These 5 Business Mistakes In China Could Cost You A Fortune
China is booming as an economy year-on-year because of its 1.3 billion young and active consumers. China’s GDP grew at a staggering 6.5 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2018. Businesses are attracted to this country for its consumers, the attractive cost of manufacturing and the growing spending power.
However, there are international brands that succeeded but failed miserably because they simply didn’t do their homework about the country. China’s people are nationalist, and they place culture at their forefront. You do not want to end up like Dolce & Gabbana, a brand that lost their hold over the entire Chinese market. Dolce & Gabbana learned that lesson the hard way when they faced a boycott after Chinese expressed outrage over what was seen as culturally insensitive videos promoting a major runway show in Shanghai and subsequent posts of insulting comments in a private Instagram chat.
Here are 5 Business Mistakes You Must Avoid In China:
1.Converse in English
The Chinese respect those that speak their language. It is imperative for you as a business to conduct transactions in Chinese instead of English to build a familiar connection with the businessmen. It is preferable to have all your important documents and contracts translated in the right Chinese tone and diction for higher chances of successful business operations in the country.
2. Don’t Assume You Know Better Than The Locals
At this point, you’re probably googling the best possible route to navigate the Chinese landscape, but trust us, you can’t do better than the locals. It is advisable to have local support before you set out with your operations in the country. The locals will quicken the process by helping you with logistical issues such as translation, permits, government regulations and networking in and around the region.
3. Take Guanxi For Granted
‘Guanxi’ refers to the building a long sustainable relationship with the Chinese for businesses to endure in the long run. Guanxi can’t be built overnight. It will take you a few good business lunches, team meetings, gift giving and other related factors to earn the trust of the Chinese. Think of the Chinese as the most ‘Hard to get’ girl that you have to woo, after which she’ll be yours forever (We don’t guarantee that).
4. Make Short Term Goals
The Chinese built their economy from scratch with years and years of hard work. They value money and the people dealing with it, so you will have to build a relationship with them before stepping into business directly because you don’t want to come across as a shrewd-money-making businessman but instead, get into their good books and collaborate with them for a long-term journey.
5. Cultural disrespect
We told you about Dolce and Gabbana and their losses, but in addition, you must keep their lunar new year festival in mind and plan your trips to China accordingly. Most businesses come to a standstill over this new year break and it is advisable to respect their privacy during this period. Other little cultural symbolisms that are an inherent part of their lives like symbols of good luck (The colour red, the number six and dragons) and symbols of bad luck (sticking your chopsticks vertically, into a dish, the number 4 and gifting shoes) should be respected equally.
Now that you’re all set with your Chinese business strategy, googling about the Chinese and reading up about their culture won’t be enough. It will take you a decent amount of local support in the form of strategic partnerships, translators to help you navigate the little nooks and corners of the region and set your base.