SINGAPORE (Feb 18): Doing business in Singapore is well defined. There is a clear thin line in the sand that defines what is and is not acceptable. There are always some businesses that cross the line, and most times they are caught.
Doing business in China is not so well defined. The line in the sand is both broader and fuzzier around the edges. The old Chinese adage that the Emperor is far away still applies, and the line appears to get wider and fuzzier as business activities are located further away from Beijing.
Sometimes, officials turn a blind eye to activity in this broad, grey area. In the past, blindness was sometimes purchased, although this type of corruption has been progressively weeded out as part of President Xi Jinping’s Tigers and Flies anti-corruption campaign that has seen thousands of officials jailed or, in some cases, executed.