Tips to Business with China and Other Foreign Affairs
With so much imports coming in to America from China, as well as the exports we send to them, it is easy to assume that many American companies will find themselves overseas making deals and interacting with their Chinese business partners. Anytime that a person goes to another country, there will be cultural differences to take into consideration, China being no different. So for the many American business men or women finding themselves interacting with their Chinese business partners, there are a few cultural differences that they may want to take into consideration.
For one, Chinese culture is a lot more reserved and well less confrontational than Americans generally are. We here in America we like to prove we are right at any means necessary, in China they frown upon conflict and confrontation. Americans tend to be more boisterous and will “call someone out no matter the cost”, whereas in Chinese culture this could be viewed as the losing face and any action to embarrass or humiliate a person should be avoided at all cost. Social order is more strict, you are to talk to someone only after introduction and you will not find those of different social classes mingling as much as they do in America. Chinese culture also puts emphasis on the whole, instead of the individual which is what may be the most unique to America, personal uniqueness. Timing is also more relax and socialization is more involved with businesses, meaning meeting will begin with polite conversations and the work may not be done until passed deadlines. They just view time as more circular than we Americans do.
With those being only a few of the differences, one can imagine that misconceptions may arise while doing business internationally with China, or with any other culture, but there are things that can be done to avoid these misconceptions. Mainly, the person should read up as much as they can about the host country they are going to and abide by their cultures. Think of it as a their house, their rules scenario, you wouldn’t disrespect someone in their own home, so don’t do it in their own country. Also, learn some of the language, if you can’t become fluent, at least try to learn some. It will show them that you are interested in doing business with them and your broken up translations could break some initial awkwardness. Which if you are not fluent, make sure you have a translator from their country that will understand the little nuisances of the language that may be harder for a foreigner to understand. If something doesn’t sound right or reaction is different than expected, try to rephrase another way to clear up any translation misconceptions. Remember most countries are not as found of sarcasm as we are, thus try to avoid it at all cost. Doing business should not be hard, as long as you stay respectful of your host countries cultures and do your homework, as well as go with an open mind.