South China Morning Post: Scott McDonald on China’s Waning Interest in Learning from Overseas Businesses

Jul 15, 2019

Chinese companies have little interest in learning from overseas businesses, as the domestic market matures and nationalism kicks in, according to president and CEO of Oliver Wyman, Scott McDonald. Oliver Wyman entered China 15 years ago and for the first 10 years “most of our work was around best practices, bringing global best practices into the Chinese market,” said McDonald. “There was a lot of curiosity about what was going on in other places and how it was done, how firms ran, were organized.”

“Now there is very little interest in that,” he said. “There is far more interest in what else is happening in China, and very specific strategic questions, which are more domestic focused.”

McDonald noted that the focus on moving overseas could be slowing amid the ongoing US-China trade war, with China hit by 25 per cent tariffs on US$250 billion of goods by US President Donald Trump, impacting prices in the US and dampening orders from American companies. Significant concern from domestic players that this will harm their opportunities abroad means “they are looking more inward and thinking about China,” said McDonald, though not completely abandoning desires to expand globally.

To read the entire article and watch an interview with Scott McDonald, please click here.