Engaging in an import export business in China does not only require you to be equipped with standard knowledge of the business. But it also needs that profoundly know the Chinese style of doing business. Here are the 5 tips to help you deal with the Chinese through the most appropriate business etiquettes:
1. Patience. Competition is always there and it will never go away. Patience is really a necessity especially when you have to go slow amidst all the deadlines, transactions, and newer business opportunities that come along your way. China’s experience in the international market is still new since they’ve only been in the business quite recently. Most of the Chinese businessmen and even the Chinese government still lack the experience and the necessary skills in making international business deals. Arrangements can be done quickly or slowly but it depends on how the Chinese sees the risks of the transaction and their relationship with the foreign country.
2. Relationship. A good Chinese business relationship starts off with a personal relationship that embodies trust and security. Later on, this personal relationship develops into a well-built personal relationship. Remember too that money or the businesses itself are not the only reasons for building a relationship. It also requires the development of honesty, reliability and acceptance. By establishing a personal relationship, foreign businessmen will have wider opportunities for conducting a lucrative import business transaction with Chinese businessmen. Generally, Chinese companies give due importance to safe and sound and low risk business deals and would prefer doing business with businessmen whose character has already been tested.
3. “Guanxi”. It’s important for the Chinese that you believe and recognize the importance of fostering “guanxi”. Literally, “guanxi” means relationships or a system which consist the relationships of various companies and individuals that partake in business transactions. The most appropriate guanxi tells whether the business relationship will flourish or not at all. Establishing guanxi with the Chinese government is a way of assessing whether your company is competitive enough for doing business transactions in China. For most of the Chinese businessmen, guanxi pertains to honor, making good promises and staying true to these, showing good manners, and showing them a face full of respect and loyalty. Guanxi can be frail and so it should be well taken cared of for a lucrative import business relationship with China is maintained and that you can conduct business in Chinas as long as you want to.
4. Local contacts. Foreign companies and their representatives who are looking forward to conducting business in China must ensure that they do speak Chinese, recognize, give due respect and adhere to their ways of doing business. Having a strong linkage with the Chinese is also a big help. To ensure that issues and all other decisions relating to the import business in China are well-handled and discussed, you can ask help from import export experts, locals and other persons who have had previous experiences with Chinese businessmen. A team of local representatives and foreign visitors is already enough to make Chinese business partners feel honored. It’s also a great way of showing the companies’ honesty and promise to make the business relationship last.
5. Contract awareness. Chinese business systems and etiquettes differ from the foreign businessmen. To the Westerners, contracts are seen as documents binding two parties of what has been agreed and arranged. On the other hand, the Chinese dislikes it you bring along a contract at the start of the negotiations. To them, you are not showing your commitment. For the Chinese, promises made and responsibilities are based on relationships and not solely on pieces of paper. They only sign the contracts for the sake of formalities or to drive the funny side of the Westerners. Just be patient for time will come that the business transaction will be sealed and completed.
Local experts or representatives know very well the tricks of the trade that can or cannot work with the import export business or the businessmen they’re negotiating with. Those who truly know and understand the Chinese business culture can handle the ins and outs of the business. They can also determine if the matters being dealt and contracted with are expected and carried out. Resorting to an expert’s advices can reduce the costs and ensures that import export business will be successful in the long run.