People deciding to go on a business trip to China are advised to prepare accordingly, especially if they expect to sign a commercial contract. People in China are traditionalists and attach great importance to business culture, so the better you perform, the better they will perceive you. It is worth mentioning that when visiting Chinese partners, bringing gifts is in good taste. Beautifully packaged presents such as sweets, alcohol, photo albums, or handicrafts from your country will be welcome and make a good impression. The cooperation will be fruitful if you take care of these relations and show your commitment.
Preparations before a business trip to China
Before organizing a business trip to China, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the Chinese market and the company you are interested in; a potential business partner will positively receive it.
Learning Chinese business etiquette might prove helpful in establishing good business relations. It will allow you to understand what behaviors make a good impression and what should be avoided for the negotiations to bring the desired outcome. Greeting, clothes, demeanor – you should pay attention to these aspects as they are all significant.
Before departure, it is also advised to get acquainted with Chinese law. China and Western countries are vastly different, so it is better to prepare well. Doing some business research beforehand is also helpful.
Chinese people speak well of people interested in their history or culture. If you prepare well, you will make a good impression, and your potential partner will certainly appreciate your efforts.
Business cards in China
The custom of giving business cards in China is especially important, so before going on a business trip to China, it is good to stock up on a significant amount of them. It is also advised to pay attention to the colors. The ones associated with luck, like gold, are positively received by Chinese people.
The business card should include your name, surname, job title, and company name in English and Chinese. Your partner will certainly appreciate this kind of touch. It is recommended to make double-sided business cards – one side being in English and the other in Chinese. Creating a Chinese name for yourself and putting it on the card might also be useful since many Chinese people have difficulties remembering non-Chinese names.
It is important to remember that you should give business cards using both hands since your partner will also take it from you this way, often nodding their head slightly. Usually, it happens at the start of the conversation. While giving it, the Chinese side of the business card should be facing up. When you also receive one, reading it carefully and keeping it in front of you for a few seconds is more respectful than putting it away right away. Do not put the business card into your trousers’ back pocket!
While addressing the partner, using the title written before the surname is suggested. You should also remember that Chinese surnames are written first before the given name. It is said that a skillful exchange of business cards is a successful introduction to further talks.
Training courses in Chinese trade
Participating in a training course (masterclass) about working with Chinese partners will make future cooperation easier. These training courses are meant for beginners just starting their journey with the Chinese market. Those masterclasses are also great for experienced businesspeople wanting to broaden their knowledge. They allow you to deepen your understanding of import and export, learn how to negotiate, and how to behave in front of a Chinese partner.
During the training, you will learn which products are worth sourcing or how to negotiate prices and other transaction terms. Matters such as business etiquette and verifying the companies are also discussed in detail. You will gain answers to your questions, and the knowledge provided will certainly facilitate doing business with Chinese partners. Emphasis is placed on practical advice you can use during your business trip.
The purpose of these training courses is to prepare participants to do business with China. Getting familiar with cultural differences helps to avoid potential issues. If you would like to learn more about trading with China, we invite you to participate in training courses organized by experts from ExamineChina.
Contacts in China
In China, great importance is attached to contacts or so-called guanxi. An excellent place to find a potential partner is various trade fairs, which take place in China often and gain popularity every year. Everyone will find something for them, depending on their interests. One of the most famous events is Canton Fair. The biggest Chinese trade fair has three phases (by industries) and occurs twice a year – in fall and spring. It creates a perfect opportunity to find new contacts and build relations.
An essential element of establishing contact with the Chinese is spending time together, especially at dinner. Patience is also necessary since it is considered an expression of a solid character. According to Chinese people, haste is not beneficial for good relationships, so, hoping for long-term cooperation, it is advised to dedicate time to building a good foundation in a relationship.
Internet-only contacts are not recommended because of frequent fraud in this type of transaction. It is always better to get to know the potential business partner beforehand.
Chinese language interpreter
In China, the English language level is not very high, and even if Chinese people can use it, they prefer to use Chinese in business. That is why it is a good idea to consider hiring an interpreter before going to China. Not only will they help in the language aspect, but also the culture. If you decide to visit China without an interpreter, you must be prepared that the negotiations may end quickly because of a lack of understanding. It is said that an interpreter and a lawyer are the two necessary pillars before starting a business with Chinese partners.
The interpreter’s presence during the meetings makes negotiations smoother. In that case, knowing both English and Chinese is unnecessary. However, you should still familiarize them with the company’s activities and the meeting topic. It will help them be more prepared, which will positively influence the outcome of the negotiations. The interpreter can also translate business cards and catalogs. The Chinese partner will appreciate the gesture.
Business trip to China – Summary
It is important to remember that going to China for business purposes requires a lot of planning, as every element might influence how our Chinese partners perceive you. The better you are prepared, the better your chances of getting the desired outcome and finding new business partners. However, these preparations not only include arranging the visa, gifts, and business cards but also an understanding of Chinese business culture and law. Hiring an interpreter and a lawyer and participating in training courses can be a major step towards making a great first impression and building a lasting relationship with potential business partners.