Confucius Institute

Xavier University of Louisiana

Louisiana Entrepreneur Karl Turner Shared His Trade Experience in China during Xavier's Business Week

With the unprecedented rise of China as the second largest economy in the world and a major global political powerhouse, it is essential for students to study Chinese right now.  This is the message Karl Turner, President and Founder of A La Carte Specialty Foods, emphasized when giving a speech on March 20, 2013 in Xavier University of Louisiana Convocation Center Annex.  In his presentation, entitled "When the Sleeping Dragon Awakes, It Will Shake the World," Turner shared his experience and reflections on doing business with China to an audience of about 100 Xavier students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community.

Karl Turner discussed China's four pillars for economic growth over the past thirty years, including exports, foreign direct investment, fixed asset investment, and domestic consumption.  He explained how China's Open-and-Reform policy, started by Deng Xiaoping, has opened up Chinese market to foreign investment and liberated the creative power of the Chinese people.  He illustrated China's integration into the global economy: in 1979, the sum of exports and imports of China was a meager $27 billion; in 2012, that figure jumped to $3.87 trillion!   In 2012, China surpassed the United States as the World's No. 1 trade partner.  One hundred and twenty-six countries consider China their largest trade partner.   There is no need to panic for Americans, Turner noted, as the U.S. still has double the economic size as that of China.   China is facing a lot of challenges today, including high inflation, increasing wages, and competition from other low value-added manufacturing countries like Vietnam and Indonesia.   

To cope with such challenges, China has developed five key economic strategies, including promoting domestic consumption, development of a green economy, encouraging of investment abroad, promoting free trade zones, and reforming the educational system.  Turner pointed out that these development strategies also bring business opportunities for American entrepreneurs.  For instance, the green economy strategy means great demand for United States engineering services in solar and wind energy services, and environmental and air monitoring services.  Turner also identified the following trends for American business to explore: agricultural sector, medical devices and healthcare services, marine industries, and education and training.  As a testament to these increasing opportunities, Turner noted that U.S. exports to China have soared to a record high of $91.9 billion.

Turner shared his thoughts on business etiquette in China, including the concept of harmonious relationships (duty, respect, and loyalty) and aversion to conflict and maintenance of demeanor as advocated by Confucius.  He also discussed the importance of "face," or self-esteem and honor, that Chinese businessmen value tremendously.  It is critical to save others' face.  Be firm but polite, and be aware of piracy while conducting business in China, Turner warned.  When giving gifts, be sure to avoid certain things, like clocks, because the pronunciation of "giving clocks" equals "attending upon a funeral" in Chinese. 

Turner concluded his discussion by encouraging students in studying abroad, learning Chinese, and relationship-building and social networking through such high-tech tools like Facebook.  He mentioned some internship opportunities for students, including the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce, and World Trade Center New Orleans.    

Karl Turner's talk was part of Xavier's China-themed Business Week, cohosted by the Division of Business and the Confucius Institute.  March 18th marked the kick-off of the week, and Xavier students, faculty and staff enjoyed the delicious Chinese food and beautiful music at the University Center yard. 

Toward the end of Turner's talk, raffle prizes were awarded to the audience, including the top prize: a 16 GB Google Nexus 7 tablet that was claimed by a Xavier student, who happens to be also studying Mandarin Chinese, hence a fitting end of an inspiring speech by Karl Turner. 

The 2013 Xavier Spring Business Week, and Karl Turner's talk in particular, increased the profile of Xavier Division of Business and Confucius Institute on campus and in community, and the importance of studying Chinese language, culture, and economic development in preparation for student career development.

Karl Turner Opening Remarks about the Rise of China

Turner Answers Audience's Questions

An Audience of about 100 People Listening to Turner Presentation

Xavier University Confucius Institute Announcing Events in the Near Future Prior to Turner's Speech

China-Themed Business Week Kickoff on March 18; Students Enjoying Chinese Food

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