6 Cultural Perspectives Working with Your Chinese Partners

Shanghai China
Kudos: 41
Joined: Dec 30, 2015
6 Cultural Perspectives Working with Your Chinese Partners
30 Dec 2015

Many Western people feel frustrated working with Chinese partners. On the one hand, they feel that Chinese business partners are really friendly & hospital. On the other hand, they are from time to time be surprised with their Chinese partners.

If you do not understand the cultural conflict, it is very hard to understand the behavior of your cross cultural business partners. Working with more than 80 countries for 22 years, I have friends from many different culture, and visited more than 30 countries. I try to discover the culture difference for you from a rather perspective. Please understand that not all Chinese are the same, because of education, even different area, their sub-culture.

1) Flexibile
Chinese are very practical. For many Westerns if the light is red, most of them will not cross the road. However, in China, if there is no car crossing, even the light is red, many will cross the road. This is just an example, many rules are just nominal in Chinese eye.
What does this mean to business co-operation? Sometimes you feel they are clever, result-oriented, sometimes you may feel they are tricky, not binding the rules.

2) Hierachical
Thousands of years ago, Confusias put out the importance of hierachy of sociaty. Then it is followed by most dynasty governors. Chinese society is highly hierachical. When the boss is in presence, the subordinate will seldom have any own ideas.

Chinese traditional culture is very friendly and hospital. To treat friend more than ourselves. They is a very old (thousand of years ago) story that may make a Westerner sick, but it is regarded as doctrine to persuade people to treat their friend the best way. Very briefly, the guy is very poor, when his friend visit him. He has nothing to feed him, he feel no good, and killed his son secretly & feed his friend with his son. The traditional Chinese culture put “zhong” (loyalty) & “yi” (friendship) on the top of peoples’ own needs.

Sometimes this hospitality may even to an uncomfortable extent. Like they always book big feast, too much food. And ask you drink or eat much more than you can. Continually deliver food to your plate….

Sometimes you feel they are not respecting your own feeling or privacy.

Chinese people give you the impression that they do not respect privacy. This may partly result from the collective culture. And partly result from the education.

A group of mums dancing together in the public is very common in China. It is incredible in Western countries. In old times, Chinese has very big families, hundreds of family member, several generations live in the same roof. In an individualism culture, people are proud to be different from others. While in a collective culture, people wants to be the same as group. In China, we have a saying “If a tree is higher than others, the wind will destroy it.” So it is very safe to be the same as others.
If you have a meeting with a group of Chinese people, you must know, sometimes it is hard for them to express their own opinion, just because they care about “how other people will think about me”.

6)Low conflict
Chinese culture is not confrontational. This may create problem for you, they agree something they cannot deliver. You must be very angry that they promised you but did not deliver. They do not appologize but appear to be innocent.
So you’d better be careful from the beginning about the “over-promise”. Some sales just want your business, and be very obedient to you, agrees with all your requirements, not forseeing the result of non-delivery. Try to get them relaxed, presenting your conditions is a rather peaceful way & not make them feeling confrontational, may help them to put out their own ideas.

For me, when I visit a factory, if they always say “yes”, I definitely decide not to wor
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Shenzhen China
Kudos: 119
Joined: Oct 1, 2015
Re: 6 Cultural Perspectives Working with Your Chinese Partne
6 Jan 2016

Everything has its two sides. What you have described is only some people not for all. Even people in US, UK and europe, the above still happens. I think if you do business with Chinese in a rule, this will always be helpful for your business.
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