November 16, 2016
Knowing cultural background and business protocol has never been as vital as in the modern multicultural world. Negotiating strategies, general business practices and even forms of address vary from one country to another, and only those who are aware of them will be able to ensure the success of their international business endeavor.
Previously we looked with you closely at tips on doing business in Japan within our Doing Business in… series. Today we’d like to shift our focus to another country with a rich history, great potential and interesting business practices. China.
When you want to do business with such a nation as the Chinese, make sure you study our article in detail. In fact, the Chinese appreciate you learn all subtleties about their culture, practices and history beforehand, and demonstrate your interest during your visit. So do your homework and familiarize yourself with all aspects of doing business in China and its cultural background before your head for the Middle Kingdom.
Interesting facts about China
– The Chinese are considered to be the world’s oldest civilization with more than 4,000 years of recorded history. In fact, Beijing has been the capital of China for over 800 years and remained its political, cultural and economic center.
– The People’s Republic of China is a Communist country with a single legislative house and one party in control. The Communist regime in China controls many aspects of life and is highly centralized.
– The official language in China is the Mandarin Chinese (Han language). It is the one common written language, which is very unusual because there are hundreds of dialects spoken which are not mutually understandable at all.
– China is the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. It’s one of the world’s greatest and richest economies.
– The Chinese joined all five time zones into one. So in some parts of China you can see sunrise as late as at 10 a.m.
– It is believed that the modern soccer or football originated in China. An ancient ball game called ‘Cuju’ appeared as early as in the 4th century BC and was mainly played by military troops. At the same time, football is not at all popular in China. What’s more, China has competed in FIFA only once, back in 2002. Ping-pong appears to be one of the most popular games in China now.
– The Chinese are famous for such crucial inventions as paper, the compass, gunpowder, waterwheel, printing and ice-cream (the most important one).
Top 10 Tips on Doing Business in China
Chinese business etiquette is no less interesting and diverse. Here we bring to you top 10 tips on doing business in China, the effective and result-oriented way.
1. Patience is key
The Chinese are brilliant at figuring out when foreign partners are under pressure and pressed for time, and they turn it into their advantage. So be patient, don’t show emotions and keep your deadlines to yourself.
2. Respect to older people
China is still a hierarchical society where age makes a difference and should be treated with respect. Actually, the elder representative of a delegation should be the first to leave and enter the room. The same will work for your delegation too. The highest-ranking member of your team should be the first to enter.
3. Be punctual
Punctuality is important is China not only for business meetings, but social events as well. Avoid being late and cancelling any appointments unless you have really serious reasons for that.
4. Establish contacts prior to your visit
Unlike in some other countries around the world, it’s highly important (and effective too) to establish business contacts before you embark on a business trip to China. If you don’t have any online tools to do that or social networks do not seem to work for you, it is advisable to contact your national Chamber of Trade and Commerce and ask them to assist in arranging appointments or providing business referrals.
5. Certain time is preferable for business trips
It is believed that the best time to arrange business visits are from April to June and from September to October. Do not plan to go to China during the Chinese New Year. Many businesses close for a week before and after the festival, so you will only waste your time. If you don’t know for sure when the Chinese New Year is usually celebrated, please Google it, as the date varies from one year to another. In 2017 the Chinese New Year is going to be on January 28th.
The Chinese New Year is the most important nationwide holiday which is traditionally celebrated with one’s family members. People travel to their traditional homes so there are millions of trips taking place during this festival.
6. Speaking subtleties
Avoid slang and jargon. Speak with short and clear sentences. Humility is virtue in China, therefore, avoid boasting about anything in your presentation. She are cautious in business matters and will be sure to investigate the claims you make.
7. Business cards
When you bring your business cards, make sure there is translation printed in Mandarin Chinese on the reverse side. If you want to make a good impression, use gold ink for letters in your business card. It is considered to be a prestigious color in the Chinese culture. When you receive a business card from your Chinese business contact, never put it in your back pocket in front of them. Treat it with respect and care.
8. Business banquets and lunches
Business banquets have become increasingly popular among Chinese business people. Business in generally not discussed over the meal, as well as sport. What to discuss then? Try to struck up a conversation about art, Chinese sightseeing and attractions, health of your partners’ families. Having been invited to a business banquet, you are to return the favor. However, there is one important point there. Make sure you do that at the same price as your Chinese host. And, unlike in many western cultures, be on time for the lunch!
9. Handshakes and bows
Normally, the Chinese slightly nod or bow when they greet another person. Handshakes are common too, so it’s advisable to wait for your Chinese counterpart to make the first more. When you are invited to a large factory or school, for instance, don’t be taken aback by a round of applause given. It is a sign of warm welcome. To show your appreciation just applaud back.
10. Use titles
The Chinese take titles and status seriously, so you should use official titles whenever appropriate. Don’t call anyone ‘Comrade’ unless you belong to a Communist party as well. If your Chinese partner does not have a professional title, such as President, Doctor, General, address them with Mr/Mrs/Miss followed by their name.
Here at MeetnGreetMe we believe that you can do anything you set your mind to.
To make sure you reach your business objectives and stick to all cultural formalities, we will continue to bring to you more tips on doing business in other countries, and, of course, you can always hire a local MeetnGreeter who will be your ‘Robin’ and personal assistant during your visit.