Chinese business culture

The Chinese business culture is quite different from the business culture that the West is used to.
Because of their unique background and history, China’s business culture and etiquette stands out from the rest of the world. Chinese business culture retains many traditional characteristics of Chinese culture. Now, I’ll throw some light on a few tips that could prove very useful when having a business meeting with the Chinese:

Guide to Chinese business culture

  1. Appointments:

Like all other appointments in business meetings, it is important for you to arrive early or at least on time for the given appointment.

  1. Greeting and Meeting people:

    Politeness is key to Chinese business culture

Body language and movement are the two major areas where you should be really careful when doing business in China. The Chinese do not prefer physical contact, especially when doing business. Bowing or nodding would do the job.

  1.  Business Cards:

In Chinese business culture, it is very important for you to have business cards. Chinese like to exchange business cards frequently, so make sure you have an abundant supply. Also, if the cards have Chinese translation on them, it’d be even better for you. Try to print the translation in Gold Ink as Chinese consider this an auspicious color.

  1. Attire:

Unlike other countries, the dress code is not too formal for the meetings in China. However, you’ll leave a good impression if you dress well. Chinese often prefer conservative dressing for both males and females. Jeans, however, are not acceptable for business meetings.

  1. Personal Trust:

Due to their history, the Chinese often find it hard to accept any outsider into their family circle or business circle even. If you speak the same dialect or come from the same locality, it becomes much easier to be accepted. Building trust is an essential point when it comes to the Chinese business culture. However, it takes a considerably amount of time and socializing for the trust to build.

  1. Confucianism:

Chinese are a strong believers of Confucian.  ‘Giving face’ is one of his teachings. According to this, Giving face means to five the due honor and respect. It is a very important concept in China to give the appropriate respect according to seniority.

  1. Lunch/Dinner:

For every business talk in China, it is must to have a trip to the restaurant, at least once. The restaurant chosen for this matter would be, obviously, quite a grand one and a private room would be available for the meeting.

  1. Gifts:

Giving and receiving gifts is a common practice in the Chinese business culture. Older Chinese people usually don’t accept the gift at first, just to be polite. So offer them again. Gifts are not opened upon receiving. Another important thing to keep in mind is to avoid the color white, which symbolizes death, and black, which symbolizes tragedy of death. Present the gift with both hands.

  1. Interpreters:

Interpreters are an essential part of doing business in China. Make sure you hire someone who is bilingual and has complete knowledge of the issues involved in your meeting. Prepare him in advance and try to speak in short sentences so that it’s easier for the interpreter to catch up with you.

Doing business in China is indeed different than the business practices of the West. It’s time when people should start realizing that without knowing the business culture of a specific country, especially a country like China where traditional methodologies are given a high preference, business dealings could end up being a failure. These little tips could help you to understand China’s business culture a bit more and might even enable you to leave a good first impression.

Now I hope that you know more about Chinese business culture!

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