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Chinese Business Culture

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Chinese Business Communication,
Culture and Etiquette
Huihan Yang
Jykes
23.02.2010
Contents
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
China in a nutshell
History
West meets East
Roots of Chinese culture
National charicteristics
Chinese logic
Business culture
Business Etiquette in China
Chinese expectations towards foreigner
Chinese History
IMPERIAL (221 B.C.E. – 1911)
•
221 B.C.E. The first unified Chinese state --- Qin was established by Qin
Shi Huang "First Emperor"
•
Followed by: Han Dynasty, Three kingdom,
Jin Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty,
Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty,
Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty
Chinese History
MODERN: 1912•
1912-1949 Republic of China
– Sun Yat-sen, Nationalist Party
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1937-1945 Sino-Japanese War
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1947-1949 Civil War
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1st Oct 1949 People’s republic of China was found
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1978 Economic Reforms carried out by Deng Xiaoping
Mao Tsetung
Deng Xiaoping
Expressing Opinions
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
Human Relation
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
Life Style
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
Party
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
In Restaurant
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
Fashion
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
Handling Problem
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
Leader
West meets Easts
------ Liu Yang
The Roots of Chinese Culture
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Confucius (and Confucianism)
• moral cultivation
• importance of interpersonal relationships
• family orientation
• respect for seniority and hierarchy
• pursuit of harmony and avoidance of conflict
• and the concept of face
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Lao Tzu (the Tao Te Ching --- Taoism)
• Tao --- “the Way” --- the general law of nature
• The balance of Yin and Yang --- middle
ground or compromise
Chinese National Characteristics
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patience
sophisticate
industry
pacifism
contentment
Chinese logic
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"logic" versus “common sense”
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Reasonableness“ ------ Qing li
– Qing, or human nature,
– li, or eternal reason
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Reasoning VS Reasonableness
Chinese Business Culture
• The Focus on Relationship
– The time isn't as important as the terrain, but the terrain isn't as
important as the support of people.
------The Art of War, chinese military strategist Sun Tsu
• Respect for Hierarchy
• Expectation of Reciprocity
– Confucius said: “Do not do unto others what you do not want others to
do unto you.”
– guanxi
Chinese Business Culture
• Face-saving
• Trust and Ethics
• Patience and Tolerance
– “A man who cannot tolerate small ills can never accomplish great
things”
• The Dominance of State-Owned Enterprises
• Different motivations
• Money or security?
• Choose the right person!
Chinese Communication
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One of the most sophisticated and complicated
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Understand the true meaning or words
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Indirectness
Chinese Rules of Communication
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The goal of Western culture is to discover knowledge; the goal of Chinese
culture is to have stable, harmonious relationships between people.
– Western rules value clarity and efficiency
– Chinese value harmony and politeness
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Try not to disagree openly
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Don’t ask people who is senior than you difficult questions
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Communicate negatives in an indirect way
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Don’t do anything disturb the harmony
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Being polite rather than clear
Business Etiquette in China
The initial approach
– business relationship is based on another business associate
recommendation
– it is common today for cold calls and direct contacts
– status match each other
Meeting
Meeting Etiquette:
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handshakes are the most common form
the leader/ oldest is always greeted first
business cards are exchanged after the initial introduction
hold the card in both hands when offering it or receiving it
examine a business card before putting it on the table next to you or in a
business card case
– Welcome speech
Conversation with the interpreter before the meeting
Bring your own interpreter
Dining Etiquette
• Follow the seating arrangement, especially in northern China
• Learn to use chopsticks, but don’t need to try hard
• The host begins eating first
• Pace yourself as dish will come to table one by one over a period
• There are no strict rules about finishing all the food in your bowl.
After Dinner Entertainment
• karaoke or Sauna
• bills will be picked up by host
Drinking with Chinese
• Chinese are big drinkers especially in Northern and Western China
• Chinese liquor --- baijiu
• Never, ever challenge a Chinese into a drinking contest.
Gift Giving Etiquette
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Do not give scissors, knives or other cutting utensils.
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Do not give clocks, they are associated with funerals and death.
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Always present gifts with two hands.
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Make sure the senior people get a better gift or at least gifts perceived to
have a higher value than their junior staff
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Expect to receive gifts from the Chinese, especially Chinese art products. It
is polite not to refuse, especially if it is not of too high a monetary value.
Seniority
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Seniority is very important to the Chinese
Address chinese by his title with surname
When giving out namecards or brochures, make sure you start with the
most senior person
Controversial Issues
• Try to avoid political topics
such as Taiwan issue, Mao Tse Tung, Japanese people
• You’d better not praise Shanghai in front of natives of Beijing and vice versa
But I’m Not Chinese
when do I
give the
gifts?
where
should I
sit?
I don’t
like rice
I can’t
speak
Chinese
how do
you use
chopsticks?
Do I have
to drink
tea?
Chinese don’t expect you to be Chinese.
Chinese Expectations
– Westerners are judged by a different standard
– Respect and honest effort
– Attitude is important!
Summary
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Harmony with partner
Relationship building
Get used to the way of chinese communication
Respect and honest effort
Business is business, you don’t need to change so much!
Thank you very much!
Huihan Yang
Email: Huihan.yang@jykes.fi
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