|Are they on track for success?
China has changed enormously over the last 20 years. Itseconomyhas been growing at 10% a year, and it'son trackto be the world’s largest economy soon. Today, 80% of the world’s electronicgoodsare made in China. As a result, more and more western companies want to do business in China. But how easy is it for a westerner to do business there? Here are sometipsfrom the British Embassy in Beijing.
Take your time. In the west, business is ruled bydeadlines. Chinese business people seem to act slowly by western standards, so be prepared to wait for decisions.
Build relationships. In the west, it's usual to do business first, and then see if a relationship is possible. In China, it's the opposite. You need to build a relationship before you can do business. This leads to the idea of ‘guanxi’. Guanxi means using personal contacts and relationships to do business, and westerners need to understand how real and strong this is in China.
It can also be useful to find a reliable Chineseallyto work with you. He or she will be able to help with language or cultural problems and will also be able to understand Chinesebody language. Remember too that a visit by a westerner is often seen as a great honour by Chinese companies.
You must remember to respect ‘face’. Face means havinghigh statuswith yourpeers. Face can be lost, given or earned. Nevercriticizeorinsultsomeone in front of others, as losing face will make it impossible tomake a deal. On the other hand, if you praise someone by saying good things about him or her, then he or she will gain face, but be careful not to do it too much.
Accept thepecking order.Hierarchyis very important in China, and the group is more important than the individual. In business, Chinese people often don't liketaking responsibilityindividually and may also not likegiving opinionsin front of peers, in case they lose face.
All thesetricks of the tradecan help you toplay the gameand do business successfully in China. Be prepared, and be patient if you want to be a winner in China.