Recently, I had a conversation with my father about how to work or do business in China. He works with Chinese manufacturers for years, and I am studying in France, learning a lot about French culture. So we came out some “Must Read” tips for French if you want to work in China or negotiate with Chinese.
1.Use chopsticks correctly.
I know the forks, spoons, and knifes are enough for you to have a pretty nice meal, but to show how you respect to Chinese culture by using chopsticks can impress your clients or Chinese partners, and there is a greater chance to have better relationship with your Chinese partners by doing this. However, remember one important thing while using chopsticks to eat rice, do not put the chopsticks into the rice. It means that the whole meal is for DEAD PEOPLE or the GHOSTS to eat! I’m sure that you don’t want to be dead people. Also, do not play with your chopsticks with noise, for Chinese, it is a thing only beggar will do.
2.Ready to drink and eat a lot.
You cannot avoid business dinner if you want to do business with Chinese! If your Chinese partners offer you with several bottle of high quality “Baijiu” during business dinner (“Baijiu” literally means white alcohol, and it is a strong distilled spirit, generally between 40% to 60% alcohol by volume), you probably need to say yes, and you have to taste it. If you say no, and you don’t want to try “Baijiu”, then you will have a high chance to get NO on every request regarding your business.
3.You can have diarrhea in China.
It may sounds disgusting to you, but you can say out loud in Chinese that you have diarrhea today! It is a good way to avoid something you do not want to do. For example, if you know you are going to have an important business dinner, but you really don’t want to have any alcohol, you can simply explain to your Chinese partners that you have a serious diarrhea. Don’t worry, they will get it, and your partners will not feel disgusting to discuss it. Now, remember, poop is your friend!
4.Contract is nothing.
If you successfully sign a contract with your Chinese partners, do not celebrate it too early because a contract means NOTHING to Chinese. The relationship between you and your Chinese partners is way more important than a contract. However, the situation might be a little different for young Chinese generations. They know a contract is something needed to be follow, but they might ignore it on purpose to gain more profits.
5.You cannot report bribe to authority.
You want to bribe someone with luxury gifts (or money, shh)? No problem! But you want to report bribe to authorities? NO! Seriously, if you did that, it is time for you to leave China without earning any money, or even lose money. By the way, you should not give your Chinese partners clocks as a gift because it means that they are dying!
6.You have many brothers and sisters.
Relationship is really important in Chinese culture! But how to build good relationship by using just a word? Use “brother” and “sister” to describe your Chinese partners! Once your Chinese partners allow you to call them brothers or sisters, it is half way to success. If you build your brotherhood or sisterhood with your Chinese partners, it is more difficult for them to lie to you or to gain unreasonable profit from you.
7.Be on time.
You have an appointment with your Chinese partner at 14:00 in the afternoon? Let me tell you, the best time for you to arrive is from 13:50 to 14:01. But you are going to be late (even in one minute)? Please, please, please, you need to inform your partners in advance! Also, it is considered to be extremely rude to not show up, unless you are in a coma or dead.
8.Forget Google, Facebook, and YouTube.
There are many social media platforms banned from Chinese government. Instead of using WhatsApp, they use WeChat! This is the reason why you should have a WeChat account to communicate with your Chinese partners. Also, all services provided by google cannot be used while staying in China.