China has one of the most complex business cultures in the  world. It’s a country full of small symbolic gestures, hierarchies and ancient  customs. Chinese business culture has a number of important elements.  Handshaking is the norm, with a Chinese handshake tending to be light and lingering. It is customary to look down, lowering the eyes as a mark of  respect. As all relationships are unequal it is important, if you wish to  appear honorable, show respect to age, seniority and educational background.

Doing business in China can be a cultural maze for the unsuspecting business  person. The rate of Chinese business development has been swift, and the lack  of understanding on business culture in China has led to numerous problems that  could be avoided by a basic knowledge of world business culture. There are a number of things to consider when doing business  in China. When doing business in China, business cards are always exchanged on  first meeting a new contact. Cards are held in both hands when exchanging and  then scrutinized in detail. It is best to have your card printed in Chinese on  the reverse and always offer it Chinese-side up. Treat the card with great respect, as the card is the man.

It is advisable to have smart business attire with you when visiting China. Be aware of the vagaries of the Chinese climate, which veer from sub-tropical to  freezing and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Wealth is admired,  so wear good quality clothes, watches etc. if you want to impress – but don’t  be overly ostentatious. You can use different China Business Guide or China  Business Directory to get knowledge of different businesses.

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Unless you speak Chinese (Mandarin being the most common as well as the  official dialect), it can be difficult to do business in China without the aid  of a translator. English language levels are very patchy and although a layer  of fluent English speakers exists, the layer is quite thin and levels fall away  very quickly. Communicating in China can, therefore, be a slow, laborious  activity and fraught with constant dangers in terms of misunderstanding and  mistranslation. Don’t assume comprehension. Cover the same ground several times  and constantly check for understanding.

Article Author: McJohn

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