Chinese business and culture

Chinese business and culture

Influence of culture in business behaviour in Republic of China and the effects toward the profits generation


Republic of China economies have been on the rise over the past few years and have emerged as one of the most developed nations in the world with highest exports to other countries. Much of the export good includes machinery and electronics as well as motor vehicles and construction services.  As explained by Gertmenian (1998), culture is a complex pattern of human being and its dynamic when being transmitted form one generation to another and it’s a strong determinant of the human activities.  Bearing in mind that China is a Confucius nation, it has a pragmatic set of social rules that dictates behaviour of the Chinese people and the filial loyalty, courtesy and diligences are some of the values which are completely different from the Western norms especially in the business arena where negotiations in the West are done professionally.  However, despite great growth on the economic development, Chinese people still holds strong to their cultures and have incorporated the cultural lives to the business society. Nearly all the economic activities are dictated by the culture of the majority of the employees or the employers of a particular society. Greetings, business relationships, business cards, communication styles, business, meetings, communication styles and decision making are some of the business aspects that an individual is supposed to consider while doing business with the chine natives. The management styles, aversion of conflicts in business, maintenance of composure, and the importance of face are among the major influences of culture towards the business. However, the influence seems to have positively affected the businesses, as China has been among the successful nations worldwide in business especially in the exports sector of the industrial goods especially electronics and machinery due to lowered prices as compared to the Western competitors. Hence, cultures have directly influenced the business behaviour in the Republic of China.


Business communication styles

Communication is one of the most important aspects in business and nearly affects all the operations especially in the delegation of duties and responsibilities among between the administrator and the employees.  It is important for any business person to recognise and take into considerations the differences in communication styles used by different cultures. An international trader who wishes to conduct business with Chinese people will be required to appreciate and consider the communication patterns used in the Republic of china.  Following the arguments of Gertmenian (1998), the communication styles and patterns are important to consider and follow in order to ensure smooth business operations.  Such kind of styles to be used when conducting business with Chinese includes the detailed information giving.

This involves outlining into details of the requirements directly to the other party.   Understanding of the Chinese history and the shared information could also assist an individual communicating to Chinese trader. It could be important to consider how thing are said and what is really said rather than doing it according to the individual background.Chinese business and culture This is important as mope of the words which we consider to have etiquette could bear different meaning to other people and could be offensive when used.   When trading online where communication could be inform of text messages or internet calls , it could be important for the trader to consider  the choice of the words used and should  be direct to the point in order to avoid  misunderstandings which could result in  communication breakdown.

Business meetings

It is important to consider the time to conduct business meetings while in china. Since the meetings must be very formal and must be scheduled in advance.  There are some periods in the year when it’s not advisable to conduct m business meetings in china since at these periods the natives are busy always and they include January and December.  Other day includes the Chinese New Year and national Day holidays and it could be important to consider this days when scheduling a meeting. However, it is advisable to avoid fixing a meeting date at these periods as this could affect the business meetings.

Following the arguments of Gertmenian (1998), once the meeting have been set and the introductions have been made the company which one is willing to trade with should be informed through a formal letter and should be provided with information concerning the other trading company so as to make the meeting more confidential.Chinese business and culture Meeting time should be adhered to as the chinse are very punctual to arrival time, the trader should arrive earlier or on time to avoid compromising with the traders. As noted by Kanter (2011),  the meeting should be direct and should start with experiences about chian or one related to trading and politics should be avoided at all circumstances.

The Chinese prefers to seat according to the ranks in the descending order with senior people sitting or opposite of each other as this will help in the exchange of business terms and conditions also allow for the negotiations in the business being conducted.  When the trading company is expressing the business terms should directly address the senor positioned officials in the Chinese company or their representatives as this will indicate a sign of respect which is considered important among the Chinese people. Following the arguments of Gertmenian (1998), the Chinese have a unique way of expressing their offer of the business terms since they do not handle a situation form different direction but prefer to talk directly about the situation unlike the negotiations which could ebb similar to a person from the west.

Chinese are non confrontational and will not reject an offer directly but an answer anther than acceptance could mean rejection of an offer. It is recommended to have an interpreter when one is planning to have a business discussion involving technical terms and a legal language which might be different from what the Chinese language has. However, it is recommended that never to assume comprehension of the terms being negotiated.Chinese business and culture  It could be important to cover the same grounds several times and constantly check for understanding and this could compromise with the details being discussed.  According to Kanter (2011),  however, it is considered important to have an individual who can interpret and express fluently in both the Chinese language and the language of the trading party or the opponents for both sides in the meeting in order to avoid disagreements in case of switching languages.


When doing business shaking hands are the accepted and the most formal way of accepting the opponents.  In the Chinese culture bowing is very important and this could be important for the trading personnel to bow before shaking hands especially to senior most company personnel’s could be having a lot of influence in business dealings.  Is important to avoid using physical contacts, other than the handshakes since they might not be acceptable in the Chinese traditions such as hugging, pecking, kissing and holding shoulders of the other person and this could be treated as a sign of disrespect.

In china when greeting using the names, it’s important to consider the priority given in the names since the surname comes first of the rest of the names. In the situation of the business negotiations dealings it’s important to address the Chinese personnel using their Business titles or the surnames as this are the preferred methods of greetings. In the situation where the individual being addressed does not have a surname, it’s important to address them using the family name and the family first name should not be used unless directed to do so.

Business cards

Business cards should be exchanged after the initial introduction since they contain some important personal details which could be used in further contacting of the clients in case of clarifications if  need arises. Most of the Chinese do not consider knowledge of other languages important apart from the Chinese language which is used as a national language. Hence, it could be important fro the business clients to have the business cards printed in English and translated at the back using the Chinese language in order to make information in the card  more formal and confidential. As noted by Tan and Kotler (2003), furthermore, on the business card side printed in the Chinese language should have simplified words to avoid confusion of the reader.

The business card should be presented using two hands in order to show respect with the Chinese side facing outward in order to make the recipient attracted by the language one is familiar with. Chinese regards respect as important aspect in communication and in the negotiation of business terms.  Bowing is considered as a sign of respect to the other party or in recognising the superiority of the other person.  Hence, it could be important for the business traders to bow before each other after the introductions and after the negotiations and agreement of the terms.  Following the arguments of Kanter (2011), once the business cards are exchanged, it is important to examine it and read it thoroughly and acknowledge the name and the title before placing it in the card case. It is important to avoid writing the businesses cards unless directed to do so.

Building business relationships

Relationships in business are important considerations and should never be underestimated sicne the chinse people prefers to do business with people which they know well and are familiar with. A business relationship also helps to by the confidence of the Chinese people since some of the international business may involve virtual communication and unless there confidentiality within the communication trading could be affected. However, when building a business relationships time might be consumed since the clients needs to understand the persistence of the patterns of behaviour of their trading opponents.

It is advisable to increase the relationship with the Chinese companies by maintaining professionalism and formality at all the times when doing business. It is advisable not to delay payments or the goods if the business involves buying and selling of bulk goods. Where services are to be offered it advisable to ensure that payments are made before the Chinese counterparts delivers the service to the clients.  Jokes should be avoided as the humour could be hard to translate in to the complex Chinese language and could be having a different meaning to the Chinese people, hence it’s important to be confidential brief and to the point of what being discussed.

However, as the client it’s advisable to meet with the appropriate personnel for the desired needs either goods or the services and it could be important to avoid putting oneself in the situation of another person. The client should make direct contacts with the Chinese people doing business with and should avoid depending completely on another person for contacts as this might affect the relationships between the people communicating or doing business.  It’s good for the clients to maintain consistency with one particular team when doing business as this will strengthen the relations.

As noted by Tan and Kotler (2003), relationships are an ongoing process and may consume a lot of time before becoming well established hence an outside company has to maintain consistency and clarity if it would wish to continue doing business with the Chinese. Furthermore, Chinese culture allows the exchange of gifts and favours, and it’s advisable for a client to exchange and always reciprocate gifts and favours as appropriate as this would help in winning the confidence of the other party.  Much or the considerations that the Chinese culture gives and respects when developing relationships whit another foreign business company are the decency in treatment, delivery of the promised terms to indicate trustworthiness, and being dependable and reliable. 


Considerations made in negotiations with A Chinese Company.

Chinese are renown for long for being hard and consistent in negotiations and it’s important for an international client to compromise  so that the negotiators feels they have gained in concessions. It’s important to leave the negotiations to the senor members o the trading companies to negotiate in order for the junior staff to show respect. Negotiations should be made in short, simple sentences as jargons and slang should be highly avoided as they could be interpreted as a sign of disrespect to the Chinese traders. It’s important to pause between the negotiations in order to give the opponents time to consume and consider what they have been offered by the trading opponents.

Before meeting and discussing trade terms with any Chinese company or firm, it is important to do a thorough research prior to the meeting and one is advisable to have the knowledge of the history of the trading company so as to understand the negotiation level and what to avoid with what to consider and give priority. As noted by Tan and Kotler (2003), discomfort and impatience could betray an individual hence should be avoided together with using high pressure tactics. However, decisions may take a longer time and it’s advisable to avoid giving deadlines since this may have an effect on the Trading Chinese firm since they could be operating different as one might be expecting. It could be advisable to be calm, show little emotions and humbly accept the delays that might occur.

Decision making

 Decision making differs greatly with the western nations when doing business with the Chinese natives due to difference in cultures and professional approaches towards business deals.  The western world when doing business, an individual could gather and process information as quick as possible for rapid decision making process. On the other hand the Chinese prefers to deliberate even on decisions that may seem simple and little comprehensive  and this might affect the duration of decision making hence delaying the business terms (Chen, 2003). Hence, it’s advisable to patient when dealing with Chinese traders, as hurrying the decision making process might lead to termination of business dealing with the Chinese.

Decisions are likely not to be made during the first and the subsequent meetings  one might be attending and its normal to be made in the absences of the foreign traders whether they agree or not. It’s advisable to ask for feedback always and seek clarifications on the decisions made they difficult to understand when the Chinese company is the one to make the final word before doing business terms. However, some Chinese companies prefer to have the inclusion of the foreign company representatives in the decisions making meetings to avoid biasness and provide a chance for negotiation in case clarifications are needed.


It’s important for any individual who might be interested to do business with international companies to first understand their cultures and the influence of the culture to the business dealings. Following the statements of Chen (2003), Failure to consider these aspects of culture to business might affect the relationship as well as the profit margins of the business dealings.  On the other hand, it important to stick to the professional business ethics in the situations where the culture of the trading companies is not known before. However, it’s important to have conducted a prior research of the history of the trading nations in order to avoid conflicts when negotiating.


Pay to Unlock the Answer!

Chen, M. (2003). Inside Chinese Business: A Guide for Managers Worldwide. Harvard: Harvard Business Press

Gertmenian, W. (1998). Cultural Insights on Doing Business in China. Graziadio Business Review.1(2)

Harrison, J. Chang, E., Cauthier, C., Joerchel, T., Nevarez, J, & Wang, M (2005). Exporting a North American concept to Asia. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 46(2), 275-283

Kanter, M. (2011), How Great Companies Think Differently. Harvard Busies Review.


Kotler, P., Ang, S., Leong, S., & Tan, C.(2003). Scanning the marketing environment. In Marketing management: An Asian perspective (pp.146-164). Singapore: Prentice Hall.

Pitta, D. Fung, H. & Isberg, S. (1999).Ethical issues across cultures: managing the differing perspectives of China and the U.S.A. Journal of Consumer Marketing.16 (3), 240-256