Cultural Differences You Should Know Before Doing Business in China
Due to China’s fast-rising economy, it’s no secret that a lot of companies now prefer to bring their business to China, however, to succeed in this venture, one must learn to navigate through a myriad of social and cultural expectations.
Here are some important things to know before bringing your business to China:
Importance of Guanxi
Guanxi means “relationship” and it is also a social system of influential relations and networking that facilitate or enable business dealings. if one successfully build a good guanxi with others, he will easily get favours from them. Guanxi, on the other hand, is a two-way street because both parties can get favours from one another. This concept of Guanxi is very vital in Chinese business culture and basically, it may take up to a year or two to build Guanxi.
Importance of Mianzi (face)
The Chinese business culture is one that is filled with emotional attachment. It is vital that you or your actions never make a Chinese man to “lose face” by ignoring, making fun or criticising him in public. In the eyes and heart of a Chinese businessman, their dignity is as precious as gold, no one wants to lose it.
So foreigners ought to be mindful of Mianzi because it can have a huge effect on business transactions and during negotiations and meetings. If a Chinese person is placed in a very uncomfortable position where he or she could feel insulted or lose face, business relations can be irreparably or severely damaged.
Everything should be handwritten
Whenever you are dealing with your Chinese business partners, make sure everything is documented. From the instructions to the blueprints or agreements, everything should be clear and detailed.
This should be done to ensure easy understanding of the project at hand because no one hates petty errors like the Chinese. So, if you wish to impress your clients perhaps learning the chinese language by enrolling in a singapore’s business chinese course would be perfect.
Observing Hierarchy and Rank
While doing business transactions with the Chinese, one must strictly observe rank and hierarchy because of its significance to the Chinese business culture. Culturally, the social chain of command is largely determined by job positions and seniority. This means that one must give respect to individuals according to how high their position is on the ladder.
For example, toasts should always be carried out by the highest ranking individual and it’s expected that during business meetings and negotiations, the delegation sent by companies must be of equal rank. This further implies that should a vice president of a Chinese conglomerate attend a meeting, it will be expected of the opposite company to be represented by their vice president or someone of higher repute. Should this fail to happen, the Chinese will take offence and relations will be broken.
Importance of Business Attire
It’s not rocket science that one be dressed in formal attire when attending business meetings. In China, likewise in other countries, one is expected to dress smartly in a business setting. It is usually seen as a sign of seriousness and respect when one is sharply dressed. In contrast, once the business hour is over, during after work leisure time with business partners, most Chinese businessmen take off their ties as a symbol of being laid back and fun to be with.