A group of 27 students Law School students selected from a highly competitive field of applicants have participated in a unique cultural immersion experience designed to develop Chinese cultural literacy. The experience, undertaken as part of the Graduate Diploma of Chinese Business Law, was led by Professor Ken Shao, expert in Chinese Business Law and Chinese culture and course director. Professor Shao designed the elective unit to instil in students an understanding of the key, yet frequently misunderstood concept of cultural literacy.
Professor Shao explains, “Simply put, cultural literacy is the ability to understand and effectively participate in another culture. It goes beyond taking a course in mandarin, socialising with Chinese friends or business partners or the capacity to drink Chinese liquor as well as a local. This may seem obvious however contemporary case studies are littered with examples where the absence of cultural literacy has cost individuals and organisations significantly. Notable examples include EBay’s failure in defining its market in China and the corruption scandals of GSK and Rio Tinto China branches.”
Participants in the 16-day tour took part in an integrated and cross-disciplinary range of activities including seminars, panel discussions, guided tours and dialogues with business, law, government, universities, research institutes and cultural bodies. The activities were carefully selected and planned to develop understanding and participation in Chinese culture, business, law and politics and took the students to Hong Kong, Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.
Students had unique opportunities to engage with leading global entities operating in Mainland China and Hong Kong, including Rio Tinto, King & Wood and Huawei. At Deutsche Bank (HK), students were given an exclusive presentation by Dr Michael Spencer, Chief Economist, on the state Chinese economy followed up by a panel session with the Deutsche Bank legal team, sharing insights on how an in-house legal department works in an international bank in China.
In Shanghai students engaged with two senior partners from Zhonglun (Shanghai) - China’s number one law firm - on how Chinese major law firms operate, and visited Guangfa Bank - one of China’s major financial intuitions - to enjoy a session on how Chinese high net-value individuals invest and manage their assets.
The group also had the opportunity to visit two leading Chinese Universities including Peking University and Nanjing Normal University where they participated in an Australia-China Youth Dialogue with 100 Chinese students on the roles of China and Australia in the 21st century.
Tour participant Natalie Connor said “The tour was an impressive and valuable once in a lifetime experience vital for people interested working in China. The advice given to us by leading executives and local university students has helped shape my career goals and deepened my knowledge about how to do business in China.”
The Graduate Diploma of Chinese Business Law commences on January 27 with classes delivered intensively at UWA’s Crawley campus. The next engagement tour of China will take place in late November 2016. Applications are now open, for more information visit http://www.law.uwa.edu.au/courses/coursework/ChineseBuisnessLaw.