Business Practices in China

Overview by Globlatrade.net:
The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
"Guanxi": central concept means "relationship network" or "connections". This network functions on solidarity, support and mutual aid. In the business world, to have a good "guanxi" is important to ensure minimal difficulties and frustrations which are often encountered.
"Mianzi ": "mianzi" or "face", personal mark of pride and base of one's individual reputation and social status. "Saving face", "losing face" and "giving face" are key elements in the success of businesses. To lose face is not only to be shamed but to be really deeply touched within one's soul.
"Keqi ": concept based on the combination of two Chinese words, "ke" meaning "guest" and "qi" meaning "behavior". Recommends a courteous, thoughtful and refined behavior. In business terms, it is important to show humility and modesty because expressing exaggerated claims will be seen with suspicion.
"Confucianism": is the basis of social relations and policies in respect of hierarchical relationship, in daily life and in business.

Confidence and loyalty are the corner stones of the Chinese social setup.
First Contact
The most effective way to develop your relations is to include a Chinese intermediary of your country in the process.
The Chinese will help you:
- to be accepted more quickly, to start to build your guanxi more effectively;
- to obtain more complete and more precise information on your potential partners and their intentions,
- to avoid a false step as regards local customs. The fact of including a Chinese intermediary will put your Chinese associates more at ease.
Greetings
Meetings start with a handshake and a light nod of the head. The handshake should not be too vigorous, the Chinese would interpret it as a sign of aggressiveness. Many Chinese look towards the ground when they greet anyone.
Physical proximity is to be avoided with the majority of your interlocutors, and is to be avoided between people of different sex.
Chinese names appear in a different order: family name precedes the first name. Many Chinese adopt an English first name to make it easy for Americans or Europeans to interact with them.
One should address people with their title followed by their name. If a person does not have a professional title, use "Mr.", "Madam", "Miss" plus the name.
How to Present Yourself
Introduce yourself by your name, give your visiting card. Few Chinese words will be appreciated.
Business Relations
The Chinese do not like to deal with foreigners. They negotiate relations rather than contracts. Attempts to establish solid contacts frequently fail, because foreigners do not care to cultivate personal basis of these contacts. You must keep in mind the hierarchical differences when you communicate. Never lose sight of the fact whether the communication is official or formal.
Gifts
Exchangin gifts is customary. When you receive a gift, refuse it two to three times before accepting it. It is courtesy not to open the gift in public unless your host insists that you open it. The gift is a gesture for symbolising the beginning of a relation.
Business Communication
Within the team, only the member of a higher rank will speak during negotiations. Appoint a superior of your group as spokesperson for the preliminaries.
The negotiations are slow, characterized by a tempo of "stop and go". Decisions take time, because they require a careful analysis and circumspection. Chinese negotiations are a structured process. They want to determine if the relations can advance to a stage where both parties are at ease and can make a deal with one another.
The Chinese do not like confrontation. They will never say "no" openly, they will say instead "they will see" or "they will think over it".
Under no circumstance, you should lose your temper as that would harm irrevocably your relation. Do not use pressure tactics, you could be seen as a manipulator.
The concept of interest constitutes the spinal column of Chinese society: "If you are not interested, neither am I"
Dress Code
Costumes and ties of subtle colous are insisted and remain the standard. Conspicuous colors must not be worn. Discretion must be observed as regards respect and modesty.
Visiting Cards
Your card must be printed in English and Chinese. For a good translation, contact a Chinese of People's China origin. When you present your business card, ensure that the side printed in Chinese is turned towards your contact. Hold the top corners of your card between the thumb and the index finger of your two hands. Take the card of your Chinese associate with both hands, read it with attention, and put it away carefully.
For Further Information
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