Business is an important market for international businesses. If you are hoping to grow your business in the country, however, you will have to understand how the business culture works—because it’s very different to the one you are used to.
Here are some tips for visiting China on business trips so you will stand the best chance of succeeding in this important market.
Dress the Part
First impressions matter a lot in China, so pay close attention to your appearance. Dress appropriately by wearing smart, conservative clothing, and consider buying a new suit or outfit. The high-quality material will demonstrate status, so it’s worth splashing out.
Know How to Greet People
Greetings are important in China, and you will be expected to know the way to greet people. The most common way is to present your business card with both hands while making a small bow. You should also make a complimentary comment on the person’s card.
Take lots of business cards with you so you don’t run out, and include a Chinese translation on the back.
Also, when you shake hands in China, make sure you do not grip too firmly. Handshakes also tend to be quite short, and don’t overdo eye contact.
Be Open to New Things
It’s important to be open to new experiences in China. You might be offered various things, and it is considered rude not to accept them. It could be some new food, a drink, or anything else, but turning it down can offend your host.
This can be difficult sometimes because you are not used to it, but it helps to build relationships, so never decline something if you can help it.
Stay Rested and Relaxed
Appearance is important in China, and you will want to make an effort to look smart. But when you are affected by jetlag and you are in a new place, it’s easy to get tired. Traveling around is also a very different experience to back home. It can be a challenge, especially if you are staying in a busy city like Shanghai.
Make sure you stay well-rested and relaxed. Book a stay in a hotel where you know you will receive the best service, and choose somewhere central where you can reduce travel time to meetings, like the Shanghai Marriott City Centre. One that has good business facilities where you might decide to hold meetings.
Wise Up on the Way Things Are Done
There are lots of little differences in Chinese business culture that you will want to learn before your trip.
For example, bargaining is part of the culture, so never accept the first price. Always negotiate in China because it can be considered rude if you do not.
When entering a room, this is done in the order of seniority. The most important member of your group should introduce the others, and you should always show a lot of respect to the leader of the Chinese group.
When in a meeting room, the two parties sit on different sides of the table. This is protocol, and it’s important to follow it.
Finally, when you want to point to something, use your open hand rather than a finger, otherwise, it might be considered rude.
Make the Most of Your Business Trip to China
China is becoming increasingly important for US businesses, but if you are planning to do business in the country, make sure you go prepared.
Small changes in your appearance, attitude, and behavior could make all the difference to the success of your trip and your business, so always know the local business customs before you go.