Chapter 18 – Be Patient and Always Remain Calm

The number one rule during business negotiations in China is “Take all the time in the world”. If you are in a rush because you have to go to another meeting or have a plane to catch, you will lose.

The Chinese tend to extend negotiations well beyond the official deadline to gain advantage. On the final day of your visit, they may even try to renegotiate everything.

Having said that, I must remind you that Chinese business partners do not always control the schedules of their visitors tightly enough. If you are on a business trip and have to catch the last ferry back to Hong Kong, you surely do not want to miss that.

I have seen on many occasions that only after several reminders are visitors rushed at high speeds to the ferry pier just barely in time to catch the last ferry. Please take some good advice and control your own schedule by telling your host at the beginning when you must leave and that there will be no exception. This specifically applies to visits from Hong Kong to various southern Chinese cities by high speed ferries.

Other than when pressed for time to catch the last ferry to Hong Kong, be patient, show little emotion, and calmly accept that delays will occur. Moreover, do not mention deadlines.

The open display of emotions, both positive and negative, is not appreciated. Loosing your temper, confronting someone, putting someone on the spot, arrogant behavior, or failing to accord proper respect can cause a loss of face for your Chinese business partner and is therefore unacceptable.

Chinese suppliers also do not respond well to aggressive negotiation tactics like shouting, threats, or ultimatums.