During our time in Taiwan, we were fortunate to be able to visit three companies: Yeng Hsingh, 7-Eleven, and the Hankyu Uni-President Mall. While the world is becoming increasingly global since travel is more accessible, there were still some differences in how the businesses were run.
Our first business, Yeng Hsingh, was a producer of raw powdered materials, such as talcum powder, and traffic safety equipment. One thing that we discovered was very different was that Taiwanese people value agreement over pushback. While business people in America may be more apt to challenge an idea that is tossed out at a meeting, that is not a common practice in Taiwan. Our speaker was from France and said that this could be an opportunity, especially for foreigners who don’t know the culture as well. While acceptance in the workplace is important, challenging an idea can be valuable as it allows ideas to be refined and improved.
The second business we visited was 7-Eleven. While we may be familiar with 7-Eleven as a gas station in the United States, it is ran as a convenience store in Taiwan. One of the most striking things about their company is their care for their franchisees. Potential franchisees are strongly encouraged to work at a 7-Eleven before they open their own store, so as to become more familiar with how the company runs. The company then thoroughly researches the city to find out the best place to open a store, which adds to the success of the owner. Also, there is no pressure for the franchisees to open more stores; they are expected to only do what they can handle. Because of these techniques, loyalty and retention among the employees and franchisees is increased tremendously.
Lastly, we visited the Hankyu Uni-President Mall. This was a very interesting company as it was built on top of a subway station, by a bus station, and was connected to the W Hotel. During this business visit, strategy was strongly stressed. Being built in such a prime location allowed the store to have a high volume of business, but the company maximized this opportunity by having a specific plan for each floor. From having the lower floors priced to accommodate a large population, to having floors specifically targeted towards men, women, and couples shopping together, every part of the store was meticulously thought out. Not only does this increase revenue for the mall, it also enhances the customer’s experience.
While the culture and business practices in Taiwan can be much different than in the United States, it was interesting to see how we could take some of the elements of business we learned about and apply them to our own businesses. It was another example for our members to see that while something might be different, it can be as beneficial as the things we do in our own country.