guide, Revised and Updated, by Stefan H. Verstappen, 2008
  • Doing Business In China: How to Profit in the World’s Fastest-Growing Market, by Ted Plafker, 2007
  • China CEO: A Case Guide for Business Leaders in China, by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Liu Shengjun, 2007
  • An American’s Guide To Doing Business In China: Negotiating Contracts And Agreements; Understanding Culture and Customs; Marketing Products and Services, by Mike Saxon, 2006
  • China Now: Doing Business in the World’s Most Dynamic Market, by John Graham and N. Mark Lam, 2009
  • China CEO: Voices of Experience from 20 International Business Leaders, by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Laurie Underwood, 2006
  • Myths About Doing Business in China, by Chris West and Harold Chee, 2004
  • Chinese Business Etiquette: A Guide to Protocol, Manners, and Culture in The People’s Republic of China, by Scott D. Seligman, 1999
  • Doing Business with China, Editors: Yong Li, Jonathan Reuvid, Originally published: 1994
  • Doing Business in China, by Morgen Witzel and Tim Ambler, 1971

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

– Sun Tzu

Common Questions about Chinese Business?

  • Why does China matter?
    • China’s size makes it matter. One in five of all the people in the world lives in China. It is currently the world’s second-largest economy. China accounts for about 12 percent of the world economy and about a quarter of global growth in recent years. China is America’s second-largest trading partner.
  • Is China still communist?
    • China has become a market economy. It has opened up to foreign investment. Chinese businesses compete internationally and invest overseas. Day to day economic life operates through markets and there is a sophisticated stock exchange, and expanding capital markets.
    • Many large-sized companies, however, are not ‘private’ in a Western sense but have close links with the government. Many large Chinese companies are state-owned. State-owned enterprises dominate banking, energy, and telecoms.
  • What is the Communist Party of China?
    • The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People’s Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China. It was founded in 1921 and controls the world’s largest armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army.
  • Do you need vaccinations for China?
    • Check latest updates at CDC
  • What is the most appropriate way to address a Chinese client?
    • Surname preceded by title i.e. Director.
  • How do you avoid “loss of face” during a meeting with Chinese colleagues?
    • Acknowledge any suggestions and state that you will think about it. This saves anyone from losing face.
  • How would you receive a business card in China?
    • Accept it with both hands, acknowledge the act and put it in a small card case.
  • What kind of relationship do Chinese Business people prefer?
    • Long Term relationships.
  • Which gifts should not be given to Chinese business contacts?
    • White flowers and Clocks
  • What is Guanxi?
    • Guanxi is about building a network of mutually beneficial relationships that can be used for personal and business purposes.

Mini MBA of Big Ideas

“Strategies for Influence” explores and shares a Mini-MBA of Big Ideas from the Leaders of Influence that can help you with your Career, Business, and Leadership. Click on any of the links below to explore the Big Ideas that have influenced our work and culture.

Mini-MBA of the big ideas that have shaped Careers, Leadership, and Business.


Doing Business With China – Videos

Doing Business With China: Five Hot Tips for Startups


China’s 7 Lessons for Entrepreneurs


“Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”

— Sun Tzu

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