Our Recommendations

  • To optimize opportunities and balance risks, foreign companies must proactively protect and promote their reputations and engage stakeholders – both in China and at home. 
  • Chinese companies must differentiate themselves from peers and build trust, emphasizing their corporate governance and decision-making as independent and not unduly government influenced. 
  • MNCs will need to underscore that they are guests in China and supportive of China’s overall development. These messages for a domestic market will require a difficult balancing act given hardening views among politicians and the public back home.
  • Stakeholder engagement must do more to connect with Chinese people. Strict COVID policies mean China has become increasingly disconnected from the outside world. The lack of interpersonal connections alongside tightened restrictions over news media and social media have further narrowed understanding of the world at large and how the world is talking about China beyond sensationalist news headlines.
  • By the same token, the outside world is missing contact with China. Senior executives increasingly struggle to understand what is happening on the ground, which complicates conversations with China counterparts. Without regular access to China, foreign media are becoming increasingly distant from their core beat and the companies they cover.
  • All China communications must be clearly thought out with an understanding of how messages in one stream impact others. Communications and government relations teams in overseas HQ must be plugged into the teams in China – there cannot be any room for divergence or independent actions on critical messaging. By the same token, Chinese corporate headquarters must consider how their communications will land with Western audiences.
  • Internally, CEOs and the C-Suite in HQ must have regular and intimate engagement with China managers to find alignment on business issues. Meanwhile, internal comms teams must be able to communicate effectively with Chinese employees, while also considering how to talk about China in Western markets.