Chinese business etiquettes are different. As a matter of fact, it is something like the whole world is on one side and China alone is on the other side. Why is it like that? The reason can be traced back to the history of China. Chinese civilization is oldest of all continuous civilization and it has a history which is 4,000 years old and is completely verifiable. Ever since the development of Chinese culture, the inhabitants made it a point to stay within their boundary and this made them shy when the outside world tries to get in touch. This element of shyness is reflected in Chinese business etiquette.
There are several Chinese business etiquettes which you need to learn before you try to get involved in serious business with Chinese people. The first and the foremost thing that you need to keep in mind that it is a referral which will lead to any business relationship. The reference needs to come from a different business associate. The stronger the recommendation, the better it is because; it is the recommendation which can earn you the best deals and prices. However, with the advent of globalization and internet, you may be able to get the best prices, fair trades all through the internet. You can even approach any Chinese company through emails or cold calls.
Yet another Chinese business etiquette is that if you are trying or planning to invest in any Chinese company, it is better that you contact and then approach any business advisory or investment committee. The best information will always be available with these advisories and committees and they can direct you to the right direction through information on raw materials, location and other business factors.
The most important Chinese business etiquette is that there is a tendency of a business relationship converting to social relationship and this happens inevitably after some considerable time of business. Business in China or with Chinese people cannot be kept aloof and professional as it happens in the West. The more personal you become with your Chinese business partner and more you discuss about your personal life, your political views, your hobbies etc, the more will the Chinese businessman think of getting involved in business with you.
The other Chinese business etiquette is that maintain seniority. If you are addressing the chairman of the company, start something like this: “Chairman XYZ”. If it is director, it must be “Director XYZ”. It should never be Mr/Ms XYZ. You must consider giving face. That is, you must give “due respect”! For instance, if you are buying a gift for the manager and the director of the company, the gift for the director needs to be costly and better than the one that you buy for the manager.
The final Chinese business etiquette is that if you are looking for a business talk with your Chinese counterpart, make it a point to take a trip to any restaurant. While you are in a lunch or a dinner, make sure that you don’t sit on a seat meant for someone else. Host and guests have different seats and they are all according to seniority. Drinking is something that Chinese love and their wines are fuel. Show medical grounds to drink less or better get someone along with you who can drink on your behalf. Not drinking will be a kind of dishonor and your business relationship might be at risk. Again don’t challenge any Chinese business counterpart in drinking. Chinese are voracious drinkers and you will definitely lose.
Keep these essential Chinese business etiquettes in mind before you get indulged in any business relation with any Chinese person.