The Protocol and the Doing Business in China

” A good behaviour ie key for doing business in China”

An important part of the dynamics of doing business is how to behave in business meetings and in the negotiations. Having an open mind and be prepared to follow the protocol during your interaction with Chinese companies is crucial, since it could make the difference between closing a deal or not.

In the present article, we present some points that must be taken into account to follow the protocol with Chinese companies in order to avoid involuntary errors and to be able to close that expected deal.

Everything is relative

In Western countries, we have a very strong concept to affirm, deny ideas or, in any case, answer questions. In China, getting concrete answers like “Yes” or “No” is quite complicated. People in China usually tend to “affirm” while you are communicating an idea; however, this does not mean that they agree. An affirmation should not be understood as something definitive because, for them, this simply mean that they will value the proposal or that they will consider it.

The most important thing is the Relationship

In China, discussions of work and business are usually mixed with personal questions. In their way of seeing the world, doing business with someone is having a degree of involvement almost equal to the one that they have with a relative, so they will always try to get to know the person they are relating with before closing any deal. For them, business, feelings and long-term relationship go hand in hand. In that sense, they give attention to their guests and even make gifts in order to create that bond of familiarity.

The Banquet and the Confidence

Meal or dinner time is the perfect opportunity to gain the confidence of your Chinese counterparts. Cordiality, familiarity and openness of mind should guide this occasion, which is where more business is closed.

If we talk about food, be prepared to see more than a dozen of different dishes on the table. Ideally, you should make your best to try everyone, leaving a dish without eating could be seen rude. In the same way, it is very common to make multiple toasts throughout the meal. If you do not intend to drink, you should indicate it in advance and justify yourself by, for example, claiming a health problem.

 

In conclusion, we all know that opportunities in China are increasingly large and profitable. Following the protocol during your visit to China is the first step on the way to construct the trust that will get your Chinese partner to value a future commercial relationship.

Constantino Marcos, General Manager HK/China Office at How2Go

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