Negotiating With Chinese

Negotiating With ChineseThe Chinese way of life is very different from that of Western countries. A different lifestyle also has an effect on negotiations. You need to consider Chinese customs when negotiating with them. No matter what you hear, there are no experts on how to do business there. There are truly no experts on Chinese negotiations. If you want to enter the world of import/export to China, there is a book, “When No Means Yes,” that you may want to consider reading.

It may give you a better understanding of what it’s like to negotiate with the Chinese.To the Chinese, culture is extremely important. For the Chinese, culture is both a way of life and the foundation used in all business negotiations. Study the Chinese culture in whatever method works best for you. Read, watch videos, or even go to China if you need to, but learning it will greatly help you in negotiations.

Here are a few tips about Chinese culture that will help you in import/export negotiations:

  • Appear Clever—If you want to appear clever to the Chinese, learn a few Chinese idioms, and always listen more than you talk. One of the worst things you can do to hinder a negotiation is to go into a negotiation in China being an “American.” Some practices that are acceptable to you may be offensive to the Chinese. It is best to find a Chinese person you trust, and let them handle the Chinese during the negotiation.
  • Gift Giving—Giving a small gift is customary when you go to a Chinese negotiation. It will help to show that you know a little about Chinese culture. It doesn’t need to be an extravagant gift. Something small, but special from your hometown or the surrounding area is perfect, especially if it isn’t easily found somewhere else. This helps you to start to build a relationship, which is important in Chinese business. Once the relationship is established, gifts of wine or expensive whisky are expected for the “big” guys.
  • Build a Relationship First—Once you’ve enjoyed Chinese hospitality in a negotiation, wait. Don’t make an immediate commitment. Relationships are imperative to the Chinese, and they take time to build. You may want your product in a hurry, and you may get it in a hurry, but don’t negotiate it quickly. In fact, you can expect to be there a LONG time. Chinese negotiations are never short.
  • Expect the “Tag Team” Approach—During a negotiation, always expect the “tag team” approach. The first team will entertain you and make sure you’re happy, well fed, and sometimes even a bit drunk. Everyone wants to nap a bit when they’re full. When you want to hibernate like a bear, the second team comes in. They come in all fresh and ready for the real negotiations to begin. You’re not in the best conditions to negotiate properly.
  • Invite Them Outside Their Hometown—In order to win in a negotiation, once you’ve established a relationship, you should invite them outside of their hometown. This means you’ll have to host them, but if you get them away from their comfort zone to a neutral area, you can have your own “tag team.” This will give you better luck with your team.

The world of Chinese negotiation is definitely not like negotiating in the Western world. It will take some getting used to. Negotiation is necessary, however, if you want to be in the import/export business with China. If you pay attention to the above information, however, you should do just fine.


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