No Image Available

TrainingZone

Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Taming the Dragon: Top tips for dealing with the Chinese market

default-16x9

DragonChina may soon overtake Germany to become the third largest economy in the world. For those wishing to take advantage of this booming economy the rewards may be great but an understanding of this very different culture is vital to achieve success, says Cathy Wellings.







China has seen massive economic development during the past quarter of a century and its economy is now the fourth largest in the world.

Photo of Cathy Wellings"Relationships are absolutely vital when doing business in China. A central concept in Chinese culture is guanxi (loosely translated as relationships or connections)."

With Gordon Brown's agreement in February to increase UK trade to China by 50% within the next two years; the Olympic Games in August and China's Sovereign Wealth Fund of $200bn earmarked for outward investment, it is clear that China is a nation of ever increasing opportunity for British business.

The western visitor to modern China will observe many outward indications of cultural differences, such as eating rituals and gift giving. But it is an understanding of its underlying values and attitudes, often underpinned by age-old traditions and many years of history, that can really help in getting to grips with its culture.

Unlike the British, who focus on task and delivery, good relationships are absolutely vital when doing business in China. A central concept in Chinese culture is guanxi (loosely translated as relationships or connections).

"Guanxi is a network of elaborate relationships promoting trust and co-operation. Establishing a sincere, supportive relationship based on mutual respect is a fundamental aspect of Chinese culture. In business, having the right guanxi is crucial."

Guanxi is a network of elaborate relationships promoting trust and co-operation. Establishing a sincere, supportive relationship based on mutual respect is a fundamental aspect of Chinese culture. In business, having the right guanxi is crucial.

The following tips will help you ensure that you maximise your opportunities for doing business in China.

  • Remember that good working relationships are absolutely vital in China. Long-term relationships are valued much more than hurried transactions
  • Show interest in Chinese history and culture. A little knowledge will go a long way
  • Never criticise a Chinese colleague in front of someone else or do anything else to cause them loss of face or mianzi
  • Always refer to your Chinese counterparts by their titles and family name, unless instructed otherwise
  • Chinese business people enter a meeting room in hierarchical order. You should always try to do the same
  • Take time to listen attentively to your Chinese counterparts and resist the temptation to interrupt or ask too many direct questions
  • Have your business cards printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Always present it with the Chinese side facing up
  • Try to keep negotiations calm and impersonal. Excessive displays of emotion are not respected
  • Avoid making political comments about Chinese national or foreign policy

  • Cathy Wellings is the culture and communication manager
    at Communicaid. She oversees the design and delivery of more than 500 programmes in over 30 countries every year. She has lived and worked in France and Spain as well as the UK, training professionals in culture and communication skills.

    For more information on Communicaid, visit the company's website

    Read last months feature Living the dream: Top tips for smooth negotiations with the American market

    We are running a country by country business etiquette guide, with India next on the list. If there is a country that you would like us to look at, please let me know: email [email protected]

    Newsletter

    Get the latest from TrainingZone.

    Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

     

    Thank you!