China Insights Part 2

Based on the great response to my previous post about China business and the plethora of insights that I have received at a recent NZTE workshop I attended, sharing another five seemed appropriate.  Here they are:

  1. While there isn’t a direct translation for the term ‘Guanxi’ it basically refers to the concept of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’. More specifically, it is embodied by personal relationships with trusted individuals where reciprocal favour giving occurs. This builds trust and is the basis of how business is conducted in China.
  2. What’s your Chinese name? Develop a Chinese name for your business and/or product or someone else will. File it in China (may also might be able to go through Madrid Protocol). Make sure it makes strategic sense e.g. Comvita’s selected ‘Kang Wei Ta’ as a phonetic translation. It means ‘health safeguards him/ people’.
  3. Meetings to finalise terms will be drawn out to the last possible moment. Keep yourself fresh and on your game as all of that wining and dining takes its toll. If planning for a three day trip, book a fourth day as a spare and keep it up your sleeve. Use it to tactically e.g. ‘I’ve had such a good time I have changed my flights so I can visit your manufacturing facility tomorrow’.
  4. The business card exchange technique (similar in Japan). Handshakes first. Don’t judge a man/woman by the strength of their grip. It’s not a big deal in China. Exchange business cards using both hands. Read over it (yes you have to read it properly) and think of something positive to say based on its content. Place cards on table during meeting to remind yourself who you’re talking to.
  5. Winning. In order for a deal to be reached it has to be a win-win-win situation. They have to win, you have to win and China, society or some other greater purpose has to win. If it’s important to them, it’s important to you.


More on China business insights here.

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