Accurate China Insight: Why do Chinese companies let staff use personal email addresses for business-related communications?

I find many of the staff working for local Chinese companies and government with whom I interact use personal Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, 126, 163, QQ etc.email addresses and Internet Messenger (IM) such as Windows Live, Yahoo, QQ, Alibaba to conduct their company communications, even negotiations, rather than company email addresses. Curious to understand why so? 

Surely a security risk for companies when company related communications are conducted outside the company network?

For example, last week I contacted a company in Ningbo because its website stated it was one of China’s leading suppliers of Office Stationary. I talked to Frank, the sales manager, and asked him to send me an email about his company’s products. His email arrived as promised but with a Yahoo address. He also copied his “assistant” Kitty who had an Hotmail address. I asked for an email using his corporate email address to which he replied:

“I know it looks not professional with personal email address, I hope you don’t mind. Me and my friend can quote you a good price for a 3% commission”

So here is the sales manager trying to win some business for himself and his girlfriend before his boss ever knew about the lead.

Back in Ireland / Europe, for the most part, if a person doesn’t use a company email address to conduct company-related communications not only is this considered a security issue but also an issue of credibility.

Source:

Niall O’Reilly

Accurate IrelandChina Products & Services Sourcing | China Business Development Consultancy |China Risk Assessment

“Helping Ireland’s business do China business”

Tel: +353 1271 1830 / +86 152 5719 4468

http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.php

63 Comments

Filed under Accurate China Business Services, Accurate China Insight, Business, China, Chinese, Culture, Security

63 responses to “Accurate China Insight: Why do Chinese companies let staff use personal email addresses for business-related communications?

  1. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Kevin T
    • I have often wondered about this too. And why companies use public chatrooms like QQ to connect and conduct business. Business presentation is another thing. I receive letters printed on cheap quality, almost transparent paper with poorly designed letterheads. It all seems a little strange in a nation that puts so much emphasis on presentation and putting on a show.

  2. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Garry C
    • My experiences told me that Chinese people don’t take corporate images that seriously than Westerners do. Also, Chinese people have less sense of belonging or loyalty to the companies they work for, comparing Western people. Although many people in China do understand the importance of working in team settings, they intend to and kind of enjoy working/handling issues individually.

  3. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Terry C
    • It keeps costs down, it means no need need to pay for domain name email accounts, it also means that the person can take the contacts (if they’ve added them on msn, QQ etc) information when they move companies.

    Lots of business is conducted this way. When I first started sourcing in China I was always wary of vendors that used hotmail etc, but I’ve never had a problem so far.

  4. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    L.B. S
    • I have visited over 400 companies in China during my course of qualifying companies to join a select group of qualified vendors. My observation is that many companies are far from understanding how to present a good image and are still operating based on just delivering your ordered goods minus all the communication efficiencies, coupled with most of the owners being not that computer savvy. Where a buyer gets to know the Chinese company well, it is more reliant on knowing the owner and will not be concern about that Chinese company’s image. It is definitely not a matter of cost in hosting a website and creating its own email address (which is inexpensive in China and definitely much cheaper than the lunches/dinners/karaokes expensed by such companies for its clients) but more due to the mental attitude of the owner who cannot see a value of creating a good image in the cyber world. The larger and more internationally exposed Chinese companies do have their own websites and email addresses (but do not enforce or limit on its management staff in not using other email addresses for communication). Another factor is the government registration control in setting up a China website/email address which do deter many companies from the hassle and thought of being monitored.

  5. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Patrick Z
    • I agree with L.B. and have a different view on this issue from Garry’s. In fact, Chinese have much more affliation with the companies they work for than Westerners. Instead of saying, I work for that company, they say 我是那个单位的, an apparent reference of belonging and loyalty.

    I noticed the usage of public email accounts to be more by employees of smaller Chinese companies rather than by more established or the branches of the international firms in China. I think it’s a matter of maturity. As the startups grow, so will their processes and awareness of the public image. So when we compare the practices of the Chinese companies to their western counterparts, we need to keep in mind that many of them didn’t even exist 20 years ago.

  6. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    William B
    • In fact most of the comments made do contain elements which are correct; it always depends on size, which kind of business, how long in business, reputation and like. It certainly is more common in China then elsewhere.

    As I have seen several scams I only can recommend to check the credit worthiness of the company you are intending to engage with (by ordering a credit report). That is very well possible and done according the standards as we are used to in the ‘West’. The basis of these reports comes from Government resources so can be regarded as trustworthy (although one has to ask a company who is specialized in this services).

    As a rule of thumb, I would not give any credit to business’ working with a Google, Hotmail, Yahoo or non-company email address unless I know the people involved in person and had the time/means to make a fair judgement.

  7. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W
    • even government officers use public email servers, like 163, it is complicated to explain, but the same phenomenon takes place in all developing countries.

  8. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Bruno L
    • Another reason I assume is that by using personal email you keep the relationship personal: you can take the business away when you change company etc.

  9. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W
    • 1st. paid internet service is still on the way to be accepted by the netizens, they prefer to use free email services. if you know how much it cost for hosting services in China, you can easily understand this point
    2nd. functions of company email services are not as good as free ones
    3rd. awareness of online PR, esp. the knowledge level of decision makers
    4th. company size, history, team experiences and so on

  10. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Bruno L
    • I don’t agree about Hagard’s 1st point: most companies do have a domain name already and hosting is definitely not expensive (packages around 1k/year are available for SMEs – in fact this is what we paid for our email hosting during our own first year of operation, we had around 10 email addresses and a small website hosted there, excellent bilingual service, etc. around 1k RMB per year… even today I dont think we have above 3k/year). Point #2 however is correct and the most common excuse I have heard in the corporate world (ie not smallish individual companies): 163 or whatever is more reliable than our company’s own server. More often than not, it is true especially when companies try to own/manage their own server. The company’s management has to put other things in the balance (my point above about who owns the company’s clients/know-how/records: company or individuals).

  11. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W
    • as for point 1, I take http://www.net.cn as the example, but for 2nd/3rd class SP, cheaper but usability & stability are poor, even some star SP like zzy, i can get free email services by paying 200-300RMB, but that hosting & email services means nothing to me. You can only get a static website with few html pages out of that, and it is useless, just better than nothing.

  12. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jonathan J
    • There are also a couple of other points that I have seen since working for a Chinese owned company.
    1. When we arrived only departments were allowed to have 1 email address per department. There is no assumption of privacy and therefore everything should be sent to 1 email and then given out to the correct person.
    2. It is about cost. Yes 1k RMB isn’t that expensive but at this time for most there is no perceived value in IT infrastructure.
    3. Chinese like to be able to stamp things and have things in triplicate as much as possible. This doesn’t happen with email and they are not totally comfortable with that.
    4. The last thing that I have personally noticed is that corporate mail is usually iffy on service (esp for dual language like SINA) and the companies usually buy very small amounts of memory. Our employees use personal mail because 1 or 2 attachments on the “new” work email and the box is totally full.

  13. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    William B
    • One element of service speed and like was not touched upon (mind me, I don’t want to start another discussion here!) and that is about filters. The Chinese authorities have engaged thousands of people and use several filters to check on internet traffic. That slows the loading of webpages (besides that you would not be able to load some of them at all). The same happens to emails send, all goes through filters.
    I’m not an IT expert but believe there are a few ways around and some (private) email accounts are not filtered. The company’s certainly are!

  14. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W
    • agree with William, and actually most Asian companies use free email services esp. for SME. I worked in alibaba before and contacted hundreds of thousands of overseas SME, most of them use yahoo, hotmail, gmail.

  15. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Laurence H • All your list are “free” service provider with strong expanding function. People don’t want to use company e-mail because of privacy. You lose QQ, sina this two giant

  16. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com
    John B
    • This thread has answered a question I have been wondering about for about 6 months!!!! Thanks.

  17. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jifu C
    • It is no wonder in other parts of the world! In China, this practice really depends on the company size, business section, and cost concerns. In fact, a company without an email address has no long term business plan!

  18. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jackie C • just a habit. I have been in several different companies but have never used any company email addresses.

  19. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jun W • I think it an important issue, most Chinese companies do not use email at all, but phone and qq, the former is oral contract which is not documented, and the latter is chaotic in the conversation, when I did send emails to contacts and many of them never reply but expect me to qq them … that’s so silly

    usually I need to call them after I email them (duplicated work)

  20. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart W
    • As a business owner here, the use of domain names has a number of cultural issues:

    1: Most Chinese business leaders do not see the point of IT infrastructure and thus will not invest in it. Why do it when you get it for free. Those that have web presence have no clue how they are perceived by the netizens anyway. Just look at some of the web sites to see what I mean.
    2: There is a lack of trust with in-house systems by the staff. Although they impirically know that all communications is monitored bythe government, they know that company monitoring is far more intrusive.
    3: Why pay for something you can get for free – this is a common Chinese trait and ignores value, branding, and many things that “laowei’s” think of as ‘necessary’, but in truth are not.
    4: Employees have zero or little loyalty to their companies and prefer to keep contacts as a leverage and power tool. Thus when they leave they walk out with your IP. They do not see this as stealing, or having any negative impact on the company, nor do they care. The contact, in their mind is theirs, not yours. So, even if you have company domans, the email will never be used in any great measure and contacts will never be downloaded to the exchange server.
    5: E-mail is not a common form of intra-country company communications. As Jun pointed out, everyone tends to use QQ or MSN to chat, send files and communicate. SMS is also used but generally to tell you to go on to QQ.
    6: The culture is based on the need to meet face to face. Time versus money is generally not an equation here (ask any Westerner) and has not been for the past twenty years. Thus to meet is considered more productive than sending an email even though the result is the same. Too many times I have traveled the country to meet and solve an issue that was in US or UK terms a simple matter of exchanging two or three emails and maybe a phone call.
    7: Be aware that voice mail is not used commonly here either. Again refer to the pont above. This is cultural.

    Give the country another 7-10 years and you will see more use of company domains at teh SME level. Remember that China is changing but the Chinese are not.

  21. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jun W
    • China changed and Chinese changed as well, there’s corruption of the humanity and they are braindead…

    They do not think but follow the crowds(group hysteria), and and they simply follow the common sense of value and that’s bad…

    The seek for the outer materials and apply the meanings to them to feel identical with, and these materials cultivates their arrogance! They are intellectually and spiritually corrupted

  22. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Junhan L.
    • stealing contacts, making them portable🙂 thats another way to view it too.

  23. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W
    • If anyone wanna comment on China and Chinese people, I strongly ask you to read this book first “The Spirits of The Chinese People” by H.M. KU, or stop shouting coz you never really know China and Chinese people.

  24. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart W
    • Dear Hagard;
    Read it. So what? I am not a China apologist, I call things as I see them and experience them and have experienced them over the past 20+ years. I accept things and do not fight them. 1.4 billion to one are not great odds whichever way you look at it, but your remarks speak far louder than I could have expressed my thoughts. Q.E.D.

  25. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Kerry K
    • Dear everyone good morning! I just saw this discussion and wanted to make two quick comments …

    (1) Jun W & Hagard W … What do your comments about Chinese … and whether laowais understand Chinese culture have to do with the question about Chinese companies using corporate rather than generic email addresses?

    It seems to me that you guys are going wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy off point with your comments and you haven’t answered the question.

    (2) I have only been in China for 2-1/2 years but I also have wondered why so few companies allow their staff to use non-corporate email addresses for work related email communications?

    As a marketing person who helps companies to develop their MarCom strategies it seems that the companies themselves don’t understand the reasons for using corporate email addresses from a brand development / brand management perspective.

    I’d be very interested to heard comments about item #2 … and hope everyone can get away from the previous types of comments that seem to be on this thread.

    This is not an issue about Chinese cultural values … its an issue about whether Chinese companies and their employees understand their “brands” and brand management.

  26. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Li N
    • To sum up, QQ saves telephone fee, it is a convenient and economical communicating tool, come from the grass roots, grown from the soil of average people in China.

  27. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W

    • Hi Kerry,

    I just did a quick analysis on 500 SME from Shenzhen, about 40% of them are using public email services (mainly from netease), and companies who are using their own corporate email address are:
    1) Export oriented companies who have years experiences of B2B online marketing
    2) Big companies who has their own IT team

    I am also wondering what’s the meaning of this topic, but it is a good tread for companies who are planning to offer IT services throughout China, esp. for SME.

    Also, according to my knowledge, 70% SME from Asia (sample quantity around 100K in 2006) use non-corporate email addresses, ratio is like 40% yahoo, 20% hotmail, 20% gmail, 20% others.

  28. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart W
    • Li Na’s comment – Q.E.D.

  29. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart Worrall
    • Li Na’s comment – Q.E.D.

  30. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Kerry K

    • Li / Jun / Hagard / Stuart … hi! Thanks for your comments.

    I am trying to look at this issue from perhaps a different perspective than some of you might be … and forgive me for making some general statements.

    The comments from our Chinese brothers and sisters here seem to be related to IT and cost savings which is a valid point. However, as related to IT while there may be cost savings there may be security issues which are not taken into account.

    The comments from the “Laowai” brothers here see this issue from a Marketing and Communications (MarCom) perspective and that the issue is about how companies do or do not brand themselves.

    It’s my belief that email is a form of MarCom and that companies that allow their staff to use generic rather than corporate email accounts miss a fundamental opportunity to develop their brands.

    As Chinese companies grow and start to go regional or global they will need to understand that the companies and individuals that they do business with “may” have a negative opinion of them if they allow their employees to use non-corporate email addresses.

    I think its that simple … and that this is not a cultural issue but a fundamental MarCom issue.

  31. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart W
    • I understand what you have said Kerry, but disagree with your last point for a whole bunch of reasons all previously stated.

    Marcom is not the center of the universe for everyone. I think that Marcom awareness – which is missionary work here, is required before there is some accceptance and once you have one, then you have the herd concept working in your favor, which has already been discussed. It is timing, culture and awareness.

    However, look at the overall picture and there is no one silver bullet to solve this. Clearly people for the Western world see the lack of domain emails addresses as a negative, yet the Chinese do not. Who is right? Who says we should do all business in China like the West? It is culture and awareness difference that stop us all becoming like the Europeans and Americans. Not everyone subscribes to the US model is best for everything.

  32. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Hagard W

    • agree with Kerry

    There are several stages for China companies to do ecommerce, if public email address is the 1st stage, then corporate one is the 2nd, but it is good to see that many China companies are starting using corporate emails now, transferring to the 2nd stage when they go global and better aware of PR.

  33. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Kerry K

    • Stuart,

    Good morning! Since you’re a friend, I obviously don’t want to be negative two-days before Christmas but I would just point out that in my viewpoint your viewpoint is a bit biased in a “negative” manner.

    To me, and I’m sure you, a business or company is composed of many factors which when put together create the “whole”.

    To your earlier comments that .. “Most Chinese business leaders do not see the point of IT infrastructure and thus will not invest in it” … I would reply as follows:

    (a) What leaders are you talking about? The president of Lenovo? The president of Huawei? The president of Jing Jang Hotel group? It may be that your viewpoint is based upon the companies that you have interacted with and while it has validity is not necessarily reflective of the “whole”.

    (b) And it may also be that the “Leaders” that you mention have not looked at IT in the context of the “whole”. They may not realize that their cost savings leads to losses of business opportunity.

    To point #4 … I think this probably relates to how fair companies have also treated their employees. There are 1,000’s .. if not hundreds of thousands of Chinese … the same people who are here on Linked In … who have changed jobs and never stolen or taken anything. And I would also point out that companies in the US or UK are not immune to their own cases of employee vandalism or theft.

    I think we can take a look at any business or life experience from either a negative or positive viewpoint … the glass half-full or half-empty syndrome … I know that you have had some negative experiences in China as related to both companies and business partners which “may” sometimes bias your viewpoint.

    This is not to say that you’re wrong … but neither do I believe you are right … since most of my experiences in China and with Chinese people have been nothing except wonderful experiences and I have found many of the Chinese that I deal with to be among the best, the brightest and the most morally outstanding people on earth.

    As related to this discussion I am simply pointing out that the IT issues and the MarCom issues are inter-related within the “whole” and that companies who do not use corporate email addresses do miss a business opportunity.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  34. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Junhan L. • I agree with Kerry on this.
    ocassionally u do see people with their own namecards.. using hotmail… bearing big names like HP. But there are good people here. Not everyone is bad. simply put.

  35. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart W

    • Kerry,
    You are correct. I have met some wonderful people here and some of the kindest acts have happened here. However, do not confuse generalization for specifics, they are two differing arguments.
    Seasons Greetings to you too!

  36. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Rajul A • Apart from the issue related to official company email ID, has anyone wondered about the lack of lack of documentation and records even for Contracts and also that you need to send reminders for simple acknowledgements.

  37. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jun W • True, I have got no idea why there documents they archive is usually very chaotic, and mostly many of them usually do not archive the documents in a systematic way, but tend to leave them anywhere, possibly theyselves can find the documents, but what about the freshman who’s to take over the job???

    Thanks and regards! Jun

  38. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Lisa Y
    • In general its not that formal for small-medium sized companies in addition to costs concerns. When I was traveling back China for business, many time they asked my MSN (QQ) etc and send me files through that. Also, they will text message to senior managers or leaders by cell phone for work related. So its more of casual thing I think. Sometimes, I saw very high level government officials have their private mail box on the business cards as well. Very good question for discussion.

  39. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Bertel S • There is another problem with 163 etc accounts: The mail does not arrive.

    Overseas hosters have become quite aggressive when it comes to anything Chinese, and spam filters routinely flag mail from these accounts as spam. It gets sent, it doesn’t arrive.

    I often teach, sometimes help my Chinese business partners in using their own email system which they often don’t realize that it is there: It came with the website hosting contract. Then, the trouble starts: The accounts are so poorly administered that they get flagged as spam and blacklisted. And yes, all too often they have not enough space to hold a simple request list.

    Even if I whitelist *.cn or *163.com on my side, the mail often still does not arrive: It gets filtered somewhere else. Not by the thought police, by hyperactive spam filters.

    I project that Chinese exports will take a 20% leap once all email goes through.

    So finally, in exasperation, I say: “Get a Gmail account!” (So now you know why people have Gmail accounts. They have Hotmail accounts because of MSN.)

    And don’t get me going about companies where 100 people share one 1 Mbit line, and half of the staff trades stock, downloads games, and watches video … or at least tries to. At my office in Beijing, I had to put in a machine that blocks P2P, video, QQ etc: Not just time wasters, also vectors for viruses.

    While on the topic: Never ever share an USB stick with anyone unless you have an aggressive, paid for, and continuously updated virus checker installed. I once bought USB sticks that were infected ex factory ….

  40. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jun W• They use hotmail not because they like to email, but becuas ethey like to chat with MSN…

  41. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Stuart W

    Bertel:
    Agree with you wholeheartedly! Mindspring and AOL are two of the worst ISP’s in the US for blocking Chinese web traffic and then what I have found is that there is retaliation here in China blocking certain ISP’s from the US. It’s so long ago that I dealt with that issue, I had filed it in the back of my mind. The blocking is not only of legitimate sites but also of other bandwidth hungry commercial sites.
    Right on – let’s stick with Gmail and MSN. At least they usually get thorugh!

  42. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Arthur B
    • In my experience, I have learned that most Chinese bosses feel that e-mail isn’t the proper way to communicate. Every boss I have had or delt with may see an e-mail, but rarely take action on it. It takes a phone call, meeting or other personal communication to get things done. While the is an incredibly frustrating thing for me, I have adapted and always follow up an e-mail with a phone call, then another e-mail documenting the phone discussion, then repeat as many times as necessay to accomplish my goal. It’s repetitive, but that just how it works. The younger generation are getting better, but it is still a “work in progress” and many traits of the forefathers are still carrying on.

  43. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Bertel S
    • Well, we all have to adapt to the environment we work in.

    I have to train the Chinese people in my office to always follow up a telephone discussion with an email, summarizing what had been said and decided. This to maintain an audit trail and to avoid the usual “well, later on you said …” And if the boss ignores the email, even better …

    Europe is halfway between China and the U.S. in that regard. I can’t count the times when I had to make a one day trip to see the client for a one hour meeting – but it usually was worth it.

  44. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Pavel K
    • as well it depends on the age of the company owner/senior management. If they are more then 45 then 1000rmb per year for the 100MB mail box and 4-5 accounts, seems as big thing to do. All Chinese internet is filtered(as any another country does). And moreover, some of them continue to use faxes to send in offers). A lot of chinese big bosses (elder then 45 ) personally use mailboxes extremely rare.

  45. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Zoey D
    • well, I agree with Terry, yes, it cuts down the cost for companies,and also a habit for workers,for example QQ, yeah,it is very convenient for co-workers.Like Terry said, there was not any problem happened.

  46. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Lee F
    • As a westerner, I can certainly understand the need for corprate branding and webbased appearances and I do not dissagree that the majority of chinese companies are very far behind in this on an international scale. ( I wont bother going into this as everybody has made many valid points)

    Having worked in larger Chinese companies, I have found that internal / external communication is made much simpler by the use of free tools like QQ. everybody has one and it keeps things more personal (see posts on Chinese Guanxi) I have worked in companies that have paid hundreds of thousands of RMB for internal managment software with web based communication tools and it has has a positive impact on the company… making things much more effective…. but still there was always something missing, it was too impersonal!

    Due to comapny restrictions on personal communications (cost saving) I found the majority of the staff were away from their work stations more often than usual. Now I can only presume they were out having an extra long smoke break and a chat with their friends from the 8th floor (a punishable offence in most companies) but the point at hand is that they were hard to find when needed.

    Point in hand is that I personally beleive that China will always be China and Chinese culture will not change just because we find it ineffectual. Even though implimenting stricter communication methods may seem to be a cure… the side effects of the cure may very well outweigh the origninal illness.

    We all know the importance of Guanxi in China, though I dont beleive many of us truely understand it… the majority of people who attend these discussions are people in a managerial position… we often dont think that the term “guanxi” is not only used to grease the wheels and get that 2 million dollar contract. “Guanxi” is used by all at all different levels, It is a relationship built and the use of the social implications designated to such relationships. The staff need guanxi too, albeit at a different level. We each benifit from the guanxi of all staff below and around us daily and we must not forget that QQ ect is the best means for all to attain and maintain such relationships.

    Hence, I beleive smarter managerial control over staff using such communication tools to be much more culturally adept and cost effective than restrictions.

  47. Comments from China Business (Linkedin.com)

    Jackie C

    • Hey, Lee. This is a very good one so far! If we have to make the discussion simple, people behave, think, look, …different from each other. Nobody asks you why you step out your left foot first to start walking while the others using their right feet.

  48. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (Linkedin.com)

    han g
    • well, my company email is nightmare for me, i can only receive spam emails. and many people called me asked why their email to me is returned. so after 1 year’s waiting, i lose confidence to our IT and decide to use yahoo instead, though i was told that yahoo is not safe.

  49. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (Linkedin.com)

    David B
    • The cloud could, of course, hold the answer. I’ve used Google apps email for some time now and it works fine (although I was worried that it would get blocked along with other parts of Google apps when Google and the government weren’t getting along).

    However, I can imagine that a lot of Chinese IT managers would have a philosophical problem paying a fee for a service rather than buying physical hardware – even though it’s simpler and more reliable. My guess is still that many will think that if it’s a pure service

  50. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (Linkedin.com)

    Oscar C
    • Sometimes, corporate emails need more added security than the free services. In fact, most of the times you should pay so your corporate email doesn’t go directly to the trash bin or doesn’t get marked as spam.

    This might explain why so many free email addresses are out there. Personally, I like to send from my corporate email to have a history of all the company’s communications + a backup in Gmail for better control.

    Also, I always have my doubts on people with whom I do business and have a 163 email. Trust is the biggest issue of them all.

    Great topic Niall

  51. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Sean Xu • It costs when using server, I guess.

  52. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)
    Domenico L
    • When one GM friend asked why there was no company email, he has been told, why? It cost money and free email systems allow more space then any corporate email system to exchange big company files! Have you heard about security he asked? There was a thick silence in the office you could hear a heart break….

  53. Comments from Hangzhou Businss Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Ryan S • Security? Many Chinese companies dont care about that. They even use QQ as their business tool.

  54. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Ryan S
    • One reason may be that salesman prefer to use personal email so as to collect clients information for himself. the man who have clients source and can bring business directly to company is hot.

  55. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin)

    Rueben M
    • Spot on, Ryan… I know an instance where the Chinese salesman had lifted entire company accounts from one place to another, as he used it to leverage a better salary from the prospective employer.

    I can’t say it never happens in the USA, but I’ve never seen such a brazen approach.

    The salesman was hired, by the way… and offered a 6-figure package to start! Knowledge is power.

  56. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin)

    Andy Y
    • many chinese companines have not email systems with their owm host machine.

  57. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    David B
    • Why not use hotmail and QQ when you’re keeping your company chop in a safe that I could pick up and carry under one arm and put a bike lock round your office door handle at night?

    I believe that many companies also let their sales people use their own mobile phones to conclude business, just reimbursing for calls, so that even when they leave, customers will still continue to call them and they have the complete call list in the directory. Undoubtedly keeps the costs down but the profits also!

  58. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Jack T
    • David, I agree with you, it should be considered balance between cost and profit. Buying/Renting a server in IDC and setup a mail server is very cheap in fact.

  59. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Gery E

    • It’s not really about cost and server and those kind of reasons. In China, business and sales are done in a different way than in the West. Ryan is right, while recruiting a sales person in Chinese companies in China, the first thing the Chinese HR Director will ask is “and my dear, tell me, how many connections do YOU have with foreign buyers ? ” Also, a very valid point was made by saying that most of Chinese companies are even not concerned nor interested to invest in a safe server-based mail system.

    Again, it shows the very essence of difference between the Western and Chinese ways of managing your businesses

  60. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Kelly H •
    This does not just happen in sale people, I found lots government officers they also use 163, yahoo email as well, even in their name card.
    I don’t think government would lack of money to buy the servers, it is more about the awareness, my feeling is people like to hold all the relationship personally in China.

  61. Comments from Hangzhou Business Network (HBN) (Linkedin.com)

    Sean X
    • Relationship is huge topic in China, not only to sales person, I totally agree with Kelly.

  62. Pingback: Accurate China Insight: China business scam – Beware of unusually large Purchase Orders | The Road Less Traveled: Niall's Musings

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