Business relationships and negotiation—China

Business relationships & negotiation—China

Out of all cultural dimensions, China ranks the highest on the Long-term Orientation scale, according to Geert Hofstede. It is at the same time one of the lowest on the Individualism scale; this is almost certainly due to the Communist rule. This means that the concept of time is Linear and importance is placed on perseverance and achievement. However, low scores on the Individualism scale suggest that the Chinese value collective goals over personal achievements. These are some things to keep in mind when preparing for a business dinner.

The Chinese do not usually choose to talk about business at dinner. It is the time for relationship building. You must focus solely on establishing a solid connection with your host and maintain conversation topics that will help him or her feel more comfortable with you. The Chinese culture values taking time to make decisions while still keeping an eye on the end result. When choosing conversation topics, do not rush to ask questions that may make your host uneasy. Do not use your hands when talking, because this is distracting to your conversation partner.

There will most likely be several courses at a single dinner; therefore, it is a good idea to simply sample each dish in small quantities. Do not finish all of the food on your plate because this will indicate that you are still hungry and there was not enough given. Avoid putting your hands in your mouth and do not begin to eat before your host. When using chopsticks, make sure you do not put them straight up inside your bowl at any time. This is a symbol usually associated with death and is considered a bad omen. Women do not drink at official dinners; however, men are expected to have a drink to relax. Remember to be on time, well dressed, and ready to build a strong and successful business relationship.

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