Minding matters

Updated: 2011-07-29 11:36

By Alex Leyton Espinoza (China Daily European Weekly)

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Minding matters
Cameron Shaw has set up The Etiquette Society, a company that teaches Chinese professionals traditional Western manners. Alex Leyton Espinonza / for China Daily 

One young British expat saw a business opportunity and seized the day

Without any preconceptions, language skills and with a very limited knowledge about China, British native Cameron Shaw decided to move to Beijing. The decision soon launched a life of adventure that surpassed his wildest dreams. "Not much was happening in England and at the same time we were being flooded by news of the booming industry and growing economy of China," he says. "I had to decide whether to stay in England and build a career in the financial markets or move to China where there were opportunities to fill in the gaps in different markets."

So in 2007 the fresh graduate of The University of York packed his bags and moved to the Middle Kingdom, carrying not only his clothes and daily belongings but also his hopes and dreams.

"I was the president of The City Society, my university's finance society," he says.

"The people I interacted with, such as businessmen, bankers, gave me tips and talked to me about the potential growth in Asia.

"That was a large motivating factor in deciding to come to China."

Like most students, Shaw first studied the Chinese language for a year at Beijing Language and Culture University and later served as an intern at a design company.

"Like most foreigners, the language barrier was obviously very difficult," he says.

"Later, when I did my internship, I became more aware that the business culture in China was probably the hardest to understand and get used to.

"In the West, we are more direct in our interactions.

"In China, from my experience, Chinese people in business tend to always show some interest in what you are doing even though they are really not interested.

"They don't come straight out saying 'no' because they don't want to seem rude," he says. "But this can be quite time consuming in business."

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