As we will be entering into the business world in China in the upcoming months, we have prepared a report on common business etiquette to be used when dealing with Chinese businesses. There are many ways in which we can unintentionally ruin relationships with China, so it is important to choose your words wisely. The following ideals will help us to present the company in a favorable light, and to avoid jeopardizing any potential relationships with Chinese businesses.
According to Williams (n.d.), Before you approach a civilian of china, be prepared to do the proper greeting first. Proper greetings in china are generally a smile, good eye contact, politeness and a proper bow. The deeper the bow is, the more respect the Chinese believe you possess towards your acquaintance. These are considered a means of sincerity in their culture which will allow you to engage in further discussion with the business people you are making business with. Avoid informal greetings like “Hey, how are you?” instead use a formal greeting like “How do you do?” or “Glad to see you” as they seem like improper and disrespectful in their culture.
When referring to someone of importance in China, you usually use their professional title rather than a Mr. or Miss. For example, use Chairman Freeman, rather than Mr. Freeman. This is important because it addresses your target with respect and shows that you acknowledge his or her position in the company. (Executive Planet. China n.d.).
Typically, before any serious business discussion can happen, casual conversation is encouraged to relate to the person to whom you are writing. Good topics to include are those through which you can relate, such as the weather, climate, and the geography of China. (Leung, 2008, p.21). Educating yourself on these subjects beforehand is very effective, as it will reflect well to your recipient that you have a good initiative in learning more about Chinese culture. However, there are some subjects to avoid discussing such as the history of China and Taiwan territory. (Executive Planet. China n.d.).
Williams (n.d). has stated do not try to mention nor talk about religion in china. Even though China does have some basic religions like Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, they do not worship as much as other countries do such as the USA and Japan. It is important to respect their culture and not engage in a conversation which would include speaking about their religion in any way.
If you go out to eat at a restaurant with a possible customer or future employee whom is Chinese, there are some table manners that differ from that of westerners. For instance, a round table is more popular than the basic square table which is known in the western hemisphere. Make sure that the guest of honor is always seated to the right of the host (I.E. the employer or employee). Make sure you seat your guests and invite them to enjoy their meal and sitting the guests next the where the dishes are is disrespectful. Serving soda while on a business meeting is considered disrespectful to your guests. Ensure that you serve something more elegant like tea or distilled water, with the occasional beer and it’s important that you pour all your guests a cup of tea as it is not expected of the guest to pour their own tea.(Williams n.d).
When writing the sales letter you should stay away from using colors because they can send a negative message. (Cimasko, 2010). It is important to make sure you keep your sentences short and concise and avoid using slang. It’s important to bring a minimum of at least 20 copies of your sales letter as it shows that you are well prepared. (Executive Planet. China n.d.).
When it comes to composing your sales letter, it is more common to take the indirect approach. For example; in the Chinese culture, it’s more respectful to use the words try or maybe instead of directly saying no. (Cimasko, 2010). Since the Chinese typically do not trust outside information you really must convince them that making business with your company would be in their best interest. Keep in mind not to offend anyone in your letter because embarrassment of a potential business partner would mean loss of that business. (Executive Planet. China n.d.).
Focus on how the job would be useful in China and avoid using slang or big words that would confuse our potential partners. Don’t make the sales letter too flamboyant or colorful because that might seem disrespectful.
De’Edra Williams. China. Retrieved from: http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/china.htm Executive Planet. China. Retrieved from: http://www.executiveplanet.com/index.php?title=China Leung, C. (2008). Saving face time. Canadian Business, 81(21), 21-22. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Tony Cimasko. (2010, April 25). Writing for a Chinese Business Audience. Retrieved from: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/676/01/ Harmon, M. M. (2006). Business Research and Chinese Patriotic Poetry: How Competition for Status Distorts the Priority Between Research and Teaching in U.S. Business Schools. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 5(2), 234-243. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Wilkinson, T. J., Thomas, A. R., & Hawes, J. M. (2009). Managing Relationships With Chinese Joint Venture Partners. Journal of Global Marketing, 22(2), 109-120. doi:10.1080/08911760902765908