China´s history and political situation

6 am, hating jet lag. After spending the last hour tossing and turning in my bed, I now face the challenge of writing about my experience in China. I don’t know if it is due to the lack of sleep or the remains of pollution and Chinese food inside my body, but I have to write about the conference I liked the most, and they are all kind of mixed up in my head. I remember a very good Spanish speaking Chinese woman telling me not to stick the chopsticks in the rice; an old man in a weird suit that collects classic cars; and a really funny lawyer from Chile complaining about his wife…

Definitely need a coffee break.

Well, I’m better now, I have the conferences clearly separated in my mind, and I think I’m going to tell you about Professor David Inch’s conference about the Chinese political and economic system, and Chinese policies on foreign investment (uff!…long title). This might seem like a strange topic to choose, but for the first time in my life, I had a preview of the historical and political background before visiting a foreign country.

It looks like Chinese people are proud of their history, and I would also be if I were Chinese, at least at the beginning of the conference. Chinese did conquer the most impressive architectural achievements in their early ages. During the 4th and 5th century they built The Grand Canal, 1776 km long, in less than 50 years, and I guess I don’t need to tell you anything about The Great Wall.

But the most interesting thing about this conference, and what actually made me choose this topic, are the trips that Admiral Zheng He did during the early 15th century. He travelled almost all around the world in a boat at least 4 times the size of “La Pinta”, “La Niña” or “El Santa Maria”. Actually, some theories affirm that he could have reached America before Christopher Columbus (don’t think so, but amazing anyway). It was really good to have the chance of having a look to the Admiral Zheng He Museum at the Jiao Tong University before leaving Shanghai.

Though I really enjoyed the conference, I was really surprised hearing about the “Chairman” Mao Zedong, a man whose policies leaded to 30 million death of starvation and whose Cultural Revolution meant closing Universities and destroying literature.  It is then shocking to see his face printed in every coin and sculptured in almost every statue in the city, and even more shocking getting “Because he was the man who liberated China” as an answer when you ask about it (in my opinion, he liberated China from having more than one political party).

But, leaving politics aside, I really enjoyed the conference, loved the country and the culture, and kind of tolerated the food. I really wonder if I’ll have the chance to go back again. Gan bei!

How to set up a business in China

I am going to talk about the negotiation in China and some of the key points that all investor have to know to set up a business in China.

First of all I have to say that all the conferences we assisted there in China were interesting and useful, and allow us to understand the life in China in different aspects and points of view. However the conference which I liked more was the negotiation in China and how to run a business in that country.In this conference showed us the way of doing business in China from a practical point view and not so formal like in other conferences told us.

The first thing we must know if want to set a business in China is how the economy works in this country. There is a 5 plan year, which is a plan where you can find all the economics actions that will be carry out by the government.


Inside this plan exists a catalogue for foreign investment which is a document that shows what kind of business is welcome and which one don´t. There are three categories:
• Encouraged category: In this category are the businesses which the government could help, give to the entrepreneurs money and support.
• Restricted category: To run a business that belongs to this category is harder because the foreign investor need a Chinese partner to help him. Laws say that require a suitable Chinese partner.
• Prohibited category: It is almost impossible to set up a business inside this category, although it could works negotiating with the local administration.



The negotiation with local administration to set a business in some regions is different and depends in which category your business is. It is so much different and depends on the region where you are. The administration in one district or region could be suitable for your business, and could be forbidden in other district.
Despite of the problems that the government put to the foreign investors in some cases, it is getting easier to run a business in China. This catalogue is becoming wider and allows more kind of business.

Other important key point that we learnt in this conference was that Shanghái is not like the rest of China. It is possible think about set up a business in other parts like west and north China because there are more help and support by the government and they are trying to develop these regions.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the main key point is: by many obstacles that stand between us and our potential Chinese partners due to cultural differences and law, all can be saved having a consistent product and a good business plan.


China one of the most complex and oldest culture of the world with a great variety of habits and traditions between provinces, cities, and even towns.

Most of the things that use to be said about protocol and business in China seems to be more cliches than reality, so I am going to write some key points I have learned in the study trip teached by an authentic Chinese.

The first thing you have to take into account is that China is a very ancient culture and with a lot of tradition. The differences begin when you have to present yourself to the manager you have to do business with. The typical european handshake must be avoided due to they greet each other with a slight inclination of the body.

Other important thing is if you want to translate your name into Chinese, do not take the easy way and make the phonetic translation directly. In order to give a serious image to your Chinese client you must create an appropriate name. The translation to Chinese has to have an specific meaning since for them the phonetic translation means nothing.


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“Ser-gio, this means nothing to Chinese people, it is my fake name”


Something very typical in both Europe and China, when doing business, is to give some presents although you must be very careful with your presents given to your Chinese client. If you give them a red envelop, they will expect always money inside, if not they will get angry.

In order to conclude I would like to show you other Chinese behaviors less formal in negotiations. Is very common to have business dinner where they use to get drunk by the typical toast of “Ganbei” with which they have to drink the hole glass of alcohol. The most affected are the employees because they can not decline the drink ordered by the boss and if it is refused they will give a bad image. Chinese say that with this great friendships are genereated. In addition, is very common Chinese asking you about the situation of your family, despite they seem distant for them the family is very important.

The impression I have caught from younger professionals we have met in China is that the behavior of new generations is changing and getting closer to Europe.


Sergio Rubiera Gracía MIGMA

Mapa a tiempo real de la Contaminacón Atmosférica Mundial

En el siguiente enlace se encuentra un mapa donde esta indicado a tiempo real la contaminación atmosférica con todos los parámetros de ciudades de todo el mundo. Con esta herramienta se permite una comparativa global de la contaminación en el mundo en un mismo momento.


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Prevención 10/25. Herramienta PRL

  • El objetivo del programa es prestar asistencia en materia de prevención a empresas de hasta 25 trabajadores
  • La Seguridad Social compensará al INSHT con más de 1,5M de euros por la encomienda de gestión de
 Prevención de Riesgos Laborabes en las empresas de hasta 25 trabajadores es una herramienta configurada como un servicio público de asistencia a empresas de hasta 25 trabajadores en materia de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales.

Entre los servicios que dispensa a pequeñas empresas y autónomos está la reducción de cargas administrativas, el desarrollo de los planes de prevención o el asesoramiento a aquéllas que asuman la actividad preventiva.

Según el proyecto de Resolución, la Seguridad Social compensará al INSHT con más de 1,5 millones de euros por la encomienda de gestión del servicio.

Qué es

La Secretaría de Estado de la Seguridad Social encomendó al INSHT el desarrollo un servicio público de asesoramiento para empresas de hasta 10 trabajadores, 25 en la actualidad, destinado a facilitarles de forma gratuita el cumplimiento de sus obligaciones ligadas a la prevención de riesgos laborales.

De esta forma, nace el servicio público, un formato desarrollado conjuntamente por el INSHT y las comunidades autónomas y que cuenta con la asistencia de la Inspección de Trabajo y Seguridad Social.

Prevencion10 se estructura en 4 áreas:

– “Evalúa-T”, el objetivo es que la empresa establezca un plan de prevención, evalúe los riesgos y planifique la actividad preventiva.

– Servicio “STOP riesgos laborales”, servicio de atención telefónica que asiste y orienta a las empresas.

– “Instruye-t”, plataforma para desarrollar el plan de formación al empresario para que pueda asumir personalmente la gestión de la prevención.

– “Autoprevent”, herramienta destinada al asesoramiento a los autónomos sin empleados a su cargo y que promueve la formación específica en materia de prevención para este colectivo de trabajadores.

El conjunto de herramientas se complementa con otras funcionalidades en el portal web, donde además se puede acceder a información sectorial, novedades, enlaces de interés, biblioteca, libros, etc.



Nueva ISO9001:2008

La Nueva ISO 9001:2015, Borrador, con los Primeros Cambios

La norma ISO 9001, continua evolucionando y ya está disponible el borrador de la futura ISO 9001:2015 que está siendo actualmente revisado por el comité ISO/TC 176.

Desde la ISO 9000 de 1987 o incluso desde sus precursoras como la BS 9000 o la BS 5750, han pasado ya casi 30 años y sigue siendo el estandar de calidad internacional estrella, por todo ello existe gran espectación a los nuevos cambios que nos depara esta nueva versión, que nacerá con 7 años de diferencia de su hermana mayor.

Seguro que de aquí a su publicación se producirán variaciones, ya que estamos en un estado podría decirse inicial, pero los principales cambios actuales son:


Destacan la planificación y el liderazgo como ejes importantes y el cambio de “Realización de Producto” a Operaciones, más amoldable a cualquier sector

El punto 4.4.2 explicita con un conjunto de requisitos que se consideran esenciales para la adopción de un enfoque basado en procesos en una organización (determinar los procesos, los insumos, los resultados, la secuencia, interacción, los riesgos, indicadores, recursos, responsabilidades, autoridades, acciones para la consecución de los resultados…)

En el apartado 10.1 habla de no conformidades y acciones correctivas cuando la actual ISO 9001 del 2008 tiene un apartado para ella sola, el 8.5.1.

El Anexo SL (en el que se basa la nueva estructura de la ISO 9001:2015) no habla de acciones preventivas ya que concibe cualquier sistema de gestión como una herramienta de prevención en sí. Es por ello que la norma ISO 9001:2015 habla de la prevención a un más alto nivel alienada a la gestión de riesgos en su punto 6.1.Acciones para abordar los riesgos y las oportunidades


Los términos “documento” y “registro” se han sustituido ambos, en línea con el Anexo SL Apéndice 2 por “información documentada”


En tres ocasiones nos habla la norma ISO 9001:2015 del cliente y … “las partes interesadas”. Un enfoque a calidad total y a modelos de Excelencia que nos deja incluir a accionistas, personas, sociedad, proveedores, alianzas en aspectos tales como las expectativas y necesidades, la interacción (comunicación, establecimiento de requisitos…) o la propiedad


Otro aspecto muy relacionado con los modelos de Excelencia y que se detalla claramente en la nueva norma es Planificación y control de cambios (punto 6.3.), algo no muy clarificado en la versión actual de ISO y que en un entorno como el actual (… dónde el cambio es la única constante) es imprescindible


Respecto a este punto los auditores se van a poner “mucho más estrictos” en este sentido. La nueva norma no se va a limitar sólo al desarrollo de los ciclos de NC / AC, de Auditorías Internas y Externas, y de evaluación de satisfacción de clientes e indicadores, sino que van a instar a las organizaciones a emplear más herramientas para gestionar las oportunidades de mejora organizando bien las acciones a desarrollar: “La organización debe evaluar, priorizar y determinar la mejora a implementar”.

Ver Documento de la Norma




Volkswagen Automotive Manufacturing Plant in Shanghai

The automotive manufacturing plant that Volkswagen has set up in Shanghai is a very well structured and organized factory where machines and people work together. Volkswagen has transfered all their high technology, know-how and quality to this plant in order to maintain the position and spirit of the brand. In the visit of the plant we could see how everything is working and which are the differents parts of the factory.

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In the first part of the plant is held the construction of the different components of the chassis (such as body, doors,etc.). They are made separately and later on, all the parts are assembled and connected with each other. In the next stage, with the chasis already assembled, it is set the dashboard by its different parts. The work team and concentración of the employees are very important here. There are quite a lot of components and devices that are needed to be set in a row. In a conveyor belt, where the car is moving, the employees are working against the time and they need to conclude their job not to break the work chain. The following workers should start their next specific task in the conveyor belt when the car arrive to their spot. Once the body with the dashboard of the car is finished, all this piece is connected with the bottom part of the chassis, engine and breaks.To complete the car, they need to set the remaining parts such as seats, doors, etc.

It might seem easy as it is explained here, but there are a lot of complex processes and machines that are involved in the manufacture of the car. The employees should be working hard as well not to break any part of the chain. There are differents team focus in developing and product every part of the car and their job is very important in order to allow the next team continue manufacture of the car. Without an specific part of the car finished, the chain is broken, what means that at the end, all the employees are just “one team” working together to finish the car in time. Finally, the brand new cars are gathered together and they are ready to be sent to the clients.


SMEs, a future in China?

Firstly, what is  a  SME?

         A Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), sometimes referred to as Small and Medium-sized businesses (SMBs), are businesses were the employees´ numbers fall below certain limits as do their revenues.  It must be mentioned that not only small enterprises outnumber large companies by a wide margin, but also they do employ more workers.  SMEs are also considered to be responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors.


Current Situation

        China´s continuous and exponential economic growth has demonstrated an extremely important need for new and innovative enterprises. Enter SMEs.

However, although there are nowadays many SME being established in China, the not well defined financial and legal limits and irregularities regarding them have been proven as an obstacle for their development in this country.

Therefore, their future in China depends directly in their access to financing.

Due to this, there are four main hurdles that must dissapear in order to fully introduce SMEs in this country.

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One of the first obstacles that should be tackled are the structural advantages that SOEs (State-Owned enterprises) have over SMEs in China so banks end their preference financing the first over the last.

This takes us directly to the second problem that should be taken care of. The so called “SME’s lending-focus”. Large banks only lend to SME by a 10%, in comparison to the 20% small and medium banks give. As large banks dominate the Chinese banking landscape, it’s of vital importance that this initiative gets support, so that these enterprises can have an easy access to this banks’ financial support, mainly to improve their efficiency.

Of course, this would mean that there’s also a need for a Interest Rate Reformation regarding them.

Last but not least, there is a urge to develop payment innovations that address directly the SME’s unique needs. That is, SMEs with a developed paying method can enhance both efficiency and margins, not only thanks to the supply chain’s performance, but also to the purchasing, T&E and trading finance new paying systems, if made possible.

In a nutshell, based completely in global benchmarks, in order to improve the SME’s access to working capital and financial status, these recommendations should be fully implemented, to remove these final obstacles and allow innovation into China’s economy, as SME’s have proven most competent in this.

Human Resources Management in China

Human resources

         Companies are nowadays more aware than ever of people different skills, values and cultural backgrounds, that is why they are  gradually increasing their effort to gather  and well-manage multicultural teams. In the end, companies’ identity is given by their own employees.

In this regards, both cultural and language barriers may exist when companies settled in different countries get involved in negotiations. So in order to successfully achieve agreements, is advisable to understand the other party’s culture and to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. By doing this, you will be able to anticipate to his/her interests and to know whether the negotiation is already finished, or in the other hand, is still going on, for instance.

China’s pecific case

          Some of the main cultural differences between western countries’ citizens and China’s citizens when negotiating, are that Chinese people tend to delay thee agreement further in time, shifting from one position to another, and knowing this, is important to be patient during the negotiation process, although it may turn out to be tough and annoying.

Another aspect to have in mind is that they do not feel the lie as something neither wrong nor unloyal, they actually aim to get the most out of the negotiation, even if they have to let you down at some point within the negotiation process.

The good leader

         When leading a team, communication effectiveness is a key point. A good leader must be tactful when he/she either talks or leads the team members, trying not to push them too much what would lead them to suffer from stress.

It is also important to have a handbook, so the employees can feel identified with its values when they join the team. Another action to be taken by leaders is to develop a reward/punishment system in order to challenge their employees to work harder and also to prevent them from behaving wrongly or badly.

And the last thing I would like to suggest, but not less important from the above, is that a good leader is not a person that only orders but also a person who listens to his/her employees.

HR Management in China



The chinese political system

China´s Modern political system: Totalitarian, Meritocratic or Democratic?
China is a meritocratic government. That means if you want to be one of the political leaders, you have to join the commitment party, you have to work hard, you get promoted and raise to the top by doing good work.
But, in some extreme cases, China is said to be a democracy because their leaders are voted. This democracy is not real in fact, because those leaders, which are local, are elected in the lowest levels of the Chinese political system. So at the high levels is definitely not a democracy.
Some people still criticize the Chinese political system today, saying that is a totalitarianism and a regime, a despotic government. That opinion is really controversial, but we can say that China is not a totalitarianism: the country has some problems but things are getting better.
The final idea will be that China is a meritocracy and that implies hard work.

China´s Political Regions and Divisions
China has three different political divisions: provinces (the majority of the divisions are provinces), but also has which are called autonomous regions (Xinjian, Mongolia,…). The difference between a province and an autonomous region is not that big, however the second one is given a little more of authority, they also have more local government representatives, more control over the budget and some regulations, but are still quite similar to the provinces.
China also has what are called “metropolitan areas” or “City States” (Beinjin, Shanghai, Chongging, Tianjin,…). They are like a province but actually is just a “big” city with the same rights than a province.
Hong Kong and Macao are Special Administrative Regions. They have their own currencies, languages, leaders and passports.
The population of these divisions is really big, so many China’s provinces are actually as big as some European countries and their economy could be more powerful. We can conclude that China is a huge economy with many different cultures, languages and regions, but it can change dramatically from place to place: there is no one China.


China's Division

China’s Planned Economy
The Chinese system is based on:
Five Year Plans: They were created based on the soviet model of control planning: how define your plan. The idea of planning in terms of five years works very well. The political leaders have two five years terms so a “Ten Year total term”.
These Five Year Plans are agreed every five year and it is a process of internal consensus built by the government. They stablish some decision about the investments, the industry and the direction of the cities.
In addition, China every year has what are called the Two “Big” Meetings. Three thousand people meet and vote different proposals. This represents are well known people (TV presenters, basketball players). The system is not perfect but is has a large background in dealing and treating and allow to introduce some changes in the country.


David López Illán (Master en Ingeniería y Gestión Medioambiental)

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