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可口可乐与中国计谋 Coca-Cola and Ancient Chinese Stratagems (Advanced)

Apr. 12, 2010

可口可乐与中国计谋 (Kěkǒu kělè yǔ Zhōngguó jìmóu) Coca-Cola and Ancient Chinese Stratagems (Advanced)


Key Learning Points (Preview):

三十六计 (sānshíliùjì): n thirty six stratagems


欲擒故纵 (yùqín gùzòng): n/v to catch something, first set it free


利润 (lìrùn): n profit


More than 20 years ago, "可口可乐 (kěkǒu kělè) Coca-Cola" was looking to break into the huge Chinese soft drink market. First, the soft drink company provided China with four million dollars of soda processing "设备 (shèbèi) equipment" for FREE. And it also set a low price for its products. It spent a large amount of money on "宣传 (xuānchuán) publicizing" its soft drinks in China to create a market awareness. Then, as soon as the market opened and the distributors realized the "利润 (lìrùn) profit" of doing business with the company, Coca-Cola sold the "设备 (shèbèi) equipment," instead of giving it away for free to the bottlers and then "上涨 (shàngzhǎng) raised" the price of its popular products. By employing this strategy, Coca-Cola made money many times more than its initial "投资 (tóuzī) investment" from the Chinese market.

This strategy is called "欲擒故纵 (yùqín gùzòng) to catch something, first set it free." It is one of the most famous stratagems in a remarkable Chinese book called "三十六计 (sānshíliùjì) Thirty Six Stratagems." The logic is as follows: Cornered prey will often mount a final desperate attack. To prevent this from happening, you let the enemy first believe he still has a chance for escaping. His will to fight will be weakened by his desire to escape. When the enemy realizes there is no chance to escape later on, it is too late–his "斗志 (dòuzhì) morale" will be crushed and he will "投降 (tóuxiáng) surrender" without a fight.

It is often said that "商场如战场 (shāngchǎng rú zhànchǎng) business is war," and "买卖如用兵 (mǎimài rú yòngbīng) doing business is like deploying military forces." Today's business professionals in China are increasingly aware of the importance of the "三十六计 (sānshíliùjì) thirty six stratagems" and are thus willing to discuss and implement them during their daily business affairs. And they believe that those who thoroughly understand the essence of the book will come out victorious in today's battles.

Key Learning Points:

三十六计 (sānshíliùjì): n thirty six stratagems


The character "三 (sān)" means three. "十 (shí)" means ten. "六 (liù)" means six. "计 ()" is the short form of "计谋 (jìmóu)" which means stratagem.


A: Tīngshuō nǐ zuìjìn zài kàn sānshíliùjì.      
听说       你  最近   在 看    三十六计。


    I heard that you've been reading the book of Thirty Six Stratagems recently.

B: Shìde. Tā duì wǒde shēngyi hěn yǒu bāngzhù.    
是的。 它 对 我的    生意     很    有     帮助。


    Yes. It's very helpful for my business.

欲擒故纵 (yùqín gùzòng): n/v to catch something, first set it free


The character "欲 ()" means to want. "擒 (qín)" means to capture. "故 ()" means deliberately. "纵 (zòng)" means to set free.


Tā míngbai yùqín gùzòng de dàolǐ,  suǒyǐ qǐxiān méiyǒu lìjí  jiānbìng nàge xiǎo gōngsī.
他    明白     欲擒    故纵   的   道理,所以 起先    没有 立即     兼并   那个  小    公司。


He understands "to catch something, first set it free," so he didn't form the merger with that small company at the beginning.

利润 (lìrùn): n profit


Both the character "利 ()" and "润 (rùn)" mean profit.


Tā  bǎ gōngsī shí fēn zhī yī  de  lìrùn juān gěile  císhàn shìyè.
他   把 公司    十   分  之 一  的 利润   捐   给了   慈善    事业。


One tenth of his company's profit is donated to charity.

生词 (shēngcí) Vocabulary:


商场如战场 (shāngchǎng rú zhànchǎng) business is war


买卖如用兵 (mǎimài rú yòngbīng) doing business is like deploying military forces


可口可乐 (kěkǒu kělè): n Coca-Cola


设备 (shèbèi): n equipment


投资 (tóuzī): n/v investment/to invest



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