Business Basics
Suzhi (素质) – In China, Proper Behavior and Character Matters

Suzhi (素质) – In China, Proper Behavior and Character Matters

By Sean Upton-McLaughlin  One of the first things a Western businessman may notice when he arrives in China is how different Chinese people act, talk and behave when compared to the Western social and business environment. These differences can not only cause confusion and delays, but in some cases can destroy relationships and torpedo potential business...
What is Guanxi? Your Business Depends on It

What is Guanxi? Your Business Depends on It

Anyone in business has likely heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” – this phrase takes on a much deeper meaning within China. Many Chinese businessmen rely almost exclusively on their personal relationships when doing business, and protect their networks with a level of devotion rarely seen in the Western...
The Importance of Giving Gifts in China

The Importance of Giving Gifts in China

Many Western businessmen new to China are advised of the importance of gift giving to Chinese culture, business or otherwise. But why is this so important to Chinese people? How does one give a gift? And how is this different from corruption or bribery?
Mianzi – How to Make & Keep 'Face' in China

Mianzi – How to Make & Keep ‘Face’ in China

Almost anyone who has done business with China, or is planning to, has heard the term “face.” Western businessmen coming to China for the first time often hear about how important face is to the Chinese, and are advised to avoid offending a Chinese person's face – but what does "face" really mean?

Customs, Conditions and Terms: Tips for Business Travelers in China

Traveling on business in China for the first time? Here are some simple things to keep in mind by Michael Hurwitz While China’s economic fortunes have been a bit of a roller coaster ride over the last 18 months, there’s still no disputing the Middle Kingdom’s critical role in the global business ecosystem. Some US$245 billion is...

How to Communicate Effectively with Non-Native English Speakers in China

Communication with non-native English speakers can be a huge obstacle to success. Luckily there are some easy ways to improve your talk By Rae Cook How do you communicate in English with Chinese speakers who might be unable to tell you that they don't understand? Many non-native speakers tell me that they express less than 40% of...
Taboo Topics in China

Taboo Topics in China

Foreigners working in China must navigate a minefield of sensitive topics – here’s a list of the big ones, and how to avoid a public relations catastrophe; photo by IsaacMao By Lisa Sun In mainland China, something as simple as a Free Tibet logo or a Japanese imperial flag might irreparably poison your personal and professional brand,...
Cross-cultural Communication Don'ts in China

Cross-cultural Communication Don’ts in China

After several years in China, a successful sales manager reflects on his first blunders about town; photo from Wikipedia Commons By Justin Shuttleworth
Little Emperors – How to Make Them Work for You

Little Emperors – How to Make Them Work for You

A small investment in guanxi can help you tap young talent in China's notoriously fickle and route-educated post-1980s generation By Lisa Sun While many people launch attacks against China’s draconian one-child policy, not many understand its impact on the business environment. With a young urban workforce uniformly composed of single-children, what will this generation mean for the...

Chinese Don’t Like Meetings, Unless They Are Purely Ceremonial?

We received an email from a reader that inquires about the Chinese protocol around having meetings. Here in the paragraph below is the classic protocol or understanding about how Chinese meetings work, which stresses the importance of resolving conflict outside of public meetings in order to avoid causing any lose of face, etc.:  Chinese like...

Chinese Jobs in America: 5 Reasons Why Chinese Professionals Might Not Be Promoted in American Companies

By Rae Cook As I travel from company to company as a communication expert, I often hear from and about Chinese engineers, scientists, and marketing professionals who are obviously underemployed in the US, meaning that they are not being promoted at the rate that might be expected. They have advanced degrees from good schools, are...

China Sourcing: Setting Goals

By Gary Young Having been in the China sourcing business for almost 11 years now, I am often asked what is the most difficult aspect of working in China. My short answer is “Communication”. China manufacturers want to create the product you are asking for. What I have come to appreciate is just how nuanced...