What is an enterprise in China?

The employee

I have always enjoyed participating in training seminars in Chinese companies. Whether in large events with 5 to 10,000 people or in small groups of 30 employees. I was able to gain a deeper insight into Chinese life and culture and to dispel certain stubborn preconceived ideas, which are deep-rooted in us even when we think we are spared the prejudices of training. In the early 2000s, it was often said that Chinese employees were poor, hard-working heroes. These ignorant contemptuous people went to mass in the modern era more often than in Chinese companies. Even if it is far from perfect, the progress is immense and irrefutable, Chinese labour law has developed a lot and employees can defend themselves, especially in the big cities. The labour court (劳动局 at the time), sides very easily with the employees.

Man 人 and stop 止

In 2014, we were gathered in a room of 40 people for a training course for the managers of a group in Hangzhou. The boss had invited me to introduce me to an outstanding trainer. The aim of the three-day course was to raise awareness of the importance of each employee as part of a team.
Professor Pei started his first day with the word 企业, company, enteprise. The first character of the word company, 企 , was used to introduce the theme of the first day.
It is composed of two parts, 人, man and 止, stop. The explanation was simple. Without man, without anyone, the enterprise cannot exist, it stops. 企无人则止.
Hence the importance of choosing the right people, helping them to develop their talent. Each person is a treasure that must be cultivated. The company must put the person at the heart of the company. A Chinese character helps the management.


The historical explanation differs: we see a man above and below the feet, which gave the meaning of “standing on tiptoes to look”.

enterprise in China

The evolution of character over the course of history and the writing styles used :

企 Chinese character for enterprise

You can see more articles about Chinese characters and language here

26 mai 2020

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