Doing Business in China

The new seven-man politburo which was invested in November 2012 is charged with the task of overseeing the future of China for the next ten years. They come to power after decades of miraculous economic growth with a mandate to continue the country’s upward trajectory whilst at the same time ensuring continued social and political cohesion. This will undoubtedly be a challenge but the track record of their predecessors points to a positive future.

As China moves into the ‘Asian Century’ it needs to continue to develop its infrastructure, educate the whole of the population, manage mass-urbanisation on an unprecedented scale and balance a growth agenda with the need to improve its environmental credentials. The rapidity of change in China has been miraculous but also brings challenges in its wake.

China will continue to expand economically and its political and cultural influence will also grow – especially within the Asian region. China will also, however, be of incredible economic significance for both the US and Europe as the old economies continue to stagnate and the ‘emerging’ economies take on the responsibility of delivering global growth. Whereas, for the last couple of decades China has been a market of interest for the larger corporations, mid-size companies now have to consider expansion into geographic areas of which they have little, if any, knowledge.

Whilst many things in China are in a state of constant flux, some things remain deeply rooted in the millennia-old culture of the country and one of the things which changes most slowly in any country is culture. Chinese business culture is not suddenly going to become a clone of western business culture. China will cling on to its own approaches and ways of doing things and as China becomes increasingly economically powerful any pressure for change will probably diminish.

This is why – if you really want to succeed in the China market – you have to invest time and effort into understanding how the Chinese think and how they approach any specific business situation. Assuming that they will accommodate you or understand the ‘western’ way will get you nowhere with any but the most well-travelled and cosmopolitan of Chinese business contacts.

You really do need to get an understanding of Chinese business culture and business etiquette in China.

This country profile is a starting point to understanding some of the key concepts you will need to factor into your dealings with any Chinese counterparts – but it is only a starting point. When you have read this profile, why not purchase one of the books suggested on the China pages or, better still, contact to discuss corporate training and development on this topic.