China Business Etiquette is critical to becoming a successful import entrepreneur.
Most westerners doing business in their own country find it challenging dealing
with different cultures within their own borders even when a common language is spoken.
Add the complexity of a foreign country, a different language and a different culture
in China, you have the recipe for a failure and a disaster. As a small business
importer, you will avoid many headaches by learning the China Business Etiquette.
When a Nod isn’t a Yes
China Business Etiquette
Tips for Dealing with the China Business Etiquette
Relationship is Everything
Family and friendships build the foundation for the Chinese
business relationship. It is very common for the Chinese to raise capital through
their own circle of friends. If you are not in the circle, you are out. No amount
of slick marketing programs will break through the circle. Friendships are build
very slowly but they last a life time. It cannot be rushed. It’s the ultimate in
networking patience. Push too hard or too fast, they won’t like you and you are
Silence is King
The Chinese believe that it is better to listen too much than to talk
too much. So for you hard sales types, you need to back it off. Stop doing all the
talking. Silence is good.
A White Lie Promotes Harmony
Stretching the truth and telling you what you want to
hear is a well accepted Chinese cultural trait. The Chinese values peace and harmony.
So they will stretch the truth in their business responses to remain non-confrontational.
The Great Cover Up
The Chinese believe in saving face and protecting the image of
the family or their business. To save face, they might withhold information, and
avoid commitments. They will do anything not to lose face. As a foreigner, you
must also save face to do business with them. Any sign or doubt or stupidity and
you have lost face and the business deal forever.
Don’t Call them Anything But their Last Names
Make sure you know exactly what is their
last name. Read my section on “Name In Chinese”. Calling them anything but their
last name means that you have lost face. Practically speaking, how can they trust
you with a $500,000 order if you can’t even get their name straight?