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Forged in Purgatory

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Running a Business in Shanghai: Lessons in Managerial Tai Chi

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Street level businesses face multiple challenges including the need to secure permits and licenses in a society which expects an exchange of favors and benefits at all levels.  Establishing, growing and protecting a successful business requires practical street-smarts guided by a market-tested moral compass. Mark Secchia discusses how a company’s bottom line and operational viability can be jeopardized by the conduct of officials, local deputized citizens known as “Cheng Guan”, vendors, suppliers, employees and customers.  He also emphasizes how the ability to observe, listen, learn and adapt makes a real difference in China.

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About Mark Secchia

mark secchia headshot
Sherpas originally began as an MBA internship project in 1998, when Mark and several classmates conceived and launched a small company which offered call center and delivery services in Shanghai. Now a company with annual revenues over US$5 million, Sherpas employs over 200 people throughout Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou.  Sherpas remains a very hands-on endeavor for Mark; he can occasionally still be found working the call centre phones... [Full Bio]
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