What to Know Before Conducting Business in China

If you’re looking to expand your business audience and connections, you will find that many new doors open once you hit the international market. While you’ll encounter significant new opportunities when you turn your attention abroad, you’ll also discover quite a few new roadblocks previously unfamiliar to you.

For many business owners interested in entering international markets, China holds great appeal. With an ever-growing success in imports and exports, it offers an ideal marketplace for targeted expansion and growth. China has also seen some of the quickest economic rebounds despite the current state of the pandemic. Whether you’re looking for expansion or resources, navigating business in China requires some background knowledge. Here are five tips to remember when you’re looking to do business in China.

Go in with a growth mindset, and be prepared to back it up.

China has had tremendous growth throughout the years, and business owners and potential partners won’t take you seriously if you can’t demonstrate how your growth involves them. If you come in with a proposal, make sure you have fully researched and articulated how your expansion will benefit all parties. China has continuously seen incredible financial growth, so you need to be able to prove why you’re worthy to sit at the table.

Don’t move too slowly, or you won’t even make it inside the door.

Not only has China seen continuously significant growth over the past fifty years, but it’s also seen that growth come at a remarkably fast pace. Speed is key. Remember how quickly China began pumping out personal protective equipment at the height of the pandemic? Production in China is fast, and most companies don’t wait for things to happen; rather, they go out and make things happen.

Be prepared to commit to availability and extensive hours.

The benefits of expanding your business and working partners in China can be huge, but you have to be willing to put in the time. The general work ethic in China is unparalleled, with what’s known as the 9-9-6 work culture. Many people work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week to make things happen. That’s not to say you need to do the same, but make sure to be available and motivated when it comes to work hours.

Presentation matters.

Your personal presentation matters when it comes to working with businesses and individuals in China. The culture there focuses heavily on the best presentation of the individual self. Dress well, and have a firm handshake. Be clear, confident and articulate when speaking. Be on time and respectful. Express determination, diligence, motivation and a clear willingness to work hard. Laid-back Western approaches typically won’t set you off on the right footing in China.

Don’t underestimate the importance of respect.

Respect is huge in Chinese culture, whether it’s within the family, between business partners, culturally, politically or socially. You need to prepare yourself by researching acts of respect and disrespect and making sure you follow them. Even if unintentional, acts seemingly as small as pointing can offend a potential partner and shut down a transaction. Familiarize yourself with appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, gestures and phrases to further demonstrate your preparedness for this venture.

Doing business in China can be a powerful way to grow and expand your business, but don’t go into it lightly. Do your research and make sure you are fully prepared to take every advantage of a new potential business venture.

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