Chapter 20 – Some Dos and Don’ts of Doing Business in China

  • Do respect the Chinese peoples’ strong sense of national pride. You will find that due to their great achievements (3rd nation to send a person into space, economic power house, more than 4000 years of history), the modern Chinese tend to be very proud of their nation.
  • Do separate fact from fiction. Virtually everything you hear about China is true, and so is the opposite.
  • Do build relationships with your suppliers. Virtually all successful transactions in China result from careful cultivation of the Chinese partner by the foreign one, until a relationship of trust evolves.
  • Do respect face as an essential component of the Chinese national psyche.
  • Do accept the pecking order which persists in Chinese organizations even to this date.
  • Don’t complain. The Chinese are usually gracious hosts, so don’t abuse that hospitality. China is continuing to undergo incredible transformation but nothing is perfect. But sharing all the things you find terrible about China compared to your hometown will not win you any local friends. Always look for the positive and keep an upbeat mood.
  • Don’t use terms or expressions that may be considered slang or euphemisms. Telling a supplier you think this partnership will be a “homerun” does not mean much to someone who does not know the difference between a “homerun” and a “foul ball”.
  • Don’t use expressions like “Split the difference, On the same page, Bottom line, Cost downs, Guys instead of Men, Yeah instead of Yes” etc.
  • Don’t talk about politics or religion
  • Don’t turn down dinner or drink invitations
  • Don’t believe it when your supplier tells you “I’m losing money on this” because he will tell that to everyone
  • Don’t ever change your contracts after they have been signed
  • Don’t cheat ,lie, double-cross, or play word games with your Chinese business partners
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