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Danone/Wahaha: Both Parties Agree to Truce (Part 8)

Danone/Wahaha: Both Parties Agree to Truce (Part 8)

Barely one week after Danone’s decision to change its approach and drop certain legal proceedings against its Chinese partner, both parties said that they have agreed to a legal ceasefire and will return to “peace talks” for the resolution of one of the most high-profile disputes between a foreign company and a Chinese partner. “Both […]

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Danone/Wahaha: Danone Loses in China Courts (Part 7)

Danone/Wahaha: Danone Loses in China Courts (Part 7)

When Danone enlisted President Sarkozy’s support to help resolve its legal disputes with its Chinese partner, it must have known that it was having some trouble in the courts, particularly those in China. Sure enough, as reported in the International Herald Tribune on December 10: Hangzhou Wahaha, embroiled in a trademark dispute with Groupe Danone, […]

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Danone/Wahaha: Divine Intervention (Part 6)

For some time now, I have been searching the news for an update on the dispute between Groupe Danone, the large French food and beverage group, and Wahaha. The latter is one of China’s most famous privately-owned companies, and Danone’s partner in 39 beverage joint ventures across the country. After dominating the headlines for weeks […]

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China’s Toy Manufacturers Feel The Aftershock of Recalls

As reported by the International Finance News, a Chinese language newspaper under the supervision of People’s Daily, Chinese toymakers in the Yangtze River Delta Region are already suffering from the aftershock of “questionable” toys. There are over 8,000 companies which make toys in China, many of which are located in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and […]

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Harry Potter with Chinese Characteristics

Harry Potter with Chinese Characteristics

I’ll admit it. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I preorder books, read them within the first 48 hours, and then again two months later when the magical withdrawal becomes unbearable. I frequent the various Harry Potter blog sites, and am even guilty of watching the ‘behind the scenes’ features on the DVDs. Yes, […]

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Danone/Wahaha: Everybody Loses (Part 5)

When a joint venture goes sour in China, and the partners begin battling, everybody loses. This is certainly the case with Danone/Wahaha. Given the size and breadth of the cooperation between the two companies, the damage to all parties is that much greater. The Victims: The JVs and Their Employees If there are victims in […]

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Danone/Wahaha: Dispute Resolution in China (Part 4)

When two parties to a joint venture in China are at odds, the question is, “What is the best way to resolve the dispute?” Unlike in the West, where initiating a lawsuit can be a good tactic for bringing an adversary to the negotiating table, this usually has the opposite effect in China. Danone’s legal […]

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Danone/Wahaha: Failure to Create a Common Vision (Part 3)

At the outset of a joint venture in China, three different agendas exist: the agenda of the foreign partner; that of the Chinese partner; and that of the newly created joint venture itself. The most successful of the joint ventures in which we have been involved are those in which both our interests and those […]

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Danone/Wahaha: A Breakdown in Mutual Trust (Part 2)

It may seem like a trite statement, but establishing mutual trust in a joint venture in China is absolutely critical to long term success. In a culture where personal relationships, “face” and mutual respect are so highly valued, seemingly small slights can undermine even the most compelling business proposition. Apart from the legal claims being […]

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Danone/Wahaha: Just the Facts, We Think (Part 1)

Having been involved in several scrapes with a Chinese partner in my more than 13 years in China, I can tell you that the current dispute between Groupe Danone and Zong Qinghou, the head of the Chinese partner in its Wahaha joint venture, is anything but simple. Believe me, it is very complicated; not all […]

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