My friend and colleague, Professor Lonnie B. Hodge, has written the first in a series on doing business in China (Update 2011: the link I had here does not seem to work anymore).

He is less than complimentary about the books and other guides out there already:

We have bookshelves stacked full of expensive kindling labeled “how to do business in China” that we will later use to heat our house.

What he recommends as an essential pre-requisite for anyone planning to business in China is to learn some language and culture.

He provides a great list of resources, both for learning Chinese and for gaining some cultural understanding – mostly free resources, a post well worth bookmarking.

I think I’d better get cracking and learn to say something a bit more advanced than ni hao .

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Des Walsh is a business coach and independent, confidential sounding board for business owners and entrepreneurs. A long term advocate of smart, risk-mitigating business use of technology and a certified social media strategist, he is well placed to support businesses in adapting to the rapid changes in the technological, business and social environments. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).