When I served as U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce, one of our more common sayings was: “China isn’t for sissies.”
In other words, foreign businesses in China are likely to encounter more complications, more unpredictability, and more frustrations than in their home market. Today, we are seeing no shortage of these problems in government-to-government relations, but are we seeing them in business as well? The turmoil in U.S.-China relations has moved from a trade war, to accounting scandals, to Covid-19, to Hong Kong’s status, to Uighur Muslims, to the South China Seas, to the closure of consulates, to broader socio-political criticism. As the animosity deepens, what does this mean for U.S. brands?