A Chinese Biogas Manual - Popularising Technol. in the by A. van Buren, L. Pyle

By A. van Buren, L. Pyle

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Ltd. (renamed Hong Leong Gas Cylinders), which turns out containers for liquefied petroleum gas. Hume Industries (S) Ltd. (now Hong Leong Industries) and Rheem (Far East) Pte. Ltd. were purchased in 1982 and 1985, respectively. Property development and manufacturing companies, as well as hotels, were also acquired. The philosophy behind the expansion is not to continuously enlarge one company. Rather than concentrate all the activities within one huge company, a pyramid of subsidiaries was created to handle these acquisitions.

In Singapore, however, ownership almost always comes in as one of the instruments of control. Chinese businessmen in Singapore still feel more secure with assuming control through real possession of the business. Thus, it is really the interplay of ownership and effective control that defines a Chinese family firm. 4 Organizational Dynamics of a Chinese Family Firm Although it is true that the dynamics involved in running a business varies with the age of the business, its size, and the type of economic activity in which it is engaged, my fieldwork reveals that there are several common characteristics of Chinese family firms.

Amongst the business associates, just a man’s word was good enough. When my father said that he would do something, he would never go back on his word. It is dishonourable and shameful. If word goes round, his reputation will be ruined and no one will want to do business with him. If a man says “one” it must be “one” and not “two”. An agreement is an agreement. Since interpersonal trustworthiness is of utmost importance, Chinese businessmen usually only deal with those with whom they are familiar.

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