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Chinese Business Etiquette Part 3

Guanxi Management and Communication in China

Since business in China relies mostly on personal relationships, it is important you have some.

Even though conducting a market research is important in China, the personal relationships are essential to business success here as well. Since Chinese don’t like doing business with companies that they don’t know, it is crucial to work through an intermediary. The intermediary can either be an organization or an individual who can make formal introduction and also vouch for the reliability of your company.

It is advisable that you send materials which are written in Chinese that describe your company, history and literature about your products and services before you arrive to China. Chinese normally use intermediaries to ask questions which they would not prefer to make directly.

Establishing and maintaining good relationships with key business contacts and the relevant government officials is very crucial. You can start the relationship building process by attending industry networking events, following up on personal introductions, contacting industry associations and municipal or provincial investment promotion bodies. After the Chinese have known you, then you can build the business relationships.

Below qualities are highly valued by Chinese and it’s important you remember them while communicating

  • Saving and giving face
  • Respect for elders and rankings (Remember that the latter is very important when dealing with government officials)
  • Patience
  • Politeness
  • Modesty

Tips for Communication:

  • Chinese don’t see foreigners as individuals instead they see them as representatives of their company.
  • Practice patience as it is bound up with enormous bureaucracy hence takes a lot of time.
  • Keep rank differences in mind while communicating as rank is very important in business relationships.
  • In business, gender bias is nonexistent.
  • The fact that communication is official especially when dealing with someone in a higher rank should not make you lose sight. If you treat them informally especially in front of their peers, it may ruin a deal.
  • Chinese prefer communicating face to face instead of communicating through writing or telephone.
  • Business is not discussed in meals and social events hence you should be careful not to intertwine the two.

Chinese Business Etiquette Part 1
Chinese Business Etiquette Part 2