3 Tips before Doing Business in China

3 Tips before Doing Business in China
August 12 14:02 2017 Print This Article

When going to a foreign country, we often research on the places to go, the weather we could expect, and the precautions we should take. This practice may also apply when one plans to do business in China but in a more detailed way. Each country has their own business etiquette and culture which we need to be aware of and follow. These customs may completely vary from Western culture and other Asian countries. Understanding these factors may help one succeed in their chosen field in China which will also gain respect from one’s colleagues.

The most important tip to consider when doing business in China understands their principle on “giving face”. They place utmost value in one’s reputation. Thus, they will avoid anything to ruin that. Complimenting other people with their good deeds is associated with gaining face while exposing one’s mistakes and failures are associated with losing face. One way to avoid this is not arguing with other people’s beliefs. Explicitly saying what’s on your mind might not be welcomed in the Chinese business culture. Sarcasm is also considered rude. That’s why it’s best to put all emotions under control when faced with such scenario.

Chinese businessmen are very keen to details and being extra prepared before a meeting is very much appreciated. This pertains to different aspects and one of which is how one dresses. The way one dress radiates respect and modesty towards one’s future business partner. In China, executives and ones in the top-level management are expected to dress formally while those under the top-level management may dress more casually. Bright colored clothing should be avoided, while muted colors are acceptable in meetings.

For men, wearing suits is a sign of respect. While for women, conservative tops and bottoms apply. More than the appropriate choice of clothing, punctuality is very important. Showing up late may come off as rude. When it comes to the meeting itself, Chinese come well prepared and it shows with the research that they’ve made with the other person’s company. This is expected on the other party as well. Answering all concerns in detail should also be done as this promotes transparency in the business. More than the transaction itself, trust should be the main building block of the relationship of both parties engaging in the business. With that being said, dinners outside of work should be expected and saying no may be perceived as a negative connotation.

Western companies who wish to work with the Chinese market may find it a bit difficult when it comes to the pace of the business transaction. As opposed to the Western business culture, Chinese culture prefers taking their time in approaching success. Since they value building trust and relationship more than the transaction itself, the other party should be considerate and patient. If one’s mother tongue is in the English language, it is also best to make sure ahead of time who among the partners can speak English. If none, it’s best to be prepared with translation tools or one may go one step further. He/she could take the time to study Mandarin and put this to his/her advantage when negotiating deals and speaking up ideas.

Understanding the Chinese language may also mean knowing the underlying meaning with the phases Chinese people say. When one is not agreeing with the other person, one should respond in “I’ll think about it.” instead of “No, I disagree.” Topics such as religion and politics should also be avoided as this encourages an atmosphere of debate or potential clashing of ideas.

By being aware and applying some of these tips, one may not have a difficult time in doing business in China. Also, to avoid conflicts such as what happened with Japan and China regarding the Nanking Massacre, it’s best to keep an open-mind and respect each one’s opinions. Choosing the right words and the proper manner of saying opinions should also be embraced by each individual to promote better ties in the field of business.


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