Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

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

  1. 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 out..for good.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
        

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