Chinese Business Etiquettes: 5 Tips to Do Business in China
In this day and age, the technological revolution and the changing population structure has given rise to globalization efforts from companies. As the trade restrictions between nations relax and the idea of “taking business global” gains momentum, companies are eyeing economically lucrative regions like China to expand business into. Today, China is the country that businesses from across the world have recognized as the one that they absolutely have to figure out how to invest into.
And They Have Plenty of Good Reasons to Do So.
The Chinese economy is the second-largest economy in the world by GDP which is estimated to be 14.25 trillion USD in 2019. Moreover, it is one of the fastest-growing economies, with annual growth rates of approximately 6%. That being said, the Chinese consumer has less debt to pay off and more money to spend—and ideal combination as far as businesses are concerned.
If you are one of the companies recognizing the need for business expansion in this technological and commercial giant, you may be aware of the linguistic and cultural differences you might face. This is why we have drawn up some business etiquettes that you must know when doing business in China.
Tip # 1: Go Well Prepared for Your Meeting
It is common knowledge that the Chinese are often very detail-oriented individuals. They have most probably done their research on your company before the meeting and you should do the same. In doing so, be mindful of the Lunar Calendar that is followed by the Chinese population as some days are considered “prosperous” and “lucky”, as well as the Chinese New Year holidays that has almost a week-long celebration. Being considerate of the dates will help you to arrange a meeting accordingly. The Chinese culture also emphasizes on the importance of color—while the red color is associated with prosperity, white color symbolizes purity, as well as death.
Doing your research before conversing with the Chinese business partners will be a sign that you are well-prepared for the meeting, which is essential for giving a good impression on them. Moreover, in this way you will not face any embarrassment in front of the Chinese businessmen, making it easy for you to communicate your demands.
Tip #2: Anticipate Language Differences
When making a business deal it is always important to anticipate the other party’s interests and preferences beforehand. This is why you have to check whether the Chinese people you are meeting speak English or not. If no, you have to hire the expert services of a reliable Chinese translation service. In doing so, ensure any additional material such as business cards and notes are also translated into the Chinese language. Get these materials translated before the meeting to avoid any embarrassment and misunderstanding. Remember, it is always better to translate your materials in English as the people you are meeting may know how to converse in English but their bosses and higher-rank businessmen who have to finalize the deals might not.
Tip # 3: Adapt Your Sales Pitch the Chinese Way
A sales pitch involves more than just selling a product or service to an audience. A successful salesperson or businessman knows how to adapt a sales pitch for the target audience. He understands that he isn’t merely selling a list of features, but a solution that would solve a customer’s problems. While adapting your sales pitch for the Chinese audience, remember that it is not just about the presentation that you give, it involves adaptation of website, software and advertising content according to Chinese preferences and culture. Adapt your website by optimizing for search engines that are familiar to the Chinese audience such as Baidu. In addition, localize your marketing content by carefully observing the buying and purchasing trends of the Chinese population—in other words, understanding what makes them tick, both on traditional and social media platforms.
Tip # 3: Adapt Your Sales Pitch the Chinese Way
The importance of “not losing face” in Chinese culture is one of the most overlooked ones. Never losing face means to keep your reputation intact when trying to set up a communication with the Chinese people. To save face, avoid sarcasm, self-deprecating attitude, open criticism, negative remarks, and unnecessary comments. Although these things are never appreciated in the West and other countries as well, the Chinese are particularly sensitive about these and therefore, it is more important to save face in front of the Chinese business counterparts when closing a business deal. Stay respectful and mindful of your attitude when dealing with the Chinese, as these things are used to derive an impression about you and ultimately your business proposition. Saying that you “value” the meetings will make them more open and courteous to you, aiding you in communication and collaboration with them.
Tip # 5: Expect Response After the Meeting
As mentioned above, the Chinese value relationships based on courtesy and respect more than other nations. This is why it is important to understand that after the meeting is over, you have to give them space and time to consider the implications of the business deal and proposition. Don’t rush to conclusions, nor force them to close the business deal as Chinese are not in favor of “hurrying” the business deal process. It is not advisable to expect the Chinese to immediately give in to your demands just after one meeting, as that is not going to happen in the majority of the cases. Instead, expect them to consider the terms and conditions of the business deal carefully and wait for them to respond before finalizing the deal.
The Last Word
The Chinese are one of the most cooperative, but careful observers when it comes to making or closing a business deal. The Chinese population, too, has its own preferences that are very different from the rest of the world which is extremely important to tap into. This is because China is the economic giant that could make your business soar to new heights. It is, therefore, vital to keep in mind some etiquettes that would make sure your business deals are closed successfully. In addition, to fully prepare yourself for the Chinese market, you need to hire the services of a professional and reliable Chinese translation service that understands the Chinese cultures, language, and demands as that would be akin to taking the final step into the huge Chinese market. Remember, the Chinese market is one of the most lucrative ones, missing out on capturing the Chinese customer can make you miss out on many growth opportunities for your business.