Consider These Cultural Business Differences in China
International organizations have the exciting and complicated task of doing business across the globe. Where domestic companies can intimately learn the nuances of their home nation, businesses with a more widespread reach have to cope with the differences from one country to the next.
For example. China is the most populous nation in the world and its economy is currently in the midst of a boom. It’s a hotbed of economic activity and business growth, with ample opportunities for international organizations. However the unique etiquette and business customs in China can be complicated, tripping up some ventures.
To find success, here are a few tips for navigating the economic and cultural business differences in China you may encounter:
Pay Attention to Relationships
Doing business in China is all about relationships, both professional and personal. Customs in China are much different than in the U.S. or the U.K., which means companies must adapt.
According to USA Today, it is relatively easy to slip up. For example, management consultant Scott Margolis accidently showed a photo of his family - with three children - to a class in China. That could be a potential insult, as the Chinese government only allows one child per family.
Another example of the cultural business differences In China, is how you greet a person. According to USA Today, when exchanging business cards, it is customary to present with two hands and accept with a bow. Then, the card is to be read as a sign of respect.
Study the Market
Michael Witt, professor of Asian Business and Management at graduate business school INSEAD, wrote in an article for Forbes that the nuances of the market must be analyzed. For global companies in China, current relationships between rival businesses are an important consideration. For example, a high number of competing organizations may not evolve in the same way as they would in the U.S. Assuming that conditions will progress in the same way can be a mistake.
The best approach is to take some time, Witt noted. Companies must do their research and plan ahead so the transition is seamless and employees are prepared for the cultural business differences in China. A rushed move can increase risk and add complications.
As expats travel abroad to China, they should be aware of the safety and security. Pickpockets are commons and expats are targeted for passports, laptops, cell phones, and handbags. In addition, most visitors are not allowed to drive in China. Foreign nationals must obtain a valid residence permit and pass a driving test to obtain a Chinese driving license. To learn about risk assessment and living abroad in China, read the China risk assessment country guide.
Just as there are key differences in Chinese business culture, expats should be cognizant of Japanese business etiquette such as expecting group focus and age as seniority. To learn more about doing business abroad in Japan, read our Japanese business culture guide.
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