Former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, worked as a China consultant before he was involved in politics. He also speaks Chinese well as a foreigner, the best as a non-Chinese speaking country leader. We do not know if he knows the term Jianghu（江湖）. If he does, and also knows the true meaning of it, he may qualify for being a true China consultant. Yet most of time when we checked, we found many so-called China specialists, whether of think tanks, governments, universities, or corporations, are utterly ignorant of the existence of the very word Jianghu.
However, Jianghu is the word hardly any Chinese, illiterate or otherwise, does not know. Jianghu is a term tossed up by a well-known philosopher Zhuangzi born about 369 B.C., eventually evolved to be roughly a business society, more or less. And Chinese business people know it all too well.
Doing business in China is very different from doing business in the west. With nearly four thousands years of written history, China has developed and nourished an entrenched culture of the way of doing business. No one, if he wants to be successful in doing business in China, can do business in his own way but be compliant with the set convention prevailing in China, in the same sense that a Chinese can do business in Australia well by complying its set practice and laws.
There are a few tips about Jianghu. First of all, Chinese only do business with people they know. If two persons do not know each other, they have to know each other first, normally with the introduction of a third person, mostly by setting up a dinner, before they can proceed to talking about business. The second one is the reciprocity. Keep in mind that you should take nothing for granted, this is particularly so when some has done you a favour. Be grateful if you want to continue to be in the same business. When someone treats a dinner, always shout a dinner in return, since that is the way Chinese conducts business. Thirdly, Chinese has a saying which is close to “What goes around comes around” , goes like this: “出来混，迟早要还的”. Well, the list goes on.
The issue is how any one can advise on Doing Business in China without knowing the practice in Jianghu in the first place. It is in this sense we are different, and better positioned to help you successfully doing business in China, not just know you and your needs, not just know business laws in China for Australian businessmen and investors, not just know local lawyers and governments, we also spent a lot on research of Jianghu.
We are a bunch of lawyers who were born in China, educated both in China and Australia, and trained to be Australian lawyers, some way back to mid 90s. In 2003, we made our presence in Beijing, the capital of China by being licensed by the Ministry of Justice to set up a de facto branch but name wise called a Representative Office, together with some distinguished law firms in Australia. The Australian Embassy in China has an inclusive list.
Born to its culture and grew up in China, we know China in a way very different from someone who was born in Australia. Even we are Australian lawyers, we are still regarded by local Chinese as Chinese. Furthermore, nearly twenty years practice in China has made us penetrated well into Chinese business and governmental society.