Ethics and business have gone hand in hand for as long as business had been around. They have not always gotten along and often time’s one hand does not know what the other one is doing, but in the end they always end up facing each other. I once found myself in an ethical situation in business. I was working as a mortgage broker and was approached by a client to do a mortgage for them on a vacation home. It was a client I had done several loans for and the property purchase price was 1.5 million dollars. I stood to make a lot of money on the loan and to be honest; at the time I needed a good payday. The problem was I knew they could not afford the property, so I had to talk to them and let them know. As I was talking to them they asked about a special loan program that let a borrower state their income and assets and wanted to use that loan program. I knew the program was not meant to help people get into homes that they could not afford and by doing what they asked of me would work but would still not be right, but I needed that payday. So without having to think about it at all I told them again I could not do the loan for them, as it was not ethical. I am sure they got another loan office to do the loan for them and that’s their prerogative. All I needed to know was that I did what I felt was right and found another way to get the money I needed.
In researching business practices in China for a video game company that is looking to release a video game in that country, I wanted to pay attention to how business is done in that country to ensure the project had no major issues and so I was looking into what issues with the product we might encounter. I found that the Chinese government has put a ban on gaming consoles. This took me by surprise, as China is a lucrative market for video games. In researching the issue I found that PC and mobile gaming are strong and health markets. Based on the research, the ban on consoles in China pose not issue for this project.
China has a long and dirty reputation as far as business goes as well as working with other countries. It does appear that China is working to improve that, however tariff and import fees and taxes are still very high. There are some less than savory business practices that could pose issues if any of the work was being done in China, however with this project, the game is being produced in America and all we will be doing is selling the game on the Android and IOS platforms that have most of the bugs worked out so we get the luxury of dodging that bullet. In general, the target market is not concerned with such issues and only cares about whether or not the game is fun.
Chinese laws concerning piracy are a lot different than in the US and I am sure that causes many businesses real issues. One of the strengths of this game in regards to this issue is that the game is free to download and play the regular version. Free is hard to compete with so that is not a worry, however the question arises of will gamers in China make the In game purchase as that is how the game makes money? In an article published on the Huffing post website I found a quote by Tian Lipu, head of China’s State Intellectual Property Office saying “China is the world’s largest payer for patent rights, for trademark rights, for royalties, and one of the largest for buying real software, We pay the most. People rarely talk about this, but it really is a fact. Our government offices, our banks, our insurance companies, our firms … the software is all real.” I am sure some people will find ways to get the paid for assets in the game with out paying for them and many players will only play the free version, however many other consumers will pay for the items and it does seem the people of China are willing to pay for what they use so I feel the outlook in still good and the piracy issue will only be an issue if we let it. That being said, with all the legal issues and tariffs and other potential issues I will be advising that local legal counsel to be consulted. A well known business advisor in media in China is also consulting on the project for us so we have some very good local help on the ground watching out for us.
With this video game project it has several advantages over other business seeking to do business in China that I have touched on. I feel fortunate that this is the case as conducting business in anther country can be tricky. It really helps that the product is in a popular and growing category in China making it a good business decision to enter this space and that makes all the difference in the world.
Ben Balnchard, (2012) Posted on The Huffington Post, “China’s Copyright Piracy Problem Isn’t As Big As Media Makes It, Says China” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/11/china-copyright-piracy_n_2112319.html)