Thursday, September 29, 2005

Women Make Up 20 Percent Of All Entrepreneurs in China

The Christian Science Monitor

As I have said before, it's not just American women escaping corporate life, it's women everywhere. Take a look at a few of the comments that were made by Chinese women entrepreneurs in "Four Women Who Shape Beijing." And as you scan, think about "what women want" or rather "what you want" from your professional life.

• She leapt at the chance, as she puts it, to influence a new generation of Chinese consumers.

• "It's rare to get a project that is heart and soul, as well as brains."

• "Women like to put their love into their products and services. They're determined."

• Like so many Chinese, women entrepreneurs are leaving behind any qualms about capitalist enterprise. Many have studied abroad. And as they set up shop, they're acutely aware of their role in shaping a new China -- changing corporate culture, encouraging creativity, and striving to operate by international standards in a country where a weak legal system means that copying is rampant and business figures are often fuzzy.

• Few have a sense of limitation. "I believe knowledge is power," says restaurant owner Zhang Lan, echoing the sentiments of many businesswomen. "I don't have people to rely on, so I have to be self-sufficient."

• "But the true lesson is that you have to cater to the market, not yourself."

• "Every day I told myself, 'You have to keep kicking the ball before the referee blows the whistle."

• "I have a punk heart -- this means breaking old styles," she says.

• "Most people define success as money, getting something big. For me, it's to do what I like."

• "Though I'm female, I have a male personality," she laughs. "If a chef doesn't listen, I'll tell him to move over and I'll do it. So I set up a strong model from the start."

• Most of the time, she says, she doesn't think about being a woman in a male-dominated profession. "But sometimes I get comments like, 'Your projects don't look like a woman's.' "She thinks for a minute. "They think they're being complimentary, but they're not."

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