Foreign Business Etiquette – Negotiating With the Chinese

The world has become a much smaller place with the advent of the internet. The economy of the world’s nations is more connected than ever before. Foreign business etiquette has become an important part of the business world. It is necessary to know how to deal with business owned by people of various cultures. Because of the prevalence of China on the world scene, negotiating with Chinese people is a part of international trade. Here are some Chinese business etiquette tips to help you in your business dealings with the Chinese.

Know the language. This doesn’t mean that you have to learn Chinese. It could be as simple as hiring a translator. The fact is, negotiating with Chinese business owners can be tricky due to the language barrier. A translator will help you to ensure that the deal you work out is understood by all parties involved. Have them repeat back to you the arrangement that was reached so that no one misunderstands.

Face to face negotiations are an important part of foreign business etiquette. Video conferencing has made it possible to connect across the globe. This is great for update meetings, but if you really want to make a good impression and form a good working relationship, proper Chinese business etiquette calls for negotiating in person.

Reputation is an extremely important part of Chinese culture. You lose face when your actions are revealed, not when you commit them. Don’t embarrass a Chinese businessman if you want to continue having a good working relationship. By showing them respect and giving sincere compliments, you help to build someone’s reputation and will improve your working relationship even further. Age and experience are very important to the Chinese. Show extra respect to older ones. Don’t demand as much respect if you are significantly younger. Paying attention to the proper showing of respect and honor is a vital part of negotiating with Chinese people.

There is a big difference between a bribe and a gift. Chinese business etiquette allows for gifts when there is reason (some sort of celebration or occasion) and witnesses. Gifts in secret with no apparent reason can be misconstrued as having an ulterior motive. Don’t be cheap with your gifts. Money is not an appropriate gift. Get something that holds aesthetic value and is considered beautiful. Your gift giving will be reciprocated.

Foreign business etiquette requires that you be in the know. This will ensure that you do not misstep and do anything offensive. On the other hand, it will ensure good business relationships and advancement of your operation.

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