North American businessmen have long been aware that traveling to China had its risks: executives with cellphones and laptops feared the theft of intellectual property and cyber attacks when in the biggest of all Asian nations.
But now the level of fear has been notched up to the next level.
Ever since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou on December 1st, traveling to China for business people hailing from the West, and especially North America, has been a nail-biting experience. Wanzhou, the head of giant cellphone maker Huawei, was arrested in Canada and her extradition was requested by the USA. She is charged with fraud because her company has allegedly had business dealings with Iran, a violation of US sanctions against the middle eastern country. Then the atmosphere intensified when Chinese officials stopped two Canadians, saying the pair was suspected of national security violations.
It is supposed by observers that the self-destructive mutual suspicions will not spiral out of control since neither side has any interest in provoking the people they want to do business with, and therefore will not publicly change their travel policies.
Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made. Last week the US tech company Cisco sent an email to their employees telling them that all non-essential trips to China would be suspended. The company caught the mistake and issued an apology stating that their travel policy to China had not changed.
American diplomats and businessmen will say in private that the two Canadians being held in China now is in retaliation for Meng’s detention, according to Craig Allen, the president of the US-China Business Council.
“If we don’t recognize that as a possible signal to American interests and to American businesses, then we would be willfully blind,” he says.
In an unusual and controversial move, the Canadian government detained Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer to electronics giant Huawei. The arrest took place as Meng was changing planes on December 1st, in Vancouver, at the request of the United States.
Washington is requesting the extradition of Meng so she can face charges of Huawei using a shell company to sell electronic equipment to Iran, against the terms set forth by the US sanctions against Iran. The US also alleges that Huawei, under Meng’s leadership, misled American banks about the business it conducts with Iran.
The Chinese government called the US ambassador to Beijing to register its anger over the detention, insisting that Canada release Weng and the US cancel the order for her arrest. The official Chinese news agency Xinhua News Agency said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng “lodged solemn representations and strong protests” with Ambassador Terry Branstad. The Chinese government also summoned the Canadian Ambassador John McCallum, telling him that there would be “grave consequences” if Meng is not released. One of Canada’s provinces, British Columbia, said it was cancelling a trade mission
scheduled to visit China due to the detention of Meng. There is a fear that the Chinese will retaliate against Canada and arrest Canadians in kind.
Within only 48 hours of his inauguration as the new president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador held his first news conference, confirming that he will be running things very differently than his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto.
The first news conference is only the opening of what Obrador promises will be a weekly event. Taking questions from the press was not Nieto’s strong suit, preferring to inform the public with highly prepared speeches.
During the press conference, the 65-year old emphasized his goal to end drug-related violence in Mexico instigated by cartels that have left over 200,000 people dead.
“It is so important to guarantee peace and tranquility in the country that I am not going to delegate this responsibility, I am going to attend to it directly,” Obrador announced.
He also said that he will pursue commitments from the US and Canada to invest in Mexico to reduce immigration, and to talk about ways the US can help Mexico deal with the drug cartels.
The former mayor of Mexico City also discussed his plan to stop building a new airport there at a cost of $13 billion. Obrador said the country will protect investments.
After the news conference Obrador put Nieto’s nearly new luxury Dreamliner presidential jet up for sale. He is also planning on selling the majority of the federal government’s planes and helicopters. When Obrador flies for work, he prefers to travel coach. He is also turning the ostentatious Los Pinos residence, used by all of Mexico’s presidents since the 1930s, into a cultural center. Obrador says he will find a more modest living space.
James Brett, an experienced executive who has been the CEO of J. Crew Group since summer 2017, is leaving the retail clothing company.
The decision for Brett to leave was mutual and pointed to the fact that the parties were “unable to bridge (their) beliefs on how to continue to evolve all aspects of the company.”
The Departure comes in the wake of a brand relaunch which has already proven to show some improvement in the company’s bottom line.
Representatives of J.Crew said four senior internal executives will take over Brett’s responsibilities, including Michael Nicholson, the company’s current president and chief operating officer.
Brett replaced Mickey Drexler in 2017 when he left the company after a long tenure there. Previous to his stint at J.Crew Brett was the head of the furniture chain West Elm.
In a statement the company declared that Brett had boosted the energy level at J.Crew and “enhanced (their) ability to relate to a broad range of consumers.”
In the statement that Brett released he said, “Returning J.Crew to its iconic status required reinventing the brand to reflect the America of today with a more expansive, more inclusive fashion concept.”
Despite the fact that communication over vast distances has never been so easy, businesses can still accomplish more during face to face meetings than over Skype, emails, or telephone. That means businessmen/women are called on to move their real-life bodies to distant locations, and when they get there, they need to be in tip top condition for those intense negotiations and hard-won agreements.
Rule number one is to plan your trip as in advance as possible. You can lock-in on airfares and hotel prices, choose your seating and accommodations, while reducing the pressure from deadlines and competing events such as conventions.
Once your flights are arranged, now you are free to book accommodations. We always look for centrally located, comfortable and reasonably priced hotels with the best possible ratings and reputations. Among our favorites is the Crowne Plaza Rosemont Chicago Hotel and Conference Center. The Crowne Plaza Rosemont is near O’Hare International Airport; has spacious rooms; great service; and easy access to the rest of the city. Heading for Hong Kong? One of the many hotels to choose from for a great business experience is the Crowne Plaza Causeway Bay. Have an important meeting coming up in London? Consider staying in style at the Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square. This hotel is rated exceptional and is the perfect balance of luxury and convenience.
Once you have your itinerary and accommodations, now you are free to plan your meetings and get to know the best way to travel about in the city you are heading to. Don’t forget to bring all your necessities like your tablet, laptop, phone, and all the various chargers and cases to keep you running at full speed ahead during your entire stay.
Prepare for you meetings worry-free, knowing that you have planned a great trip which will no doubt contribute to its, and your, success.