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China in your hands

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China in your hands - Making a business succeed in China might take longer than you think 

Republished for with permission of Rebecca Chow
Jul 3, 2008
As a rising economic power with seemingly endless opportunities, it's little wonder investors are currently falling over themselves to get into China. And although they might envisage it as a great place to do business, this is only true if budding entrepreneurs are aware of some basic ground rules. First up, do your due diligence! All too often expats complain of not being able to adjust to their new culture, and this is after living here for considerable lengths of time.

Chinese nationals - in common with all of us - feel the need to be heard and appreciated. And while some local people have excellent English language skills, there remain significant and genuine culture-based differences in communication that can't be ignored. For example, if someone answers a question with the response "OK," this might only be to express awareness of the subject at hand, and not necessarily agreement with what is being said.
Building relationships, or guanxi in Chinese is important in all cultures, but in China it's much more subtle, sensitive and complex. Any business, local or foreign, faces guanxi dynamics. Knowing who's who in the meeting room, for example, will greatly enhance your chances of sealing that important deal. And while Western business people are pressured to keep their personal and professional lives separate, the lines between family, friends, and work are much more blurred in China. When applied properly, guanxi helps business partners develop deeper and closer relationships helping make the path to financial success that much easier.

China is probably the fastest moving business environment on earth and doing business as a foreigner can be enormously frustrating. But does this rapid pace of expansion imply that certain things are being overlooked? Well, it shoudn't do. Cutting corners and rushing into hasty decisions when operating a business anywhere will only lead to costly mistakes. Spending valuable  time on the ground, being patient and prudent, and building your business with a firm commitment to the long-term, will ensure you will be able to travel as far, and as fast, as the market takes you.  

Rebecca Chow, senior business consultant of Shanghai City Development Law Firm, is experienced in assisting foreign enterprises to start up and grow in China. Contact the writer: 该Email地址已收到反垃圾邮件插件保护。要显示它您需要在浏览器中启用JavaScript。


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