Doing business with different cultures always comes with barriers. For many, the Chinese way of business negotiation poses the most obstacles to sealing a deal. That’s in large due to the enormous cultural and language divide. Besides understanding China’s rules and regulations, knowing their customs would change the playing field immensely. That, in turn, would allow you to achieve success with Chinese businesses with much more ease.
Here’s the first thing you should be aware of. In their culture, a business deal is more than just touch-and-go. It’s an extremely lengthy process during which both parties get to know each other on a more-personal-than-professional level. It is through this exchange that your Chinese counterpart is able to gain trust in you. Think about it this way. If the western style of doing business is a six-month relationship, the Chinese equivalent would be a marriage.
Prepare to attend more meetings than expected. These face-to-face talks achieve more than just facilitate discussions. It also shows them that you’re a dignified and trustworthy partner. Get ready to delve into long-drawn conversations that have nothing to do with business. That includes your children’s hobbies and favorite holiday destinations. Manage these personal exchanges as you would on a date - demonstrate your interest and follow up on the topic in your next meeting.
After understanding these fundamental differences, you will hopefully be able to see and appreciate the beauty of Chinese companies, their culture, traditions, and motivations behind their communication style. Given the increase in emerging clusters in the US and China, understanding their business ways is largely advantageous. In the following table, we have collated key takeaways you should remember that will increase your chances in successfully negotiating a business deal with Chinese partners.
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