Conducting Business in China: Negotiating and Building Effective Relationships

Essay by NeesieHigh School, 11th grade October 2004

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Since the 1980's, international business has been on the rise. Negotiating and building effective relationships is vital for the success of Westerners conducting business in China.


As with most Asians, where ritual and personal relationships are a vital part of the smooth functioning of society, Chinese business people do not rush into discussion or negotiations. The Chinese want to get acquainted before they do business. They also want to extend hospitality to demonstrate their respect for others and their own appreciation of the finer things in life.


According to international business leaders, the difference in Chinese and other cultures are the greatest challenge to doing business in China. Coping with cultural differences was ranked as the first concern among business people. Other challenges included international trade dispute affecting business partners and intellectual property issues. 'Although the international business community has made great strides in understanding China's tradition, it is still important to be sensitive to the issues raised by cultural differences.'


Most westerners, when preparing a business trip to China arm themselves with "a handy, one-page list of etiquette how to's, carry a boatload of business cards and bring their own interpreters", that's what Chinese tipsters say. However, such advice wont sustain the kind of prolonged year in, year out associations that Chinese and western business people achieve. In fact, breakdowns between foreigners and Chinese business people happen time after time. The main cause of failure is that of the westerners, to understand the much broader context of Chinese culture and values, a problem that too often leaves western negotiators both confused and flailing.

The cultural influences outlined on the PowerPoint will give a clearly defined set of elements that underpin the Chinese negotiating style. Many foreigners often find these elements as...