Western Companies and
Their Western Cultures
November 29, 2010
Western Companies and Their Western Cultures
Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the world, with stores in over 15 countries around the world. Wal-Mart’s success is due mostly to their ability to sell goods at low prices and their ability to create a friendly environment with their “ten-foot attitude”; meaning a salesperson who comes within 10 feet of a customer must look the person in the eye, greet the person, and ask if he or she needs help (Schaefer, 2009, p. 68). This cookie cutter style business has been very successful in the United States, but it has had many setbacks around the world. Wal-Mart’s inability to adapt there business to the host nations culture has proven detrimental to their ability to spread to many countries around the world, like Germany and South Korea (Schaefer, 2009, p. 68). But Wal-Mart is not the only business that has taken this approach, eBay took the same approach when they entered the Chinese market and met with the same results.
In 2004, eBay entered the Chinese marketplace with the intent of dominating internet auctions. They began an aggressive campaign designed to dominate the market place. They signed exclusive advertising right with major portals Sina, Sohu, and Netease with the intent of blocking advertisements from their number one rival Taobao. They also injected over $100 million to build its China operation and began spreading ads on buses, subway platforms and anywhere else they could find (Wang, 2010, para 5). They took the same approach that they had taken in the United States, without taking into account the Chinese’s culture.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, was not ready to start losing customers to eBay. Ma who understood the Chinese culture, and their way of thinking launched Taobao. Taobao, which means “digging for treasure”, was launched as a competing consumer-to consumer (C2C) auction site (Wang, 2010,...
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