CHINA is already a major world power from an economic perspective. Countless experts and business leaders agree that it will soon be one of the dominant powers in the world, if not the most dominating power in business. Ample economic data exists to tell the story of China’s rise from its challenges of feeding its people to the prosperity it has gained over the last 45 years.
Over the last few decades, the shift of economic power towards China has drawn incredible attention among the global business community. Leaders and businessmen wanting to tap the Chinese marketplace face two major challenges in surveying the current situation there. First, they are supposed to learn an abundance of specific behaviour points, wherein they are presented a view of Chinese as a single entity, or monolith, rather than a country of huge diversity.
In China, the contextual system is in operation and this has two primary characteristics. First is the need to be efficient in all that is done there – service time or the availability of it is a significant challenge among many people. Efficiency allows businesses to make more profits. Since time is money, quick decisions allow people to be efficient. So when working with a Chinese, quick decisions can be deadly since their business values and beliefs are unique to their culture.
The book gives the example of child labour which amounts to child abuse but is a common practice in all developing countries. What the Western countries learned during the Industrial Revolution when the children grew up to have desire for hard work, the same is what is happening now in the developing world. So a person from India would be familiar with the sight of child labour but not a person from a Western nation.
Another challenging topic is bribery. What is bribery is difficult to be explained in China where spending time with people through many meals and relevant gifts are part of entertaining. It is difficult to say how expensive a gift can be, so how much money spent is bribery in one culture compared to another cannot be specified.
Another point to keep in mind is that when working with a Chinese, knowledge represents the innovativeness of the people, entering a new market, allowing knowledge and execution to flow. The Chinese place ample value in their innovativeness and relational orientation. Thus businessmen should learn to permeate the right boundaries of hierarchies in all organisations by identifying new dimensions that elevate his or her competitiveness. When working in China, learning to work smarter with relationships can leverage many existing relationships.
Modalities are also a powerful tool for building effective relationships. While engaging the Chinese leaders, establishing the primary communication modality through basic conventions about personal topics is a wise strategic choice. The choice of words used by people is an indicator of their preferences.
Doing business overseas can be a life-altering experience for many people. Making a conscious choice to learn and grow from it without blame or judgement is a key competence of a successful business leader.
The book can serve as an effective tool for helping businesspersons gain insights into the vastly different and surprisingly diverse Chinese business cultures.
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