Story of the Day | The Dragon, King of Tactics

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Dragon Tactics presents a potent mix of China’s four-thousand-year-old history and management methods that borrow as much from Confucianism as from new technologies.

It explores a unique approach to business by analysing everything from the unexpected philosophies of Chinese business leaders on competition, risk, profit and failure to the role of family and how it is changing. It defines the cultural spirit of a wolf pack: its skill of observation, its respect of the leader’s authority, its embrace of flexibility, and more.

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Ultimately, the book describes the Dragon Tactics mentality in entrepreneurial China, and in those who embody it, to explain how and why Chinese businesses thrive in chaos. In less than thirty years, world-renowned Chinese companies like Haier, Huawei, Alibaba (and many other companies virtually unknown outside of China) have converted the country into a fast-paced consumer society and a powerhouse of innovation and survival. How did these Chinese brands become so successful so quickly in one of the world’s most unpredictable, hyper-competitive markets? How do they navigate the local uncertainty that frustrates and intimidates most Western managers?

There are many lessons for Western leaders to learn — a new set of quite unexpected but proven business management skills, how they came to be, and why they work — to not only to succeed within China, but more importantly, to better navigate an increasingly uncertain and volatile world far beyond China’s borders.

Informed by decades of experience in the Chinese marketplace, Aldo Spaanjaars and Sandrine Zerbib don’t simply unveil the secrets of how Chinese companies operate and stay competitive. Rather, more usefully, the authors provide a clear understanding of the cultural forces driving the business practices that otherwise confound outsiders.

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The Authors

Aldo Spaanjaars

Since 1992, Aldo Spaanjaars has been involved in business in China, building bridges between Chinese and Western cultures. His vast China understanding and experiences range from creating award-winning advertising to managing retail chains and investment management.

During his nearly 25-year career in China, Aldo has had extensive exposure to business practices in both global companies (as co-founder of J.Walter Thompson Beijing, COO of Adidas Greater China, and CEO of Lacoste Greater China) and Chinese companies such as Fosun International, enabling him to compare the effectiveness of various management methodologies and come to the realisation that success in China, and increasingly abroad, requires the acceptance of new ways of thinking.

Sandrine Zerbib

Sandrine Zerbib has over 25 years of experience in the consumer business in China.

In the mid-90s, as the President of Adidas Greater China, she created and developed the China business of Adidas from its nascent stage to its present market-leading position before becoming the CEO of Chinese Group Dongxiang and eventually creating her own business in the e-commerce operation industry, which, in early 2021 was acquired by China’s leading e-commerce service provider, Baozun.

Thanks to her many years leading both Western, Chinese, and ultimately mixed businesses in China, she was able to observe the changes in the Chinese market and the rapid evolution of Chinese private companies. It gave her a chance to truly challenge what she used to take for granted, to analyse the pros and cons of Western and Chinese approaches to business, and to learn from the latter.