Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Handling corruption in China

I heard this story about Robert Kuok who was the "sugar king" and the founder of the Shangri-la Hotel Group. He was among the first entrepreneurs to venture into China in the very early days .
I asked a friend who worked for RK. How did RK handle the rampant corruption in China at that time? Did he have to give bribes?

He told me this story. RK developed a golf course in Guangzhou. During the development, his manager had to get a licence from the provincial officer. The official asked his manager, "How many free golf course membership will you give to me in return for my signature?".
His manager approached RK who instructed him "You tell the provincial official that I can give him the free golf club memberships, but will he dare to accept them?".
The provincial official checked with his friends and learned that RK knew the top government officials in Beijing. He came back with his signature on the licence and dared not accept any bribes.
I was not able to verify if this story is true, but it was nice to hear it, all the same!

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