The Boston Globe asks Professor Aimin Yan about business and cultural aspects of Chinese-hosted Olympics

in Global Work, Organizational Behavior, SMG Hot Topics
March 15th, 2010

Aimin YanFor their reportage on various business and cultural aspects of this summer’s Olympics in China, the Boston Globe has repeatedly turned to Aimin Yan, Faculty Director of the International Management Program and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Boston University School of Management.

On July 29, 2008, in a Globe article “Staples has a Games plan: Firm hopes to ride office furniture to China gold,” journalist Jenn Ableson reports,

Howie Wu…known as Mr. Furniture around Beijing, has spent the last two years in a rush to complete [Staples’] massive undertaking: supplying furniture for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Under Wu’s direction, 200 employees have helped design, deliver, and assemble more than 250,000 items: judges’ tables, chairs for doping-test stations, red rope dividers at Beijing National Stadium, and hand-carved bamboo cabinets for the chairman of the International Olympic Committee.

Wu’s intensity illustrates how seriously Staples takes its status as the first official office furniture supplier for any Olympic games. The company wants to establish a firm foothold in China’s fast-growing $30 billion office products market….”Price is really what matters,” said Aimin Yan, a native of China who directs the International Management Program at Boston University. “It’s a more complicated market here with different shopping habits, a more cutthroat price environment, and little widespread brand loyalty.”

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On August 3, 2008, for the piece “Pride mixes with worry at being misunderstood,” Patricia Wen writes,

[S]ome scholars of China do not think the nation’s rulers will take lightly any political protests – however isolated or mild – that are broadcast on national and international television. Even worse in the eyes of government, they say, might be a technical glitch during the Olympics’ fireworks display, a doping scandal involving a Chinese athlete, or even a lack of bright blue skies – given the government’s intense efforts to reduce air pollution through temporary factory shutdowns and limits on using vehicles. Aimin Yan, a Boston University business professor who runs US-China student exchange programs, said government officials remain prickly about issues of “face,” which he said relate to the traditional concept of achieving status through public displays of competence.

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