6 Things You Need to Know When Doing Business in China

Doing China business is one of the best places for business. However, there are entrepreneurs who encounter difficulties when dealing with the Chinese. Unfortunately, some western practices simply do not correspond with the way the Chinese do things. So, before you venture any China business in , make sure you know these key practices or habits of the Chinese:

  1. Good relationship first

Unlike many entrepreneurs who seem in a hurry to get things done, the Chinese usually take their time. As the saying goes: “Let’s first become friends, then do business.” They want to know you first. In fact, it is usual that one meeting will not be enough to make them close the deal with you. However, once you have their trust and confidence, the Chinese are the best allies in business.

If you continue to have good business and relationship with them, you will have what the Chinese refer to as Guan Xi, a form of two-way relationship where the parties continuously help each other. It is founded on well-established trust and confidence. So, when you do business in China, having a good relationship should be your priority.

  1. Do not talk about business at the dinner table

    Business at Dinner table
    Business at Dinner table

The Chinese often invite businessmen to have a meal with them. Now, most entrepreneurs find this as the opportunity to discuss business. However, the Chinese do not like that. They want to spend mealtime for fun. So, instead of talking about business, talk about yourself, your family or your hobbies. It is the best time to relax and get to know one another.

It is also not uncommon to be invited to fancy banquets and restaurants. When you do business in China, you should know that drinking is a must at the dinner table. You may get misinterpreted if you refuse to drink. So, if you really do not drink liquors, be sure to inform the Chinese host in advance.

  1. A yes does not always mean that they completely agree with you

The Chinese are very respectful. They often shy away from saying no. So, even when they disagree, they usually begin their statement with a yes. For example, “Yes, but that might not work.” Sometimes, instead of saying no, the Chinese would simply say maybe. This does not mean that they are confusing to deal with. In fact, it simply proves that they are very polite. It is good to remember this when you do business in China. After all, you can always politely ask for clarifications to make things clear.

  1. Mian Zi
Mian Zi (Face)
Mian Zi (Face)

The Mian Zi or face is important to the Chinese. It simply refers to prestige or social reputation. Again, respect is of utmost importance when you do business in China. For example, you can praise and give good and honest comments to make them gain face, but to unreasonably turn down their kind invitation may make them lose face, which is not good. But this does not mean that you should always agree with them. If you find yourself in a position to disagree or turn down an invitation, do it kindly and make clear to them your good intentions. After all, the same courtesy can be expected of the Chinese.

  1. Do not be late to a meeting or appointment

For professionals, it is considered rude to be late to a meeting. It somehow implies that you are not giving them enough importance. Many Chinese entrepreneurs have a hectic schedule but make time to meet you. In case you arrive late despite honest efforts to be on time, be sure to express a sincere apology.

  1. There is no fooling around

This applies to everyone, especially to the Chinese. When you discuss business with them, do not show any attempt to trick them into any unfair transaction. Remember that many Chinese are shrewd in business. They will know if you are just going to take advantage of them for your own good. Again, having a good relationship is key. And to have a good relationship, there must be respect, honesty and sincerity.


If you want to do business in China, you may need to make a few adjustments. The Chinese are one of the best partners in business. They usually express their appreciation and are very respectful. It is only fair that they be treated the same way.


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Doing Business in China – Tips and Tracks

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China has its own business culture and etiquette.
There are many things that a businessman from West needs to understand if he wants to enter the China market and succeed.

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