It’s no secret – the Chinese culture hides some of the most intriguing stories, absolutely full of heritage and with so many lessons we can draw out of them. Most of their traditions succeeded in staying alive and remained consistent for thousands of years, by remaining strict, consistent and respectful with their heritage. And so, when it comes down to their business culture, they have some very particular techniques, all revolving around the idea of harmony, of keeping a perfect social balance.
Furthermore, Chinese business culture is mostly influenced by Confucianism which defines that a relationship network is absolutely vital in the successful development of any business and that the set relationship is based of values such as: loyalty, modesty, unity and politeness.
So whenever you find yourself in such circumstances, make sure you present yourself respectfully by following these simple, yet noteworthy steps:
- Ensure punctuality – it is considered a lack of respect if one arrives late to a meeting
- Order of importance – in China, people enter a room in the order of their importance in that set meeting; hence the highest ranking person will be the one arriving first and so on. The same rule will apply to introductions.
- Chinese colleagues may applaud the moment you are being introduced, as a way of greeting, as well as in order to show approval. If this happens, it is polite that you applaud back.
- Greet everyone in the room individually even if it is a large group.
- It is recommended that you emphasize the status, size, reputation and wealth of your company with confidence of your achievements – which will be respectfully appreciated.
- When handing business cards, make sure you use either both hands or the right hand alone – the writing must face the receiver.
- Negotiation style is defined by being relationship-oriented. This means that they prefer long-term relationships over timely and efficient negotiations. It is very important for them that both parties are satisfied.
- Gift-giving is an important factor in Chinese business relationships as they perceive it as a sign of respect, gratitude and appreciation.
- Always nod when a person speaks – this doesn’t necessarily indicate agreement, but rather that you are actively listening to what the speaker is saying.
- Refrain from interrupting – it is considered rude.
To conclude, workplaces in China tend to be hierarchical based, much like the society is. In fact, Confucianism plays a big part in their culture, which stands for respect for the rulers, elders and family. Creating social harmony is considered to be one of the main parts of their cultural characteristics – it’s a national philosophy, but also a religious system of beliefs.