Contrasting the American and Chinese Power Lunch

When I've been on a per diem for consulting projects over the years, a $34 Cobb salad -- one of the staples of the "power lunch" menu in the below-linked article -- would almost certainly put me over the allocated limit. But perhaps there's a good reason to justify such an expense in some industries. I must admit, I got a chuckle out of the "power lunch" article in the The Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks back that contrasts the Chinese private power-lunch with the American-style public one. According to the piece, when Chinese want to impress our clients or business partners, "We usually take them to a private dining room, preferably at an expensive restaurant ... A banquet is a business obligation in China, and Chinese believe it has to be conducted behind closed doors in order to establish a close business relationship. Case in point: Some restaurants in China only have private dining rooms. They've gotten rid of public dining space entirely." But in America, things are obviously quite different. The columnist notes that in the States, the purpose of lunching together is "not only about doing deals but also about making a show of professional relationships." In other words, the New York power lunch is all about showing off -- not building -- one's Guanxi!

- Jason Busch

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