The Asian market is complex, diverse and difficult to break into. Western companies often make the mistake of making an “Asia-strategy” rather than strategies for each individual country in China. Every country in Asia has its own history, its own culture, many countries also have their own language and therefore, of course, their own business practices.

The past decade has seen fundamental changes in the world's economic powers, which have had a significant impact on companies' internationalization strategies. China, as a growing world economic power, was an absolute must and will remain one of the most important sales markets for many companies. Japan, on the other hand, has often been neglected, even though Japan is considered a reliable trading partner with shared values.

The St. Gallen Center for Asia strengthens Asian competencies in order to improve the competitiveness of companies, to enable communication at eye level and to increase business success in Asia.

For an in-depth discussion of Asian countries, we offer the following services, among others, with experienced experts from the respective countries:

  • Seminars
  • Management Development Programs
  • Consulting

China Competences for Managers

Imagining many countries without China as a trading partner is almost impossible. Today, China has become an established and important sales market for many companies. A large proportion of entrepreneurs and managers come into contact with China. But since the beginning of the pandemic, the distances to China have become much larger again. A quick trip to the country to get a sense of the current situation, strengthen relations with local colleagues, or meet new business partners has become more difficult than ever.

Due to insufficiant exchange between individuals that often leads to false assumptions, barriers can develop quickly. This can damage existing, successful Chinese business relationships. It is much more difficult to establish completely new relationships only digitally.

This makes it an even more pressing issue for companies to build and strengthen their own China competencies. Only those who know the country, the people, the culture, their customs and local communication channels can act successfully in close cooperation with China.

We are delighted to support you with our China expertise.

Consulting Services: 

  • Market analyses
  • Country-specific strategy consulting and implementation
  • Re-branding China: how to adapt the own brand for the target market
  • Core message of the brand for the Chinese market
  • Communication and marketing strategy
  • Sales strategy & sales channels
  • Organisational structure & leadership
  • Recruiting & personnel management

China Seminars:

Management training in a variety of formats with experienced China experts as lecturers:

  • In person coachings with a «Mastermind Group»
  • Company-specific seminars, tailored to the specific needs of your company
  • Learning formats «Training & Workshop»
  • Online Live Sessions
  • Impulse lectures
  • a.o.
Seminar Example 1: Leadership & Cross-Cultural Management (China)

"Those who know themselves as well as their opponents will remain victorious in a hundred battles." (SUNZI - Chinese general and strategist)

Intercultural competence is a must-have in international business. China is unique due to their specific history, political situation and economic and social structures. Yet many behaviours and decisions of Chinese business partners or employees may seem somewhat puzzling to Western managers.

The seminar provides an insider's perspective into the Chinese culture and way of thinking. You will get to know your business counterparts through numerous practical cases and thereby also get to take a look at your own culture from a different perspective. In addition, the intercultural aspects in the core areas of business management such as building trust, communication and personnel management will be explored.

Day 1: Creating a basis for cultural understanding

  • Definition of culture
    - Importance of cross-cultural management
    - What is intercultural competence?
  • Intercultural perception (DACH-CN)
  • Debriefing the results and backgrounds
  • Country and people in China
    - Briefing of the Chinese history
    - Role of politics
    - Social developments
    - Regional differences
    - China's relationship to the West
    - Tradition versus modernity

Day 2: Building trust and internal communication

  • Building trust
    - Intercultural significance of building deep rooted trust and relationships
    - Relationship management
  • Business culture and business labels
  • Meeting culture
  • Feedback management
    - How to provide constructive feedback?
    - How do you interpret the feedback you receive?
  • Communication styles
  • Conflict management

Day 3: Leadership

  • Importance of hierarchy
  • Characteristics and handling of hierarchy
  • Peculiarities and challenges of intercultural personnel management
  • Recruitment and personnel law
  • Staff retention and motivation
  • Team building and team development
  • Comparison of leadership styles and delegation of tasks
Seminar Example 2: Communication, Marketing & Sales in China

Ongoing travel restrictions between the DACH region and China create challenges for numerous companies: How do you gain an insight into the market without being able to travel there? How do you communicate successfully with Chinese partners, suppliers, or customers in these times? Can relationships be built from a distance or are personal meetings necessary? What are the preferred marketing and sales tools for the Chinese market? You will get an overview of China's digital communication landscape, what options are available to DACH companies and how communication and sales can be done right for the Chinese market.

Day 1:

  • Communication landscape
    - Language
    - Cultural aspects
    - China's political system and influence on marketing communication
    - Overview of Chinas most popular communication channels
  • Marketingkommunikation 1x1
    - WeChat
    - Weibo
    - Baidu
    - Zhihu
  • Traditional media
    - Print versus digital media
    - Cooperation with Chinese journalists
    - Trade media cooperation

Day 2:

  • Trends in China's marketing communications world
    - Video platforms
    - KOL (Influencer) cooperations
    - Live Streaming
  • Content Marketing
    - Good content marketing for China
    - Shaping corporate content and topics for China
  • Law and regulations
    - Advertising law
    - Data-Protection law

Day 3:

  • Sales
    - Cultural aspects of sales in China
    - Supporting sales in China from abroad
    - Generating digital leads
  • Baidu and websites
    - Chinese websites
    - Hostings in China
    - ICP Licence and other registrations
    - Baidu SEO
Seminar Example 3: China Strategy (Approach, Examples, Market Peculiarities)

Especially in times of global political turbulence, China remains an important growth market for many companies. The "Localisation 2.0" trend is a product of China's "dual circulation" policy as well as the efforts of some European countries to become economically more independent of China. In this context, local presence with independent functions is becoming a highly important success factor, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Having the right China strategy helps to manage the predicament of many European companies in the Chinese market. Their objective is to realize the maximum potential of the market without letting go of the control over their business which is located in China.

This seminar focuses on China's understanding of strategy compared to Western management theories with the aim of better understanding the Chinese market and the players within it. We will address the key strategic tasks in the context of China's business dealings. Additionally, practical examples and moderated discussions between participants will be used to illustrate methods of how SMEs can set up their China strategy with a long-term orientation and regularly review and adapt it.

Especially suitable for company owners, managing directors, commercial or technical managers and managing directors of China branches of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Switzerland, Austria and Germany who want to establish or expand their business in China.

Day 1:

  • Understanding strategy
    - Supra Strategy and Policy
    - Responsibility for strategy
  • Market scenario
    - Dynamic environment
    - Scenario development
  • Strategic framework
    - Target state
    - China strategy versus global strategy
    - Guardrails

Day 2:

  • Business model comparing the home market with the Chinese market
    - Market segmentation (customers and products)
    - Positioning
    - Business model and strategy types
  • Selection of functional strategies
    - Market research and product definition
    - Distribution channel
    - Value creation channels
    - Personnel strategies for service functions

Day 3:

  • Shopfloor management via virtual tools
    - Corporate governance structure
    - Change in cooperation between branch and headquarters
    - Communication concept
    - Agile strategy processes
  • Organisational development
    - Function development
    - Human resources development
    - Company structure and shareholdings


Theresa Stewart
Director of the Center for Asia at SGMI Management Institute St. Gallen

Theresa Stewart is a sinologist who has worked in marketing communications in China, Australia and the UK. She has built a solid reputation in the German-Chinese community over the years. After several years of working in the management of the German Centres in Shanghai and Taicang, she has achieved a deep knowledge and understanding of the Chinese market, culture and institutions. Additionally, she is well-versed in the needs of German companies. As Managing Partner of the communication agency Storymaker, she is responsible for the China business and advises on the strategic and operational implementation of international communication and marketing campaigns. As Director of the Center for Asia at SGMI Management Institut St. Gallen, she is responsible for the seminar portfolio and consulting services on the Asian market with a focus on China.

Xiaolong Hu
Co-Director of the Center for Asia at SGMI Management Institute St. Gallen

Xiaolong Hu has been working as a management consultant for over 17 years with project experience in Germany/EU and China. He has excellent language skills in Chinese, German and English. His industry knowledge is especially deepend in the field of automotive, mechanical engineering, household appliances, aerospace and electronics industries. While managing Chinese subsidiaries for three German consultancies, he was responsible for their expansion & development, where he demonstrated excellent intercultural experience in business relations, management situations and cooperation projects between Germany and China.



Theresa Stewart

Director of the Center for Asia at SGMI Management Institute St. Gallen

Xiaolong Hu

Co-Director of the Center for Asia at SGMI Management Institute St. Gallen

Further information

+41 71 223 50 30

How to contact us

+41 71 223 50 30

SGMI Management Institut St. Gallen
Bogenstrasse 7
CH-9000 St. Gallen

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