Your China team must get five key areas right in order for your organization to succeed in China. They must: 1) understand the business environment, 2) understand and use the business culture 3) conduct business in China effectively and 4) live happily in China.
Understand the Business Environment
Do your homework and understand how your industry works in China before going to China. China is not the West and business strategies that work in the US or Europe often fail in China. There are frequent stories about companies from the west spending money to start operations in China and then finding out they can’t legally conduct this type of business in China. You and your staff must also understand and account for key differences in marketing, selling, negotiating and contracting. Corruption and protecting your intellectual property play an important role in your China strategy.
Understand and Use the Business Culture
When you are doing business in China, relationships make everything easier (or harder.) To succeed in China, your firm must build the right relationships and your staff must understand how to connect with the right people. Your staff does not need to be fluent in Chinese, but basic Chinese language skills is an important first step towards building relationships in China. You and your staff must know and use business etiquette to give face, develop guanxi and avoid catastrophic cultural gaffes. Finally, you and your staff must understand the culture well enough to identify and fix problems before the harm is irreparable.
Conduct Business in China Effectively
In this case, the right way is the effective way. You have the right to ask your business partners to meet you in the middle, but the more you can do business the Chinese way, the better chance you have at succeeding in China. Build relationships first, do your homework, pick the right strategy that accounts for key cultural and business differences and you increase your chances of success.
The differences between business expectations in the West and doing business in China create pressure for your China team. Chinese organizations are aware of and exploit this during negotiation and other key business interactions. In order to succeed in China, your organization must have clear expectations and communication between headquarters and your China team. Furthermore, by creating an effective relationship between headquarters and your china team, you may be able to take expectations of pressure on the Chinese side.
Live Happily in China
No one does their best work when they are miserable. The first step towards success is giving your staff the necessary skills to overcome culture shock and thrive in China. Your staff will function better when they speak basic Chinese, know how to shop and buy what they need. This is particularly true when negotiating a business deal as the Chinese side will patiently use discomfort to pressure your staff to make concessions.
How We Can Help
We offer a range of training options from an online business course to on site training customized to your needs.